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2012-13 Graduate Fellowships Announcement

Chancellor Jackman Graduate Fellows in the Humanities, 2012-2013

We are pleased to announce the following Chancellor Jackman Graduate Fellows in the Humanities, who will be performing dissertation work on the 2012-2013 annual theme of Food.

Abigail Dennis (English)
Victorian Gastropoetics: An Aesthetic of Food in the Victorian Novel
Abigail’s project proposes that as the nineteenth century progressed, the representation of food in the novel became increasingly aesthetically sophisticated, and its deployment as a literary strategy was discursively influenced by contemporaneous developments in cultural debates around vexed questions of alimentation and artistry. Culinary scenes helped to shape the contours and generic demarcations of the evolving novel form, and contributed to a reconceptualization of the way Victorians saw themselves and their literature. Examining key texts—including canonical novels, cookbooks, and prototypic “food journalism”—the dissertation takes a long historical view to demonstrate how the inter-animated concepts of satiety, taste, and hunger inflected Victorian novelistic aesthetics.

Sarah Tracy (History)
Metabolizing MSG:  Taste, Value, and Increase with Monosodium Glutamate
Sarah’s project considers monosodium glutamate (MSG) as a transnational biotechnology phenomenon, a global food additive and alleged toxin. She is concerned with MSG as a commodity and technology that reconfigures the metabolic possibilities of living things—in this case, by making food taste better. She pursues the larger question of what it might mean to recognize the relentless plasticity of our bodies, or the ways in which bodies are reconstituted by the diverse living matter they inhabit, house, and otherwise engage.

Ariel Zylberman (Philosophy)
The Relational Idea of Human Rights
Ariel’s thesis articulates and defends a relational model of human rights: human rights are direct requirements of equal freedom, the relational ideal that one person does not get to make decisions for and thereby dominate another. The relational model enables him, for instance, to defend traditional “welfare rights” in a distinctive way.  We have human rights to food and water not because hunger and thirst are bad states of affairs, but because hunger and thirst make us vulnerable to domination. Therefore, for the relational model, combating hunger, thirst, and poverty are matters of public justice and right, rather than charity.

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