Public Humanities Fellowships

The Graduate Student Public Humanities Fellowship was developed in partnership by the seven humanities centers and the Council to bring humanities scholarship into the public realm, encourage emerging humanities scholars to conceive of their work in relation to the public sphere, develop scholars’ skills for doing public work, and strengthen the public humanities community in New York State.

The year-long fellowship includes training in the methods and approaches of public scholarship and work by the Fellows to explore the public dimensions of their own scholarship in partnership with community organizations serving public audiences.

Interested candidates from the seven partnership schools can contact either their university’s humanities center director or Program Officer Adam Capitanio (email) for more information.

Meet the 2014-2015 Fellows

Mary Grace Albanese
Mary Grace Albanese is a doctoral candidate in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Her area of specialization is 19th-century American literature and, in particular, the legacy of the Haitian Revolution. Her other research interests include French-U.S. literary exchange, translation theory, and the legal history of slavery. In addition to her academic interest in translation, she has also worked as a translator for many years. Mary Grace's project aims to create a forum for the preservation and transmission of contemporary Haitian narratives. She is thrilled to be collaborating with NYCH in this work.
Manuela Arciniegas is a Magnet Presidential Fellow and an Advanced Research Collaborative Praxis Student Fellow at the CUNY Graduate Center pursuing a PhD in Ethnomusicology. Her research interests lie in the intersection between African diaspora, Afro-Caribbean religion, music, and community empowerment. Manuela is an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s Music Department, where she teaches Caribbean Music, and has been working in education, cultural arts, and community organizing for the past twelve years. Manuela is also a traditional drummer, songwriter, singer, and dancer specializing in Afro-Dominican Palos and Afro-Puerto Rican Bomba. During her Fellowship, she will work with Afro-Caribbean New Yorkers to bring her research back to communities.
Adam Dunstan has spent five years as a humanistic anthropologist, researching the environmental threats facing Navajo and other individuals in Arizona. He has collected narratives about indigenous resistance to development of sacred lands with the intention both of critiquing dominant constructions of nature and influencing the ways in which federal land managers interact with indigenous peoples. A native of Oregon, Dunstan received degrees in environmental science and anthropology from Brigham Young University and is now a PhD candidate in anthropology at the University at Buffalo. Adam will work with New York State Native communities to communicate environmental issues impacting Native communities, as well as to work with federal and state land agencies to help them better understand how their decisions impact indigenous communities.
<img src="file:///Macintosh%20HD/Users/jnina/Library/Application%20Support/Adobe/Contribute%20CS5/en_US/Sites/Site1AssetsTemp/Photo.jpg" width="700" height="466" /> Thomas A. Guiler is a Ph.D. candidate in American social and cultural history at Syracuse University. In particular, he studies intentional communities and communal groups with special emphasis on the intersections between their ideals, economic production, and culture. His dissertation will examine communities in the Arts and Crafts movement—Byrdcliffe, Roycroft, Craftsman Farms, and Rose Valley—as unique transitional communities that marketed community, the simple life, handcraftmanship, art, and architecture as powerful forms of “Progressive purchasing” to transform the harsh inequalities of modern industrial capitalism. Tom plans to install a renewed public history program at Byrdcliffe in Woodstock, New York.
Emily Hainze is a doctoral candidate in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where she writes and teaches about 19th and 20th century American literature.  Her dissertation focuses on the development of the women’s prison in the United States, exploring how literary questions of narrative and genre have been shaped by the conceptualization of women’s crime from the late 19th century onward. Prior to her graduate study at Columbia, she investigated police misconduct for the City of New York. From 2013-14, she has been a recipient of the Mellon CLIR Fellowship for Dissertation Research in Original Sources. Emily will work to develop an online respository for digitized archival records of women and imprisonment, with an eye towards classroom use.
Emily Hong is Seoul-born and New York-raised feminist anthropologist, media maker, and trainer, currently pursuing a PhD at Cornell University. Her research, media projects, and activist engagements largely focus on Thailand and Burma, where she has spent half a decade working as a trainer with minority rights activists, and as a campaigner for Burma’s democracy movement-in-exile. Recent projects include the ethnographic film Get By (2013) which explores precarity and worker-community solidarity in Ithaca, New York, and serving on the curating team of Unseen Thailand (2012) exhibited at Seascape Gallery in Chiang Mai, Thailand. As part of the Public Humanities Fellowship, Emily is working with a team of women filmmakers and young refugee women from Burma active in the group Ithaca Asian Girls on the Move to produce an experimental film drawing upon feminist oral history methods, ethno-fiction, and the multisensorial moments of everyday life.
Tonya Lewis Buffalo
Tonya Lewis earned her J.D. from the State University of New York (Buffalo) in 2010. While in law school, Tonya concentrated on environmental law and participated in the environmental law and policy clinic, representing a group opposed to the expansion of a hazardous waste landfill in their community, and served as a legal extern in the Environmental Protection Bureau of the New York State Office of the Attorney General. Tonya is currently working toward a Ph.D. in Geography, for which she is conducting research on the topic of state environmental justice policies and the spatial distribution of environmental toxins. Next year, Tonya will be an active participant in an environmental advocacy group seeking to address environmental degradation and pollution in primarily low-income and minority neighborhoods in Buffalo, exploring how public humanities methods can further this work.
Dominique Jean-Louis is a doctoral candidate in U.S. history at NYU. She received her B.A. in Comparative Ethnic Studies from Columbia University, where she first developed her interest in researching race and education in New York City. She is passionate about the potential of historical narratives to empower young people, strengthen communities, and support social justice.  Her dissertation work will focus on Caribbean immigration to New York City in the post-civil rights era, examining the impact of schooling on the formation of racial identity. During the Fellowship, Dominique will work with Queens high school and college students to document and share the history of Carribbean communities in the borough.
Jason Luther is completing a dissertation in Cultural Composition and Rhetoric at Syracuse University. As a former writing center director and longtime self-publisher, Jason is interested in what multimodal, self-sponsored composing spaces can teach us about identities, counter/publics, processes, and pedagogies. He's currently working toward a dissertation that surveys the process and performances of 21st century zine authors. Jason blogs at With the Public Humanities Fellowship, Jason will work towards the creation of a city-wide self-publishing festival in Syracuse.
Peregrine Gerard-Little is a PhD candidate in Archaeology in Cornell University’s Department of Anthropology. She has a BA (2008) from Columbia University and received an MA in Archaeology from Cornell University in 2011. Her master’s thesis used ground-based remote sensing at a late 17th century Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) site to illuminate issues of settlement organization during a time of hardship. Perri's dissertation research will consider the dynamism of human-landscape interactions through the analysis of wood charcoal and macrobotanical remains from three consecutive 17th-18th c. Seneca sites. As part of her Fellowship, Perri will explore collaborating with local communities to create public interpretation around Seneca landscapes in Central New York.

Manissa McCleave Maharawal is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is currently conducting her doctoral dissertation fieldwork on social movements, urban change, youth, gentrification, and anti-gentrification activism in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area. For this research she is conducting oral history interviews with activists in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, exploring the ways in which people’s life histories connect to their activism as well as to patterns of gentrification and displacement. For the Public Humanities Fellowship she will be developing a public platform for these interviews. Her work has been published in Cultural Anthropology, Progressive Planning, The Guardian, N+1, AlterNet, The Indypendent, Racialicious, Counterpunch, and Waging Nonviolence, among other online and print periodicals.

José Miguel Palacios holds an MA in Film Studies from Columbia University and is now a PhD candidate in the Department of Cinema Studies at New York University, where he is writing a dissertation on Chilean exile cinema. His work has appeared in Comunicación y Medios, Cuadernos de la Cineteca Nacional, La Fuga, and The Brooklyn Rail, and is forthcoming in the collections New Documentaries in Latin America (Palgrave, 2014) and Cinematic Homecomings: Exile and Return in Transnational Cinema (Bloomsbury, 2014). He has been a Visiting Professor in the Department of Art History at the Universidad Alberto Hurtado in Chile. José will work to bring together academics, artists, and Latin American exile communities in New York City for a series of public talks, film screenings, and discussions.

Connor Pitetti is a doctoral candidate in the English department at Stony Brook University, where his research has focused on 20th-century American literature and culture. He received his BA and MA degrees in English Literature from The City College of New York. He is currently writing a dissertation that examines representations of urban space and environment in traditional religious apocalyptic and contemporary postapocalyptic texts and discourses, and investigates the ways in which late 20th-century eschatology reconceptualizes our relationship to the spaces in which we live. Connor hopes to develop a project that explores the public discourse around climate change ane environmental crisis.

Brandi So is a doctoral candidate at Stony Brook University’s English Department. Her teaching and research interests include cyber-pedagogy, mining the digital archive, and American literature. Her dissertation, “Regionalism and the Sister Arts: Local Color Outside the Lines,” argues for the necessary role of visual arts in American literary regionalism, and recovers women regionalist authors’ artistic lives as subjects of critical inquiry. Brandi holds a BA from Naropa University, an MA from CU-Denver, and an advanced graduate certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies from Stony Brook University. She is the Executive Associate for NeMLA and a 2014-2015 AAUW American Fellowship awardee. With the Fellowship, Brandi will develop an exhibit and public programs for Long Island audiences about the Sister Arts.

Download Fellows' bios here.