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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.

“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

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.
 

Spec Acts: Reading form in Recurrent Neural Networks

Johns Hopkins University Press Volume 88, Number 2, Summer 2021

English

Author/Lead: Matthew Kirschenbaum
Dates:

On 25 March 2017 at 9:17 in the morning Ross Goodwin sat down behind the wheel of his pen to begin driving his novel. This essay reads 1 the Road, a 20,000-word token of narrative fiction produced by digital sensors affixed to an automobile driven from New York to New Orleans (the route taken by Jack Kerouac), whose outputs are filtered through an artificial intelligence technology called a neural net to produce the text. "It was nine-seventeen in the morning, and the house was heavy," it begins. Later, it produces this utterance: "It was a strange thing." This strange thing, which is to say this strange text, is, I argue, a boutique literary exemplar of the most widely read (and written) category of texts in the world today, as algorithms perform not speech acts but speculative or "spec" acts--what Felix Guattari forecast three decades ago as "machines speaking to machines." What happens when we listen in, as Goodwin's novel permits us to do? I propose ways of reading these spec acts through new formalist alternatives to historicism, old and new.

Read "Spec Acts: Reading form in Recurrent Neural Networks"

“The Hopkins-Hamedoe Identity"

American Periodicals 31.1 (2021): 54-67.

English

Author/Lead: Edlie Wong
Non-ARHU Contributor(s): Samantha Gilmore, Matt Cohen
Dates:

ABSTRACT: The   mass   digitization   of   nineteenth-century   periodicals   and keyword-based  searching  algorithms  have  produced  new  ways  of  read-ing  Pauline  E.  Hopkins  in  the  twenty-first  century.  Our  essay  brings  an  experiment  in  digital  stylistics  together  with  traditional  methods  of  authorial analysis to investigate an unexplored facet of Hopkins’s authorship and com-positional  style.  Hopkins  is  well-known  for  her  penchant  for  pseudonyms.  She  contributed  many  unsigned  editorials  to  the  Colored  American  Magazine,  and  it  was  not  unusual  for  issues  to  feature  her  work  alongside  articles  and  fiction  that  she  penned  as  Sarah  A.  Allen  and  J.  Shirley  Shadrach.  Might  Hopkins  have  also  published  under  other,  as  yet  unattributed  pen  names?  This  essay  takes  as  its  case  study  a  writer  identified  as  S.  E.  F.  C.  C.  Hame-doe  or  Hammedoe,  a  purported  Professor  of  “F.G.S.I.,”  who  remains  one  of  the  most  enigmatic  of  regular  Colored  American  Magazine  contributors.

Read “The Hopkins-Hamedoe Identity"