Letters Archive

Fall 2007, Vol. 15, No. 2 (requires Adobe Acrobat)

2007–2008 Warren Center Graduate Student Fellows

MICHAEL CALLAGHAN graduated magna cum laude with high honors in English and Anthropology from Vanderbilt University in 1998. A Ph.D. candidate in archaeology in the Department of Anthropology, Callaghan’s research interests include the integration of economy and political organization in prehistoric civilizations, the acquisition and deployment of social power among prehistoric elites and non-elites, and the application of ceramic analysis to investigate social, religious, economic, and political aspects of prehistoric civilizations. Prior to his work at Vanderbilt’s Holmul project, Callaghan served as ceramicist, Lab Director, and Co-Director of the Vanderbilt Cancuen Regional Archaeological Project in the Pasion River Region of Guatemala.

JOSH EPSTEIN is a doctoral candidate in the English Department, writing his dissertation on the relationship between modernist musical and literary cultures. His dissertation, “Sublime Noise: Musical Culture and the Modernist Writer,” argues that modernists (Eliot, Stein, Pound, Forster, Sitwell) understood music as an aesthetic mediation of the various social, political, and technological noises of modernity. The project considers how social spaces such as the modernist salon shape these figures’ responses to sound. Engaging Adorno, Lukács, and other critics of modernist aesthetics, the dissertation reflects on the potential for interaction between literary criticism and the “new musicology.” He is the George J. Graham, Jr. Fellow.

MEGAN MORAN is a doctoral candidate in history. Her dissertation, titled “Patriarchy in Practice: Women, Family and Power in Late Medieval and Early Modern Italy,” examines the workings of patriarchy in late medieval and early modern Italy by investigating women’s interactions and relationships in family life. Her work explores how culturally constructed gender norms intersected with the lived experiences of women and men in the prominent Florentine Spinelli family; she is particularly interested in exploring the fluid and dynamic nature of patriarchy, specifically how both male and female relatives actively collaborated, contested, negotiated, and resisted various forms of patriarchy as they participated in family affairs.

GEORGE SANDERS is a doctoral candidate in sociology. His dissertation, titled “Late Capital: Negotiating the New American Way of Death,” examines the distribution of capital in the funeral industry and the effects that it has on the construction of meanings around memory, death, and ritual. In particular, he is interested in the use of amusement to conceal the expansion of the American funerary apparatus while it engages in its unique forms of cultural management. He is the American Studies Fellow.

NICOLE SEYMOUR is a Ph.D. candidate in English. She comes to Vanderbilt from UCLA, where she graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in American literature and culture, and a minor in women’s studies. She has taught several courses at Vanderbilt, including, most recently, “Queer Theory and Ecocriticism: Literary Intersections.” In addition to those two areas, Nicole’s research interests include feminist theory, nineteenth-century American literature, film, and contemporary literature. Her dissertation project is titled “Foreign Bodies and Anti-Bodies: Queer Bodily Transformations in Twentieth-Century Literature and Film.”

DAVID M. SOLODKOW is a doctoral candidate in Spanish. His dissertation, titled “Ethnographic Writing, Racialization of the ‘Other,’ and Eurocentrism in Latin America: A Cultural Critique of Modernity” examines how Latin America was constituted, during the Colonial period as an entirely new and original social experience, where a new ideological category (‘race’) determined the formation of social identities. His initial hypothesis states that, beginning with the European ‘Discovery’ of America, ethnographic writing has played an essential role in the production of new social and racial subjectivities. He use the term ‘ethnographic writing’ to describe a series of mechanisms of representation (stereotypes, statements, tropes, syllogisms) whose primary function was the ideological, political and aesthetical construction of cultural and racial difference.

HEATHER TALLEY is a doctoral candidate in sociology. Her dissertation, “Face Work: Cultural, Technical, and Surgical Interventions for Facial ‘Disfigurement’,” relies on analyses of reality television (Extreme Makeover), biotechnological innovations (face transplantation and facial feminization), and charitable work (Operation Smile). She considers how the imperative to repair the human face is constructed and negotiated in each of the sites of intervention. Throughout, she examines the sociological significance of the human face.

Letters Archive Index

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