Rodrigo Adem, History
I study pre-modern Muslim thought as an intellectual and social historian. I am particularly interested in how scholarly networks mediated social and epistemic authority within the urban and political development of the Near East and Mediterranean over the 8th to 14th century. I hope to further our understanding of how paradigmatic scholarly traditions of law, theology, historiography, philosophy, mysticism, and political thought came to be codified during this period, and persist in key facets of Muslim thought to the present day.
Sarah Axelrod, Romance Languages and Literatures
I study humor and the way it builds narrative in medieval Italian literature. My doctoral work focuses the humor in Giovanni Boccaccio's less-studied minor works, because while everyone knows and accepts that Boccaccio's Decameron is funny, every other book he wrote is generally evaluated only in comparison to that great masterpiece. I argue that well-crafted humor is difficult to identify in Boccaccio's works and many others, and that that difficulty is part of what makes it satisfying to readers, worth searching for. The creation of humor informs my other research interests as well, which include fiction, narrative and the power of storytelling in modern and contemporary literature.
Prerana Bharadwaj, Psychology
I’m broadly interested in the intersections between hierarchy, inequality, and morality. Specifically, I aim to understand how our perceptions of ourselves and others in terms of relative social class affect our beliefs about moral values such as equality and social justice. I'm also interested in what identity factors influence the extent to which we support these values of equality and social justice over beliefs in individual deservingness and meritocracy.
Colin Brown, Government
I am a comparative political scientist studying how political institutions affect the incorporation of immigrants and the children of immigrants. My work has focused on the factors that make it harder or easier for members of these groups to run for (and get elected to) political office. Current research projects look at tensions that arise when rules or institutions that tend to increase migrant-background representation are simultaneously ones that tend to decrease women's representation, or vice-versa. The regional scope of my work has so far mostly looked at the Netherlands, Germany and the United States. I also have an interest in studying how we teach political science, and in finding better ways to teach social science at the undergraduate level.
Bethany Burum, Psychology
My research aims to understand the hidden incentives that shape our preferences, beliefs, and ideologies, including our sense of rights, justice, beauty, and altruism. My research and courses draw on tools and evidence from multiple fields, including economics, history, philosophy, and studies of cultural evolution, with a particular emphasis on using psychological experiments to test rigorous theory.
Sarah Cotterill, Psychology
In one line of work, I use quantitative methods to address the ideological dimension of intergroup relations, including the belief systems that enhance versus attenuate inequality and conflict between groups. In a second line of work, I examine the personality underpinnings of charitable giving. My research addresses these questions using naturally occurring and large-scale datasets and through survey and experimental techniques.
Shai Dromi, Sociology
My research explores how beliefs about the common good shape a variety of social sites by focusing on the ways discourse about morality is used to justify the existence of practices and institutions. I am currently writing a book called The Religious Roots of Transnational Relief: Calvinism, Humanitarianism, and the Genesis of Social Fields, which is under advance contract at the University of Chicago Press. This project examines the origins and development of the humanitarian NGO sector. In addition, I am working on articles on how professional groups evaluate the worth of their work, and on how political groups respond to downward mobility.
Christine Hagan, Molecular and Cellular Biology
My research has focused on elucidating the mechanisms of proteins that assemble and regulate biological membranes. Membranes allow cells to exclude undesirable materials or toxins and to create internal compartments which segregate and concentrate components required for different biological processes. These essential functions require that cells efficiently make new membranes as they grow and that cells monitor the integrity and alter the contents of those membranes as conditions change. I studied an aspect of the generation of new membranes in E. coli in my doctoral work and have focused on the regulation of mitochondrial membranes in human cells in my post-doctoral studies.
Stefan Hoefler, Linguistics
As a historical linguist and an Indo-Europeanist, my research interests lie primarily in the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European (PIE), the common parent of all Indo-European (IE) languages. I am particularly interested in nominal morphology and derivation, as well as derivational semantics. One of my research activities is to detect word formation patterns in the ancient IE languages and project them back into unattested PIE. My focus lies mainly on Latin, Greek, and Vedic Sanskrit, where I also work on philological issues and take an interest in semantic change and etymology.
Anna Horakova, Germanic Languages and Literatures
My research interests include 20th and 21st-century German literature and visual culture, theories of the avantgarde, theories of socialism, postcolonial studies, and visual studies. I am currently working on a monograph on the intersection of aesthetics and politics in self-published East German underground literature (samizdat). My study examines the relationship of this literature to “really existing socialism,” the writings by the playwrights Bertolt Brecht and Heiner Müller, and to experimental aesthetic forms such as photomontage. I teach courses in contemporary and 20th century German-speaking literatures and cultures.
Katrina Jongman-Sereno, Psychology
My research falls in three areas: 1) Self-presentation - how people hide and highlight different aspects of themselves depending on the audience or the situation. 2) Authenticity - what influences subjective feelings of authenticity in everyday social interactions and how these feelings of authenticity contribute to relationship quality. 3) Excessive self-interest - how excessive self-focus contributes to feeling superior about one’s point of view, being unwilling to recognize that one’s opinions may be incorrect, behaving in ways that are selfishly inconsiderate and antisocial, and having disproportionate emotional overreactions to trivial transgressions.
Vera Koshkina, Slavic Languages and Literatures
The focus of my study is Soviet film and visual culture. The goal of my current research projects is to expand the field of Soviet film history to include significant intersections between film and the other arts such as painting, photography and sculpture. I also study the way other state institutions, such as scientific institutions and the military supported parallel film cultures and shaped cinematic aesthetics. My interdisciplinary research draws on film history, art history and Slavic studies.
Theodore Leenman, Sociology
I study how individuals understand sexual risk-taking based on the relational contexts of their behaviors. My research and teaching interests include sexuality, gender, race, health inequality, culture, and research methods. My current projects analyze the decision to take preventative HIV medication, “down-low” sexual practice, and racial differences in these phenomena. Previous research examined inequalities in educational attainment and variation in political activity across Boston neighborhoods.
Shaun Nichols, History
Joana Pimenta, Visual and Environmental Studies
I’m a filmmaker and writer from Lisbon, Portugal, currently living and working in the U.S. and Brazil. I received a PhD in Film and Visual Studies and Critical Media Practice from the department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University, and I have previously taught at Harvard and at Rutgers University. In the Fall, I will be teaching VES 155 Documentary Fictions, a film production course where students make short films that explore the shifting boundaries between documentary and fiction; and in the Spring, a seminar on Marginal Cinema, with a focus on the marginal political film movements in Portugal and Brazil circa 1970.
Tracey Rosen, Social Studies
I am a sociocultural and economic anthropologist interested in the relationship between global trade, migration, and collective value. I am currently developing a book exploring the impact of 21st century Chinese migration and trade in Europe and, more specifically, Greece. Based off of three years of ethnographic fieldwork among both Chinese and Greek merchants, the book is conceived as an ethnography of advanced, global capitalism that examines the nexus of self/other representation and economic practice.
Marcio Siwi, History
My research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of urban history, race, society, and culture. I am currently working on a book project exploring efforts to transform São Paulo into a world-class city after WWII through a transnational investigation of artistic production, architecture, and urban planning. These practices are examined as expressions of an idealized urban sensibility that leading Paulistanos aspired to produce and as a broader pattern of racial anxiety, uneven development, and spatial segregation.
Donald Sturgeon, East Asian Languages and Civilizations
My main research interests are in the philosophy of language in early China, and the application of digital methods to the study of the language, history and literature of pre-modern China generally. In particular, current projects include automated identification and analysis of text reuse in the pre-modern Chinese corpus, and quantitative analysis of changes in observed language use within this corpus over time. In connection with my research, I also maintain a widely used open access digital library of pre-modern Chinese writing called the Chinese Text Project [http://ctext.org/], which aims to make results and data obtained as part of my own research freely accessible to others.
Vivek Venkataraman, Human Evolutionary Biology
The evolution of the human body and mind has been profoundly influenced by diet. As a biological anthropologist, I study the ecological and social context of food acquisition in primates. I conduct fieldwork with small-scale societies in Southeast Asia and with non-human primates in Africa to better understand the general principles that connect diet, behavior, and social structure.
Ana Weeks, Government
I am a political scientist specializing in comparative politics and gender. My research interests include identity and political representation, political parties, and policymaking in advanced democracies. I am currently working on a book manuscript exploring the impact of political gender quota laws on policy outcomes, focusing on work-family policies in particular. For more information, please see my website: http://scholar.harvard.edu/anacweeks.
Nathaniel Wolfson, Romance Languages and Literatures
I study Latin American literature and culture, with a focus on 19th and 20th century Brazil. My current research project explores why post-WWII Brazilian poets and critics became interested in the aesthetic and philosophical concept of the "concrete." My further research interests include poetry and the novel, peripheral modernisms, literary and aesthetic theory, and theories of history and representation. During the 2017/2018 academic year, I am teaching courses on modern Brazilian culture.