Four faculty awarded Mandel Center grants

The Mandel Center for the Humanities has awarded four members of the Brandeis faculty with Mandel Faculty Grants in the Humanities. Each of these $10,000 grants, supported by a generous gift from the Mandel Foundation, supports a member of the Brandeis faculty working in the humanities or humanistic social sciences.

The purpose of the Mandel Faculty Grants is to support "the humanities in the world," a broad invitation to Brandeis scholars to think creatively about how their own humanistic inquiries can shape, inform, and improve everyday life and experiences in the world today.

Recipients will use their funds during the 2017 spring term through the summer of 2017, and then present a talk about their projects at the Mandel Center’s faculty lunch symposium during the 2017-18 academic year.

The following faculty members were awarded grants:

Dmitry Troyanovsky (Theater Arts), Marius von Mayenburg’s “The Ugly One” 

The project is a Chinese language production of Marius von Mayenburg’s “The Ugly One” at the Shanghai Drama Arts Center.  

Von Mayenburg is a contemporary German playwright whose inventive writing examines themes of power, brutality, and greed. Obsession with status and physical perfection takes on grotesque dimensions in “The Ugly One.” Lette, an unsightly but talented engineer, undergoes extensive plastic surgery to prove his professional and human worth. This project uses the play to investigate issues of identity and unstable boundaries we construct between ourselves and others."

Ulka Anjaria (English), “Lopsided Beings”: Literature at the Limits of Global Capitalism

This project looks at literature and capitalism in the global peripheries, with a focus on Mauritius, a small island nation in the Indian Ocean. Mauritius, colonized by both France and England, has long been a sugar cane plantation economy, but has over the past few decades expanded its EPZ (Export Processing Zone), making it possible for multinational companies to open factories on the island with little to no taxation and providing work for Mauritians. However, the grueling factory work and the continuing marginalization of poor Mauritians has meant that this factory work is far from transformative. Mauritian writers have responded to the growth of the EPZ by showing how workers at the bottom end of global companies such as Nike and Ralph Lauren feel like "lopsided beings" who bleed to support the wealth of others. Through a study of contemporary Mauritian literature located in and around the EPZ, this project offers a new perspective on global capitalism from one of its most forgotten peripheries.

Robin Feuer Miller (GRALL) and Matthew Fraleigh (GRALL), Kazuko's Letters from Japan: Love in a Time of Upheaval

Prominent Japanese sociologist and thinker Kazuko Tsurumi enjoyed a spirited and passionate relationship with Lewis Feuer from the time the two met in New York, where she was a graduate student at Columbia and Feuer taught at City College. Even as the Pacific War forced them apart, she continued to write to him for several decades. This project will result in an annotated edition of her correspondence with Feuer, using archival material at Brandeis as well as in Kyoto and Tokyo.

Sarah Mead (Music), Music, Sound and Text

This project will explore the convergence of three 16th-century artforms: poetry, composition, and luthiery. Using a set of "viole da gamba" based on a Northern Italian instrument from the 1580’s, her ensemble Nota Bene (joined by singers who specialize in 16th-c performance-practice) will undertake an immersive study of a set of madrigals of similar provenance. Working with period instruments and original notation, their aim is to gain new insights about contemporary sound ideals. Professor Ramie Targoff’s research on the female poet whose words were set in these pieces will further inform the ensemble’s understanding of the aesthetic of this particular moment in musical history.

Categories: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

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