Abigail Robertson and Justin Larsen, PhD Students in Medieval Studies, along with Morgan Sims, PhD Candidate in Rhetoric & Writing, are all recipients of dissertation completion fellowships funded by the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Educational Foundation. Their dissertations study the cult of St Swithun, the ninth-century bishop and patron saint of Winchester Cathedral; the impact of multimodal composition and emergent rhetorical practices in new media on Latino and Latina students in first/second year college composition courses; and the representation of material culture in Anglo-Saxon literature. Fellowship recipients are chosen through a demanding and competitive application process, and the department is proud that three of our students merited the award.
W Oliver Baker, PhD candidate in American Literary Studies, has received a two-year UNM Andrew W. Mellon Dissertation Fellowship beginning in 2017-2018 academic year. The Mellon Dissertation Fellowship supports dissertations in the humanistic social sciences that not only focus on the historic and cultural dimensions of Hispano and Native American people and communities, but also expand historical scholarship that feature new actors and narrators involving the southwest US/Mexico border and other Indigenous peoples with national and international implications.
Baker’s dissertation examines how the early literary narratives of Native, Mexican, and African American writers from 1848-1940 represent economic dispossession from the other side of colonial difference, from the standpoint of what Franz Fanon called the “zone of nonbeing,” the position of social death and structural exclusion in modern liberal political economy and civil society. The dissertation argues that because the early literary narratives of colonized and racialized groups are written from the other side of colonial difference, their narrative and aesthetic forms become fractured, uneven, and irregular. This formal unevenness, the dissertation contends, embodies and thus makes explicit the irreconcilable systemic inequalities of colonial and racial dispossession that the major works of realism, naturalism, and modernism actively conceal and disavow. By narratively and aesthetically making legible these systemic inequalities of settler colonialism and white supremacy, these early literary narratives envision and map the structural limits and impossibilities of US liberal democracy and political economy.