Faculty Publications

Two UChicago Scholars to Receive Scaglione Prizes from the Modern Language Association

Noemie Ndiaye (left) photo by John Zich and Maria Anna Mariani

For their books, Assoc. Prof. Noémie Ndiaye and Asst. Prof. Maria Anna Mariani respectively will receive the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies and for Italian Studies from the Modern Language Association on Jan. 5, 2024.

Ndiaye’s book "Scripts of Blackness: Early Modern Performance Culture and the Making of Race" (2022) examines how early modern theater and performance culture helped turn Blackness into a racial category and how that cultural decision still resonates today.

Mariani’s book "Italian Literature in the Nuclear Age: A Poetics of the Bystander" (2023) explores the position of the bystander in the atomic age by focusing on Italy as an example of paradoxical power and powerlessness. Her comprehensive study of Italian literary intellectuals’ engagement with the existential and political questions raised during the nuclear era shows its broader relevance.

Media Mentions November 2023

The latest media mentions, quotes, profiles, and writings from Division of the Humanities faculty, students, staff, and alumni. Visit us on X, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook for more updates.

How Do Humanities Majors Fare in the Work Force?
The Chronicle of Higher Eductaion
New data from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences shows that most humanities majors are employed, and their earnings are comparable to or better than the salaries of workers who majored in most non-humanities fields.

Art and Life
New York Review Of Architecture
Kate Wagner (Art History) reviews A.V. Marraccini’s new book We the Parasite, a treatise-cum-memoir on criticism. She contends that Marraccini's criticism is a process of succumbing into the critical subject as opposed to taking distance.

I Can’t Hate This Like I Want To: On Newberry’s Seeing Race Before Race Exhibit
A review of the exhibition "Seeing Race Before Race," co-curated by Noémie Ndiaye (English Language and Literature). “Seeing Race Before Race” at The Newberry lauds its content. The exhibit is open to the public through December 29, 2023.

Martha C. Nussbaum: Questions for the legal scholar, philosopher, and public intellectual
UChicago Magazine
Martha C. Nussbaum (Philosophy) responds to questions presented by UChicago Magazine.

UChicago Scholar Receives ASAP Book Prize

Tina Post

Asst. Prof. Tina Post became intrigued with how the gesture of expressionlessness operated in the 20th-century Black performances across literature, visual and performance art, film, theater, dance, the boxing ring and everyday life. For her original insights, she recently received the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present Best Book Prize for her first book, “Deadpan: The Aesthetics of Black Inexpression” (2023). The ASAP Prize recognizes the book that has made the most significant contribution to the study of the arts of the present.

Post contends that deadpan—dead is for inanimate, and pan is slang for face—is an investigation of the aesthetic affects at work at the intersection of Blackness and embodied expression.

“This book motivated by questions about the phenomenon I see,” said Post, assistant professor in the Department of English Language and Literature and the College at UChicago. “I had not read satisfying explorations about expressionlessness and its intersection with Blackness.”

UChicago Humanities Alum Earns Prestigious Mitchell Scholarship

Tommy Hagan

How do we create a society that no longer sees prisons as a solution?

This is a question that has guided Tommy Hagan, AB’21, in both his personal life and in his academic pursuits at the University of Chicago, from which he graduated with a dual degree in Fundamentals: Issues and Texts and philosophy. 

For years, Hagan has worked to abolish prison and foster enduring peace. As a result of his efforts, Hagan, from Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J., has earned a prestigious George J. Mitchell Scholarship. On Nov. 18, he was one of 12 scholars selected from among nearly 350 applicants for the highly competitive program, which recognizes and fosters intellectual achievement, leadership, and a commitment to community and public service.

Meet the Staff: Gaby Choi

Gaby Choi Headshot

More than 100 staff members work in the Division of the Humanities. We’ll introduce you to our staff in this continuing series.

Gaby Choi
Department Administrator
Comparative Literature

What do you like most about your job?

There is so much to like about my job, but what I love most is the community in which I engage with through my role here. There is an abundance of vitality and excitement being on a university campus, and my job has allowed me to jump right into all the action. Every day is dynamic and filled with learning and collaborating with staff, faculty, and students. Everyone has been incredibly supportive, encouraging, and kind, and I love that I get to work with many members across the division and university.

What was the last good book you read?

I recently finished reading Unsavory Truth: How Food Companies Skew the Science of What We Eat by Marion Nestle. Clean eating is important to me and my family, so I try to learn as much as I can about the ingredients in our food as well as the food industry. I also finally read Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, a novel that has been on my list for a while. The book was absolutely engrossing and beautifully written.

You might work with me if …

… You need to cross-list a course with Comparative Literature, ask about PhD student requirements, or co-sponsor an event.  

If you had an extra hour every day, what would you do with it?

I compost but have always given away the finished compost because I had neither the extra time nor access to a yard or garden. I recently moved from a high-rise apartment to a home with some yard space, so I would love to plant/garden with my toddler using our very own compost!

Two Humanities Scholars to Receive the Charles J. Goodwin Award

Sofia Torallas Tovar and Christopher Faraone

Profs. Christopher Faraone and Sofía Torallas Tovar will receive the Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit by the Society for Classical Studies as co-editors of the book, The Greco-Egyptian Magical Formularies (2022) in January 2024. It is rare for this prestigious award to be given for a co-edited volume or for one concerned with papyrological texts, a subfield of classics, according to Faraone and Torallas Tovar.

“With their project, Professors Faraone and Torallas Tovar have established the study of ancient magic on an entirely new footing,” said Clifford Ando, David B. and Clara E. Stern Distinguished Service Professor in the Departments of Classics and History and the College and chair of Classics at UChicago. “It's not just that their edition observes the best modern principles of textual criticism. Their project advances new ways of treating any texts, in which format and medium also play a fundamental role in interpretation.”

Meet the Staff: Vanessa Armand

Vanessa Armand Headshot

More than 100 staff members work in the Division of the Humanities. We’ll introduce you to our staff in this continuing series.

Vanessa Armand
Operations Administrator
Chicago Language Center

What do you like most about your job?

I can bring together all the elements of my rather eclectic educational and professional experience. Coming from a decade of classroom teaching, I worried that the transition to administration this year would be challenging. I'm finding that in this role, however, I can remain connected to students and pedagogy while also tapping into my more fine-grained organizational skills (obsessions?) and my design background. My typical day can often involve diving deep into spreadsheets, followed by engaging with students about our various programs, and onto planning and marketing for our events. There's always something exciting going on, and I am grateful to be part of such a groundbreaking and supportive group of colleagues who encourage me to bring all my skills to work each day.

What was the last good book you read?

I recently discovered that I have an avid love of historical fiction, and as such, I can't get enough of Kate Quinn's novels. The first batch I read are set in World War II and the Cold War. Expertly researched fictional reworkings of real, remarkable lives and events, these books (The Diamond Eye, The Rose Code, The Huntress, and The Alice Network) elevate the incredible, oft-overlooked and uncelebrated achievements of women in the 1940s-1960s. Apart from Quinn's riveting writing, something I absolutely love about her books is that they each contain her lengthy bibliography, archival appendix, and extensive author's notes about what was factual vs. inspired vs. invented and about the decision process she used in weaving together fact and fiction.

You might work with me if …

Modern Language Association to Honor W. J. T. Mitchell with Lifetime Scholarly Achievement Award

W. J. T. Mitchell

Prof. W. J. T. Mitchell may be the only living iconologist on the planet. He draws on ideas from ancient and modern mythology that treat pictures as living things. As a historian of cultural images, Mitchell studies the relationship between words and images, cultivating visual and verbal literacy.

For his immense scholarly work in iconology and his 42 years as the editor of UChicago’s well-known humanities journal, Critical Inquiry, Mitchell will receive the Modern Language Association’s Award for Lifetime Scholarly Achievement on Jan. 5, 2024, in Philadelphia. It is also a fitting finish to his teaching career at UChicago, which officially ends in January 2024. The Lifetime Scholarly Achievement Award is given every three years. Previous winners include well-known professors Maynard Mack at Yale University; J. Hillis Miller at University of California, Irvine; Susan Gubar at Indiana University; and René Girard at Stanford University.

Media Mentions September 2023

The latest media mentions, quotes, profiles, and writings from Division of the Humanities faculty, students, staff, and alumni. Visit us on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook for more updates.

Ethnomusikologe: "Jüdische Musik war im Jazz besonders einflussreich"
Der Standard
Philip V. Bohlman (Music) discusses the history of migration and the lens of nationalism in Vienna and how it influenced Jewish cabaret culture. Der Standard recognizes Prof. Bohlman as a leading ethnomusicologist with expertise in Jewish and European musical culture.

Ben Lerner, a Poet/Novelist, Builds a Dream House of Words
The New York Times
Srikanth "Chicu" Reddy (English Language and Literature), reviews novelist/poet Ben Lerner's latest book "The Lights." Reddy analyzes Lerner's return to prose/poems, highlighting the multiple literary personalities in the book, and its use of the symbols and characters, verses, and conversations.

Agnes Callard Critiques Liberal Political Fictions at Lecture and Boasts Large Audience at Swarthmore’s Inaugural “Night Owls” Event
The Phoenix
At the inaugural "Night Owls" event at Swarthmore College, Agnes Callard (Philosophy) argued, among other things, that humans created political fictions to mitigate the trouble of living together. A modern-day example is the "liberalism triad" of "free speech," "fighting injustice," and "egalitarianism," which Socrates would have seen as invalid.