AGHI offers a range of support for graduate students. Graduate Research Fellowships award one semester of funding to advanced graduate students working on a range of fields across the humanities and humanistic social sciences. During the Spring semester, Fellows carry on their research while meeting regularly with AGHI board members and affiliate faculty to share and discuss their work. The PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanistic Studies (IHS), meanwhile, is a new doctoral program, funded by a grant from the Mellon Foundation. IHS students working at the intersection of two disciplines craft their own PhD, one that combines the insights, faculty support, and results of this unique interdisciplinary research.
To learn more about these opportunities and how to apply, see our Graduate Opportunities page.
2023–2024 Graduate Research Fellows
We are excited to welcome five new scholars as the incoming 2023–24 cohort of AGHI graduate research fellows. Full info about individual fellows’ bios and projects below.
To see our past graduate research fellows, visit our Alumni page.
Nat Adams is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology. He holds an MA in Anthropology from Johns Hopkins University, an MSc in International Development from Lund University, and a BA in Anthropology from Virginia Commonwealth University. His research interests include urban environmental equity, work and labor, grassroots social organizing, as well as community-based and participatory research. Prior to beginning his PhD, he worked as Program Coordinator at Georgetown University’s Berkeley Center for Religion Peace and World Affairs conducting policy research on cultural and religious dimensions of international development challenges in South and Southeast Asia.
Thai-Catherine Matthews (pronouns: she/hers) studied for her MPhil in Medieval Literature at the University of Cambridge as a Gates-Cambridge scholar and is currently a candidate for the PhD at Johns Hopkins University where she has also taught as an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Teaching Fellow with the Humanities Collaboratory. A graduate of Wellesley College, Thai-Catherine is a former Mellon-Mays Fellow who is interested in the intersections between Western medieval literature and contemporary race politics. In addition to researching the medieval, Thai-Catherine has published on race and film in Black Camera, contributed to the Modern Language Association’s upcoming collection on teaching pedagogy Teaching Food in Literature, and is currently revising a excerpt of her dissertation for publication in the forthcoming 2024 special issue of Speculum entitled “Race, Race-Thinking, and Identity in the Global Middle Ages.” She’s absolutely thrilled to be joining this year’s cohort of AGHI Fellows, and honored to be included amongst scholars whose work she knows to be significant not just to their fields, but to an evolving academia.
Vincenza Mazzeo is a Ph.D. Candidate in History at JHU and Fellow at the Centre for Medical Humanities and Social Medicine. She holds an H.BA from the University of Toronto and MA from Carleton University.
Vincenza’s dissertation uses oral history and women’s alternative media to examine how ideas of gender, race, health, biomedicine, and freedom – specifically, freedom from state-sanctioned death and slow violence – were configured in liberationist struggles across South Africa during the late 20th century.
Vincenza is the recipient of multiple awards and fellowships including the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowship (2020-2022), Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) Linda Souter Humanities Award (2021-2022), Mellon Summer Language Funds (2020), Media@Mcgill Fellowship (2018), Institute of Health and Social Policy Fellowship (2017), and Faculty of Arts Undergraduate Society Teaching Award (2016). Her forthcoming publication, “Racism, Colonialism, and the Structure of Medical Knowledge in the Earliest Period of the Global COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign, 2020-2021,” is co-authored with Dr. Alexandre White.
Sumin Myung (he/him) is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University and a visiting scholar at Seoul National University. He is broadly interested in any aspects of human-plant relations, field sciences, ideas of nature, and climate crises across time and space. Sumin designed and taught an undergraduate course titled “Engaging Plants: Human-Plant Relations in Anthropology” with the support of a Dean’s Teaching Fellowship in 2022. In addition to joining the 2023–24 cohort of AGHI fellows, Sumin will be a dissertation fellow of the D. Kim Foundation for the History of Science and Technology in East Asia. His dissertation research has been generously supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the Northeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies, the D. Kim Foundation for the History of Science and Technology in East Asia, the Kyujanggak Institute at Seoul National University, and several research fellowships/grants from Johns Hopkins University. He also holds BA and MA degrees from Seoul National University.
Chris Taylor is a PhD candidate in the Department of Comparative Thought and Literature and the Graduate Certificate Program in Film and Media at Johns Hopkins University. He received his BA in Philosophy from Yale University and an MA in Comparative Thought and Literature from JHU. His dissertation draws on aesthetic thought; the histories of art and science; media theory; and philosophies of technology, nature, and animation to offer a novel understanding of the artificial human as media form, focusing on its role in Japanese media history between the 1920s and the 1960s and its contemporary afterlives. His research and training have been supported by generous fellowships from the Blakemore Foundation and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science in addition to several fellowships from JHU. In Spring 2023, he taught “Japanese Animation: History, Theory, Ecology” with the support of a Dean’s Teaching Fellowship. He also regularly guest lectures on animated media (broadly conceived) in relation to modernism, visual culture, world cinema, and the history of technology.
Interdisciplinary Humanistic Studies (IHS) Students
BA, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Milan, Italy
MA, New York University
Email: [email protected]
Biography: Tatiana’s research has mostly focused on Italian Renaissance Literature. Specifically, before coming to Johns Hopkins, their work explored the relationship between political structures and language. Specifically, it analyzed the ways in which politics shaped the development of the Italian language in the debates taking place in Italy in the 15th and 19th centuries.
Project: Through the Interdisciplinary Humanistic Studies Program Tatiana is bridging Italian Studies with Classics. Their projects aims at exploring the Italian Renaissance via Neo-Latin literature by posing questions of gender and identity through the lens of language. They hope that by working with Transgender Studies theory they will be able to shed new light and reading of cultural production in the Italian Early Modern period.
BA, History and English Literature, Concordia College
MA, South Asia, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington
Email: [email protected]
Biography: Hannah Haegeland is a PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Humanistic Studies Program, working between the Department of the History of Science and Technology and the Department of Political Science. She researches military science and technologies in twentieth-century Asia. From 2011-2022 she held research and teaching positions related to the history and security of southern Asia in Albuquerque, Washington, D.C., Seattle, New Delhi, and Kathmandu.
Project: Hannah’s project works to recover some of the silences in Global South nuclear histories. When scientific knowledge and technologies developed in one time, geography, market, language, community, political and strategic environment migrate to other spaces, the ways individuals, institutions, and states interact with them can change, along with the actual character of those technologies and science. The nature of that interaction has a lot to do with how key strategic, bureaucratic, and technical actors want to use the science and technology. Hannah’s research will complicate universalist, deterministic scholarship by studying how and why key stakeholders engage with nuclear science and technologies differently or the same in distinct contexts over time.
Goh Rui Zhe
BA in Philosophy, Yale-NUS College
Email: [email protected]
Biography: Rui Zhe is a PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Humanistic Studies, working at the intersection between philosophy of mind and perception science. He is fascinated by the temporal nature of experience, and his research explores how the human mind segments the continuous flow of perceptual input into the discrete events that we experience.
Project: In daily life, there are moments in which we seem to hear silence, such as when we listen to the quiet night, or when an exhilarating orchestral performance ends abruptly. However, these experiences of silence are puzzling because they seem to be characterized by the absence of sound—what could we possibly be hearing, if not sound? In his current project, Rui Zhe uses empirical and philosophical tools to investigate the nature of silence perception. To date, he has discovered empirical evidence showing that the auditory system segments moments of silence into discrete perceptual events. Building on these experimental findings, Rui Zhe is now exploring the possibility that experiences of silence are the result of the auditory system segmenting empty periods of time into discrete units. In the words of the playwright Tom Stoppard, silence may be “the sound of time passing”.
BA, Anthropology and Classical Civilization, Beloit College
MPH, International Health, Boston University School of Public Health
MA, Museum Studies certificate (Classical Archeology), Tufts University
MA, Ancient Greek & Roman Studies, Brandeis University
Email: [email protected]
Biography: Jennifer is a PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Studies Program, working between Classics and Near Eastern Studies. She holds degrees in Anthropology and Classical Civilization from Beloit College, International Public Health from Boston University, Ancient Greek and Roman Studies from Brandeis University, and a Museum Studies certificate from Tufts University. Her research interests include the archaeology and material culture of the Aegean Bronze Age, particularly Minoan/Mycenaean textile craft production and specialization, metallurgy, and early Minoan mortuary practices, in addition to the application of ethnoarchaeology and experimental archaeology to ancient crafting techniques.
Project: Jennifer’s project aims to access the lived experiences and creative work of women who labored in the textile industries of the Bronze Age Aegean and Ancient Near East, by newly foregrounding the ways in which their biographies – as migrants, mothers, and craftspersons – embodied connections between these two regions. Drawing together two areas of the ancient world, her research, diachronic in scope, will culminate in a close study of workgroups of women from western Anatolia who migrated to Greece with their children as textile laborers for the Mycenaean palace at Pylos.
BA, Occidental College
Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture
Email: [email protected]
Biography: Marshall Meyer is a PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Humanistic Studies at Johns Hopkins University, working between the departments of Comparative Thought and Literature and Modern Languages and Literatures. He received his bachelor’s degree in Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture at Occidental College, where he wrote a thesis on the reception of Greek tragedy by key German idealist philosophers. His research interests include psychoanalysis, particularly the Ljubljana Lacanian School and transcendental materialism; German idealism, particularly Hegel; Marxist theory; twentieth-century European philosophy and theory; contemporary literature, film/television, and popular music; and current topics in aesthetic theory, such as autonomy, form, and critique.
Project; Marshall situates his work as part of an ongoing effort, inaugurated more than thirty years ago by Slavoj Žižek and members of his circle, to read the German idealist canon through the lens of Lacanian psychoanalysis (and vice versa). At the same time, he remains keenly interested in the many new practices of reading that have proliferated in the humanities in the twenty-first century, and it is the aim of his research to bring these two concerns into dialogue. How would Lacan or Hegel, with their shared emphasis on the subject’s mediation, respond to a trending practice like postcritique, with its belief in an immediate relationship between reader and text? And are the thinkers just mentioned only good for critiquing existing practices of reading, or is there sufficient material in their work to advance a positive theory of aesthetics? These are among the questions that occupy him.
BA, Trinity University
Political Science, Social Theory, and Black Studies
Email: [email protected]
Biography: Pyar Seth is a PhD Candidate in the Interdisciplinary Humanistic Studies Program working at the nexus of Anthropology and Political Science. Broadly, he studies the history of Black Atlantic Thought, policing and medicalization, subject formation, and the epistemic organization of health, disease, and risk. Some of his other scholarly inquiries examine insurance and the slave trade as well as Hip Hop and the medical humanities. At the core of his research, one could also say that a foundational question is the following: Given the pervasiveness of anti-Black violence, for Black people, what does it mean to rest? Pyar is also a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Research Scholar and a Graduate Research Fellow for both the Black Beyond Data Project and the Paul Robeson Research Center.
In Fall 2023, Seth is also a Visiting Research Scholar at King’s College London in the History of Medicine.
Project: My dissertation is entitled, The Spectral Defect: Rethinking the Drug War through Medicine; it is an intellectual history of medical diagnoses that have been used to ‘explain away’ racialized fatalities that occur in police custody. The central question: How does the medicalization of police violence travel across the boundaries of the nation-state and what might we say about a kind of Trans-Atlantic pathologization of Black life and death?
More broadly, I critically examine medicalization within the institutional apparatus of the police, the degree to which it is adopted, and how it may change depending on the (geopolitical) context.
John Lafe Shannon
BA, Sociology, Saint Xavier University
MA, Middle Eastern Studies, University of Chicago
Email: [email protected]
Biography: John is a PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Humanistic Studies Program, working between Near Eastern Studies and Earth and Planetary Sciences. He holds degrees in Sociology from Saint Xavier University and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago. His research interests are the archaeology of Arabia, geoarchaeology, and the archaeology of trade and exchange.
Project: John’s research focuses on chlorite vessels that were carved by the peoples of Arabia and Iran during the Bronze and Iron Ages. Despite their ubiquity in the archaeological records of civilizations surrounding the Persian/Arabian Gulf, it remains unknown where the stone for these vessels originated. By linking chlorite vessels to geological sources, John seeks to extrapolate the trade networks within which these vessels were produced and distributed.
BA, Chinese Language and Literature, Nanjing University
MA, Comparative Literature, Renmin University of China
Email: [email protected]
Biography: Shengshuang holds a bachelor’s degree in Chinese Language and Literature from Nanjing University, and she received her master’s degree in Comparative Literature from Renmin University of China. In 2019 she was accepted into the German section at the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Johns Hopkins University. Currently, she is studying in the Interdisciplinary Humanistic Studies Program to combine her interests in German studies and Sinology.
Project: Her research focuses on the influences of German literature and philosophy on Chinese modernity, especially on Chinese intellectual and political movements in the 20th century. Shengshuang also continues her investigations on the contemporary German writer W. G. Sebald, especially the theme of repetition in his works.