April 10, 2015
Three professors, representing the fields of history, philosophy, and ethnic studies, have been selected Washington State University’s humanities fellows for the 2015-16 academic year.
C. Richard King, professor in critical culture, gender, and race studies; Claudia Leeb, assistant professor in politics, philosophy, and public affairs; and Matthew Sutton, associate professor in history, were chosen for the fellowship awards based on research proposals they submitted to the Humanities Planning Group (HPG).
“The selection of these three proposals and scholars emphasizes the broad nature of the humanities,” said Christopher Lupke, chair of HPG and professor of cinema studies and Chinese. “We’ve now awarded fellowships in all the humanities units at WSU.”
Other academic disciplines within the humanities include literature, ancient and modern languages, art history, classics, and linguistics.
“We are promoting an appreciation for the breadth and depth of humanities and their critical role in understanding life and society,” Lupke said.
Each of the three awards is accompanied by a $12,500 grant. The fellow designation and funding are intended to promote further research and encourage pursuit of greater, external funding for humanities research.
A committee of senior WSU scholars evaluated all of the submitted proposals and made their recommendations to the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), which has sponsored the Humanities Fellows program since it was launched in 2014.
Public lectures to highlight fellows’ year
As a condition of selection, each fellow will deliver a free, public presentation during the upcoming academic year. A schedule will be announced this fall and will be available on the HPG website, http://hub.wsu.edu/hpg/.
King, is an expert in indigeneity. His research during the past two decades has sparked numerous conversations about use of American Indian mascots and popular representations of Native Americans.
He is currently working on a book “Playing with Indigeneity,” which offers a comparative assessment of racial play today.
His project will examine public performances of the qualities associated with and ascribed to indigenous cultures and peoples. It builds upon established scholarly discussions of “playing Indian” and the ways indigeneity, and enactments of it, matter.
A monograph, to be published by the University of Toronto Press, will be among the key outcomes of King’s fellowship.
Leeb, who is trained in political theory and psychology, plans to complete a book during her fellowship. It draws on Hannah Arendt and Theodor Adorno to demonstrate that an adequate dealing with feelings of collective guilt resulting from a nation’s past crimes is necessary to create inclusive and functioning social and political communities in the present.
“The Tragedy of Silence: Guilt and Democracy,” by Leeb, will analyze court documents of Austrian perpetrators, as well as recent public controversies surrounding Austria’s hidden involvement in the Nazi atrocities, to answer the question of how perpetrating individuals and collectives deal with guilt.
Sutton’s research focuses on the relationships among religion, politics, and American culture from the late nineteenth century to the present. He draws from and addresses issues in the fields of history, religious studies, political science, American Studies, and global studies.
His project, “Wild Bill’s Army of Faith: Religion and American Espionage in World War II,” attempts to tell the story of a small but influential group of missionaries and religious activists in espionage and covert operations employed by the US government during World War II. Office of Strategic Services director, William “Wild Bill” Donovan, support by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, helped to create the modern American security state and shape the future of the national intelligence and clandestine network.
Through never-before-seen archival materials, Sutton will reveal the significant roles these missionaries played in a book project his fellowship will help him complete.
Humanities in action at WSU
HPG is a group of faculty members who are working to create a Center for the Humanities at WSU. A proposal to the Faculty Senate is now being finalized.
The group has sponsored a variety of events and initiatives on the Pullman campus. It is partnering with the Pullman and Whitman county libraries to sponsor speakers and conversations, and has applied for a Humanities Washington grant to support community programming.