Society of Faculty Fellows

Society of Faculty Fellows

Fun Facts

The goals of the Society of Fellows are to support faculty research and creative practices that highlight the transformative power of the arts and humanities to address global challenges and social needs; develop shared responses; and facilitate the multi-disciplinary exchange of ideas and methods on a shared topic. 

The Global Arts + Humanities Society of Fellows brings Ohio State faculty from across the disciplines together to share research around an annual cross-disciplinary theme. These fellowships are designed to provide faculty with release time to focus on their scholarly and artistic work, as well as with opportunities to engage with other Ohio State faculty, students and local Columbus community organizations. In addition to participating in a biweekly seminar, fellows co-organize a culminating year-end event to share their work.

The theme for our inaugural 2020-2021 Society of Fellows cohort is Human Rights: Pasts and Futures. This theme is meant to be both transnational and trans-historical in scope. The Society of Fellows cohort will share multi-disciplinary approaches to and perspectives on the international human rights movement, the relationship between human rights law and culture, and creative forms of human rights representation and resistance.

Congratulations to our inaugural 2020-21 Society of Fellows cohort!


Portrait of Thomas Davis

Associate Professor, Department of English
Project title:
Unnatural Attachments: The Arts of Environmental Justice
Project abstract: Davis' project conceptualizes the relationship between attachment formation to place and its impact on environmental humanities research and activism. He details the conditions under which attachments are made and unmade by examining twentieth- and twenty-first-century fiction, and visual art that includes contemporary drone art by Indigenous activists contesting pipelines and mineral extraction. 

Portrait of Paloma Martinez-Cruz

Associate Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Project title:
Becoming Essential: A Neoliberal Fantasy of the Migrant Worker's Body
Project abstract: Martinez-Cruz’s research examines how the pandemic has engendered new conversations about who is an “essential” worker and argues that a mapping of south-to-north migrations should be informed by a human rights perspective.


Photograph of Tristram McPherson

Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy
Project title:
Rights and Responsibilities of the Anthropocene
Project abstract: McPherson will explore the Anthropocene through three linked ethical questions relating to non-human animals, individual responsibility and methodologies for the study of ethics. He hopes to develop novel ethical concepts to enable political actors to better address pressing global challenges.


Photograph of Ila Nagar

Associate Professor, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures
Project title:
Language and Propaganda: Being Muslim, Female or LGBTQ+ in Contemporary India
Project abstract: In India, politicians and news media weaponize language to diminish democratic principles and incite violence against non-dominant populations. Nagar studies how supporters of the Indian movement toward Hindu fundamentalism use linguistic trickery to marginalize Muslims, women, and LGBTQ communities.


Photograph of Elaine Richardson

Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning
Project title:
Underlying Conditions: Black Women, Girls and Corona — A One-Woman Show
Project abstract: Richardson will create a one-woman show that illuminates how intersecting gender, class and racial vulnerabilities shape Black women and girls’ experiences navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and the systemic inequities that structure their lives.


Photograph of Inés Valdez Tappata

Associate Professor, Department of Political Science
Project title:
Human Rights and Cultures of Empire: Labor Rights, Migrant Rights and the Origin of Contemporary Democracy
Project abstract: Valdez’s project explores the imperial genealogy of labor and immigrant rights during the late nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. During this period, the white working class in the U.S. and English settler colonies — both foreign and native — adopted imperial discourses of racial hierarchy to exclude migrants of color from jobs and land, shaping the meaning of popular sovereignty.


Photograph of Sarah Van Beurden

Associate Professor, Departments of History and African and African American Studies
Project title:
Rights and Restitution: The Past and Future of Cultural Heritage
Project abstract: Van Beurden will develop her project on the repatriation of Belgian colonial collections by addressing the distance between the theory of human rights and UNESCO regulations on cultural heritage and the persistent demands for the restitution of African colonial collections that have recently reemerged in force.


Photograph of Joel Wainwright

Professor, Department of Geography
Project title:
Race, Space and the Formation of Law in Belize
Project abstract: Does sovereignty always precede the rule of law, or does the rule of law produce sovereignty? In his study of the colonization of indigenous lands of the Americas, Wainwright hypothesizes that the rule of law arrives as a means of ordering space, bodies and justice, realizing an immanent structure of racial difference.


Photograph of Wendy S. Hesford

Faculty Director, Global Arts + Humanities
Professor, Department of English
Ohio Eminiment Scholar of Rhetoric, Composition and Literacy

Hesford's research and teaching focus on the transformative role that critical human rights literacy plays in exposing the violence of representation, revealing hidden, repressed and silenced stories. She is the author of six books including Spectacular Rhetorics: Human Rights Visions, Recognitions and Feminisms. 

Amy Shuman portrait

Humanities Faculty Fellow, Global Arts + Humanities

Professor, Department of English
Shuman specializes in narrative, literacy, political asylum, disability, food customs, feminist theory and critical theory. She is a Guggenheim Fellow and the recipient of numerous awards including 2015 Distinguished Scholar Award. She is the author of six books, the most recent (with Carol Bohmer), Rejecting Refugees: Political Asylum in the 21st Century.