CIS Fellowships

Senior Fellows (2016-2019)

CIS Senior Fellows are Associate or full UCR Professors who are appointed for three year terms. Each CIS Senior Fellow receives $2000 per year for three years in research funds to facilitate a proposed research agenda that will be the focus during the 3-year appointment. Funds may be used for research-related travel, research assistance and support for participation in professional meetings. CIS Senior Fellows are expected to participate in the Center’s activities, including attending Center events, meeting with Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows at least once a year and offering at least one public lecture during the term of the appointment. Fellows are also encouraged to propose other ways they might enrich the life of the Center.

Paulo Chagas (Music)
Sonic Imaginations: Sound Studies, Sound Practices and Sound Creativity

The proposal is focused on the emerging interdisciplinary field of sound studies that reaches into fields of sonic knowledge and practice that cuts across different disciplines, methods and objects including new forms of technologically mediated listening and new processes for manipulating, transforming and working with sound. It develops research in three different areas: (1) a theoretical investigation on the rich and growing scholarly literature of sound studies as an academic field in the humanities and socials sciences defined by combination of object and approach; (2) a comparative and practical study of the material production and consumption of sound, noise and silence in three specific sonic environments defined from a global perspective; (3) a sound and visual art-installation engaging the concepts and objects of the research in a critical reflection on the diversity of contemporary sound practices and creativity. The proposal aims also to develop a broad knowledge on sonic imaginations as an interdisciplinary meeting point of different disciplines and benefiting UCR departments and areas of study such as music, philosophy, media and cultural studies, technology studies, ethnomusicology and popular music studies, creative writing, anthropology and sociology. It also seeks to provide support to the cluster hire initiative “Global Arts” that is part of the Global Studies program and is recruiting a faculty on Global Sound Composition.

Christine Schwenkel (Anthropology)
The Afterlife of Solidarity: Vietnamese Reanimation of Urban ‘Ruins’ in Eastern Germany

On the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall, more than 30 thousand Vietnamese citizens were working or studying in East Germany (GDR) as the result of “international solidarity” campaigns. Many of these migrants were forcibly returned home with the dissolution of the GDR; others sent for their families and remained, often illegally. Since German unification, Vietnamese migrants have had to contend with many challenges in their everyday life: unemployment, rising rents, and increasing xenophobic violence are just a few of the new uncertainties that have come to mark the urban experience. This project examines the role of these migrants in reversing the trend toward “shrinking cities” that occurred across eastern Germany after industrial areas experienced extraordinary population loss with the closure of major centers of industry. In recent years, there has been a reanimation of socialist housing complexes through the occupancy of abandoned (but still inhabitable) buildings by Vietnamese migrants. For Vietnamese migrants, new vacancies have meant new opportunities: both social and economic. This research asks: how have such occupancies in urban “ruins” transformed “dying” neighborhoods and injected them with new vitality to create more vibrant heterogeneous landscapes that have challenged dominant political discourses of “integration” that aim to turn potentially unruly migrants into industrious, adjusted citizen-residents? Adopting historical and ethnographic methods, this multi-sited project in Berlin and Halle Neustadt examines the ‘sympathetic solidarities’ that have formed in the struggle against urban alienation through an attention to the sociability of dwelling practices.

Jason Weems (History of Art)
Inventing the Americas: Art, Archaeology, and the Modern Making of a Pre-Columbian Past

This book-length project examines the central roles played by Pre-Columbian indigenous archaeological sites, and especially their representations, in the construction (or imagination) of a unified sense of cultural identity in the Americas. Since their so called “discovery” by European explorers in the early moments of colonization, the large scale ruins, environments, and structures of the hemisphere’s pre-contact cultures have served as sources of fascination in Western society. Between the 1870s and 1960s—a watermark period in Euro-American efforts to consolidate a modern, industrial definition of the Americas—the pre-contact sites emerged as important symbols in the effort to unify the hemisphere’s geography, ideology, history, and image. Equally important, the monuments also became touchstones in counter discourses of indigenous self-determination, sovereignty, and survivance. Indigenous peoples across the continents reclaimed the sites and their representations as material evidence in demands for land and political authority, and as potent metaphors for the articulation of cultural legacy and legitimacy. Resistance to the appropriation of the sites enacted by Western art and archaeology became a means for asserting power and affirming indigenous culture. In this way, the imagery of ancient sites the locus for contemporary battles of politics and representation. This project offers the first in-depth, hemispheric study of the intersection between artistic and archaeological representation, and its attendant cultural politics, in the Americas during these pivotal years.

Second Project Fellowship (2016-17)

The CIS Second Project Fellowships provide support to Assistant or Associate UCR faculty engaged in their second major research agenda, post-dissertation. The CIS Second Project Fellowships provide support to Assistant or Associate UCR faculty who are engaged in their second major research agenda, post-dissertation. The award grants funds to faculty who received their Ph.Ds within six years of taking up the award. Those eligible for the 2017-18 academic year, for instance, must have received their Ph.Ds in 2011-12 or later. The awards help offset one course release during the academic year so that Fellows can devote a quarter to furthering (or completing) their projects. Fellows receive an office at the Center and are expected to participate in Center events during their quarter of residence.

Ajay Verghese (Political Science)
The Last Days of Magic: Religiosity in Modern India

The 20th century witnessed a marked decline in religiosity across the developed (or ‘postindustrial’) world. This outcome was squarely in line with secularization theory, the argument from prominent 19th century social scientists like Marx, Freud, and Weber who theorized that modernization (industrialization, urbanization, and increased education and wealth) leads to the decline of religion. As many non-Western governments embarked on the process of modernizing their states, however, religion – instead of declining – remained as vibrant as ever and often emerged as a powerful political force. Our knowledge of secularization is derived from the historical experiences of a handful of Western cases, but these states have proven a poor guide for countries in Africa and Asia with entirely different religions, cultures, and histories. This proposed study asks the central question: will the developing world secularize? Perhaps the most important benchmark for answering these questions today is India, one of the most religious and rapidly-modernizing countries in the world. This book project will involve surveying 3,600 households across three distinct Indian states to examine changing religiosity in modern India.