Chancellor Henry N.R. Jackman Graduate Fellow in the Humanities, 19-20

Doctoral Fellows at the Jackman Humanities Institute, 2019-2020


In 2019-2020, we will welcome three new doctoral candidates as fellows of the Jackman Humanities Institute.  Chiara, Judith, and Henry will be working to completing dissertations that address the annual theme of Strange Weather.


Chiara Graf, Classics

PhD topic: Wisdom and Other Feelings: Affect, Knowledge, and the Senecan Subject

Chiara’s dissertation treats the relationship of affect and natural science in the works of the Roman philosopher, scientist, and tragedian Lucius Annaeus Seneca (c.1 BCE-65 CE).

What feelings arise in the face of unexpected, beautiful, or frightening natural phenomena? What can these feelings teach us? How can we harness them towards ethical thought and action?

She argues that affect can provide routes to knowledge and define the subject’s relationship to the cosmos. Chiara’s research draws heavily upon the history of science, the study of ancient literature, and modern philosophy and critical theory.


Judith Ellen Brunton, Study of Religion

PhD topic: A Pandemonium of Hope: Oil, aspiration, and the good life in Alberta

Judith’s research explores how oil companies, government agencies, and community organizations in Alberta use oil to describe a set of values about land use, labour, and aspiration.

Oil, in Alberta, is a key symbolic element in imagining what a good life is.

To explore these messages about goodness, her project follows oil through four key cultural portraits grounded in ethnographic and archival work:

  1. the Christian colonial project of settlement in western Canada 
  2. historical narratives that frame energy as “heritage”
  3. white-collar corporate culture in Calgary
  4. the entangled cultural assertions of the Calgary Stampede.

Judith’s research works to discover the relationship between oil and these social worlds of value in Alberta, and to identify key areas of inquiry for the work of imagining a future that navigates the realities of climate change.



What does a graduate fellow at the Jackman Humanities Institute do?

One of our current graduate fellows, Deanna Del Vecchio, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), explained what it is to be a graduate fellow in Writing my PhD dissertation: how a Graduate Fellowship and community supported me.


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