Ardeta Gjikola, Harvard University
Ardeta Gjikola is a historian of science. Her book project, “‘The Finest Things on Earth’: the Elgin Marbles and the Sciences of Taste,” asks two questions: What are taste judgments? Do they have a claim to knowledge? To address them, she revisits the long-eighteenth debates on taste judgments and a case that crystalizes these debates: the removal of the Parthenon sculptures from Athens by Lord Elgin in 1800-1803, their arrival in London as objects of uncertain aesthetic worth, and their emergence by 1817 as the British Museum’s most prized possessions. Gjikola argues that taste judgments constitute a distinct form of knowledge by developing a model for their formation and circulation. She offers this model as an alternative to those that consider taste judgments either radically subjective or dictated by objective social conditions. The project is both a historical study and a methodological contribution.
Alessandro Pes, University of Cagliari
Alessandro Pes’ research aims to reconstruct and analyze the role of the Italian diaspora in the United States during the Italian decolonization. During the Second World War, Italy had lost control over Eritrea, Libya, and Somalia, and at the end of the conflict the allies and then the UN had to decide the political future of those territories. After 1945, numerous Italian American committees tried to put pressure on the US government and the United Nations; the goal was to convince the US and the UN to entrust Italy with the administration of the former colonies in Africa. Starting in 1946, the Italian governments implemented a diplomatic and propaganda policy to affirm the "right to return to Africa" and to administer the former colonies. The research aims to reconstruct how the Italian diaspora in the US interacted with Italian colonial policy in the post-1945 period, and to analyze whether the contents of the new policy affirmed stereotypes used during the colonial period.
Angelo Matteo Caglioti, Barnard College, Columbia University
Angelo Matteo Caglioti’s research reconstructs the transformation of Italian colonialism from a liberal to a fascist empire. To do so, he examines the role of colonial ecologies and scientific experts, especially those concerned with climate and water resources that were fundamental for agriculture, human settlement, and warfare. The goal of his research is to challenge the removal of Italy's colonial past and place Italian imperialism in a global perspective. His current book project will be the first environmental history of Italian colonialism from the perspective of environmental history and the history of science.
Carmen Dege, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
Carmen Dege’s research examines ways in which democratic societies can respond to conditions of uncertainty. It argues for the need to move beyond the predominant “negative” and “positive” concepts of uncertainty in democratic theory which either view uncertainty as a potential threat to democratic stability or celebrate it as a promise of social change. She explores a third approach to uncertainty that demotes epistemic certainty and the democratic contestation in favor of a certain practice of ignorance which might help us to dissolve the sense of inevitability that surrounds contemporary conceptions of property and their rootedness in myth.
Eliana Hadjisavvas, Birkbeck College, University of London
Eliana Hadjisavvas’ research focuses on the defining role the detention of Jewish refugees, both during and after the Holocaust, played in the transformation of contemporary responses to immigration. Throughout the twentieth century, Britain used its network of imperial holdings as sites of detention, not only for migrants and refugees, but for civilians and political insurgents. The largest cohort to be interned across the Empire were European Jews. How, and to what extent, did Britain’s network of colonial detention camps for Jewish refugees define British responses to migration and minorities in the twentieth century and beyond?
Ethan Kleinberg, Wesleyan University
Ethan Kleinberg’s book project titled “The Surge,” argues for a different understanding of the ways the past makes itself available in the present and a new mode of history to account for this understanding. In essence, he argues that the events of the past are both more temporally dynamic and forceful than most paradigms allow and as such require a mode of history attuned to this temporally anarchistic force. This approach to the past and to history builds on his deconstructive approach as articulated in his Haunting History: for deconstructive approach to the past (Stanford U Press, 2017) and applied in Emmanuel Levinas’s Talmudic Turn: Philosophy and Jewish Thought (Stanford U Press, 2021). “The Surge” opens a more general and constructive philosophy of history designed to address the epistemological conditions of the 21st century including the rise of “post-truth” and the resultant political and ethical challenges we currently face.
Mira Siegelberg, Cambridge University
Mira Siegelberg’s research explores how ideas and expectations about the norms of interstate order emerge, and how these expectations have shaped global political order. Her first book, Statelessness: A Modern History, is a study of the ideological foundations of the legal frameworks established in the aftermath of the Second World War that define what it means to be a refugee or a stateless person. The book examines how the phenomenon of mass numbers of people without the security of national identification had been framed as a particular kind of international problem beginning in the period following the First World War, and how this framing had changed over time—as a new way of approaching the history of sovereignty, normative statehood and the rise of the global norm of citizenship. In Siegelberg’s current research she explores the emergence of new moral and legal forms of reasoning about the regulation of migration and immigration restriction in the late nineteenth century in the context of inter-imperial political rivalry and a new consciousness of the global scale of politics.
Simeon Koole, University of Bristol
Simeon Koole’s current project combines sensory and global history to explore how ‘worlds’ are constructed through everyday embodied experience. Using the London docklands between the late-nineteenth and mid-twentieth century as a prism, he examines how the different sensory and affective encounters of docklands inhabitants and visitors shaped their sense of scale and time, and consequently perceptions of trust, capability, and precariousness. From their opening in 1869, the Suez Canal and Pacific Railroad were heralded as enabling the greater spatial and temporal integration of the world as a singular place, or ‘globe’. Yet an ethnographic focus on how docklands inhabitants and sojourners bodily engaged with their environment and one another reveals that world to be multiple, fractured, and continually produced. In so doing, the project explores how individual enactments of the world conflicted with juridical and capitalist visions of it and attempted to make that world habitable under intensifying industrial capitalism and territorialization.
New York University Doctoral Fellows
Emelyn Lih, GSAS, Department of French Literature, Thought and Culture
Emelyn Lih’s project brings out autobiography’s response to the ravages of the twentieth century as they pose new challenges to representation and call on artists to bridge the widening gap between individual experience and accelerating historical change. Her dissertation studies the ways in which Blaise Cendrars, Michel Leiris, Claude Simon, and Annie Ernaux find new ways to represent history as it unfolds – across the First and Second World Wars and into decolonization and the women’s movement – not through fiction or historiography but through autobiography. She views their works from 1918 (Cendrars’s J’ai tué) to 2008 (Ernaux’s Les Années) as long-term autobiographical projects that act to articulate a place for the individual in history by means of an ambitiously anti-chronological approach to self-writing, synthesizing lyric and epic modes and registers to startling effect. Her project challenges the dominant notion of the autobiographical “pact” or contract by identifying an alternate tradition in French autobiography, with ties to avant-garde literary movements, that does not fit into the standard division of life-writing genres.
Emily Stewart Long, GSAS, Department of History
Emily Stewart Long’s research focuses on the transformation of the concept of Gestalt after its introduction into modern thought by Goethe in his 1790 essay, The Metamorphosis of Plants. Originally meant to represent a union between the arts and the sciences, Goethe’s idea of Gestalt, as she points out, however, is best known in its scientific history, in particular with Gestalt psychology and later systems theory, cybernetics, and artificial intelligence. With its aesthetic history left largely aside, her research essentially asks: What happened to Goethe’s poetic Gestalt? The current project works to unearth the understudied artistic history of Gestalt by tracing its transformation in the work of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century poets, musicians, philosophers, and novelists. Understanding the artistic roots of this dynamic concept, she argues, may well help us to reframe how we engage with modern technology by encouraging us to think in new ways about how this technology has fundamentally altered our contemporary social relations, cultural beliefs, ecological priorities, and political judgements.
Véronique Mickisch, GSAS, Department of History
Véronique Mickisch's dissertation argues that what has come to be understood as “Soviet economics”, was, in fact, Stalinist economics. The two distinguishing features associated with the Soviet economic model — national autarky and the elevation of ideological approaches over empirical and scientific ones — were only established in the course of the inner-party struggle of the 1920s. The victory of the Stalin faction in this struggle was consolidated above all through a series of increasingly violent purges that began in 1928 and culminated in the Great Terror of 1937-1938. As a prism for her analysis of Soviet economic thought and policy, she focuses on what she calls “party economists”, that is, a select group of Bolsheviks who were trained as economists and worked at the most important state economic and research institutions in the 1920s.
Visiting ENS Fellows
Léa Chekri, École Normale Supérieure
Anouk Chambard, École Normale Supérieure
Leila Vignal, École Normale Supérieure
Alexis Anne-Braun, École Normale Supérieure
Dan Mulhall, Former Ambassador of Ireland to the United States
Pedro Sánchez, President of the Government of Spain
Aristotle Tziampiris, University of Piraeus