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2019-20 Kaplan Scholars

Two historians won the opportunity to spend the 2019-20 year at the Kaplan Institute for the Humanities at Northwestern to work on their books. Both sound fascinating!

Ken AlderKen Alder

Professor of History and Milton H. Wilson Professor in the Humanities; Director, Science in Human Culture Program

Project: Lives of the Machines: Ten Memoirs from the Reign Of Technology

“My project approaches the history of technology from the perspective of the material objects themselves. It consists of ten memoirs by machines, artificial beings, and other artifacts, casting light on the human beings who designed, made, and used them. The life-stories they tell are true, based on research in archives, libraries, and museums. That said, these autobiographies by guns, bicycles, books, and typewriters also revive the fictional ‘it narratives’ of the first industrial revolution.”

Lauren StokesLauren Stokes

Assistant Professor, Department of History

Project: Delusions of Labor: Labor Recruitment and Family Reunification in the Federal Republic of Germany

“My book project investigates the history of family reunification for guest workers in West Germany and unified Germany. ‘Family migration,’ often called ‘chain migration,’ is in fact the primary legal pathway for migration into Europe and the United States today. What has it meant to be classified as a ‘family migrant’ in the immigration office, in the courtroom, in the workplace, and in the family itself? Delusions of Labor shows that arguments about family migrants are fundamentally arguments about the role of reproductive labor in the economy.”

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