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2020-2021 Mellon Fellows

Posted by on Thursday, June 25, 2020 in Past Fellows.


Laura Carpenter, Associate Professor of Sociology

Laura M. Carpenter is an Associate Professor of Sociology.  An expert on gender, sexuality, health, and the life course, she is author of Virginity Lost: An Intimate Portrait of First Sexual Experiences (NYU Press, 2005) and co-editor of Sex for Life: From Virginity to Viagra, How Sexuality Changes Throughout our Lives (NYU Press, 2012).  An avid digital storyteller, she is creating a companion website for her book-in-progress Throw Momma ON the Train, a sociologically-inflected travel memoir about gender, family, and geographic mobility, as well as an interactive map of Nashville feminisms.



Holly McCammon, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair of Sociology and Professor of Sociology

Holly McCammon Headshot

Holly McCammon is Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair of Sociology and Professor of Sociology.  She also holds a secondary faculty appointment in the Vanderbilt Law School.  Her research considers social movement activism, particularly within legal arenas.  She is currently studying women’s rights legal efforts before the U.S. Supreme Court, focusing specifically on using textual analysis to examine legal arguments presented to the court.  She has published various books and articles on social movement activism, including her 2012 book, The U.S. Women’s Jury Movements and Strategic Adaptation: A More Just Verdict, and a 2017 edited volume, The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Women’s Social Movement Activism.  As a DH Faculty Fellow, she will explore legal framing innovations in Supreme Court litigant and amicus briefs.


Rebecca VanDiver, Assistant Professor of The History of Art

Rebecca VanDiver headshot

Rebecca VanDiver teaches courses on Modern/Contemporary African American and African art and visual culture. Her research focuses on 20th-century black women artists and African American engagements with Africa. She is also affiliated faculty with the programs in American Studies and African American and Diaspora Studies.







Elizabeth Barna, Ph.D. in Sociology (Vanderbilt University)

Headshot of Elizabeth Barma. Subject is wearing a green dress and standing in front of a brick wall.

Elizabeth Barna is a 2020-2021 Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital and Public Humanities.  She earned her Ph.D. in sociology in the summer of 2020, and her research focuses on racial inequality, memory production, the workplace, and human rights violations in the American past and present.  Her dissertation, Between Plantation, President, and Public is based on nearly a year of participant-observation as a historic interpreter at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage and outlines aesthetic, historical, organizational, and interactional factors that contribute to a comingling of contrasting representations of Jackson at the site.

As a postdoc, Elizabeth is presenting her dissertation work in a publicly accessible way and honing her archival and curatorial skills.  She is writing a mini-book geared toward a popular audience, tentatively titled Man of His Time?  Teaching about Andrew Jackson in the Age of Trump (under contract with Vanderbilt University Press).  She is building a digital archive of memorabilia associated with Donald J. Trump and his presidency, with plans for a physical exhibit in the spring.  Along with English Ph.D. student Maren Loveland, Elizabeth is developing a virtual tour of sites associated with Native American history in the Nashville area, after a planned in-person tour was cancelled due to COVID-19.  Elizabeth is interested in collaborating with local organizations on justice-oriented and public-facing projects.


Melanie Forehand, Ph.D. in Spanish (Vanderbilt University)

Headshot of Melanie Forehand. Subject is wearing a red dress and is standing in front of a brick wall.

Melanie Forehand is an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow. Her research interests focus on Spanish Civil War exiles. Melanie’s dissertation The Parables and Parabolas of the Spanish Civil War Exiles in Mexico examines representations of the Spanish Civil War exiles living in Mexico from 1937 to the 1950s and engages theories of the spatial politics of affect, national identity, and cultural studies. As a DH Fellow, she will combine her interests in digital pedagogy and cultural analysis to expand the repository that she has built of exile magazines, maps, murals, and related lesson plans for the literature and language classrooms.





Caroline Colquhoun, Spanish and Comparative Media Arts and Practice

Caroline Coluhoun headshot

Caroline Beard Colquhoun is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in Spanish Literature and Comparative Media Analysis & Practice. She specializes in contemporary Spanish literature and film, and her research interests include migration, economic crisis, historical memory, gender, and decoloniality. Her dissertation, “Narrative Nomads: Resistance in the 21st Century African Hispanophone,” analyzes contemporary representations of the Western Sahara and Equatorial Guinea, two former Spanish colonies in Africa. She proposes that that the music, film, art, and literature of younger Sahrawis and Equatoguineans challenge the current regimes’ monolithic discourses and defy binary conceptualizations of postcolonial domination and resistance. Her DH interests include virtual reality, mapping, text analysis, and AI, with particular attention to the interrogation of the biases (gender, racial, ableist, linguistic) inherent in technologies and research tools.


Sahai Couso Díaz, Spanish and Comparative Media Analysis and Practice

Sahai Couso Headshot

Sahai Couso Díaz is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Spanish and Portuguese department and a second year in the Comparative Media Analysis and Practice (CMAP) program at Vanderbilt University. Her research interests include Transatlantic and Hemispheric Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Culture, Museum Studies, and Media. Sahai’s DH project focuses on a cultural study of The Weekly Package (El paquete) —an off-line internet archive that has been very popular in Cuba in the last few years. As a fellow, Sahai also plans to advance other digital components of her research.



Ashley Kim, Sociology

Ashley Kim Headshot

Ashley Kim’s research centers around gender, medicine, and race. In particular, she studies the social construction of medicine, especially reproductive healthcare. Her dissertation, which explores the rise of scientific and technological innovations in the field of reproduction. Her work draws on ethnographic data of online communities to examine how fertility health is being understood today at the intersection of race and gender. In particular, she examines technological products geared towards conception as social constructs of health.


Abraham Liddell, History

Abraham Liddell headshot

Abraham Liddell is a sixth year graduate student studying the Atlantic World in the Early Modern Period. He is interested in exploring the relationships between marginalized groups such as slaves, free people of color and the lower classes in and across the Spanish, Portuguese and British American Empires. Professor Jane Landers is his advisor.





Leah Lomotey-Nakon, Religion

Lomotey Nakon headshotLeah Lomotey-Nikon is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Vanderbilt University Department of Religion. She investigates how moral and religious experiences shape expectations about one’s self, one’s communities, and those we deem as “other.”  She is particularly interested in the formal and informal processes by which people manage moral disappointment, both publicly and privately using ecological approaches and she is always curious about the relationships between organizational and personal values. She takes a critical approach to human and organizational ethical development which emerges from academic training at the disciplinary crossroads of political science, education, community psychology, religion, and ethics.


Wendy Timmons, German Studies and Comparative Media Analysis and Practice

Wendy Timmons Headshot

Wendy Timmons is a third-year Ph.D. student in German studies as well as a second-year participant in the CMAP program. Her dissertation investigates the works of Marianne Brandt, Hannah Höch, and Lotte Reiniger, engaging with feminist theory, art history, and questions regarding feminine/feminist and/or modernist aesthetics. Wendy’s recent interest in the digital humanities has inspired no shortage of research questions and directions for her, and she looks forward to exploring new methods for accessing and publishing digital research.





Rachel Underwood, Sociology and Comparative Media and Analysis and Practice

Rachel Underwood Headshot

Rachel Underwood is a third-year joint doctoral student in Sociology and Comparative Media and Analysis and Practice (CMAP). Rachel has worked with a variety of group populations in a developmental context, including college students, children with a diagnosis on the Autism spectrum, and individuals experiencing homelessness. Broadly speaking, her research interests examine homelessness and housing, stratification of inequality, and gendered experiences. Rachel is also dedicated to “desire-based” storytelling and the dissemination of research through alternative channels, such as digital media. Her project as a fellow will explore digital collections and create a web-based collection of images and narratives related to her work with women experiencing homelessness. The digital gallery will coincide with a physical gallery experience coming in 2021.




Anna Young, History

Anna Young headshotAnna Young is a sixth-year doctoral student in the History Department. Her work examines masculinity and male embodiment in early modern Europe. Her DH project uses Transkribus HTR technology and textual analysis tools to examine the attitudes of both everyday people and medical professionals towards marriage, gender, and sexuality in a seventeenth-century Parisian court.