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Products for grant RA-278144-21

Long-term Research Fellowships at the National Humanities Center
Matthew Booker, National Humanities Center

Grant details:

Journeys through the Russian Empire: The Photographic Legacy of Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky (Book)
Title: Journeys through the Russian Empire: The Photographic Legacy of Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Author: William Craft Brumfield
Abstract: At the turn of the twentieth century, the photographer Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky undertook a quest to document an empire that was undergoing rapid change due to industrialization and the building of railroads. Between 1903 and 1916 Prokudin-Gorsky, who developed a pioneering method of capturing color images on glass plates, scoured the Russian Empire with the patronage of Nicholas II. Intrepidly carrying his cumbersome and awkward camera from the western borderlands over the Volga River to Siberia and central Asia, he created a singular record of Imperial Russia. In 1918 Prokudin-Gorsky escaped an increasingly chaotic, violent Russia and regained nearly 2,000 of his bulky glass negatives. His subsequent peripatetic existence before settling in Paris makes his collection's survival all the more miraculous. The U.S. Library of Congress acquired Prokudin-Gorsky's collection in 1948, and since then it has become a touchstone for understanding pre-revolutionary Russia. Now digitized and publicly available, his images are a sensation in Russia, where people visit websites dedicated to them. William Craft Brumfield—photographer, scholar, and the leading authority on Russian architecture in the West—began working with Prokudin-Gorsky's photographs in 1985. He curated the first public exhibition of them in the United States and has annotated the entire collection. In Journeys through the Russian Empire, Brumfield—who has spent decades traversing Russia and photographing buildings and landscapes in their various stages of disintegration or restoration—juxtaposes Prokudin-Gorsky's images against those he took of the same buildings and areas. In examining the intersections between his own photography and that of Prokudin-Gorsky, Brumfield assesses the state of preservation of Russia's architectural heritage and calls into question the nostalgic assumptions of those who see Prokudin-Gorsky's images as the recovery of the lost past of an idyllic, pre-Soviet Russia. This lavishly ill
Year: 2020
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Publisher's website.
Publisher: Duke University Press
Type: Single author monograph

Justice Deferred: Race and the Supreme Court (Book)
Title: Justice Deferred: Race and the Supreme Court
Author: Armand Derfner
Author: Orville Vernon Burton
Abstract: In the first comprehensive accounting of the U.S. Supreme Court’s race-related jurisprudence, a distinguished historian and renowned civil rights lawyer scrutinize a legacy too often blighted by racial injustice. The Supreme Court is usually seen as protector of our liberties: it ended segregation, was a guarantor of fair trials, and safeguarded free speech and the vote. But this narrative derives mostly from a short period, from the 1930s to the early 1970s. Before then, the Court spent a century largely ignoring or suppressing basic rights, while the fifty years since 1970 have witnessed a mostly accelerating retreat from racial justice. From the Cherokee Trail of Tears to Brown v. Board of Education to the dismantling of the Voting Rights Act, historian Orville Vernon Burton and civil rights lawyer Armand Derfner shine a powerful light on the Court’s race record—a legacy at times uplifting, but more often distressing and sometimes disgraceful. For nearly a century, the Court ensured that the nineteenth-century Reconstruction Amendments would not truly free and enfranchise African Americans. And the twenty-first century has seen a steady erosion of commitments to enforcing hard-won rights. Justice Deferred is the first book that comprehensively charts the Court’s race jurisprudence. Addressing nearly two hundred cases involving America’s racial minorities, the authors probe the parties involved, the justices’ reasoning, and the impact of individual rulings. We learn of heroes such as Thurgood Marshall; villains, including Roger Taney; and enigmas like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Hugo Black. Much of the fragility of civil rights in America is due to the Supreme Court, but as this sweeping history also reminds us, the justices still have the power to make good on the country’s promise of equal rights for all.
Year: 2021
Publisher: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press

South Asian Sovereignty: The Conundrum of Worldly Power (Book)
Title: South Asian Sovereignty: The Conundrum of Worldly Power
Editor: Arild Engelsen Ruud
Editor: David Gilmartin
Editor: Pamela Price
Abstract: This book brings ethnographies of everyday power and ritual into dialogue with intellectual studies of theology and political theory. It underscores the importance of academic collaboration between scholars of religion, anthropology, and history in uncovering the structures of thinking and action that make politics work. The volume weaves important discussions around sovereignty in modern South Asian history with debates elsewhere on the world map. South Asia’s colonial history – especially India’s twentieth-century emergence as the world’s largest democracy – has made the subcontinent a critical arena for thinking about how transformations and continuities in conceptions of sovereignty provide a vital frame for tracking shifts in political order. The chapters deal with themes such as sovereignty, kingship, democracy, governance, reason, people, nation, colonialism, rule of law, courts, autonomy, and authority, especially within the context of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. The book will be of great interest to scholars and researchers in politics, ideology, religion, sociology, history, and political culture, as well as the informed reader interested in South Asian studies.
Year: 2020
Publisher: Routledge
Type: Edited Volume

The Suicide of Miss Xi: Democracy and Disenchantment in the Chinese Republic (Book)
Title: The Suicide of Miss Xi: Democracy and Disenchantment in the Chinese Republic
Author: Bryna Goodman
Abstract: A suicide scandal in Shanghai reveals the social fault lines of democratic visions in China’s troubled Republic in the early 1920s. On September 8, 1922, the body of Xi Shangzhen was found hanging in the Shanghai newspaper office where she worked. Although her death occurred outside of Chinese jurisdiction, her U.S.-educated employer, Tang Jiezhi, was kidnapped by Chinese authorities and put on trial. In the unfolding scandal, novelists, filmmakers, suffragists, reformers, and even a founding member of the Chinese Communist Party seized upon the case as emblematic of deep social problems. Xi’s family claimed that Tang had pressured her to be his concubine; his conviction instead for financial fraud only stirred further controversy. The creation of a republic ten years earlier had inspired a vision of popular sovereignty and citizenship premised upon gender equality and legal reform. After the quick suppression of the first Chinese parliament, commercial circles took up the banner of democracy in their pursuit of wealth. But, Bryna Goodman shows, the suicide of an educated “new woman” exposed the emptiness of republican democracy after a flash of speculative finance gripped the city. In the shadow of economic crisis, Tang’s trial also exposed the frailty of legal mechanisms in a political landscape fragmented by warlords and enclaves of foreign colonial rule. The Suicide of Miss Xi opens a window onto how urban Chinese in the early twentieth century navigated China’s early passage through democratic populism, in an ill-fated moment of possibility between empire and party dictatorship. Xi Shangzhen became a symbol of the failures of the Chinese Republic as well as the broken promises of citizen’s rights, gender equality, and financial prosperity betokened by liberal democracy and capitalism.
Year: 2021
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Type: Single author monograph

Gender Bonds, Gender Binds: Women, Men, and Family in Middle High German Literature (Book)
Title: Gender Bonds, Gender Binds: Women, Men, and Family in Middle High German Literature
Editor: Sara S. Poor
Abstract: While Gender Studies has made its mark on literary studies, much scholarship on the German Middle Ages is largely inaccessible to the Anglo-American audience. With gender at its core as a category of analysis, "Gender Bonds, Gender Binds"uniquely opens up medieval German material to English speakers. Recognizing the impact of Ann Marie Rasmussen’s Mothers and Daughters in Medieval German Literature, this transatlantic volume expands on questions introduced in her 1997 book and subsequent work. More than a mere tribute, the collection moves the debates forward in new directions: it examines how gender bonds together people, practices, texts, and interpretive traditions, while constraining and delimiting these things socially, ideologically, culturally, or historically. As the contributions demonstrate, a close, materially focused analysis produces complex results, not easily reduced to a platitude. The essays steer a firm course through the terrain of gender bonds and binds, many of which remain challenging in the present. Herein lies the broader reach of this volume, for understanding the longevity of patriarchy and its effects on human relations demonstrates how crucial the study of the past can be for us as a society today.
Year: 2021
Publisher: De Gruyter
Type: Edited Volume

The Names of the Python Belonging in East Africa, 900 to 1930 (Book)
Title: The Names of the Python Belonging in East Africa, 900 to 1930
Author: David L. Schoenbrun
Abstract: Systems of belonging, including ethnicity, are not static, automatic, or free of contest. Historical contexts shape the ways which we are included in or excluded from specific classifications. Building on an amazing array of sources, David L. Schoenbrun examines groupwork—the imaginative labor that people do to constitute themselves as communities—in an iconic and influential region in East Africa. His study traces the roots of nationhood in the Ganda state over the course of a millennia, demonstrating that the earliest clans were based not on political identity or language but on shared investments, knowledges, and practices. Grounded in Schoenbrun's skillful mastery of historical linguistics and vernacular texts, The Names of the Python supplements and redirects current debates about ethnicity in ex-colonial Africa and beyond. This timely volume carefully distinguishes past from present and shows the many possibilities that still exist for the creative cultural imagination.
Year: 2021
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Type: Single author monograph

Los wounaan y la construción del paisaje: identidad, arte y gobernanza ambiental en la frontera Panamá-Colombia (Book)
Title: Los wounaan y la construción del paisaje: identidad, arte y gobernanza ambiental en la frontera Panamá-Colombia
Author: Julie Velásquez Runk
Abstract: The Darién region, on the border between Panama and Colombia, is a name that many conservationists know. Known for its lowland tropical forests, its fame is all the greater because a highway that should be there isn't: environmentalists have repeatedly and astonishingly stopped attempts to connect the continents via the Inter-American highway. This void also serves to occlude the history of the region, as the mature forest gives the wrong impression of a nature without people. In The wounaan and the construction of their landscape, Julia Velásquez Runk reverses persistent assumptions about the people who call the Darién home; in its pages it demonstrates the agency of the wounaan people to earn a living and to conserve and transform in the face of great and continuous change. The author focuses on creation and construction as capacities of the Wounaan to subtly effect changes that have given them resistance in a dynamic and globalized age. She theorizes that unpredictable landscapes, political decisions, and cultural beliefs are responsible for environmental conservation problems, and she makes visible environmental governance efforts that illustrate what happens when conservation confronts people in a supposedly uninhabited place. . The everyday dangers of environmental governance without local construction include logging,The wounaan and the construction of their landscape show us local ways of knowing and being in the world that may be key to the future of conservation.
Year: 2020
Publisher: Instituto Colombiano de Antropología e Historia
Type: Single author monograph