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2013-15 Postdoctoral Fellows
in International Humanities

The Postdoctoral Fellows in International Humanities will explore and enhance Brown’s commitment to the humanities in an international context by teaching one class per semester, participating fully in the lives of their home departments, meeting at the Fellows' Seminars on a regular basis to discuss their work in progress, and convening a bi-weekly seminar on the humanities and the transnational university.

Patricia Lott
PhD, Northwestern University

Research Interest: Patricia holds a BA in English from Dillard University of New Orleans and an MA in African American Studies from the University of California/Berkeley. Her research interests include racial slavery, collective memory, critical geography, literary and performance culture, the philosophy of law, and public memorials. Her dissertation, “Bearing Witness to a History of Erasures and Traces: The Public Collective Memory of Racial Slavery in the Antebellum North,” uses some of the questions raised by contemporary archaeological unearthings of racial slavery’s historical presence in the US North to ground an investigation into how and why the institution largely was effaced from prevalent nineteenth-century commemorative practices in the region.

Amy Moran-Thomas
PhD, Princeton University

Research Interest: Amy’s research bridges medical and environmental anthropology (chronic disease, ecological change, nutrition and food insecurity) with ethnographic studies of science and technology (epigenetics, medical experiments, technology and kinship).  Her work, appearing in publications such as Annual Review of Anthropology (with João Biehl) and When People Come First: Critical Studies in Global Health (Princeton University Press 2013), examines metabolic and parasitic disorders as windows into health politics, lived experiences of environmental change, and the ethics of care more broadly.  Her current book project Metabola is an ethnographic account of the global diabetes epidemic.  As a Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities in Anthropology and Population Studies, she will teach in the areas of medical humanities, international health and humanitarianism, and ethnographic perspectives on environmental change.

Rafael Nájera
PhD, McGill University

Research Interest: Rafael's research focuses on conceptions of scientia (scientific knowledge) in the Middle Ages in the Latin West, both before and after thinkers had direct contact with Aristotle's philosophy of science, Aristotle's scientific works and Arabic commentaries starting in mid twelfth century. For his doctoral dissertation, Rafael studied thinkers like Hugh of St. Victor and Dominicus Gundissalinus, who do not seem to have studied or even read Aristotle's conception of scientific knowledge. These thinkers have a conception of scientia with strong Neoplatonic overtones, possibly influenced by Augustine's view of scientia as a path towards wisdom, the intellectual contemplation of God. For the continuation of his research project, Rafael is studying authors who did have access to Aristotle's scientific works with the main goal of determining the extent to which those Neoplatonic conceptions lingered on or at least made more palatable Neoplatonic interpretations of Aristotle by Arabic philosophers. As a Cogut Postdoctoral Fellow, Rafael will teach courses in Medieval Latin and Arabic Philosophy.

For more about Rafael, see

Elayne Oliphant
PhD, University of Chicago

Research Interest: Elayne is a visual anthropologist of religion, secularism, and the public sphere in Europe. Her research examines the flexible role occupied by Catholicism in secular institutions and cultural expressions of Western Europe. Elayne has explored how the categories of religion and secularism are applied in unequal ways to different religious symbols in the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, urban planning, and state funding of religious institutions. She is currently working on a book project that rethinks the current state of secularism in France through an examination of the transforming place of Catholic symbols and institutions in Paris.

Mayssun Succarie
PhD, University of California/Berkeley

Research Interest: Mayssun's research cover the Political Culture of Development in the Global South with focus on the Arab region. She also works on Social Politics of youth in the Global Economy.  She has taught for three years in the American University of Beirut in the departments of Sociology, Anthropology and Media Studies and The Center for Middle Eastern Studies. She also taught in the Anthropology department at the American University of Cairo. Last Spring, she was the ARCAPITA visiting Professor at the Middle East, South Asia and African Studies- MESAAS at Columbia University.