Hall Center For The Humanities

Resident Fellows

Once each month, the resident fellows of the Hall Center, namely the four humanities research fellows, the one creative research fellow, the one Sias graduate fellow and the Hall distinguished chair will meet as a seminar. On each occasion, one of the research fellows will offer remarks on some aspect of his/her work-in-progress. These seminars are open to all interested faculty.
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Susan K. Harris is the Hall Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Culture. She has MA degrees from Stanford and Cornell and a PhD in English and History from Cornell. Harris specializes in 19th-Century American literature, both women's fiction and the writings of Mark Twain. Her books include 19th-Century American Women's Novels (Cambridge University Press, 1990); The Courtship of Olivia Langdon and Mark Twain (CUP, 1996); and The Work of the Late Nineteenth-Century Hostess (Palgrave, 2002). She also edited Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Houghton Mifflin, 2000) and has written over twenty articles, essays and chapters on Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe and American Women's Fiction. View Vita (PDF)


Bruce Hayes, Associate Professor of French, will work on his book project “Castigating Comedy: Polemical Humor before and during the French Wars of Religion.” The book explores both regionally and historically (1534 to 1572) the ideological and propagandistic uses of comedy and humor during this turbulent time in France’s history. The intent of this study is to establish connections between humor and violence, showing how the former can serve as a contributing factor to the latter, as well as demonstrating how humor comes to be viewed with great suspicion during this period of religious strife.

Kij Johnson, Assistant Professor of English, will use the Creative Work Fellowship to work on her novel “Kylen: The Moveable City.” Set in London and Tashkent in 1778, this adventure novel combines anarchy, social unrest, gender, Central Asian geopolitics, and contemporary understanding of science and the scientific method, to create a work that is intended to be interstitial in nature.

Ani Kokobobo, Assistant Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, will be working on her book, “Freakish Outsiders and Monsters Within—Russian Realism and the Grotesque, 1869-1899.” Through an analysis of the grotesque style in the span of three decades, the project addresses the effects of social reforms (like the 1861 Liberation of the Serfs) on how national identity is conceptualized in Russian realism.

Laura Mielke, Associate Professor of English, will work on her book project “Provocative Eloquence: Theatre, Oratory, and Collective Violence in America, 1820-1860.” This study considers how, in what has come to be known as America’s Golden Age of Oratory, theaters persistently staged scenes in which eloquent speakers provoked mob violence or forceful acts of censorship. As the nation divided over the issue of slavery and headed for war, the theatre offered hard-hitting analysis of the close relationship between expression and force in the U.S.

Jorge Pérez, Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, will work on his book project “Confessional Cinema: Religion and Film the Spanish Public Sphere (1957-1975).” The project examines the cultural politics of religious cinema produced at the end of Francisco Franco’s dictatorship to illustrate the crucial impact of religion on the public sphere in this period of Spanish cultural history. The main contention of the book is that one cannot conceptualize Spain’s road to modernity and democracy without understanding the role of religion in that process.


Click here for Past Hall Center Humanities Research and Creative work Fellows.


Stephanie Krehbiel, doctoral candidate in American Studies, will spend Spring 2014 in residence at the Center working on her dissertation, “Let Us Be Broken Together: Discourses of Community and LGBTQ Mennonites, which” focuses on the language that Mennonites in the United State used to talk about community, and how this talk of community plays out in their denominational conflicts about the acceptance or rejection of LGBTQ people. Mennonites, Krehbiel argues, are attempting to organize themselves bureaucratically while holding a wide range of views about sexuality and the centrality of the heterosexual family unit to Christian life.



Henry Fortunato, director of public affairs at the Kansas City Public Library and director emeritus of the KU History Project, will be the Simons Public Humanities Fellow for 2013-2014 at the Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas. He will be in residence at the Hall Center periodically throughout the entire year. While in residence, Fortunato will work on three complementary projects. He will conduct research with faculty and staff and begin initial draft writing of a book based on his long-distance walks around Kansas, which will examine aspects of Kansas history, culture, literature, geology, ecology, and more; organize and conduct workshops and career counseling sessions for graduate students interested in pursuing non-academic careers in the humanities; and lead a public history practicum, working with Watkins Community Museum, the City of Lawrence, and selected graduate students interested in “applied humanities” to produce interpretive signage for the Burroughs Creek Trail and the Haskell Rail-Trail in East Lawrence.

Featured Resident Fellow

Jorge Pérez

Jorge Pérez, Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, will work on his book project “Confessional Cinema: Religion and Film the Spanish Public Sphere (1957-1975).”

Featured Publication

Chosen People: The Rise of American Black Israelite Religions
by Jacob Dorman

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