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the 2020-2021 John w. Altman Program in the Humanities

Distinguished Lectures

“Displacement and misplacement are this century’s commonplace,” wrote the Nobel Prize laureate and Soviet exile Joseph Brodsky in 1988. Thirty years later, human migration seems an even more visible sign of our times. The number of refugees and forcibly displaced persons worldwide, the United Nations reports, is now the highest on record since World War II. Yet migration is not always driven by crisis. It is an enduring feature of human history, cultural identity, and artistic expression from antiquity through the middle ages and into the present. Migration is a complex and politically challenging topic. People leave their homelands for many reasons—the desire for freedom or a better life, exile, removal, or a flight from war, ethnic or religious intolerance, environmental devastation, or poverty. The effects of migration are both immediate and lasting. It can be a source of both hope and agony, political strain and social strength. Over the centuries, human migration has inscribed the map of the world with rich diasporic traditions and cultural intermixtures. Understanding this phenomenon will require the expertise of scholars and artists from a wide array of fields.

The 2020-2021 Altman Program invites the Miami University community to explore the geographical, artistic, psychological, cultural, and linguistic aspects of human migration. What are the causes—economic, religious, ethnic, political, environmental—of exodus and resettlement? What can we learn from those who have left, or been driven from, their homelands? Whose stories of migration gain traction, and what are the politics of its representation? What new aesthetic formations result from migration? And how can modern societies use the history of global migrations to chart ethical solutions to the challenges of the present?  
a photo of Daryl Baldwin at a chalkboard teaching students
Daryl Baldwin
Miami University, Myaamia Center

myaamiaki aancihsaaciki: The Miami Tribe Removal - A Journey of Healing

September 3, 2020 5:00 PM
virtual, via Zoom
a photo of Daryl Baldwin at a chalkboard teaching students
Carla Pestana
Professor and Joyce Appleby Endowed Chair of America in the World, Department of History, UCLA

America's Refugee Origins: 'Pilgrim' Migration and the Making of a National Myth

September 24, 2020 7:00 PM
virtual, via Zoom
a photo of Daryl Baldwin at a chalkboard teaching students
Noah Isenberg
George Christian Centennial Professor of Radio and TV, University of Texas

Hitler’s Refugees and the Hollywood Screen

October 15, 2020 5:00 PM
virtual, via Zoom
a photo of Daryl Baldwin at a chalkboard teaching students
Michelle Wright
Augustus Baldwin Longstreet Professor of English, Emory University

The Danger of Origins: Migration and Time in the African and Black Diasporas

February 11, 2021 5:00 PM
Virtual, by Zoom
a photo of Daryl Baldwin at a chalkboard teaching students
Tara Zahra
Homer J. Livingston Professor of East European History and the College, University of Chicago

The Great Departure: Mass Migration and Freedom

March 11, 2021 5:00 PM
Virtual, via Zoom
a photo of Daryl Baldwin at a chalkboard teaching students
A. Naomi Paik
Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Bans, Walls, Raids, Sanctuary: U.S. Immigration and Abolitionist Futures

March 29, 2021 5:00 PM
Virtual, via Zoom
a photo of Daryl Baldwin at a chalkboard teaching students
Theodora Dragostinova
Associate Professor of History, The Ohio State University

From Population Exchange to Ethnic Cleansing: Lessons from the Balkans

April 15, 2021 5:00 PM
Virtual, via Zoom
a photo of Daryl Baldwin at a chalkboard teaching students

Altman Symposium: Race & Racism - Day 1

April 28, 2022 1:00 PM
Shriver Center, Heritage Room

2020-2021 Altman Fellows

Mila Ganeva

Mila Ganeva is Professor of German and faculty affiliate to Film Studies, Jewish Studies, and the Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies. She teaches a wide array of course in German language, literature, and film and is the author of Women in Weimar Fashion: Discourses and Displays in German Culture, 1918-1933 (Camden House, 2008), Film and Fashion Amidst the Ruins of Berlin: Between Nazism and Cold War, 1939-1953 (Camden House, 2018), and edited a volume of collected articles by Helen Hessel: Ich schreibe aus Paris. Über die Mode, das Leben und die Liebe (Nimbus, 2014). She has published numerous articles on fashion journalism, fashion photography, film history, early German film comedies, and Berlin in literature and film.

Zara M. Torlone

Zara M. Torlone is Professor of Classics and core faculty member of the Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies. Her areas of specialization are Roman poetry and classical reception in Russia. Her publications include Russia and the Classics: Poetry’s Foreign Muse, (Bloomsbury, 2009); Roman Love Poetry (Oxford, 2013). Her latest book, Vergil in Russia: National Identity and Classical Reception, was published by the Oxford University Press in January of 2015. Her other recent publications include edited volumes Blackwell-Wiley Handbook on Classical Reception in Eastern and Central Europe (2017) and Virgil and his Translators (Oxford, 2018).

2020-2021 Altman Graduate Fellow

Sandamini Ranwalage

Sandamini Ranwalage is a doctoral student in English Literature. Her primary research interests include post colonial studies, Asian American and diasporic studies and theatre and performance studies. Her recent work has focused on the interconnections between embodied performance and nationalisms. 

2020-2021 Geoffrion Family Fellows

Jessica Baloun

Jessica Baloun is a senior history and international studies major with a minor in Russian. Her experience studying in Kosovo and Russia shaped her academic interest in the legacies of the former Soviet Union. Her current research project for the history department honors program focuses on the politics of identity, nationalism, and population in the modern nation-state.

Elyse Legeay

Elyse Legeay is a senior majoring in international studies with a co-major in global and intercultural studies and a minor in Middle East, Jewish, and Islamic studies. She is President of the Refugee Advisory Council and a member of the honor society Sigma Iota Rho. Her research interests include the geopolitics of borders and migration, as well as colonialism in North Africa.

Sean Longbrake

Sean Longbrake is a junior honors student majoring in mathematics and classical languages with a minor in computer science. A former participant in the First Year Research Experience and the University Summer Scholars, his research interests include language evolution, Greek and Roman poetry, and the influence of canonical writers on emerging artists.

Faith Walker

Faith Walker is a senior anthropology and art & architecture history major, with minors in archaeology and museums & society. Her research interests include Irish archaeology and folklife, public humanities, decolonization, and the effect of history on identity. A 2019 Undergraduate Summer Scholar, she is currently developing aspects of her research into a children’s book.

Savannah Powell

Savannah Powell is a junior majoring in political science and East Asian languages and cultures, with a Japanese concentration.She is also a minor in rhetoric and writing. She has taught Japanese in local elementary schools and participated in higher education advocacy on behalf of Miami University. Her research interests include ideology and law, identity formation through foreign language acquisition, and the cultural transformation of the early Soviet Union. 

2020-2021 Altman Scholars

Anna Kłosowska

Anna Kłosowska, Professor of French, is the author of Queer Love in the Middle Ages (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) and the editor and translator of Selected Poems and Translations by Madeleine de l'Aubespine (Chicago, 2007). She has published or co-authored some forty articles or book chapters and edited or co-edited five volumes and special issues of journals, primarily on queer studies, including a co-edited volume in progress, “Trans before Trans.” She currently works on slavery, race, and colonization in medieval and early modern France.

Diane Fellows

Diane Fellows is Associate Professor of Architecture and Interior Design. Her work in drawing, painting, photography, and digital film explores the long-term effects of displacement on individuals and communities and the creation of personal and cultural meaning in unfamiliar landscapes. Her recent architecture design studios have helped create needed structures for the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, in collaboration with camp residents and non-governmental organizations. Her work has been exhibited in Brazil, Germany, South Africa, and the United States. Her recent essay on forced migration will appear in Structures of Protection? Rethinking Refugee Shelter (Berghahn, 2020).

Sandra Garner

Sandra Garner is Associate Professor of Global and Intercultural Studies, where she serves as chief departmental advisor and teaches primarily American studies. Her scholarship in Native American andIndigenous studies examines the economic, political, social, and cultural effects of settler colonialism and the dynamics of intercultural understanding within systemic structures of inequitable power relations. She is the author of To Come to a Better Understanding (Nebraska, 2016). Her essays appear in Beyond Two Worlds (SUNY, 2014), Replanting Cultures (SUNY, forthcoming), The Journal of American Folklore, and Engaged Scholar Journal.

Matthew Gordon

Matthew Gordon, Professor of Middle East and Islamic studies and Philip R. Shriver Chair in History, studies the social and political history of the medieval Islamic world, with a focus on urban society, gender, and slavery. He is the author of The Breaking of a Thousand Swords: A History of the Turkish Military of Samarra (SUNY, 2001). He is also co-editor of Concubines and Courtesans: Women and Slavery in Islamic History (Oxford, 2017),co-editor and translator of The Works of Ibn Wadih al-Ya`qubi (Brill, 2018), and co-editor of the journal Al-Usur al-Wusta. He is currently writing a biography of Ahmad ibn Tulun, a governor of medieval Islamic Egypt, and a study of enslavement and social mobility in medieval Middle Eastern society.

Kazue Harada

Kazue Harada, Assistant Professor of Japanese, studies modern Japanese literature with a focus on representations of gender, race, and ethnicity in speculative and science fiction. Her articles have appeared in journals such as U.S.-Japan Women's Journal and Japanese Language and Literature. She recently completed a book manuscript entitled, “Re-engineering (Re)productive Futures: Sexuality, Maternity, and Family in Japanese Women’s Science Fiction.” Her current research explores the relationship between biological warfare and imperialism in contemporary historical fiction.  

Nalin Jayasena

Nalin Jayasena, Associate Professor of English, is the author of Contested Masculinities: Crises in Colonial Male Identity from Joseph Conrad to Satyajit Ray (Routledge, 2007). His current research project, “The Bounty of War: Cinema of the Sri Lankan Armed Conflict,” examines the transnational and global implications of Sri Lanka’s civil war. He is also studying the relation of migration to privatization and profit, specifically in the contexts of the border enforcement industry, the prison industrial complex, and the future of law enforcement.

Mark McKinney

Mark McKinney, Professor of French, studies French colonialism and migration to France in and around comic strips, graphic novels, literature, and film. He is the author of The Colonial Heritage of French Comics (Liverpool, 2011) and Redrawing French Empire in Comics (OhioState, 2013). He edited History and Politics in French-Language Comics and Graphic Novels (Mississippi, 2008) and, with Alec G. Hargreaves, Post-Colonial Cultures in France (Routledge, 1997). With Laurence Grove and AnnMiller, he founded and edited European Comic Art (Liverpool/Berghahn, 2008-2016). He is completing a book on post-colonial migration and French comics.

Marisol del-Teso-Craviotto

Marisol del-Teso-Craviotto is a linguist interested in the connections between public discourses and social identities, including sexual, gender, and migrant identities. Her current work explores the construction of the social imaginary of migration in Spain, focusing on how written media have portrayed Spanish emigrants from the last half of the 19th century to the present day. Her research has been published in Discourse & Society, Journal of Pragmatics, Discourse Studies, Journal of Sociolinguistics, and Discurso y Sociedad, among others.