Six postdoctoral scholars have joined Dartmouth’s Society of Fellows, bringing to 15 the number of junior fellows mentored by senior fellows in a close-knit intellectual community that integrates research with classroom experience.
The program is directed by Mona Domosh, the Joan P. and Edward J. Foley Jr. 1933 Professor of Geography.
“These six extraordinary postdoctoral fellows bring to campus a range of talents, expertise, and energy that enrich our society’s interdisciplinary conversations and contribute to the innovative forms of knowledge-making that characterize our departments and programs,” Domosh says. “We are delighted to welcome them to Dartmouth and look forward to thinking and working with them.”
Part of the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, the Society of Fellows was founded in 2014 by President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 to foster intellectual excellence and innovation at the highest levels across the institution. The society’s postdoctoral fellows, in collaboration with faculty, form an interdisciplinary community that integrates research and teaching.
Holding paid fellowships of up to 36 months, fellows typically receive a nontenure-track appointment as a lecturer in a department or program and teach two courses over the course of their time on campus. They receive support for their teaching from the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Academic Learning.
The society’s faculty fellows, appointed by President Hanlon in consultation with Dean of Graduate Studies F. Jon Kull ’88, support the junior fellows’ intellectual and scholarly development. The current faculty fellows, in addition to Domosh, are Miles Blencowe, the Eleanor and A. Kelvin Smith Distinguished Professor in Physics; Pamela Kyle Crossley, the Charles and Elfriede Collis Professor of History; Mary Desjardins, professor of film and media studies; Nathaniel Dominy, the Charles Hansen Professor of Anthropology; Donald Pease, the Ted and Helen Geisel Third Century Professor in the Humanities; Laura Ray, professor of engineering at Thayer School of Engineering; and Steve Swayne, the Jacob H. Strauss 1922 Professor of Music.
Scholars at Work
PhD, New York University
Dissertation: “Indian Trust Funds and the Route of American Capitalism, 1795-1865”
Emilie Connolly is a historian of Indigenous North America, the history of capitalism, and the 19th-century United States. Her book manuscript, “Fiduciary Colonialism: Indian Trust Funds and the Routes of American Capitalism,” examines how the federal government became both dispossessor of and trustee to the continent’s first peoples. The project argues that federal trusteeship, often cast as a benevolent practice, in fact advanced an imperial strategy named “fiduciary colonialism”: a form of territorial acquisition and population management carried out through the expansion of administrative control over Indigenous wealth. Research for this project has drawn support from the American Council for Learned Societies, the Council on Library and Information Resources, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, and the John E. Rovensky Fellowship for Business and Economic History. At Dartmouth, Connolly will begin work on a second project, provisionally titled “Indians Not Taxed,” which will explore the shifting relationships between taxation, citizenship, and Indigenous sovereignty in the 19th-century United States.
James A. Godley
PhD, University at Buffalo, SUNY
Dissertation: “Against Infinite Grief: Mourning and Speculative Invention in Postbellum American Literature”
James A. Godley’s work explores mourning as a process of retroactive invention in literary and philosophical works. His current book project, “Unthinkable Loss: Mourning and the Object of Speculation in Nineteenth Century U.S. Literature,” examines how slavery, the privatization of mortality, and the Civil War brought vast changes to the ritual structure and philosophy of death in the 19th century, impelling American literary authors to find new ways of mapping speculative futures for those who would otherwise have been condemned to a futureless end. Combining literary-historical, philosophical, and psychoanalytic perspectives, the project will constitute the first of a two-volume set devoted to the problem of “infinite grief” in modern and contemporary U.S. literature. Godley’s publications include Inheritance in Psychoanalysis, a co-edited anthology of theoretical interventions into biological, anthropological, aesthetic, and clinical notions of inheritance, and an article on the critique of finitude in Hegel and Lacan in Angelaki.
PhD, University of Chicago
Dissertation: “Between Community and Qānūn: Documenting Islamic Legal Practice in 19th-century British India”
Elizabeth Lhost is a historian of law and religion in modern South Asia. She completed her PhD at the University of Chicago in South Asian languages and civilizations and history and before joining the Society of Fellows, held a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Lhost is currently working on the manuscript for a book called “The Office of Islamic Law: Paperwork, Politics, and Possibilities in Modern South Asia (1800–1950),” which traces the history of Islamic law and legal practice in British India through everyday paperwork and writing practices. While at Dartmouth, she plans to begin work on a second project investigating religious, ethical, and moral responses to new financial instruments around the turn of the 20th century. In addition to the history of South Asia, Lhost’s research and teaching interests also include global history, legal studies, science and technology studies, and religious studies, particularly as they relate to privacy, autonomy, and human rights.
PhD, Michigan State University
Dissertation: “The influence of internal social change on local phonology”
Monica Nesbitt-Williams is a linguist specializing in phonology—speech sounds and sociolinguistics—the study of how social factors impact language. Her research and teaching focus on the impact of macro- (e.g. social class and ethnicity) and micro- (e.g. valley girl) social characteristics on language variation and change. She utilizes a variety of experimental, e.g. priming and speech perception tasks, implicit attitudes tasks, and acoustic methods to investigate language structure and to identify the social factors that condition such patterns. Her dissertation examined the impact of economic change (from a mostly manufacturing to service industry society) in the 20th century on the Michigan English dialect. A related project examines the loss of regional dialect features in New England and other parts of North America. She has taught English as a second language courses as well as courses on language and gender, introduction to linguistics, the globalization of English, and language in society.
PhD, Harvard University
Dissertation: “Narrative Events: Slavery, Testimony, and Temporality in the Afro-Atlantic World”
Nicholas Rinehart’s research and teaching focus broadly on Black literature in the Americas and the comparative history of Atlantic slavery. His first book project, Narrative Events: Reading Slave Testimony in the Afro-Atlantic World, examines enslaved testimonial practices across historical periods, colonial geographies, and expressive forms—including legal complaints, mystical visions, epistolary writings, folk ethnographies, and lyric poems. Harnessing the resources of comparative literature, historical anthropology, and queer studies, it reorients prevailing conceptions of literary-historical time in the study of slavery. His research has appeared or is forthcoming in Callaloo, Journal of Social History, Journal of American Studies, MELUS, and Winterthur Portfolio, with additional essays in the Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography and Cambridge Companion to Richard Wright. He is also a co-editor, along with Wai Chee Dimock et al., of American Literature in the World: An Anthology from Anne Bradstreet to Octavia Butler.
Whitney Barlow Robles
PhD, Harvard University
Dissertation: “Curious Species: How Animals Made Natural History, 1700–1820”
Whitney Barlow Robles is an interdisciplinary historian whose research spans early American history, environmental studies, the history of science, and material culture theory. Her first book project, Curious Species: How Animals Made Natural History, 1700–1820, positions animals such as corals, rattlesnakes, fish, and raccoons as central protagonists of the history of 18th-century science. The project uses historical methods, ethnography, material culture analysis, and scientific research to examine how animals facilitated and foreclosed the production of knowledge. Her most recent publications have appeared in The New England Quarterly, the book The Philosophy Chamber: Art and Science in Harvard’s Teaching Cabinet, 1766–1820, and Commonplace: The Journal of Early American Life. At Dartmouth, Robles will continue research on her second book project, which studies the history of zoological collecting in America and its paradoxical requirement that animals must be killed and converted into museum specimens in the name of preserving species. Robles is an affiliate researcher with the Stanford-based Natural Things | Ad Fontes Naturae research group, a global natural history project in the digital humanities, where she is tracing the interlinked paths of food history, natural history, and empire using digital methods and historical objects such as squid and breadfruit.
William Platt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.