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This year saw the final cohort of Dissertation Year Fellows. The UC Humanities Network has decided to re-align its funding to encourage more cross-campus opportunities for graduate students in working groups and the like. This year’s fellows were Mark Dries, a doctoral candidate in history, and Heather Jennings, a doctoral candidate in English. Fellows receive a full academic year of financial support in recognition of work that promises to make significant contributions to research in the humanities.

Mark Dries’s project, “The Mercurial Menace: Health and Indigenous Labor in the Mercury Mines of Huancavelica, Peru, 1570-1700,” examines how indigenous conceptions of health influenced the labor regime in the mercury mines of Huancavelica, Peru, during the 16th

and 17th


spent much of the year abroad, doing archival research in Huancavelica and Lima. This research has not only furthered his project, but also complicated it in productive ways. His work in the archive at Huancavelica, for example, has produced documents that show “the participation of indigenous miners alongside Spaniards.” Dries explained, “The current narrative regarding the Andean population focuses on their victimization, but I’ve seen that that is not the whole story, Dries explained.

Heather Jennings’ dissertation is titled “Speaking Flesh: Embodied Knowledge in Medieval Rhetoric, Pedagogy, and Performance” and uses cognitive theory, performance studies, work in pedagogical techniques, and knowledge of medieval grammar and rhetoric to bring to light productive correspon- dences between premodern and postmodern theorizations of the mind, the body and the performer. Jennings spent the year adding to her research archive in unexpected ways. “I am showing how rhetorical texts spanning nearly two thousand years, as well as many other school texts, shaped medieval drama, which itself encompasses a varied corpus. Additionally, I have expanded my research to include medieval preaching manuals and sermons, which were more influential on dramatic content than I had originally realized,” said Jennings.

Both Dries and Jennings also found their time as fellows particularly useful in connecting and collaborating with other scholars. “I have learned how dependent productive intellectual work is on conversations with others, so I have scheduled my work around regular discussions of my writing with other graduate students and my advisors, as well as participated in two conferences addressing medieval performance practices,” Jennings explained. Dries participated in interdisciplinary conferences and collaborated with a Ph.D. candidate in anthro- pology who has also worked with the archives near the mine.


With the support of philanthropist Margrit Mondavi, the Humanities Institute was able to award 10 grants of $5,000 each to deserving graduate students in M.F.A. and Ph.D. programs in the division of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies (HArCS) to support research, workshops and travel among other project-related work in summer 2014. This award supports a wide and stimulating array of projects, both visionary and scholarly, including works of visual and sound art, musical compositions, dance performances and studies of U.S. and Brazilian literary culture.


Theresa Bachmann Constructing the Memory of the Brazilian Exile in Mexico (Spanish and Portuguese) Gabriel Bolaños String Quartet (Music)

Jordan Carroll The Unpublishable: Obscenity and Editorship in U.S. Literary Culture (English) William Cooper Berlin and Ragdale (Music) Matt Debbaudt A Very Big Painting (Art Studio)

Matt Gilbert Sound Art: New Forms and Ancient Origins (Art Studio) Brandon Gonzales The Space Between (Theatre and Dance) Emelie Mahdavian After the Curtain (Performance Studies)

Josef Nguyen The Institute for the Future and the Anticipation of Epic Wins (English)

Jonathan Spatola-Knoll European American Musical Alliance Program in Conducting, 2014 (Music)

Matthew Kelly Debbaudt’s work is primarily an exploration of the subconscious through painting and drawing.

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