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Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellows
2005-2006, Word & Image

Project
THE CAMERA AND THE PEN
American Literature in the Daguerreian Age


MARCY J. DINIUS
PhD, Northwestern University

Discipline: English (American Literature)
Courses: FALL: Nineteenth-Century Literature/Twentieth-Century Film
SPRING: Seeing and Believing in Nineteenth-Century American Fiction


Prof. Dinius is working on a book manuscript entitled "The Camera and the Pen: American Literature in the Daguerreian Age," which offers a unique comparative analysis of early photography and the written word as they were produced in America between 1839 and 1855. Her work addresses notable lapses in the existing scholarship by examining the earliest discussions of daguerreotypy in America (which predated the arrival of any actual images), the differences between daguerreotypy and subsequent phases of photography, and daguerreian representations in antebellum American literature.

The Camera and the Pen is framed by an account of the relation between visual and literary representation before the introduction of daguerreotypy to America which understands the invention of photography as a bridge between, rather than a rupture of, the manual and mechanical arts. With this project, Dinius hopes to make substantial contributions to the study of American literature and culture, interdisciplinary media studies, and word and image theory by considering several things: the role of the earliest stages of photography in the simultaneous professionalization of, and rivalry between, science and the arts in antebellum American society; early photography's fundamental evolutionary dependence on the written word in its American practice; and the way in which this moment in the history of the representational arts is evidence of the untenability of totalizing theories of iconology.


Project
GRAPHIC ART
Alphabetic Image in Ancient Greece


ALEXANDRA PAPPAS
PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Discipline: Classics
Courses: FALL: Parties, Poetry, and Pots: The Ancient Greek Symposium
SPRING: Communication Arts: Speaking and Writing in Ancient Greece

The earliest known examples of the ancient Greek alphabet reveal its intimate association with the visual arts. Dr. Pappas exlores the evolving relation between ancient Greek literary and material worlds spanning the 8th–1st centuries BCE, including vivid poetic descriptions of physical objects, physical objects decoratively inscribed with poetic verses, and the competitive relation between author and artisan.

As this study highlights, the Greek alphabet was inherently visual. Inscriptions on vases and sculptures from the archaic period (8th–6th c. BCE) communicate through their legible meaning and their appearance simultaneously. Euripides and other playwrights from the 5th century BCE placed letters and words on the stage as a visual spectacle, to be seen both in the mind's eye and in the round. And, in the 3rd century, hellenistic poets invented a new poetic genre, the technopaegnia (epigrammatic pattern poems), which created both poem and image on the page. Treating these alphabetic images as "graphic art," Dr. Pappas challenges the distinctions between ancient Greek word and image and argues that the ancient alphabet was used for image-making and traveled fluidly between literary and material worlds.


Project
LOOKING AT ARTISTS' MANIFESTOS, 1945—1965

STEPHEN B. PETERSEN
PhD, University of Texas at Austin

Discipline: History of Art
Courses: FALL: Spiegel Freshman Seminar: Contemporary Art in Context, The Venice Biennale 2005; SPRING: Dada and Surrealism: The Sleep of Reason


As public declarations of intention, printed manifestos offered a critical outlet for artists' ideas in the 20th century, serving as both rhetorical and visual statements of position in the art world and in society. As a genre, manifestos involve text, graphic design, and the rhetorical presentation of artistic ideas in a social context, thereby intersecting with art, publicity, criticism, and advertising. Dr. Petersen examines European manifestos from the 1950s and early 1960s as instances of verbal and visual communication, and as objects in their own right. His study emphasizes the visual aspect of manifestos, focusing on the postwar period in which they increasingly entered into the field of international mass communication.

The postwar European artistic milieu, that of the so-called neo-avant-garde, was one in which manifestos, both group- and individually authored, experienced a notable renaissance. Petersen analyzes the history of the manifesto and its Italian nationalist roots in particular, beginning in the 19th century and extending into the 20th century with the Futurist movement and the many other historical avant-gardes who defined themselves in printed statements. How did these printed statements, rife with rhetoric, publicly play out alliances and rivalries in the shifting and sometimes contentious postwar art world? And, ultimately, how did the manifesto fit into international postwar popular culture?


Project
THE DEVOTIONAL IMAGE IN 13TH-CENTURY FRANCISCAN SPIRITUALITY AND THOUGHT

LYNN RANSOM
PhD, University of Texas at Austin

Discipline: Art History
Courses: FALL: The Art of the Medieval Book; SPRING: Seeing Words/Reading Pictures: The Devotional Image in Medieval Art and Thought


While the contributions of the Franciscans to the development of devotional art have been well documented, especially in Italy tho less so in the north, little attention has been paid to the relation between the highly visual aspect of Franciscan devotional literature and the art produced under the influence of Franciscan thought and practice. The 13th century witnessed the rising influence of the Franciscan order as a dominant force in lay spirituality, an influence that was spread through direct contact with the laity and through the devotional literature which the Franciscans wrote and lay audiences read. As the popularity and influence of the Franciscans grew, the 13th century also saw a striking rise in the level of participation of the laity in artistic patronage, much of which was devoted to religious art reflecting various aspects of Franciscan ideology. Dr. Ransom is considering the intersection of word and image in Franciscan devotional art, literature, and practice of that period.

Expanding on her dissertation, in which she analyzed the devotional images contained in an illuminated manuscript known as the Verger de soulas, or the "Orchard of Solace," Dr. Ransom investigates the degree to which Franciscans influenced the production of devotional art in the late 13th century, in particular, the ways in which Franciscans used iconography and 'theorized' the concept of the image in their art and literature. Dr. Ransom examines the use of imagery in various artistic media and in literature, focusing on the works of the 13th-century Franciscan theologian St. Bonaventure, to reassess the larger context of devotional art and the ways Franciscan ideology shaped the viewing and reading process.


Project
FASHIONING AMERICANS
Transnational Commodity Culture and the Rise of Fashion Nationalism in the United States, 1870—1920


MARLIS E. SCHWEITZER
PhD, University of Toronto

Discipline: History
Courses: FALL: Beyond the Cover Girl: Representations of Gender, Race, and Class in American Magazines, 1890-2005; SPRING: Imagining the American Woman: Textual and Visual Representations of Women in the United States, 1860-2006.


PUBLICATION: Schweitzer, Marlis (2009). When Broadway Was the Runway: Theater, Fashion, and American Culture. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.

"Fashioning Americans" is a study of how the perceived "invasion" of Paris fashion in the late 19th and early 20th centuries facilitated the development of American national identity as expressed through the bodies of white, middle and upper class women. Scholars working in gender and American studies have recently expanded our understanding of transnational relations by identifying the body as an important contact zone, a place where the foreign and the domestic meet, and where national identities emerge in direct response to and in collaboration with transnational influences.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, American women continued to act as midwives in the birth of the United States' empire by embodying "Americanness" in art, literature, and public life. The idealized American Girl became an image that could be packaged and sold to Americans to bolster a sense of national identity at home, and used to promote "Americanness" in foreign lands. Yet just as the Unites States military celebrated victories on foreign shores, an altogether different form of international conflict was brewing on domestic soil. American women, those protectors of the home and the nation, were obsessed with Paris fashion and dressed, not in American clothes, but in gowns designed by French 'dilettantes'. More than a site for displaying a unique, foreign commodity then, women's bodies became public stages for dramatizing a collision between the foreign and the domestic, the Old World and the New, France and the United States.

 

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Mellon Fellows


MARCY J. DINIUS

ALEXANDRA PAPPAS

STEPHEN B. PETERSEN

LYNN RANSOM

MARLIS E. SCHWEITZER

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