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Faculty News

The Winter 2021 Newsletter will include news from faculty with surnames in the first half of the alphabet.

Melissa Macauley’s book, Chinese Territorialism: The Southeastern Maritime Frontier, 1767-1929, is forthcoming from Princeton University Press in 2021. She received a Fulbright fellowship to continue research on her current book project, Villages of the Sea: War and Revolution in Translocal China, 1929-1958, though her research year in China has been postponed to 2021 at the earliest, owing to the impact of Covid-19. She had planned to participate in several exciting conferences around the globe, but the coronavirus put the kibosh on those plans as well. On the bright side, she is now a pro at online teaching and looks forward to a pedagogical future of wildly waving her hands out of a tiny Zoom box and wondering why her students don’t politely unmute themselves to laugh at her jokes in lectures.

Susan Pearson, like many people, has found just about every corner of her life upended by the coronavirus pandemic. Her children are out of school, there’s no summer camp, she had to learn to teach on Zoom and feel the pain of never actually meeting her students in spring quarter. She recently teamed up with colleague Amy Stanley to write and circulate a letter asking the President and Provost of Northwestern to adopt uniform policies to accommodate caregivers during the pandemic. Over 275 faculty and staff from across the University signed onto the letter. Oh yeah, she’s also working on final revisions to her forthcoming book on the spread of compulsory birth registration in the United States. That, at least, is fun.

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern returned from Europe with 12 drafted essays he wrote for Uman: a Historical Guide, 30 new canvases of his own making, and a chapter for the book Tel-Hai between History and Memory (Tel-Aviv University Press). He spent the fall of 2019 preparing that chapter, entitled “War and Peace of Yosif Trumpeldor,” for publication in Hebrew and English, and the twelve essays for publication in Ukrainian and English. His new artwork was featured at the solo art shows: “Legends and Parables,” hosted by the Ukrainian Institute of America, NY, and “Prefiguration,” hosted by the Zorya Fine Art Galleryin Greenwich, CT. YPS discussed how his artwork and historical research complement one another in an interview that appeared in Arts Illustrated.

Carl Petry spent the last year on the History of the Mamluk Sultanate (Cambridge University Press). All chapters are now drafted (7): in addition to the four listed in last year’s newsletter: 5: bureaucracy; 6: literary culture; 7: rural environment, gender issues, minority communities, Sufi practice. Introduction will follow revisions. Now come maps, illustrations, bibliographies. With regard to activities, our Mamluk research group convened at Waseda University in Tokyo (June 2019). Seventy participants, about half of whom were from Japanese universities. Most Japanese scholarship on Middle Eastern/Islamic Studies is now conducted in English for obvious reasons of audience, but one remains impressed at the level of expertise presented in a non-native language. The audience that showed up simply to listen numbered ca. 200, from all over the world. This summer, the group will convene in Cyprus, the following year, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Paul Ramírez is pleased to have helped revive an interdisciplinary certificate in Latin American and Caribbean Studies that will recognize and encourage graduate study in the region at Northwestern. In the spring, with Sean Hanretta, he taught a new course on the history of Christianity that aims to feature the experiences of communities in the “Global South.” He appreciates the many people who are working to solve the mystery of remote learning and looks forward to spending next year in Providence, RI, at the John Carter Brown Library, where he will read Mexican maps and ecclesiastical papers for information about salt.

In November 2019, the University of Wisconsin Press gave David Schoenbrun a contract to publish The Names of the Python: Belonging in East Africa, 900-1930. It will appear in the series Africa and the Diaspora: History, Politics, Culture. He also collaborated with Prof. Rebecca Grollemund (Linguistics, University of Missouri) on “Moving Histories: Genesis and Dispersal of the Bantu Languages,” for the Journal of African History. His essay, “Words, Things, and Meaning: Linguistics as a Tool for Historical Reconstruction,” will appear in the Oxford Handbook of African Languages (2020).

Although still enjoying the classroom, Michael Sherry retires on August 31, 2020, having joined the faculty (first on a temporary appointment) in 1976 and exiting with fond memories of the department, many colleagues and staff he’s worked with, many PhDs (32) he’s supervised, and many undergraduates he’s taught. His next book, Go Directly to Jail: The Punitive Turn in American Life, and How it Became So Warlike will be out from the University of North Carolina Press in Fall 2020, its title likely tweaked or altered by the press.

David Shyovitz spent the 2019-20 year at work on his book project “O Beastly Jew!” Jews, Animals, and Jewish Animals in the Middle Ages, and continued in his role as director of NU’s Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies. He delivered lectures drawn from his research at Rutgers, Yeshiva University, the Catholic Theological Seminary, and Elmhurst College. In addition, he led a study tour to Venice, Padua, and Ferrara, Italy in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.

Over the past year, Scott Sowerby conducted research for his next book, Absolution and Arms: The Violent Origins of Religious Toleration in Early Modern Europe, in some of the most pleasant locales in northern and central Europe. He had the opportunity to try out his slowly improving German on archivists in Munich, Vienna, and Berlin, and was relieved when they responded, almost invariably, in English. He is looking forward to spending next year in sunny California on a research leave funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Once there, he will learn how to speak Californian.

Amy Stanley has just finished work on a book called Stranger in the Shogun’s City, which was published by Scribner in July. It’s a history of Tokyo in the first half of the nineteenth century as told through the story of a woman who ran away from the countryside to make a new life for herself in the city. Please look for it at your local bookstore (if your bookstore is open!). She has also just been promoted to full professor, so she’s trying to get her children to call her Professor Mommy. It’s not working.

Lauren Stokes has been on leave in 2019-2020 thanks to the support of the Kaplan Institute for the Humanities. She’s used the time to work on her book manuscript about family migration and separation in West Germany. She’s also given invited talks at Texas A&M and at the Center for Contemporary History in Potsdam, Germany.

Keith Woodhouse just completed the first of a three-year term as director of the Environmental Policy and Culture Program. He will put that position on hold temporarily in order to spend a year as a faculty fellow with the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities. At Kaplan he will continue working on his second book project, a history of environmental assessment in the California Desert Conservation Area.

The past year was not the least bit customary, thanks to a global pandemic, BLM protests, and the attendant turmoil. Ji-Yeon Yuh spent way too much time on service and Zoom meetings, but is looking forward to the publication of an article (“‘All the time, hard time’: Narrative and Memory among Korean Marriage Migrants.” in Transnational Marriage and Partner Migration: Constellations of Security, Citizenship and Rights, edited by Anne-Marie D’Aoust (Rutgers University Press, forthcoming 2021) and to spending the fall writing a book manuscript. She is also looking forward to teaching a new grad seminar on Pacific Worlds.

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