Profs awarded Oakley Fellowships

Ten Williams faculty have been awarded fellowships at the Francis Christopher Oakley Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

The Fall 2000 fellows are Ilona D. Bell, a professor of English; Helga Druxes, an associate professor of German; and James L. Nolan, an assistant professor of sociology. The Spring 2001 fellows are Georges B. Dreyfus, an associate professor of religion; Karen L. Shepard, part-time lecturer in English; and Christopher M. Waters, a professor of history. The fellows for the full academic year are Steven B. Gerrard, an associate professor of philosophy; James McAllister, an assistant professor of political science; Bojana Mladenovic, an assistant professor of philosophy; and Peter T. Murphy, an associate professor of English.

The Oakley Center supports faculty research and provides resident fellowships for faculty and students. A variety of multi-disciplinary programs encourage exchange and collaboration among the fellows.

Its Lehman Fellowship, this year awarded to Mladenovic and Nolan, supports projects of particular merit relating to political leadership, public service and the arts.

Bell is studying Elizabeth Tudor’s rhetoric of courtship – the parliamentary speeches, negotiations with foreign ambassadors, proclamations, letters and powers – which gave the male language of power and love a female voice and a female point of view. She argues that Elizabeth’s unprecedented politics of courtship provoked a social controversy over women, courtship and marriage that helps explain why the Elizabethan era was such an extraordinarily fertile and creative period in the history of English literature.

Druxes is writing a book about recent German national identity struggles as seen by Romanian-German and East German dissident writers now living in the united Germany. These exiles from the former East Bloc have witnessed its flaws and collapses, but are equally suspicious of Western capitalist societies. She will argue that current debates about the status of foreigners in Germany are testimony to cultural and economic anxieties Germans have about each other. Druxes specializes in contemporary German culture and society, the German language and comparative literature. She is the author of The Feminization of Dr. Faustus: Female Identity Quests from Stendhal to Morgner and Resisting Bodies.

Nolan is editing a book, Drug Courts in Theory and in Practice, of contributions from American and British scholars investigating various dimensions of the international drug court movement. The book will contain empirical explorations and theoretical assessments of the movement including an historical-comparative analysis of drug courts in the United States. and the United Kingdom Nolan first wrote about drug courts in his book The Theraputic State: Justifying Government at Century’s End, which details the manner in which particular theraputic cultural sensibilities affected state activity, including the criminal justice system. The recipient of two National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) fellowships, Nolan recently returned from a year as a Fulbright scholar at Loughborough University in England.

Dreyfus is working on a book about Tibetan monastic education, The Sound of Two Hands Clapping: Memory, Commentary and Debate in Tibetan Monastic Education. He was an Oakley Fellow in the fall of 1996, when he examined the traditional education that Tibetan Buddhist monks receive, including its reliance on memorization, its use of commentary as a way of organizing knowledge and its emphasis on the practice of debate. In 1985, he became the first non-Tibetan to achieve the Geshe Lharmpa, the final degree in the curriculum of the Tibetan Buddhist monatic university. Dreyfus, who teaches courses on Asian religions and philosophies, has also received Fulbright and NEH fellowships.

Shepard is at work on her second novel, a backwards-moving narrative about the dissolution of a 20-year marriage. The somewhat radical structure, attempted previously by Harold Pinter in his play Betrayal and Charles Baxter in his novel First Light, intrigues Shepard for the opportunity it provides to reexamine notions of emotional causality. Her debut novel, An Empire of Women, published this year, captures the reunion of three generations of Asian-American women at a family cabin in Virginia. Shepard was an Oakley Fellow in the spring of 2000 and completed a memoir about her father.

Waters is working on a book tentatively titled Queer Treatments: The Rise and Fall of the Theraputic Idea in Twentieth-Century Britain. It will chart the history of psychoanalysis and related practices in Britain and explore the role “experts” in these fields came to play in the regulation of sexuality and the articulation of homosexual identities. It will also examine the relationship between these disciplinary practices and the state, suggesting that 20th-century penal reformers made extensive use of the latest discoveries in psychiatry to develop and implement treatments for the so-called “homosexual offenders.” Waters is the author of British Socialists and the Policies of Popular Culture, 1884-1914 and the co-editor of Monuments of Modernity: Reconstructing Britain, 1945-1964. He is the author of numerous articles on 19th and 20th century Bristish history and was a 1996-1997 fellow at the National Humanities Center in North Carolina.

Gerrard is doing research on the French-American artist Marcel Duchamp, the Austrian-English philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein and the game of chess. Wittgenstein frequently discussed chess as an example of a rule-governed language, and Duchamp, a master chess player, used chess in his art. The project is a continuation of Gerrard’s previous work on Wittgenstein’s philosophy of mathematics. He specializes in Wittgenstein and the history of early analytic philosophy, and has taught courses such as “Morality and Law,” “Wittgenstein’s Investigations” and “Relativism: A Thematic Introduction to Analytic Philosophy.” Gerrard was a 1991 Andrew W. Mellon Faculty Fellow in the Humanities at Harvard University, a 1985-87 William Rainey Harper Fellow in College Humanities at the University of Chicago and a Danforth fellow.

McAllister will work on Losing Hearts and Minds: America’s Political Failure in Vietnam, 1955-1967. He specializes in international affairs and American foreign and national security policy. McAllister was a postdoctoral fellow at the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard university in 1996.

Mladenovic will work on Rationality and Risk Assessment in Contemporary Medicine: A Philosophical Analysis. She specializes in epistemology and the philosophy of sciences and medicine.

Murphy is writing Small Things: How Lyric Poetry Works and Why People Have Written it. His academic interests include 18th and 19th century British literature, literary history and the history of poetry. He is to author of Poetry as an Occupation and an Art in Britain, 1760-1830. He was an Oakley Fellow in 1989, and has also received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a Mellon Fellowship.

Courtesy of the Office of Public Affairs