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Current Fellows 2014-2015



Negar Azimi
The Shahbanou and the Iranian Avant-Garde

Negar Azimi’s writing has appeared in Artforum, Frieze, The Nation, The New York Review of Books blog, and The New York Times Magazine, among other publications. Since 2004 Azimi has been Senior Editor at Bidoun, an award-winning arts and culture magazine with a focus on the Middle East and its diaspora.  She sits on the board of Artists Space in New York, is a member of the Arab Image Foundation in Beirut, and has received an Arts Writers Grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. At the Cullman Center she will work on a book about the 1960s and ‘70s in Iran.


Deborah Coen
Dynamic Empire: Climate and Circulation in Late Imperial Austria

Deborah Coen is Associate Professor of History at Barnard College, Columbia University, where she teaches modern European history and the history of science. She is the author of Vienna in the Age of Uncertainty: Science, Liberalism, and Private Life, which won, among other awards, the Austrian Cultural Forum's book prize, and of The Earthquake Observers: Disaster Science from Lisbon to Richter. At the Cullman Center she will be working on a history of climate science and the politics of scale in nineteenth-century central Europe.


Carlos Dada
The United States, Archbishop Romero and the Salvadoran Death Squads

Carlos Dada is the founder and editor of El Faro, an online news site based in San Salvador. A Knight Fellow at Stanford in 2005 and a member of the Cabot Prizes Board at Columbia University, Dada has received the Maria Moors Cabot Award and the Internazionale Premio Anna Politkovskaja Award, among other prizes. His journalism has focused on war crimes and impunity. During his stay at the Cullman Center he will be working on a book about the killing of Archbishop Oscar Romero and the death squads in El Salvador in the 1980s.


Photo by Sandy Tait
Hal Foster
Bathetic, Brutal, Banal: Strategies of Survival in 20th-Century Art

Hal Foster is Townsend Martin Class of 1917 Professor of Art & Archaeology at Princeton University. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is a winner of the Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing and the Frank Jewett Mather Award for Art Criticism, and a regular contributor to The London Review of Books, Artforum, and October (which he co-edits). His most recent books are The Art-Architecture Complex and The First Pop Age: Painting and Subjectivity in the Art of Hamilton, Lichtenstein, Warhol, Richter, and Ruscha. At the Cullman Center he will work on a book that explores the enigmatic thesis of Walter Benjamin that modernism “teaches us to outlive culture, if need be.”  


Keith Gessen
Russia, a novel

Keith Gessen is a founder of the literary magazine n+1 and the author of All the Sad Young Literary Men. From the Russian he has translated Ludmilla Petrushevskaya and Kirill Medvedev, and has written about Russian politics and culture for The New Yorker, The London Review of Books, and n+1. At the Cullman Center he will be working on his second novel, Russia.


Kenneth Gross
Time’s Ear: An Essay on the Lyric

Kenneth Gross is the Alan F. Hilfiker Distinguished Professor of English at Rochester University. His numerous books include The Dream of the Moving Statue, Shakespeare’s Noise, Shylock is Shakespeare, and, most recently, Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life, co-winner of the 2011-2012 George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism. While at the Cullman Center he will be working on a book about the nature of lyric poetry, about the strange games lyric poetry plays with our ways of listening and knowing, how it survives in time and memory.


Photo by Eric Antoniou
Megan Marshall
Ebe: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Forgotten Sister
The Gilder Lehrman Fellow

Megan Marshall, an Associate Professor in the MFA program at Emerson college, is the author of Margaret Fuller: A New American Life,  which won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Biography, and The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism,  which also won several prizes..  Marshall’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Slate, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and The London Review of Books, among other publications. At the Cullman Center Marshall will be writing a biography of Elizabeth Hawthorne, known as “Ebe,” the brilliant, reclusive older sister of Nathaniel Hawthorne.


Photo by Elena Seibert
Ayana Mathis
Untitled Novel
The Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellow

Ayana Mathis is the author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, a 2013 New York Times Notable Book of the Year, an NPR Best Book of the Year, and a top selection for Oprah's Book Club 2.0.  Mathis's work has been published in The New York Times, The Financial Times, Esquire, and The New Yorker. While at the Cullman Center she will be working on a novel about a septuagenarian blues singer and her estranged daughter. 


Gerard Passannante
Earthquakes of the Mind: On Sudden Shakings, Invisible Worlds, and the Making of Renaissance Knowledge
The Mellon Foundation Fellow

Gerard Passannante is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the author of The Lucretian Renaissance: Philology and the Afterlife of Tradition, which was awarded the American Comparative Literature Association’s 2014 Harry Levin Prize, and numerous articles on Renaissance literature, science, and intellectual history. At the Cullman Center he will be working on a book that explores the entanglements of natural disaster and the speculative imagination. 


Kim Phillips-Fein
Fear City: The New York City Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of the Age of Austerity

Kim Phillips-Fein is Associate Professor at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University, where she teaches twentieth-century American political history. She is the author of Invisible Hands: The Businessmen's Crusade Against the New Deal. At the Cullman Center she will be writing a book about New York City's near-bankruptcy in 1975, the impact of the cutbacks to public institutions—including the city's libraries—that resulted from the fiscal crisis, and the transformation of the city between the 1970s and today. 


Steven Pincus
The Origins of the British Empire c. 1650-1784
The Birkelund Fellow

Steven Pincus is Bradford Durfee professor of History and of Area and International Studies at Yale. He specializes in early modern British, European, and Atlantic History, and is the author of 1688: The First Modern Revolution, which The Economist named one of the best books on history published in 2009.   Pincus will spend the Cullman Center fellowship year researching and writing a book on the origins of the British Empire.


Jordi Puntí
The Century of Mr. Cugat, a novel

Jordi Puntí is an author, translator, and regular contributor to the Catalan and Spanish press. He lives in Barcelona and has published two collections of short stories and a memoir about his childhood in an industrial town in Spain in the 1970s. His first novel, Lost Luggage, was translated into sixteen languages and won the Spanish National Critics’ Award, the Catalan Booksellers Prize, and the Lletra d’Or. At the Cullman Center Puntí will be working on a novel inspired by the life of the musician Xavier Cugat. 


Dash Shaw
The David Ferriero Fellow

Dash Shaw is a graphic novelist and animator. His most recent book, New School, was named one of the best books of 2013 by NPR. Shaw’s previous works include BodyWorld and Bottomless Belly Button, and the animations Seraph and Wheel of Fortune.  At the Cullman Center he will work on a graphic novel about a Quaker soldier during the American Civil War.


Photo by Simon Crowley
Justin Torres
Yesterday is Here, a novel

Justin Torres is the author of We the Animals, which has been translated into fourteen languages. He has published short fiction in The New Yorker, Harper's, Granta, Tin House, The Washington Post, Glimmer Train, Flaunt, and other publications. He was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, and most recently a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The National Book Foundation named him one of 2012's 5 Under 35. He received a Rolón Fellowship in Literature from United States Artists and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. At the Cullman Center he will work on completing his second novel.


Michael Vazquez      
Untitled narrative nonfiction

A writer and curator, Michael C. Vazquez is a Senior Editor at Bidoun, an award-winning journal of art, culture, and ideas from the Middle East and elsewhere. Previously he edited Transition: An International Review, a general interest magazine about race, identity, and culture. He writes on food, art, music, and cultural diplomacy, and collaborates frequently with The Colloquium for Unpopular Culture at New York University. In early 2014 he was the curator-in-residence for “The Politics of Food” at the Delfina Foundation in London. At the Cullman Center he will be working on a book about the funding of Cold War culture and the emergence of “world literature” and “global art.”



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