Elspeth Brown, Associate Professor of History, University of Toronto. Project: a non-academic book directed about the experiences of partners of trans men in relationship to transition. The research base is 35+ interviews she has done with partners on topics such as visibility, sex, queer and trans community, parenting, affective labor, and the role of photography.
Eva-Lynn Jagoe, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Latin American Studies, University of Toronto. Project: a critical memoir/book of essays entitled Take Her, She’s Yours, about psychoanalysis, sexuality, and the divided and gendered self. An article by Eva-Lynn about the Writing Workshop can be found in the University of Toronto Magazine.
Robyn Autry, Assistant Professor, Sociology, Wesleyan University. Project: an essay called “Pay it Forward and Backward” about radical black aesthetics, specifically about YouTube and black natural hair care tutorials. The essay will be published as a stand alone piece and will be included in a book of essays tentatively titled My Black Self.
Ed Cohen, Full Professor, Women and Gender Studies, Rutgers University. Project: A non-academic philosophical memoir that emerges from having lived for more than four decades with Crohn’s Disease, an autoimmune inflammatory bowel condition—working title “Shit Happens: Ruminations on Healing.” Not an illness narrative; instead it ruminates on healing. It tries to understand why healing remains so underappreciated as a natural and a vital tendency and it seeks to reanimate our appreciation for healing as an at once biological, psychological, political, and spiritual possibility.
Kevin Coleman, Assistant Professor, History, University of Toronto. Project: “Burnt in Effigy: The Photographs of Archbishop Oscar Romero.” Reflecting on themes of political violence, popular Catholicism and U.S.-backed rightwing campaigns of counterinsurgency, this examines two different kinds of mechanical reproduction— Romero’s photographs and his audio diary, which he kept on cassette tapes over a few months about two years prior to when he was assassinated. As a counterpoint to these sources, the essay will occasionally ricochet off of a few photos and texts made by the counterinsurgency forces of the U.S.-backed Salvadoran military, including the famous “Yellow Books” that the military kept on political activists that it was seeking to eliminate.
Ann Cvetkovich, Full Professor, English and Women & Gender Studies, University of Texas Austin. Project: The Queer Art of the Counterarchive. Project that chronicles the recent proliferation of LGBTQ archives and uses them as a point of departure for a broader inquiry into the power of archives to transform public histories. The project operates in the tensions between activist calls for archival visibility and critiques of the archives as not only politically suspect but impossible. She addresses these tensions through case histories of actual archives, as well as projects by artists whose creative and queer approaches to the archives are simultaneously critical and transformative.
Linda Rui Feng, Associate Professor, East Asian Studies, University of Toronto. Project: A book of essays on Tang Dynasty China that brings to life and to a broader audience fragments of lives and glimpses into human nature by using the narrative framework of an investigative reporter trying to fill in details that happen to be 1100-years-old. By posing the question of “how much can we really know an ancient city that has no physical remains,” she wishes to engage the lay reader by selecting in each essay one historical person as a kind of “person of interest” for the reader.
Sean Mills, Assistant Professor, History, University of Toronto. Project: A non-academic book on jazz pianists, Lou Hooper and Oscar Peterson. Because jazz music had been so closely aligned with the experience of African Americans, and because it had been largely excluded from official definitions of Canadian culture, Peterson often complained that in Canada the music did not receive the support and recognition that it deserved. This situation began to change in the 1960s and 1970s, however, as Peterson’s fame increased, and as Peterson himself moved from Montreal to Toronto. By exploring the entangled lives of Hooper and Peterson, he hopes to write a history book that, connecting the histories of Toronto, Montreal, Detroit, and New York, will also have significant popular appeal.
Amira Mittermaier, Associate Professor, Depts of Religion and Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto. Project: book on Islamic charitable practices in contemporary Egypt; has completed ethnographic fieldwork. She seeks to offer an evocative account of how, why, what, and to whom pious Muslims give in their everyday lives. In particular, she tells the story of people handing out meals and alms, gifts that development-oriented NGOs tend to dismiss as a mere “drop in the ocean.” Prose model: Matt Madden’s 99 Ways to Tell a Story.
Andrea Most, Professor, Department of English, University of Toronto. Project: book, A Pain in the Neck, first draft complete. The narrative weaves together personal history, environmental science, literary analysis, interviews, and recent medical findings on the relationship between mind and body and between the human and non-human world. It investigates the troubling implications of this narrative of depletion and invulnerability and suggests strategies for imagining new stories.
Andrea Noble, Professor, School of Modern Cultures and Languages, Durham University, UK Project: book project on a cultural history of tears in Mexico. Taking a long historical view, it examines moments of public weeping by prominent historical figures at key moments: from the conquest, through the landmark revolution of the early twentieth century, to controversial presidential elections of the early twenty-first century. Noble is a photo scholar, so many of the texts she examines are visual.
Thy Phu, Associate Professor of English, Western University (Ontario). Project: a book that explores the significance of Vietnamese photography in expanding understanding of the American War in Vietnam.
Justin Podur, Associate Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University. Project: Donor Ruled Chaos in the DR Congo and Rwanda. The book argues that the DRC is a showcase for a specific mode of governance, in which Western countries rule economically and financially through donor aid and NGOs, international financial institutions, and illicit smuggling economies, and militarily through multilateral UN missions and low-intensity proxy warfare. Along the way, the book also critically analyzes the scholarly literature on the DRC and Rwanda, showing how much of the scholarship has contributed to the overall project of Donor Rule.
Alison Smith, Professor of History, University of Toronto. Project: Drafting the first chapter of a collective microhistory of one Russian town; the book will be titled The Dead Cheese Master and Other Stories, and the first chapter will be the story of the dead cheese master. The chapter will be based on an archival file about a found dead body and the investigation that ensued. I’ve already written up the file as a series of blog posts; now I’d like to turn it into a sustained, cohesive narrative.
Kyle Smith, Assistant Professor of Historical Studies and Religion, University of Toronto. Project: “Making Martyrs: From Socrates to the Suicide Bomber.” This is a chronologically expansive book project intended for a non-academic readership. It will examine how Jews, Christians, and Muslims from late antiquity to the present day have created particular ideologies about martyrdom and noble death.
Sarah (“T”) Trimble, Assistant Professor, Women and Gender Studies, University of Toronto. Project: “Hauntings Series” with reflections on the trope of the dismembered,possessed, or otherwise wayward hand in horror fiction. She would like to experiment with how to tell two stories at once. Her goal is to test out some strategies for combining cultural analysis, methodological musings, and personal memoir.