Graduate Team Fellows Program
This program aims to advance cross-disciplinary, team-based research cultures by brokering collaboration and facilitating the sharing of conceptual frameworks and disciplinary alignments. Not only will this experience build tolerances for varying academic perspectives, it also fosters in graduate students a receptivity towards network-based insight building. Our fellowship thus encourages agility in methods and modes, creativity of mind and practice, and intellectual grit.
In the spring of 2019, the Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme inaugurated a one-of-a-kind arts and humanities graduate fellowship inspired by the team science model: the Graduate Team Fellowship program. This fellowship brings together a cohort of graduate students whose projects intersect with one or more of the GAHDT Focus Areas – providing students with an opportunity to gain cross-disciplinary mentorship while being embedded in a collaborative ecology. The program aims to give graduate students in the arts and humanities an essential toolkit of skills as they prepare to enter a newly evolving job market – one that is highly dependent on networks, technology and a collaborative ethos.
The program has supported 15 interdisciplinary scholars thus far. This year’s fellows explored the potential of the arts and humanities to address challenges presented by the climate crisis, environmental degradation, medical addiction, and cultural representations of underrepresented communities. Graduate fellows met monthly with Professors and Faculty Fellows Dorry Noyes and Susan Van Pelt Petry engaging in cross-disciplinary dialogues that provided opportunities for more carefully-honed and translatable research descriptions, job talks, and public-facing contributions.
We live in complex times characterized by diverse and grave global challenges that require socially responsive, multifaceted solutions. Truly innovative solutions depend on scholarship that harnesses insights from a cross-disciplinary and collaborative perspective. Such integrative knowledge allows scholars to develop much more complex and innovative outputs by engaging research questions from a variety of methodological and theoretical orientations, and to interrogate unquestioned assumptions, biases and blind spots tacit in their disciplinary and research cultures. This also includes training students in ways of negotiating a competitive research-funding environment by mentoring them through processes of grant and proposal writing.
Building collaborative cultures
Whereas there is strong evidence of the collaborative ecology in the STEM fields, the arts and the humanities still have to demonstrate this 'culture change’ as they continue to emphasize specialization, often at the cost of collaboration (Borroughs, 525). The Global Arts + Humanities Graduate Team Fellowship program aims to advance cross-disciplinary team-based research cultures by brokering collaboration and facilitating the sharing of conceptual frameworks and disciplinary alignments. Not only will this experience build tolerances for varying academic perspectives, it also fosters in graduate students a receptivity towards network-based insight building. Our fellowship thus encourages agility in methods and modes, creativity of mind and practice, and intellectual grit.
A model for relational scholarship
The Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme is invested in advancing cooperative scholarship that is relational in its orientation. It is a model of research and practice that acknowledges our varying entanglements in the process of knowledge production — the human and non-human world, the digital and the material, the social and the singular. It fosters a critical consciousness and an ethic of global interdependence and collaboration.
Meet the current fellows
YELIZ CAVUS | (PhD’2021) Department of History
Project title: “Crafting History Between Empire and Nation: The Formation of Modern Historical Consciousness in Late-Ottoman and Early Republican Turkish Historical Narratives, 1840s-1930s”
Project description: Cavus’ project examines how modern history writing and historical scholarship emerged within the trans-imperial setting of the late-Ottoman period and how the historiographical debates of the late-nineteenth century affected the early Turkish Republic.
MARIO De GRADIS | (PhD’2021) Department of East Asian Languages and Literature
Project title: “Ethnic Frames: Positioning Hui Literature Within and Beyond China”
Project description: De Grandis’ dissertation investigates how literary authors from the largest Chinese Muslim ethnic group (i.e., the Hui) counter these discourses by presenting positive representations of their group in print media, digital media and during public events.
SETH EMMANUEL GAITERS | (PhD’2021) (Graduate Team Affiliate Fellow) Department of Comparative Studies
Project title: “Black Sacred Politics: (Extra)Ecclesial Eruptions in #BlackLivesMatter”
Project description: Gaiters’ dissertation locates and examines a politics of the sacred at the heart of the Black Lives Matters movement by considering the use of both spiritual and religious language and practices in Black Lives Matter as a central part of their racial justice struggles.
KATHRYN HOLT | (PhD’2021) Department of Dance
Project title: “Dancing Irish Womanhood: Bodies, Sexualities, and Challenges to Cultural Norms in Irish Social and Theatrical Dance”
Project description: Holt’s dissertation investigates how dance in Ireland and the Irish diaspora shapes and is shaped by cultural norms and expectations associated with Irish womanhood during the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.
DAREEN HUSSEIN | (MA’2022) Department of History of Art
Project title: “The Orientalist Imagination: The Burden of Representation”
Project description: Hussein’s exhibition brings together a group of artists whose work mines histories of colonialism and imperialism to reveal the personal and political effects of displacement. Employing film, photography and found imagery, these artists meditate on the stakes of representation and visibility.
(Portrait by Ann Hamilton)
JORDAN LOVEOY | (PhD’2021) Department of English/Center for Folklore Studies
Project title: “Beyond the Flood: Environmental Memory, Precarity, and Creativity in Imagining Appalachia’s Livable Futures”
Project description: Lovejoy’s project explores both literary and vernacular moments throughout Appalachian history and memory of the intense encounters — human and more-than-human, environmental and cultural, natural and technological — that occur within the context of floods.
NATHAN RICHARDS | (PhD’2022) Department of English
Project title: “Healthcare Policy in Linguistic Interaction: A Mixed-Methods Approach for Improving U.S. Patient Care”
Project description: Richards uses discourse analysis, medical humanities and academic medicine to research the negotiation of power in medical interactions and make applicable recommendations for improving the quality of patient care within the structures of the U.S. healthcare system.
VITOR VILAVERDE | (PhD’2023) Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Project title: “Andor Stern”
Project description: Vilaverde is directing a documentary feature titled Andor Stern that tells the story of André, 91 years old, the only living Brazilian-born who survived the Holocaust.
KATELIN WEBSTER | (PhD’2022) School of Music
Project title: “Musik Verbindet: Intercultural Music Programs and Refugee Integration in Germany”
Project description: Webster’s dissertation examines how music activities in northern Germany actualize the European Union’s and Germany’s intercultural integration policies at a local level by creating a space for dialogue and exchange between Middle Eastern refugees and German citizens.
Previous Graduate Team Fellows
2019-2020 Graduate Team Fellows
Professor in the Departments of English and Comparative Studies
Noyes is Professor of Folklore at The Ohio State University with a joint appointment between the Departments of English and Comparative Studies and courtesy appointments in the Departments of Anthropology, French and Italian, and Germanic Languages and Literatures; she also teaches in the Program in International Studies. She is a research associate at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies and directed the Center for Folklore Studies from 2005 to 2014.
Susan Van Pelt Petry
Professor of Dance
Van Pelt Petry is a choreographer, solo performer and arts advocate. In addition to her concert dance work, she has choreographed for operas, site specific projects and film. Petry arrived at Ohio State in 1983 as a visiting artist, became a graduate student, then assistant professor before leaving to pursue a freelance career. After over a decade, Van Pelt Petry returned to Ohio State in 2008 as Assistant Dean, then chaired the Department of Dance from 2006-2015.
(Pictured above from left to right)
Jacklyn Brickman (MFA’20), Department of Art
Project Title: “Tending”
My thesis project, which will be exhibited at Urban Arts Space in February 2020, will entangle science fact with science fiction to address issues related to global climate change by using black walnuts as a symbol for how we as a society envision our future environment. Health, alchemy, parenthood, science, future – seemingly disparate subjects encompassing elements of daily life, on personal and societal levels are combined in an art installation and performance. My work amplifies this synthetic quality through large-scale installation that invites viewer interaction, play and imagination. As a durational performer within the installation, I will undergo a series of domestic tasks that expand the traditional notions of family to the non-human, such as sewing, cooking, cleaning, caring, tending and simply breathing.
Mercedes Chavez (PhD’20), Department of English
Project Title: "Origin Stories: Cinema and the Anthropocene"
This project explores the intersection of cinema and the Anthropocene through the lens of their mythologies, or origin stories. Both cinema and the Anthropocene have somewhat muddled origins, both with an “official” narrative and alternative speculations; the camera obscura, a predecessor to cinema, has multiple proposed dates of origin — from the Paleolithic to the early Modern periods. The Anthropocene too has been much debated, with an official Golden Spike from geologists set at roughly 1950 AD to coincide with nuclear detonations, while scholars argue for much earlier dates — the Industrial Revolution, the Age of Conquest and the Agricultural Revolution are only three examples. Though set at drastically different stakes, for both cinema and the Anthropocene these narratives are key to establishing who claims the credit, or the culpability. Most crucially however, I explore the affective relationship between audience and art; visual theorist Nicholas Mirzoeff links the imperial project to its aesthetic component, the high art of the industrial age, which lead to an anesthetic quality; perception of the Anthropocene’s inherent ugliness is in fact dulled, in favor of an appreciation of “beauty.” If art can anesthetize the viewer, surely it should be able to do the reverse by offering a counter-visuality to the official narratives of industry.
Mercedes Chavez: "In working with cinema studies and the environmental humanities, my work presents an emergent and naturally cross-disciplinary methodology, drawing out the interplay between the industrial/cultural object of film and the human relationship to nature."
Sophia Enriquez (PhD’21), School of Music
Project Title: "Canciones de Mexilachia: Latinx Music, Identity, and Immigration in Appalachia"
My dissertation project documents and investigates Latinx music-making and identity in the Appalachian region, seeking to make sense of artistic processes of exchange, hybridity and belonging. Specifically, my work interrogates Latinx migration narratives, syncretisms and musical and cultural mobilities in “Mexilachian” music throughout Appalachia and South-Central Mexico. This dissertation is the first book-length project to investigate the music of Latinxs in Appalachia. My work demonstrates how Latinx-Appalachian music reveals new perspectives of immigration in spaces where Latinxs are not part of the dominant cultural narrative. I consider how performance groups such as the Lua Project pursue agendas of social activism and engage Latinx immigrant communities in Central Appalachia. Through observations about music, I develop an artistic lens through which to understand the tumultuous socio-political climate that informs the Latinx experience in the United States.”
Ehsan Estiri (PhD’20), Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures
Project Title: “Talking to America: Iranian Immigrants’ Public Events and American Political and Media Discourses”
Iranian immigrants have been the subject of stigmatization, suspicion and discrimination in American political and media discourses since their first wave of migration to the United States in the late 1970s. My dissertation investigates the ways in which the largest Iranian immigrant community in the world living in Los Angeles counters these discourses and claims spaces within the American public. Based on ethnographic data from my fieldwork, I argue that the community achieves this by holding a wide range of public events, ranging from Islamic processions to Iranian New Year celebrations, in a manner that challenges American perceptions of Muslims and Iranians and legitimizes the community’s presence in the U.S., reducing its spatial and social isolation. I study these public events through an interdisciplinary lens that connects theories and methods from cultural anthropology, folkloristics, event studies, migration studies, media studies and ethnographic filmmaking.
Ehsan Estiri: "This kind of cross-disciplinary research represents an avant-garde and non-conventional approach — I hope to learn from other fellows on how they draw on multiple fields in arts and humanities to answer their questions."
Rhys Gruebel (MFA’20), Department of Design
With this fellowship, I propose to work with students, faculty and staff to develop a future vision of sustainability at Ohio State. Using collaborative, design-led research methods, I would like to build upon successful programs, like the campus-wide recycling and Zero Waste initiatives, to create a blueprint for a scale circular economy at the university. The CE is a model for responsible economic activity that balances the goals of business with the needs of society and the environment. CE philosophies reject the concepts of disposability and obsolescence found in the current “linear” economy in favor of durability and reuse. This shift in priorities separates economic activity from natural resource extraction which greatly reduces greenhouse gas emissions, consumer waste and pollution. I believe there is an incredible opportunity to conduct design-led CE research at Ohio State, and through this project, I will strive to further the Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme’s mission of improving livability and mitigating the effects of climate change in our community.
Rhys Gruebel: "I am building my professional network beyond the design community into other disciplines that are represented in the cohort. I also hope that experience will enable me to amplify my voice farther than I would have been able to do on my own."
Trevor Marcho (PhD'20), School of Music
Project Title: “Drum-Dance Rehab: Community-based Drumming for Families Dealing with Parkinson’s Disease”
I intend to design and provide a weekly drumming class with movement that can be open to anyone with any level of PD as well as their caregivers in a nonmedical setting. Redirecting the research focus to the lived experiences of people with PD and their families and caretakers through the DDR program will provide a novel perspective of the value of music for the well-being of this population. The partnership between patient and caregiver can sometimes endure strains. Through the relaxed and adaptive music activities afforded by DDR, I hope to reduce those strains and strengthen the bond between the patients and caregivers.
The research will focus on establishing tools to measure enjoyment, mental and emotional well-being, increased self-efficacy and sense of community of PD patients and their caregivers and loved ones who are participating in the weekly drumming intervention. Another purpose of the project is to give a voice to the patients and the caregivers themselves. Finally, I intend to find an appropriate way to disseminate the data gathered (enjoyment, mental and emotional well-being, increased self-efficacy and sense of community) and personal narratives of patients and caregivers. The dissemination tool will direct the focus to the individual rather than the disease or the treatment. I will search for resources to develop a short media presentation that can increase our understanding of PD as experienced by people in Columbus.
Aviva Helena Neff (PhD’20), Department of Theatre
Project Title: “The Blood, the Earth and the Water: The Tragic Mulatta in History and Performance”
This project explores how contemporary mixed-race Americans both embody and resist the national history that envelops us. According to a 2016 National Survey of Student Engagement, mixed-race students often feel pressure and alienation when asked to identify as one race. Despite the complex intersections of ethnicity represented by mixed-race people, there are very few campus resources dedicated to serving this growing population. Developing pedagogical implementations of my research is critical to my praxes. Therefore, this project will generate teachable resources and narratives of multiracial identity, as well as a play that privileges an underrepresented experience.
Lyndsey Vader (PhD’20), Department of Dance
Project Title: “Spaces of Encounter, Repertories of Engagement: Politics of Participation in Twenty-First-Century Contemporary Performance Praxis”
My dissertation project analyzes the use of audience participation in performance works that reexamine what it means to be a community and imagine new ways of being together during these politically-divisive times. In the contemporary social and legislative climate of exclusionary politics, this dissertation contributes to ongoing theorizations about artistic practices that create spaces of political resistance through theatrical rehearsals of democracy. I examine the processes and procedures, which I call ‘repertories of engagement,’ that go into nurturing experiences of encounter in contemporary performance. Doing so, I offer a model to interrogate both the political and aesthetic dimensions of performative structures that invite audiences into the artwork.
Lyndsey Vader: "I was excited to deepen my research amongst a group of artist-scholars across campus whose work intersects with core GAHDT themes. This graduate fellowship creates a space that honors creative critical-thinking through research grounded in theory and practice. The potential for cross-pollination of ideas made the team-based component of the fellowship particularly appealing. It is a delight to experiment with different models that amplify convergences across research areas."
Associate Professor, Department of Theatre
Schlueter founded and produced The Lab Series, a student-driven, department-nurtured performance research laboratory. She was a project director for GAHDT and a faculty fellow in curriculum at the Graduate School.
Erin T. Allen, School of Music
Project title: Brass Bands, Participatory Musicking and the Ethics of Engagement at the HONK! Festival of Activist Street Bands
Project description: Allen’s research examined how performance and perception of brass street band music shapes and is shaped by a critical engagement with U.S. political culture and social life, both within American public culture and more broadly within an international network of brass musicians.
Kassie Burnett, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures
Project title: Differently-Abled Natures: Ability in German Literature and Culture, 1900’s-Present
Project description: Burnett’s research explored the concept of 'ability' in German literature and culture from the early twentieth century to the present. She questioned how western conceptions of ability and disability have influenced views and valuations of nature and its beings. Answering this query has implications not only for German eco-criticism and disability studies, but also for the global community as a whole.
Tessa Jacobs (Department of English)
Project title: Fire on Mountain Drive
Project description: Jacobs’ cross-disciplinary project explored how the Mountain Drive community — a neighborhood in the foothills of Southern California — utilizing cultural resources such as community traditions, festivals and social networks, to withstand wildfires.
Jess Lamar Holler (Department of Comparative Studies)
Project title: Toxic Heritages
Project description: Holler’s multimodal dissertation project encompassed community-based collaborative ethnographic work, media ethnography and public humanities and arts-inflected production to investigate forms of toxic exposure across three sites in Ohio: 1) River Valley High School — a high school built on a WWII toxic dump-site in Marion County; 2) fracked communities in Eastern Ohio; and 3) dispersed communities fighting glyphosate/RoundUp in the food, water and lawn-care system.
Marie Lerma (Department of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies)
Project title: Another World, Another Self: Oppositional Environmentalism and Latinx Art
Project description: Lerma’s work posited a critical relationship between activism, Latinx art, the environment and land. Her dissertation articulated frameworks for different human connections to the land — ones that rely on mutual communal relationships over capitalist ideas of ownership.
Eleanor Paynter (Department of Comparative Studies)
Project title: Emergency in Transit: Identity and Belonging through Narratives of Mediterranean Migration to Italy
Project description: Paynter’s dissertation adopted an interdisciplinary, multi-scalar approach to explore how emergency responses to migrant arrivals in Italy mask larger historical and cultural issues related to national sovereignty, cultural identity and racialization.
Nandi Sims (Department of Linguistics)
Project title: Race, Ethnicity and Language Change in a Predominately Black Miami Middle School
Project description: Sims’ dissertation research aimed to explore group affiliation and identity formation as demonstrated through language among African and Haitian American youths at a Miami middle school. The project drew upon and contributes to literatures from a wide range of arts and humanities fields like linguistics, critical race studies and cultural studies.