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Four of the eight newly named Kellogg fellows were on campus this spring for a photo. From left are: Ellie Simon ’19.5, John Gosselin ’20, Lucy Grinnan ’19.5, and Xuan He ’20.

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Kellogg Fellows Pursue Research Projects in the Humanities

May 15, 2019

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Eight Middlebury College juniors and seniors devoted to research in the humanities have been named as recipients of Kellogg Fellowships for the 2019–20 summer and academic year.

Kellogg fellows receive up to $5,000 to support their travel and research expenses for the ensuing 12 months. Unique to Middlebury College, the Kellogg Fellowship program was established in 2014 in honor of Michael Kellogg, the husband of Lucy Pugh ’79 and father of Baird Kellogg ’10 and Camille Kellogg ’17.

“The students who have received this fellowship find it to be a tremendous gift of time, space, and financial resources to pursue aspects of their research that they would not have been able to otherwise,” said Lisa Gates, associate dean for fellowships and research.

The Kellogg Fellowship recognizes student excellence in the humanities and areas of humanistic inquiry, and provides them with financial support to pursue in-depth research for their senior work. The funding allows students to travel, attend conferences and workshops relevant to their areas of focus, visit archives, and spend time in the summer reading, creating, or thinking.

“It’s an important affirmation of the humanities in particular,” said Gates, “and the importance of studying questions related to how we see our world and ourselves, how we create and understand meaning.”

This year’s recipients and their projects:

Magnus Cleveland ’20
Leila Faulstich-Hon ’20
John Gosselin ’20
Lucy Grinnan ’19.5
Xuan He ’20
Ellie Simon ’19.5
Angus Warren ’20
Emma Zetterberg ’19.5

Magnus Cleveland ’20, a Classics major, will travel to Italy and Greece this summer and next fall in pursuit of his thesis project, titled “Eating with the Dead: Funerary Banquets and Food Offerings in Classical and Hellenistic Greek Society.” According to Cleveland, “The Greek use of food in funerary contexts poses unique and thought-provoking questions about Greek identity, values, and ideologies about death.” During the summer of 2018, Cleveland helped uncover a 2,200-year-old Greek tomb in Cyprus. His Kellogg research will examine the “intersection of the universal human experiences of food, death, and remembrance within the context of [Ancient] Greek culture,” and his advisor on the project is Pavlos Sfyroeras, professor of Classics.

Leila Faulstich-Hon ’20, who is drawn to the study of Buddhism and Chinese language and culture, will pursue a project titled “Blurred Boundaries: A Study in the Shifting Role of the Laity of Engaged Buddhist Groups in Taiwan.” In her proposal, the religion and biology major, who is of Chinese heritage, said studying Buddhism and Chinese has occupied much of her “mental space and time at Middlebury,” and that her Kellogg project will enable her “to be in a Chinese-speaking country studying the big, diaphanous community of Engaged Buddhists.” The senior, who earned an international baccalaureate at Mahindra World College of India before enrolling at Middlebury, will be advised by Elizabeth Morrison, professor of religion.

John Gosselin ’20, a film and media culture major, expects that his research will enable him to “argue from a strong position that a specific relationship exists between images and tones which allows for color music.” Gosselin traces the earliest mention of color music to Aristotle, and has researched the theories of “several prominent 20th-century abstract artists” including Oskar Fischinger and John Cage. For his project, titled “Color Forms in Music: An Exploration of the Moving Image,” Gosselin plans to study at the Center for Visual Music in Los Angeles and the Faber Birren Color Library at Yale. Advised by Professor Christian Keathley, he hopes to answer the question of whether color music is truly possible and to establish “an extensive and illustrious historical record” for this topic.

Lucy Grinnan ’19.5 plans to weave together her interests in the Classics, dance, and religion in a project titled “Mythweaver: Reception of Sappho and Her Poetry in Ancient Greece, Roman Love Elegy, and Lesbian Second Wave Feminism.” In her Kellogg proposal, Grinnan said, “I hope to understand how Sappho and her work have been translated and seen as a site both of familiarity and foreignness, especially in her expressions of desire . . . with particular interest in how the embodiment and subjectivity of her poems have been reinterpreted over the past 2,500 years, and how early gay-rights activists perceived [Sappho’s] fragmentary form as well as content.” The joint Classics-dance major is advised by Pavlos Sfyroeras, professor of Classics.

Xuan He ’20, who was born in a small village in southeast China and raised in the metropolis of Shanghai, will pursue a project titled “Reimagining the Rural: Visions of Healing and Ecological Transformation from Rural China.” As He explains, “One of the biggest challenges faced by China today, under the surface of its economic achievement, is its glaring urban-rural divide. . . . What is the future for the Chinese countryside and those who wish to live there? How can we revitalize rural communities in a sustainable way?” For her Kellogg project, advised by Professor Elizabeth Morrison, the religion major plans to conduct research in three rural Chinese communities, document the perspectives of the Chinese “back-to-the-landers,” and produce a research paper comparing the current eco-village movement in China with the localist movement in Vermont. 

Ellie Simon ’19.5, an independent scholar, will examine how men and women comedians are approaching the topic of sexual assault as a means to analyze the currently evolving norms within comedy and, by extension, daily discourse. “Specifically,” Simon writes in her proposal, “I will explore the questions: How are men vs. women comedians treating the topic of sexual assault-themed jokes? And how does audience reaction to sexual assault jokes establish new boundaries of what is and is not funny?” Simon, the founder of Middlebury College’s only satirical newspaper, the Local Noodle, which appears both in print and online, is excited to study “comedy not as the subject, but as the frame—a way to understand the larger social context of changing gender norms through a focus on sexual assault humor and rape jokes.” Her advisor on the project is J Finley, assistant professor.

Angus Warren ’20, a dual major in history and classical studies, will devote the next six months to his project, titled “Evidence of Maritime Technology in Latin Literary Sources, 10th–13th Centuries,” which, as he explains in his Kellogg proposal, is an undertaking he conceived in 2018 while studying at Middlebury’s Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Oxford University. “I think it will be possible to comb the surviving sea-voyage narratives to locate details that may resolve some of the lingering technical questions confronting medieval maritime archaeology,” said Warren, who plans a return to England to complete his Kellogg project. His advisor is Professor of History Louisa Burnham.

Emma Zetterberg ’19.5 will travel to Sweden for her Kellogg fellowship to study the relationship between August Strindberg’s writing and his painting. World renowned as a playwright (Miss Julie) and novelist (The Red Room), Strindberg also turned to oil painting at different times during his life. “What interests me about Strindberg’s paintings is how they might seem to be in opposition to his playwriting. When working with the canvas he delighted in a more impressionistic style . . . devoid of any signs of human life, [while] his plays focus on relationships, society, and the nature of humanity.” As a joint major in theatre and art history, Zetterberg says the project will enable her to bring an interdisciplinary approach to Strindberg and his art. Her advisor is Erin Sassin, assistant professor of the history of art and architecture.

To be considered for a Kellogg Fellowship, undergraduates must propose research that “engages in philosophical inquiry in the humanities and areas of humanistic study, broadly defined, including but not limited to philosophy, religion, classics, history, history of art and architecture, film and media culture studies, languages, American studies, and English and American literatures."

Middlebury’s Kellogg fellows are selected by a committee composed of the dean for faculty research and development, the associate dean for fellowships and research, and Middlebury faculty members drawn from different disciplines within the humanities.

 

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