Texas Tech University

2020 Alumni College Fellows

The Humanities Center at Texas Tech Announces Its Alumni College Fellows for 2020-2021

The Humanities Center at Texas Tech is proud to announce its Alumni College Fellows for the 2020-2021 academic year. Established in 2015, Alumni College Fellowships provide funding for individual scholarly projects.

Homecoming Week on the Texas Tech campus has included the Humanities Center's annual Alumni College event for the past five years. Alumni College showcases the excellent research of Texas Tech humanities scholars. Each year, the Humanities Center selects up to twelve fellows, who receive funding and who present their work at Alumni College. This year's sixth annual Alumni College will look a little different since the Center is unable to hold our in-person, public event. In order to remain true to our tradition of bringing Alumni College funded research to a broad public, our fellows will present their research via Humanities Now, the Humanities Center's monthly podcast. The monthly episodes, beginning in February, will each feature three of the 2020 Alumni College Fellows.

To learn more about the 2020 Alumni College Fellows, please visit: 2020 Alumni College Fellows.

Humanities Now, can be found wherever you get your podcasts or by visiting: HUMANITIES NOW.

Dr. Alan Barenberg (Department of History)

BarenbergAlan Barenberg is Buena Vista Associate Professor in the Department of History at Texas Tech University. He is the author of Gulag Town, Company Town: Forced Labor and its Legacy in Vorkuta (Yale UP, 2014). He is currently finishing up a co-edited volume (with Emily Johnson), Rethinking the Gulag: Identities, Sources and Legacies (Indiana UP) and is writing The Gulag: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford UP).

Project: "Katorga Reconsidered: "Hard Labor" Convicts in the Soviet Penal System, 1943-53"

In the midst of the WWII, Soviet authorities created a new category of punishment: katorga (hard labor). Breaking with previous practices, such convicts were considered beyond the possibility of rehabilitation. The name of this form of punishment, katorga, deliberately invoked a hated punishment in Imperial Russia. Why did Soviet officials create a new form of punishment for alleged collaborators that invoked the penal practices of the Imperial Russian state? How did these convicts fit into the Gulag? This project examines the intent, scale, and significance of Soviet katorga against the backdrop of the Gulag and other institutions of mass incarceration.


Dr. Ali Duffy (School of Theater and Dance)

DuffyDr. Ali Duffy is a President's Excellence in Teaching Professor and Associate Professor of Dance and Honors at Texas Tech University. She is the founder and Artistic Director of Flatlands Dance Theatre, a professional nonprofit dance company. Her writing has been published in Research in Dance Education, the Journal of Dance Education, Dance Education in Practice, the American Journal of Arts Management, and the Journal of Emerging Dance Scholarship. Her book, Careers in Dance: Practical and Strategic Advice from the Field will be published this year. Dr. Duffy has been invited for scholarly and artistic presentations and residencies including at the University of South Florida, Lindenwood University, Colorado Mesa University, Virginia Tech, University of Detroit, UNC Charlotte, UNC Greensboro, Austin Dance Festival, COCO Dance Festival, and Danca Nova Dance Company. She sits on the Committee on Cultivating Leadership with the National Dance Education Organization and served on the board of the Dance Critics Association. Prior to her work in academia, Dr. Duffy performed internationally on Holland America cruise ships (RWS Entertainment) and for independent contemporary choreographers on both U.S. coasts. She has also taught and adjudicated for the National Dance Alliance and worked as a dance critic for World Dance Reviews. Dr. Duffy holds a PhD from Texas Woman's University, an MFA from UNC Greensboro, a BA from UNC Charlotte, and a Professional Certificate in Online Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Project: "Dancing Parenthood: Negotiations of Bodies, Artistry, and Careers"

Women working in dance careers negotiate many conceptual and practical issues when deciding whether or not to have children and how to manage both family and career. My new book project, Dancing Motherhood, explores how unique factors about the dance profession impact mothers working in it. By describing lived experiences and offering suggestions for improved working conditions and self-advocacy, this book initiates expanded discussion about women in dance and promotes change to positively impact dancing mothers, their employers, and the dance field. In Dancing Motherhood, I focus on five main themes: 1) challenges and benefits for pregnant women and mothers working in dance; 2) perceptions and experiences of women's and mothers' bodies in dance; 3) historically and culturally located issues of inequity, marginalization, and oppression of working mothers in dance; 4) dance organizational and institutional policy, curricula, mentorship, hiring, and evaluation practices as related to pregnancy and motherhood; and 5) individual approaches to negotiating dance careers with pregnancy and motherhood. The main themes and objectives in Dancing Motherhood will be reanalyzed using data collected from 20-30 surveyed and interviewed participants, all working mothers in dance in the United States; significant perspectives from public scholarship and popular culture; personal essay contributions from 5-8 working mothers in dance; and my own lived experiences as a working mother in the dance field. This Humanities Center Alumni College Faculty Fellowship supports the beginning stages of this research as I seek IRB approval and develop and submit the book proposal to potential publishers.


Matthew Hunter (Department of English)

HunterMatthew Hunter, Assistant Professor in the Department of English, is an early modernist with an interest in the poetry and drama of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. His research and teaching are particularly focused on uncovering the unlikely effects that textual coherence has on the world, whether it is in a poem or a conversation or a lived environment. He is currently completing a manuscript of his first book, Stranger Styles, which draws on social theory, formalist poetics, and linguistic anthropology in order to show how early modern plays cultivate widely different styles of talk as instruments playgoers can use in establishing various forms of stranger sociability in the newly public world of early modern London. A second project will turn from style to the theatrical and poetic production of atmosphere in early modern literature.

Project: "The Pursuit of Style in Early Modern Drama"

Moving between dramatic representations of conversational polish and their offstage imitations, The Pursuit of Style reads early modern drama as an art that compelled reality to follow its lead. Playgoers were trained from an early age to copy the language of the stage in their speech, and at the turn of the sixteenth century into the seventeenth, the words that they copied were more than just words; they were models of comportment that helped them to interact with others in a city whose rapid expansions had made everyone into a stranger to everyone else. The relentless anonymity of urban life spurred dreams of its opposite: of standing out, of being a somebody rather than a nobody, of being a person instead of stranger. Drama breathed life into this fantasy. Performed by strangers and to strangers, early modern plays ennobled different styles of talk as important forms of social competence in a newly public world. Like conversation manuals that taught entirely by example, early modern plays provided their audiences with forms of talk for presenting themselves in public, and like commercials that assure certain glamour once a product has been bought, they modeled the kinds of stranger sociability that audiences could expect that talk to produce. Then as now, style was a fantasy of public address.


Michael P. Jordan (Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work)

JordanDr. Michael P. Jordan is an associate professor of cultural anthropology. His teaching interests include the indigenous peoples of North America, the ethnohistory and ethnography of the Plains, material culture, intellectual and cultural property, expressive culture, and the politics of memory. Professor Jordan's research focuses on the ethnohistory and expressive culture of the indigenous inhabitants of the Southern Plains. He has worked with members of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma for more than a decade. Professor Jordan is also interested in exploring the ways in which digital technologies can be harnessed to serve indigenous communities' ongoing efforts to preserve and promote their heritage.

Project: "Connecting Indigenous Communities and Museum Collections: Collaborative Research on Southern Plains Beadwork"

Research on the Denver Museum of Nature and Science's Southern Plains beadwork collection will enhance our understanding of how objects are employed in the construction and maintenance of indigenous forms of identity. The research design combines collections-based research and ethnographic interviews with tribal members. The project offers the opportunity to study how tribes utilize museum collections to further their efforts to preserve and perpetuate traditional cultural practices. Furthermore, beadwork designs represent a form of intangible cultural heritage. Documentation of the protocols that govern the use of these designs will contribute to our understanding of indigenous systems of intellectual property law.


Dale Kretz (Department of History)

KretzDale Kretz, Assistant Professor in the Department of History, specializes in nineteenth-century African American history. His current book project explores how formerly enslaved men and women maintained their wartime foothold in the federal government from the Civil War until the New Deal. While claiming military benefits in extraordinary numbers, freepeople negotiated issues of slavery, identity, loyalty, dependency, and disability, all within an increasingly complex and rapidly expanding federal administrative state.

Project: "After the Freedmen's Bureau: Administering Freedom in the Age of Emancipation"

I am currently working on my book entitled After the Freedmen's Bureau: Administering Freedom in the Age of Emancipation, which uncovers how formerly enslaved men and women in the post-Civil War South struggled for federal welfare benefits. In pursuing their claims, tens of thousands of erstwhile bondspeople not only navigated issues of slavery, identity, loyalty, dependency, and disability, but also profoundly shaped the rapidly expanding federal administrative state in the sixty years before the New Deal. With assistance from the Texas Tech Alumni Center, I plan to complete a draft manuscript of this project.


Richard Lutjens (Department of History)

LutjensRichard Lutjens, Assistant Professor, specializes in modern German history with a focus on the Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany, and the Holocaust, and his research examines the experiences of historically and socially marginalized groups during these periods. His first book, Submerged on the Surface: The Not-so-Hidden Jews of Nazi Berlin, 1941 - 1945, examines the daily experiences of life in hiding for the 1,700 Berlin Jews who survived the Holocaust by fleeing deportation and living in the shadows of the capital of Nazi Germany." Through an examination of survivor testimony spanning the decades (both written and oral), his research argues for a reexamination of hiding as a category of Holocaust analysis, demonstrating that contrary to popular opinion Jews in Berlin did not hide in the traditional sense of the word but were constantly on the move and actively engaged in securing their own survival.

His current research project focuses on the role played by perpetrators of so-called "ordinary crime" in the exploitation of Jewish-Germans in the years from the Nazi seizure of power until the end of the last major deportations from Germany in March 1943. In particular, he examines how the Nazi persecution of Jews created new avenues for criminal activity, avenues which the Nazi State could not tolerate and yet which were the direct result of Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda and legislation.

Project: "Perpetrators of Ordinary Crime and the Persecution of Jewish Germans, 1933 – 1945"

This project, which will take me to Washington DC for research, investigates the role played by so-called ordinary perpetrators of crime (in Nazi parlance, "Habitual Criminals") in the persecution of Jewish Germans in Nazi Germany and the evolution of those crimes committed against Jews from the earliest days of the Third Reich in 1933 until its collapse in 1945. It furthermore examines the parallel evolution of National Socialist policy towards those individuals deemed criminals by the state, those individuals persecuted by the state for being Jewish, and the role of the state in mediating between those two groups.


Ori Swed (Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work)

SwedOri Swed is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work at Texas Tech University. He is also the director of the Peace, War, & Social Conflict Lab. Prior to joining Texas Tech, Ori was a Lecturer at the Sociology Department at the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned his Ph.D. Ori earned his M.A. in History and a dual B.A. in History and Sociology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In addition, Ori worked as a private consultant in the hi-tech sector.

Project: "Threat from Above: Determinants Drone Adoption Trends by Terrorist Organizations"

The proliferation of drone technology among violent non-state actors across the globe, from gangs to insurgents to terrorists and more, is reshaping basic ideas about national and international security. It appears that most of the world was unready for such actors to attain airpower, thereby gaining abilities to penetrate defense architectures and disrupt security measures ill-equipped to deal with this new dimension of threat. There is no question that drone technology is diffusing among armed groups and violent non-state actors. Yet, the scope, logic, and variation of this proliferation is unclear. Given that civilian drones are low cost yet versatile and flexible, why have some groups adopted this technology while others linger? Why are some using them for limited and passive roles while others are leveraging their full latent potential? Building on nascent scholarship and my previous work on the proliferation of drone technology among violent non-state actors, I propose a data collection project that will address this question and propel research forward, allowing scholars and practitioners to theorize and strategize on firm empirical ground.


Justin Tosi (Department of Philosophy)

TosiJustin Tosi, Assistant Professor, came to Texas Tech in 2018. He taught previously at Georgetown University and the University of Michigan. He specializes in social, political, moral, and legal philosophy, and writes mainly about state legitimacy, special obligations, and social morality. His work has appeared in Philosophy & Public Affairs, Legal Theory, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, and other venues. With Brandon Warmke, he is the author of Grandstanding: The Use and Abuse of Moral Talk (Oxford University Press, 2020). Also with Warmke, he is currently working on another book under contract with Routledge called Why It's OK to Mind Your Own Business.

Project: "Why It's OK to Mind Your Own Business"

One of the central themes of the liberal tradition in political philosophy is the value of tolerating individual ideals that one might find personally offensive. By refusing to interfere in other people's business, we make it possible for diverse individual ideals to flourish in a free society. Though the value of toleration is central to a liberal public culture, there are strong currents both within political philosophy and in the broader culture that threaten it. Thanks to technological advancements, it is now easier than ever for people to organize and apply social pressure in ways that interfere with private affairs. It is also more tempting than ever to intervene, as we are constantly made aware of problems we could in principle address and things people are doing wrong. There are few things more understandable than wanting to make the world a better place. This developing book concerns the perils of doing so, and highlights what we risk giving up by minding others' business instead of our own.


Heather Warren-Crow (College of Visual and Performing Arts)

Warren CrowA media theorist and performance artist, Heather Warren-Crow is associate professor of interdisciplinary arts in the J.T. and Margaret Talkington College of Visual and Performing Arts, affiliated faculty in women's and gender studies, and a member of the studio faculty of the School of Art. Dr. Warren-Crow's scholarship investigates the ways in which the aesthetics of audio-visual media model conceptions of agency, vitality, and embodiment. Her first book, Girlhood and the Plastic Image, was published by Dartmouth College Press. It argues that fundamental qualities of the digital image—namely, mutability, scalability, and shareability—are also associated with girlishness, with the power and vulnerability of girls as they are discursively understood. She is currently completing another book, with French Studies scholar Andrea Jonsson, that maps the impact of Tiqqun's theory of the Young-Girl on the arts and popular culture.

Project: "The Vocational Aesthetics of Singing ATMs"

In the 1970s, banks personified ATMs through marketing campaigns in an effort to convince a wary public to trust so-called robot banking. In this research project, I will analyze documents pertaining to commercial spots for Tillie the Alltime Teller, voiced by Susan Bennett (the original voice of Siri) and Tammy the Timeless Teller, performed by Chrissa Walsh. By attending to the sound of Bennett's and Walsh's youthful singing voices, I will investigate the work performed by an aesthetic of girliness, contributing to a prehistory of voice assistants like Siri and current discussions regarding the feminization of service technology.


Scott Weedon (Department of English)

WeedonScott Weedon, Assistant Professor, researches in the areas of engineering studies, rhetorical genre studies, and rhetoric of science, technology, and medicine. Before joining Technical Communication and Rhetoric at Texas Tech, he was a Lecturer in the Writing Program at University of California, Santa Barbara.

Project: "The Role of Taste in Popular Belief in Science"

This early-stage project begins to explore expressions of popular belief in pseudoscience from the perspective of rhetorical and pragmatic approaches to taste. I argue publics may coalesce around discourses of science as a matter of taste or self-fashioning. I start by analyzing published interviews and podcasts of basketball star Kyrie Irving, who became notorious for believing in a flat-earth. Irving's justifications for his beliefs are consistently situated in a quest to cultivate a self and as a source of pleasure. I use Irving as a case study to draw preliminary conclusions to warrant further research into the role of aesthetics in science communication.


Virginia E. Whealton (School of Music)

WhealtonVirginia E. Whealton is an Assistant Professor of Musicology and Graduate Research Coordinator at Texas Tech University's School of Music. A specialist in nineteenth-century music, she is particularly interested in French music, musical nationalism and cosmopolitanism, and the role of the press in reshaping musicians' public image during the mid-nineteenth century. Much of her research has investigated how Romantic Parisian musicians like Franz Liszt, Hector Berlioz, and Félicien David used prose travelogues and travel-inspired compositions to craft their public personae, contribute to sociopolitical discourse, and innovatively construct musically simulated travel. She also researches musical culture in early nineteenth-century Norfolk, Virginia. Dr. Whealton's writing and archival research in Europe have been supported by a series of grants, including a Mellon Innovating International Research and Teaching Fellowship, a Bartlet Grant from the American Musicological Society, and awards from the American Council for Polish Culture and the Polish American Arts Association.

Project: "Franz Liszt and the Princesse Carolyne von Sayn-Wittgenstein: Imagining a Polish National Future in F. Chopin"

This fellowship will support a month of archival research at the Goethe- und Schiller-Archiv in Weimar, Germany, towards an article concerning paradigms of Polish nationalism in Franz Liszt's book F. Chopin (1851). Though influential, Liszt's book has been discredited by scholars because of its extensive passages about Polish culture. Using previously unavailable and unexamined sources, I will show how Liszt used these passages to illustrate his theories about artists and national progress, and how these discussions supported the ideologies of Liszt and his uncredited co-author, the Polish-born Carolyne von Sayn-Wittgenstein.


Lesley A. Wolff (School of Art)

WolffDr. Lesley A. Wolff, Assistant Professor, specializes in Latinx and Latin American art and critical theory. Dr. Wolff's previous career as a professional baker and cook inform her current art historical research, which examines representations of race, consumption, and foodways in the modern and contemporary arts of the Americas, with a focus on the U.S., Mexico, and the Caribbean. Dr. Wolff received a PhD in the History and Criticism of Art, with a focus on the Visual Cultures of the Americas, from Florida State University. Dr. Wolff's interdisciplinary research has appeared in venues such as Food, Culture & Society; African and Black Diaspora: An International Journal; and Ralph Norton and His Museum.

Project: "Hungry Eyes: Picturing Foodways and Indigeneity in Postrevolutionary Mexico City"

This book project considers foodways as a symbolic and material force in the arts of Mexico's volatile postrevolutionary reconstruction (1920–1960). Each chapter traces the shifting relationships between art and food during a period of rampant modernization, in which the rise of modern cookery through electrical appliances and industrial foodstuffs converged and clashed with the nation's growing nostalgia for its pre-Columbian heritage. In so doing, this book demonstrates how seemingly innocuous images of foodstuffs and acts of consumption became implicated in a broader visual, experiential, and commercial battle over the definition of nationalist attitudes toward indigeneity, labor, and its social geographies.