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Research & Innovation

Research in the arts and humanities represents a range of disciplines and distinctive modes of knowledge and methods that result in articles and books, ideas, exhibitions, performances, artifacts and more. This deliberate and dedicated work generates deep insights into the multi-faceted people and cultures of the world, past and present.
Whether individual or collaborative, funded or unfunded, our faculty are leading national networks and conferences, providing research frameworks, engaging students, traversing international archives and making significant contributions to UMD's research enterprise.

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Form Fitted: Postcolonial Aesthetics, Ethics, Politics

Forthcoming.

English

Author/Lead: Sangeeta Ray
Dates:

Form Fitted: Postcolonial Aesthetics, Ethics, Politics.

Forthcoming.

South Asian "Refugee" Fiction and Film: The Poetics and Aesthetics of Suffering

In progress.

English

Author/Lead: Sangeeta Ray
Dates:

South Asian "Refugee" Fiction and Film:  The Poetics and Aesthetics of Suffering.

In progress.

Flight and Metamorphosis

Nelly Sachs; Translated from the German by Joshua Weiner with Linda B. Parshall Farrar, Straus and Giroux

English

Author/Lead: Joshua Weiner
Dates:
Flight and Metamorphosis cover

This central collection by the poet, dramatist, and Nobel laureate Nelly Sachs—newly translated from the German by Joshua Weiner (with Linda B. Parshall)—reveals the visionary poet’s remarkable power of creation and transformation.

Flight and Metamorphosis marks the culmination of Nelly Sachs’s development as a poet. Sachs, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1966, speaks from her own condition as a refugee from Nazi Germany—her loneliness while living in a small Stockholm flat with her elderly mother, her exile, her alienation, her feelings of romantic bereavement, and her search for the divine. Forced onto a journey of endless change, Sachs created her own path forward.

From these sublime poems, she emerges as a visionary, one who harnesses language’s essential power to create and transform our world. Joshua Weiner’s translations are the first in more than half a century to elucidate Sachs’s enduring poetic power and relevance.

Why We Must Hear the Warning in Frederick Douglass' 'Sources of Danger to the Republic' Today

Op-Ed in Times Magazine

English

Author/Lead: Robert S. Levine
Dates:

On Jan. 3, 1867, nearly two years after the end of the Civil War, Frederick Douglass stood before a full house of hundreds of African Americans at Philadelphia’s National Hall. He had been invited to speak in a Black lecture series organized by William Still, famous for his work on the Underground Railroad.

As recounted by the Philadelphia Daily Evening Telegraph, the celebrated African American singer Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield performed several arias before Douglass’s introduction. Douglass then took the stage to speak on the “Sources of Danger to the Republic.” The Telegraph reported that he “was frequently interrupted by applause, and evidently made the best effort of his life.”

Read more.

“Medieval Posthumanism"

As the era preceding the articulation of what has come to be known as humanism, the European Middle Ages offer a variety of vantage points from which to trouble present certainties.

English

Author/Lead: Alan Montroso
Dates:
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Palgrave Handbook of Critical Posthumanism, ed. Stefan Herbrechter et al., forthcoming from Palgrave Macmillan in 2021.

The medieval period does not prefigure posthumanism as much as it reveals, according to the editors of the inaugural issue of the journal postmedieval, the many “ways in which bodies (human and non-human) and the world have always been emerging together out of various dynamic material processes and fields of interpretation”.

Read more about the article here.

Bad Humour: Race and Religious Essentialism in Early Modern England

Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, Forthcoming

English

Author/Lead: Kimberly Coles
Dates:

Bad Humour: Race and Religious Essentialism in Early Modern England specifically appraises how early modern science, or natural philosophy, is applied to the racialization of people who are expelled from the faith as religious outsiders. English colonial activities were largely directed against other Christians. But the violence of the colonial project could not be effected against members of the same faith. These members—Irish Catholics, Spanish Catholics, converted Africans and Amerindians—had to be forcibly evicted. Of course, this is problematic as the doctrine of Christianity, in particular Pauline Christianity, insisted that all who were baptized in the spirit were incorporated in the faith. Early modern medical theory bound together psyche and soma in mutual influence. By the end of the sixteenth century, there is a general acceptance that the soul’s condition, as a consequence of religious belief or its absence, could be manifest in the humoral composition of the physical body. This book charts the process whereby religious error, first resident in the body, becomes marked on the skin.

The Cultural History of Race in the Renaissance and Early Modern Age (1350-1550)

London: Bloomsbury Publishing, Forthcoming October 2021

English

Author/Lead: Kimberly Coles
Dates:

Ed. Kimberly Anne Coles and Dorothy Kim

Frederick Douglass and the Trouble with Critical Race Theory

What would Frederick Douglass think of Critical Race Theory? Robert S. Levine considers in this Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB) essay.

English

Author/Lead: Robert S. Levine
Dates:

ONCE A SPECIALIZED SCHOOL of thought developed in law schools, critical race theory (CRT) has become a favorite wedge issue for the Republican Party. During the final months of his presidency, Trump warned that CRT was infiltrating American schools and ordered a halt to what he claimed was CRT-inspired diversity training in federal agencies. Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, regularly refers to CRT as a Marxist plot to undermine the nation, and Christopher Rufo, director of the Center on Wealth and Poverty at the conservative Discovery Institute, terms it “a grave threat to the American way of life.”

Read Frederick Douglass and the Trouble with Critical Race Theory

The Failed Promise: Reconstruction, Frederick Douglass, and the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson

The absorbing narrative of Frederick Douglass’s heated struggle with President Andrew Johnson reveals a new perspective on Reconstruction’s demise.

English

Author/Lead: Robert S. Levine
Dates:
A Failed Promise Robert Levine cover

When Andrew Johnson rose to the presidency after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, African Americans were optimistic that Johnson would pursue aggressive federal policies for Black equality. Just a year earlier, Johnson had cast himself as a “Moses” for the Black community. Frederick Douglass, the country’s most influential Black leader, increasingly doubted the president was sincere in supporting Black citizenship. In a dramatic meeting between Johnson and a Black delegation at the White House, the president and Douglass came to verbal blows over the fate of Reconstruction. Their animosity only grew as Johnson sought to undermine Reconstruction and conciliate leaders of the former Confederate states.

Learn more about The Failed Promise.

“Extant / Ephemeral”

An essay on musical loss and survival with a focus on Shakespeare’s Cymbeline.

English

Author/Lead: Scott Trudell
Dates:
Shakespeare / Text, ed. Claire M. L. Bourne (London: Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, 2021), 343–59, ISBN 9781350128156.