6-Month Faculty Research Fellows in 2021-2022

Chancellor Jackman Faculty Research Fellowships in the Humanities

Six-Month Fellowships, 2021-2022

Tenured faculty at the University of Toronto, each receives a six-month leave from the normal teaching and administrative duties in order to undertake research (including travel) on the project proposed in their application. They are chosen for demonstrated excellence of their record of scholarship and the merit of the research proposal.

Daphna Heller, FAS Linguistics

Daphna Heller is (Ph.D. Rutgers University, 2005) is Associate Professor of Linguistics. Her research examines issues in semantics and pragmatics from the perspective of cognitive science; specifically, how language is produced and interpreted in real time, within the rich context of a conversation. She directs the Toronto Language Processing Lab (TLPL), which conducts interactive conversational studies, some using eye-tracking. Dr. Heller has collaborated with linguists, psychologists and computer scientists, and her work has been published in venues across a broad range of fields, including Linguistics and Philosophy, Journal of Semantics, Cognition and Cognitive Science.

Sources of Information and Linguistic Meaning: From Typology to Cognition

Participating in conversation has been widely argued to depend on the ability to track what information is already shared between the conversational partners. While the notion of ‘common ground’ has been a basic concept in multiple fields, my recent research has challenged the utility of a common ground representation, moving instead to the Multiple-Perspectives Theory, in which each partner holds a separate representation of the self and other. By shifting the focus away from the symmetry dictated by common ground, the Multiple-Perspectives Theory opens up possibilities for exploring new relationships between grammatical elements and the knowledge of conversational partners. The current project explores one such asymmetry – sources of information – asking how they are used, tracked, and encoded in language. One important linguistic construction in this context is evidential markers: I will investigate how their pragmatic use relates to asymmetries in perspective between the conversational partners.

Jennifer Jenkins, FAS History  

Jennifer Jenkins (Ph.D. University of Michigan, 1997) is Associate Professor of History and Canada Research Chair in Modern German History.  Her interests include German and European history (19th and 20th centuries), Germany in the world, nationalism and memory, and transnational and global history. She is the author of Provincial Modernity: Local Culture and Liberal Politics in Fin-de-Siècle Hamburg (Cornell University Press, 2003), Germany and the Great Game: The Reich and Iran in the Age of Empire (Bloomsbury/I.B. Tauris, forthcoming 2021/2022) and Germany Among the Global Empires 1815 to the Present, which she is writing for the Wiley-Blackwell series “A New History of Modern Europe.” She is co-editor of German Modernities from Wilhelm to Weimar: The Contest of Future (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016).

Germany’s Orient, 1905-1979: Foreign Policy, Imperial Networks and Global Trade in the Twentieth Century

This project analyzes the “German Orient” as a twentieth-century political and economic project, which ran through government and civil society connections and took shape as a series of encounters between German institutions and nationalist and anti-colonial intellectuals across the Middle East and South Asia. Germany’s Orient expands the project of global history by foregrounding economic history and European/Asian connections, analyzing specifically Germany’s twentieth-century projects of economic expansion and their transnational actors.

Sophia Moreau, Faculty of Law / FAS Philosophy

Sophia Moreau (Ph.D. Philosophy, Harvard University; B.Phil., Oxford; J.D. University of Toronto) is Professor of Law and Philosophy. Her research combines philosophical and legal scholarship and ranges from discrimination law and tort theory to problems in moral and political philosophy.  Her most recent work is a book that defends an original and pluralist theory of what makes discrimination wrongful (Faces of Inequality, Oxford University Press 2020).  She believes that legal theorists should engage with courts and legal practitioners: she has worked with LEAF (the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund); she has written a government report on gender identity as a prohibited ground of discrimination; and her writing on discrimination has been cited by the Supreme Court of Canada in many of their recent judgments. She is an Associate Editor of the journal Philosophy & Public Affairs; Book Reviews Editor of The University of Toronto Law Journal; and is on the Board of Law and Philosophy and the Board of CEDSPL, a European organization dedicated to furthering our understanding of discrimination. She currently holds a 5-year SSHRC Insight grant for work on tort law; and in the spring of 2022, she will be a Weinstein Fellow at Berkeley.

Interpersonal Obligations and Subordinated Social Groups

My project looks at apparently neutral legal rules and moral concepts and explores the ways in which our interpretations of them privilege the needs and perspectives of certain social groups and inadvertently render other social groups (such as women, racial minorities, or people with disabilities) invisible in certain contexts, thereby contributing to their marginalization in our societies.  The project has two sides –a legal side, and a moral side.  The legal side will analyze the impact of legal rules and doctrines on already marginalized social groups, in an attempt to explore the ways in which the law silently and unintentionally exacerbates existing social disadvantages.  The moral side will consider the ways in which philosophers have understood concepts that they treat as basic to our everyday moral reasoning (concepts such as “obligation” and “autonomy”) and will ask whether our interpretations of these concepts inadvertently reflect the experiences and needs of more privileged groups and fail to capture some of the different experiences of subordinated groups.  In addition to critiquing our existing practices in the law and in moral philosophy, I shall explore creative solutions.  Can we redraft certain problematic legal rules and rethink our interpretations of certain basic moral concepts, so that they do not render particular social groups invisible?  What will the new ones look like? And who will we see, for the first time, when we try?

Walid Saleh, FAS Study of Religion and Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations

Walid Saleh (Ph.D. Yale University, 2001) is Professor of the History of Quranic Commentaries. He is a specialist on the Qur’an, the history of its interpretation (Tafsir), the Arabic manuscript tradition, Islamic apocalyptic literature, and Muslim’s reception of the Bible. His first book, The Formation of the Classical Tafsir Tradition (Brill, 2004) was the first monograph length study of al-Thalabi (d. 1035) and his influence in the history of Qur’an commentary tradition. His second monograph, In Defense of the Bible (Brill, 2008), is a detailed study and an edition of al-Biqa`i’s (d. 1480) Bible treatise, “The Just Verdict on the Permissibility of Quoting from Old Scriptures,” which is the most extensive discussion of the place of the Bible in the Islamic religious tradition. His work with the JHI Working Group, Practices of Commentary, grew into a five-year (2020-2025) SSHRC Insight project.

A History of the Qur’an Commentary Tradition (Tafsir)

Tafsir is at the center of Islamic intellectual history. Tafsir is the prism through which the Qur’an has historically been mediated to believers. The Qur’an was and is understood through the language of tafsir, and much of what Muslims believe that the Qur’an says is actually from Qur’an commentaries. Therefore, tafsir is central to the religious history of Islam. My project is a book that charts the history of the tafsir genre. Understanding the history of how Muslims have approached and interpreted the Qur’an is a necessary step toward understanding Islamic intellectual history and assessing the current hermeneutical landscape of the Islamic religious tradition. It will address the questions of how it is possible to refuse higher criticism of the Qur’an in modernity and yet present a historical hermeneutical understanding that is cogent for the intellectual elites of the Islamic world, and why the medieval commentary tradition is still authoritative and how it is used. It has broader implications for the field of Islamic Studies in general, and how we understand the development of the modern Islamic intellectual tradition.

Ruth Sandwell, OISE Curriculum, Teaching and Learning / FAS History

Ruth Sandwell (Ph.D. Simon Fraser University, 1998) is a Canadian social historian. Her research interests are in Canadian history (of education, rural society and the social history of energy) and the teaching of history. She is the author of Canada’s Rural Majority, 1870-1940: Household, Environment, Economies (University of Toronto Press, 2016) and co-editor with Abigail Harrison Moore of In a New Light: Histories of Women and Energy (McGill Queen’s University Press, 2021) and co-editor with Amy von-Heyking of  Becoming a History Teacher: Sustaining Practices in Historical Thinking and Knowing (University of Toronto Press, 2014). She is the founding co-director and executive board member of The History Education Network/Histoire et éducation en réseau (www.thenhier.ca) and founding co-director and educational director of The Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History project (www.canadianmysteries.ca).

Into the Grid: How Modern Energy Remade Canada

How did Canadians experience, sense, and make sense of the transition to modern energy? What were the relationships between individual experiences of energy and the rapid social, political, economic, environmental and technological structural changes brought about by oil, changes that in turn transformed postwar Canadian society? Arguing that the transition to fossil fuels was characterized by the reorganization of Canadian populations and environments into new and/or transformed places, I will explore the social history of that transition from the vantage point of three spaces—the new rural, the new urban, and the new household—in order to understand how people’s everyday experiences of energy transitions can be incorporated into a broader systemic analysis of the technological, environmental and economic changes associated with grid systems of energy delivery.

Dragana Obradović, FAS Slavic Languages and Literatures

Dragana Obradovic (Ph.D. University College-London, 2009) is Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures. Her research interests are regionally connected to the literature of the former Yugoslavia. She is interested in the legacy of state socialism as it pertains to class transformation, the rural/urban divide, and the depiction of labour in literature and film. She is the author of Writing the Yugoslav Wars: Literature, Postmodernism, and the Ethics of Representation (University of Toronto Press, 2016).

Between Socialist Modernity and the Peasant Co-Operative: Communalism of the Rural in Yugoslavia

This project investigates rural life under Yugoslav socialism (1945-1991) in order to generate new and important knowledge of under-researched village communities, which will address pressing problems around how we might tackle contemporary material emergencies (such as environmental crises) and influence contemporary studies of real existing socialism. My study of the rural in Yugoslavia, where socialist collective ideology encountered communalism of the village, contains potential to inform present needs: what kind of community economies—communities that are premised on social inter-dependence—can emerge from our knowledge of history?