The ISM is delighted to introduce eight new long-term fellows for the 2023-24 academic year. Hailing from Canada, South Africa, England and the United States, the fellows will spend one year in residence at the ISM and be an integral part of our community of scholars and artists. Each will pursue an interdisciplinary project and teach at Yale. The new fellows will join returning fellows, Ryan Darr and Catalina Ospina Jimenez.
Peter Michael Boudreau is completing his Ph.D. in art history at McGill University. His dissertation “Keeping Time: Temporal Thought and Imagery in the Calendars of Later Byzantium,” explores how the Byzantine world constructed, conceived of, and encountered its own forms of time through illustrated annual cycles. His ISM project will turn to an understudied set of illustrated liturgical calendar books and icons from the eleventh to fourteenth centuries. While Byzantinists have long analyzed how manuscripts helped create the liturgical year through consolidating hymns and readings for each day of the year, his project will consider how images contributed to this process by generating new temporal understandings.
Janie Cole comes to Yale from the University of Cape Town, where she has been a senior lecturer (adjunct) at the South African College of Music since 2015; a research officer for East Africa at the University of Witwatersrand and University of Cape Town’s interdisciplinary project since 2018; and a research associate at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics since 2022. In addition to teaching at Yale, she will conduct research on sacred music, architecture, and the senses in the Christian kingdom of Ethiopia during the early modern Jesuit mission period and pursue the completion of a book project tentatively entitled Music, Performance, and Foreign Encounters in the Christian Kingdom of Early Modern Ethiopia. Her other research areas focus on music and the anti-apartheid struggle in 20th century South Africa and musical constructions of Blackness, apartheid struggle movement politics, violence, resistance, trauma, and social change; and the intersection of music, consumption and production, politics, patronage and gender in late Renaissance and early Baroque Italy and France. She is the founder/executive director of Music Beyond Borders. A full bio can be found here.
Katie Dimmery has been a fellow at Stanford’s Center for East Asian Studies for the last year. She is an ethnographer of art and aesthetics in social context with training in a southwestern Chinese tradition of ceremonial texts, now associated with the Naxi ethnicity. Her book project will investigate how an aesthetic orientation to books and other objects of material culture, including the land, becomes an affordance for religious experience, and how such aesthetic practices are being transmitted in China’s southwest today.
Cory Hunter received his Ph.D. in musicology from Princeton University. He is an assistant professor of music at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. His recent article, “Thy Kingdom Come: Racial-Ethnic Oneness in African American Gospel Music” (The Musical Quarterly, Spring-Summer 2022), examines the ways in which gospel artists encourage racial-ethnic reconciliation through musical practice. His current book project, Spiritual Realism in Black Gospel Music Discourse and Practice, considers how contemporary Black gospel artists use music and discourse to accommodate the popular cultural infatuation with realness and to deconstruct conservative theologies that have circulated within conservative Black churches.
Nadieszda Kizenko has a BA from Harvard and a Ph.D. from Columbia University and is currently a professor of history and director of religious studies at the University at Albany (SUNY). Her latest books, Good for the Souls: a history of confession in the Russian empire (Oxford Uuniversity Press, 2021) and the co-edited Orthodoxy in Two Manifestations? The Conflict in Ukraine as Expression of a Fault Line in World Orthodoxy (Peter Lang, 2022), have explored two broad directions: the intersection of Orthodox Christian liturgy and identity in Russia and Ukraine, and the connection between confession and life-writing. At Yale, Kizenko will explore how post-Soviet Orthodox liturgies in Ukraine have evolved at war and at peace, showing different experiences and different notions of history, memory, identity, and language itself.
Samantha Slaubaugh is a liturgical scholar with a Ph.D. in theology from the University of Notre Dame. Her dissertation, “Liturgy and Ecstasy among the Beguines of Roubaud: Douceline of Digne’s Vida as Liturgical Commentary and Customary,” explores how the hagiographic text for Douceline of Digne utilized narratives of her ecstatic raptures as a liturgical gloss and model for the community. Her time at the ISM will broaden this work to analyze the role of performed emotions in ritual communal identity formation. She aims to present a new method for assessing liturgical formation of medieval beguines when official liturgical manuscripts are lacking.
Davesh Soneji holds a Ph.D. in religious studies and is associate professor of South Asian studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He is author of the award-winning book Unfinished Gestures: Devadasis, Memory, and Modernity in South India (University of Chicago Press, 2012). As an ISM fellow, Soneji will complete a new book entitled Unbounded Tunes: Genealogies of Musical Pluralism in Modern South India which examines the social and religious textures of Tamil music beyond the invented canon of “classical Karnatak music” as it was molded by dominant-caste cultural nationalists beginning in the 1920s. The project unfolds as a cluster of five subjugated histories of music from the modern Tamil-speaking world, including chapters on the music of the hybrid modern Tamil theatre (natakam); centuries-old traditions of Tamil Islamic and Catholic music; representations of Dalit musical traditions; and “waterborne tunes” that travel across the Indian Ocean into areas such as the Malay Peninsula through circuits of both imperial indenture and emergent Tamil capitalism. Unbounded Tunes illustrates how, until the third decade of the twentieth century, expansive, informal networks of sonic exchange created contexts for the emergence and patronage of religiously, aesthetically, and socially diverse forms of music among non-elite Tamil artists.
Ilana Webster-Kogen is an ethnomusicologist and Jewish/Middle East studies scholar working on diaspora, migration networks, and gender in ritual. She is the Joe Loss Reader (associate professor) in Jewish music at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, supported by the Jewish Music Institute. Her first book, Citizen Azmari: Making Ethiopian Music in Tel Aviv (2018, Wesleyan University Press) was awarded the Society for Ethnomusicology’s Jewish Music Section Publication Prize. At ISM, she will be working on a project about cantillation and veneration of Torah scrolls in North African liturgy. Initial articles from this project are published in Musica Judaica and Contemporary Jewry.
Ryan Darr has been a postdoctoral associate in religion, ecology, and expressive culture at the ISM for the last year and will be returning for a second year. Prior to his time at Yale, he was a postdoctoral research associate in philosophy and religion at the Princeton University Center for Human Values. He holds a Ph.D. in religious studies from Yale University. Ryan is a religious ethicist. He is currently working on a book that draws from theology, philosophy, and literature to address ethical issues surrounding the emerging mass extinction event. The book situates the value of biodiversity conservation in relation to other ethical goods, including animal welfare, social justice, and decolonization. It also considers the role of grief, ritual, and the arts in recognizing and valuing the species we are losing. In addition, he is further developing work on longstanding interests in the relationship between individual responsibility, harm causation, and structural injustice. His first book, which is forthcoming from The University of Chicago Press, offers a new, robustly theological story of the origin of consequentialism, one of the most influential views in modern moral theory. It uses the new historical account to intervene in contemporary ethical debates about consequentialism and about how ethicists conceive of goods, ends, agency, and causality. You can find more information on Ryan’s work here. Listen to this podcast where Ryan discusses the global climate crisis.
Originally from Colombia, Catalina Ospina Jimenez received a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Chicago in 2021. Her book project at Yale, Identifying and Subverting Epistemic Asymmetries in the Colonial Andes, will challenge assumptions in the analysis of Indigenous artistic production in colonial contexts. Focusing on seventeenth and eighteenth century mopa mopa objects, her book seeks to nuance our understanding of the way in which colonial structures inflicted injustices on colonial subjects in their capacity as knowers and intellectual producers. It aims to provide valuable methodological approaches to scholars in art history, anthropology, and philosophy seeking to account for and address the epistemic asymmetries that take place when cultural encounters take place in oppressive conditions. Ospina Jimenez is returning for her second year as a 2023-24 ISM fellow and plans to join Yale’s History of Art department as an assistant professor in 2024.