Fellows 2013-2014

M. Jennifer Bloxam earned a Ph.D. in musicology from Yale University and is professor of music at Williams College. Her research interests include early music and its cultural context, interactions between plainsong and polyphony, narrative and exegesis in 15th and 16th-century sacred music, musical borrowing, and compositional process. Her project at Yale is Recapturing the Ritual Context of Renaissance Sacred Music, a multi-faceted endeavor at reconstructing a ritual frame around five ambitious pieces of sacred music from the Renaissance. Like a Renaissance triptych, the project has a central focus: a collaborative multi-media exploration of music at the great Marian confraternity in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, concentrating on the sumptuous eight-voice canonic Marian motet Nesciens Mater by Jean Mouton. The side panels of the project “altarpiece” will comprise two linked pairs of essays elucidating the ritual context and communicative strategies of four extraordinary polytextual settings of the Mass Ordinary: Two Masses for the Annunciation by Guillaume Du Fay and Johannes Regis; and Nicholas Champion’s “Mary” Masses, one for the Blessed Virgin and one for Mary Magdalene.

Daniel J. DiCenso is an assistant professor of music at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he recently completed a term as Coordinator of Medieval & Renaissance Studies (2011-12). As a Gates Cambridge Scholar, he received a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Cambridge. He also holds a Ph.D. in education from the University of Pennsylvania (2005), with a concentration in teaching, learning, and curriculum. A specialist in medieval liturgy, with a particular interest the history of Gregorian chant during the eighth and ninth centuries, his research interests also extend to contemporary popular music, including pop music, hip-hop, and rock. His project at Yale is Oldest Sources of Gregorian Chant for the Mass to ca. 900, a new edition that collects all of the sources before ca. 900 in one volume.  He will be re-editing from scratch the sources that were edited (problematically) in the 1930s and editing for the first time a number of “new” sources that have never before been brought to light.

Cécile Fromont is assistant professor of Art History and the College at the University of Chicago. She earned a Ph.D. in history of art and architecture from Harvard University, specializing in the field of African and Latin American art and architecture. Her primary research focuses on the cross-cultural encounter between European Christianity and the art and religion of the Kingdom of Kongo from the 15th to the 18th century. During her fellowship year she will continue work on her forthcoming manuscript Nature, Culture, and Faith in Translation: Capuchin Images and Cross-Cultural Knowledge of Kongo and Angola, 1650–1750, an analysis of an unpublished corpus of watercolors created by Capuchin missionaries to Kongo and Angola during those years. In this book-length study, she will explore the role that visuality played in the construction of early modern scientific and ethnographic knowledge, the function of visual translation in the formulation and reception of Christian doctrine across cultures, and, more broadly, the status of images in the molding of cross-cultural epistemologies.  Her fellowship will commence in the spring 2014 semester.

Patricia Ann Hardwick holds Ph.D.’s in both folklore and anthropology from Indiana University – Bloomington, and is currently in Singapore conducting research on Kuda Kepang, a hobbyhorse trance dance of Javanese origin brought to Singapore during the British colonial period. As a fellow of the ISM, she will develop her 2009 dissertation, “Stories of the Wind: The Role of Mak Yong in Shamanistic Healing in Kelantan, Malaysia,” into a published ethnography. This work will combine theories of performance and embodiment with the study of traditional narratives and oral literature to explore Kelantanese Malay ways of healing through ritual mak yong-‘teri performances. Mak yong is a Malay dance drama that was traditionally performed by itinerant theater troupes in northern Malaysia and southern Thailand. Her work will investigate how mak yong practitioners, confronted with changing interpretations of appropriate Islamic practice, are actively adapting how they think and speak about traditional Kelantanese Malay notions of the body as a microcosm of the universal macrocosm, the origins of illness, and their healing performances.

Baby Varghese is professor of Syriac studies, liturgy, and sacramental theology at Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam, in Kerala, India. He is also professor of Syriac studies at St. Ephrem’s Ecumenical Research Institute, and a research guide in Syriac studies at Mahatma Gandhi University, both in Kerala. He holds a Ph.D. in religious studies from the Sorbonne, as well as doctorate of theology from the Catholic University of Paris. His research focuses on the ecclesiology and history of Syriac Christianity, the Syrian Orthodox Church and its two major liturgical traditions, Tur Abdin in South Eastern Turkey and Mosul/Tikrit in Iraq (popularly known as the Western and Eastern traditions, respectively). During his fellowship year, he will explore the historical development of the Syrian Orthodox liturgy and the processes of enculturation and contextualization that began in the fourth century in both Antioch and Mesopotamia. Of particular interest are the content and style of liturgical texts composed in various cultural milieus and their impact on liturgical music, art, and architecture.