Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellows 2013-15
The IPRH is delighted to welcome Dr. Aaron Carcio, who joins us this fall as one of two new Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellows in the Humanities. Dr. Carico will spend two years at Illinois conducting research on his project (see right), participating in IPRH and other campus activities, and teaching courses in the Department of English.
Aaron Carico received his PhD in American Studies from Yale, and he was recently a postdoctoral fellow with the Center for African American Studies at Princeton. At IPRH, he will continue to develop his book manuscript, “The Free Plantation: Slavery’s Institution in America, 1865-1940,” a project that excavates the plantation’s lasting structures in American law, culture, and political economy, which withstood slavery’s formal abolition. His essay “Freedom as Accumulation” will be included in a forthcoming anthology titled Plantation Modernity, and, along with Dara Orenstein, he co-edited “The Fictions of Finance,” a special edition of the Radical History Review that examines the rhetorical and the operational dimensions of finance capitalism, slated to appear in Winter 2014. His work has been supported by grants from the Gilder Lehrman Center, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Duke University, among others.
The Free Plantation: Slavery’s Institution in America, 1865–1940
“The Free Plantation” expands emerging scholarship on slavery’s afterlife in America, explaining where and how slavery’s systemic violences—its deep-seated political economy and its flawed categories of political belonging—were left intact in the United States after formal abolition in 1865. Anchored in a diverse archive of legal decisions, economic theories, and ex-slave testimonies, as well as novels, performances, and paintings, “The Free Plantation” reveals the modes and methods of slavery’s institutional persistence through an array of historically situated readings. This interdisciplinary project exposes the plantation’s crimes and affiliations as promiscuous and far-flung in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, implicating the United States in its entirety rather than any single national region and revising ingrained historical notions that consider it to be a zone intensely local and isolated, as well as outmoded and obsolescent. Re-centering critical inquiry on the structures, institutions, and forms of slavery that outlasted its formal abolition, this project reveals the plantation’s endurance not just as a specific territorial formation, but also in the very configurations that have shaped modern America, from systems of credit to the figure of the cowboy. With an interdisciplinary range that brings together reenactments in a Brooklyn park with the portrait of an emancipated child from Louisiana, the first western novels with nascent ideas of marginalism in economics, my book project brings into focus the plantation’s harmful influence and its national scope, contributing to work in African American Studies, critical race theory, American literature, visual culture, and American cultural history.
The IPRH is pleased to introduce Dr. Onni Gust, who arrives at Illinois this fall as one of two Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellows in the Humanities. Dr. Gust will spend two years in residence conducting research on her project (described here), participating in IPRH and other campus activities, and teaching courses in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies and the Department of History.
Onni Gust is a historian of gender and the British Empire in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. She holds a PhD from University College London (UCL) and is currently turning her thesis into a book entitled, “Empire, Exile, Identity: Colonial connections and the configuration of belonging,” which looks at ideas of home and exile in early nineteenth-century Scotland, England, and India. The project was awarded the Émilie du Chatêlet prize for women’s history by the Eighteenth-Century Studies Society in 2012. Dr. Gust has taught European and British imperial history at University College London, the London School of Economics, and Amherst College; and Feminist theory and Women and Gender Studies at Amherst College, the University of Massachusetts, and Smith College. In addition to academic work, she has worked with young people on community-based history projects in London, combining art, drama, and history to think about questions of identity and belonging today. At IPRH, Dr. Gust will be beginning a new project looking at the position of the governess in Empire and her role in imperial families between 1760 and 1860.
Pedagogies and Peripheries: the Governess at the Margins of Empire, c.1760-1860
“Pedagogies and Peripheries” focuses on the role of governesses in imperial families in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. As a figure who stood at the borders of society, the governess offers fascinating insights into histories of gender, sexuality, and changing conceptions of normative ways of being. By focusing on the position and representation of the governess in relationship to changing discourses of “respectability,” this project contributes new perspectives from queer theory to histories of the British Empire. The governess is, in many respects, an archetypically “queer” character. Unable to meet the conventions of middle-class, feminine respectability by virtue of poverty, widowhood or other life-circumstances, governesses can be seen as abject characters, frequently ending their lives in asylums. At the same time, however, it was the governess upon whom imperial European families relied to disseminate to their children the very socially normative ideals from which the governess herself was excluded. The project locates the governess in the letters and diaries of imperial families, exploring the representations, roles, and anxieties around governesses. In doing so, it offers a lens through which to understand changing forms of belonging and its relationship to questions of gender, race, class, and sexuality. Through a study of governesses as marginal figures in imperial households, “Pedagogies and Peripheries” explores the ways in which “normal” family life was both configured and disrupted and the relationship between that configuration and wider possibilities for belonging and becoming.
Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellows 2012-14
We are delighted that Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellows Carla Hustak and AhalyaSatkunaratnam, who came to Illinois in fall 2012, begin the second year of their appointments this fall 2013.