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Fellows and Their Topics for the Year 2006-2007


Mohammed Naseehu Ali
The Diary of an Orphan, a novel about polygamy
"Who/What is an African?" an essay about redefining African identity
A native of Ghana, Mohammed Naseehu Ali is a writer and musician. His fiction and essays have been published in The New YorkerThe New York TimesMississippi ReviewBombGathering of the Tribes, and Essence. Ali has composed original soundtracks for independent movies and was recently contracted to write music for DVD trivia games based on the blockbusters Shrek and Madagascar. A graduate of Bennington College, he lives in Brooklyn, New York.
David W. Blight is Class of 1954 Professor of American History and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University. His books include Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, which received seven book awards, including the Bancroft Prize, the Abraham Lincoln Prize, and the Frederick Douglass Prize; a book of essays, Beyond the Battlefield: Race, Memory, and the American Civil War; and Frederick Douglass's Civil War: Keeping Faith in Jubilee. He teaches summer institutes for secondary school teachers and for park rangers and historians in the National Park Service.
Sharon Cameron
Hope, But Not For Us
Sharon Cameron is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English at Johns Hopkins University. She has published six books of literary criticism and one novel, Beautiful Work: A Meditation on Pain. Her most recent critical books are Thinking in Henry JamesChoosing Not Choosing: Emily Dickinson's Fascicles; and Impersonality: Seven Essays, which will be published in November 2006. She has been a fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Ms. Cameron will be working on a series of essays that are an investigation into the nature of hope.
Will Eno
An untitled play
The playwright Will Eno has received fellowships from the Guggenheim and the Edward F. Albee Foundations, and has been a Helen Merrill Playwriting Fellow. His play THOM PAIN (based on nothing) opened in New York in January 2005 at the DR 2 Theatre. It was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in Drama and has since been performed in many different languages. In 2005-2006 he taught at Princeton University and held the Hodder Fellowship there. His plays are published by Oberon Books in London and by TCG in the United States. Mr. Eno will be working on a historical play about a genealogically defunct family, for which he will draw materials from the Milstein Division of U.S. History, Local History and Genealogy.
Biography of Carl Van Vechten
Clive Fisher is a former freelance journalist and critic turned full-time biographer who moved from England to New York in 1997. He has written arts journalism for various London publications including The TimesThe Financial TimesThe Daily TelegraphThe ObserverThe World of Interiors, and The Catholic Herald, and is now working on the authorized biography of Carl Van Vechten. He has published biographies of Noel Coward, Cyril Connolly, and Hart Crane. Mr. Fisher's subject, Carl Van Vechten, was a novelist, journalist, and key literary figure of the 20th century whose papers are archived in the Library's Manuscripts and Archives Division.
Harlem Nocturne: Black Women Artists in New York, 1938-1948
Farah Jasmine Griffin is Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African American Studies at Columbia University. She is the author of three books, "Who Set You Flowin'?:" The African-American Migration NarrativeIf You Can't Be Free, Be a Mystery: In Search of Billie Holiday; and the forthcoming Miles Davis and John Coltrane (tentative title). She has also edited and co-edited a number of volumes, including Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies.
Maya Jasanoff
Imperial Exiles: Loyalists in the British Empire
Maya Jasanoff is an assistant professor of history at the University of Virginia. Her work focuses on the history of the British Empire and dynamics of cross-cultural contact. She is the author of Edge of Empire: Lives, Culture, and Conquest in the East, 1750-1850, which won the 2005 Duff Cooper Prize. At the Cullman Center, she will be investigating the global diaspora of Loyalist refugees after the American Revolution, in Canada, the Caribbean, Britain, Sierra Leone, and South Asia.
Carla Kaplan
Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance
Carla Kaplan is Professor of English and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California. She has published four books, most recently Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters, which was a finalist for the NAACP Image Award and was listed as a notable book of the year by The New York Times. She is a member of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities and has been an NEH fellow, a fellow at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and will be a fellow at the DuBois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard in the academic year 2007-2008.
Ben Katchor
Up from the Stacks
Ben Katchor's picture-stories and drawings appear in the English-language Forward,Metropolis magazine, and The New Yorker. His books include Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer: StoriesThe Jew of New York; and The Beauty Supply District. His current weekly strip, "Shoehorn Technique," appears in the Forward and The Chicago Reader. He has received fellowships from the MacArthur and Guggenheim Foundations and was a fellow at The American Academy in Berlin. In 2004, he collaborated with composer Mark Mulcahy on two music-theater productions, The Slug Bearers of Kayrol Island and The Rosenbach Company. At the Center he will be working on a graphic novel set in The New York Public Library and its neighborhood.
James Miller
Examined Lives: From Socrates to Nietzsche
James Miller is Professor of Political Science and Liberal Studies at the New School for Social Research and also Editor of Dædalus, the journal of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. A former fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation, he has published five books, including two finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award,"Democracy is in the Streets": From Port Huron to the Siege of Chicago and The Passion of Michel Foucault.
James Shapiro
The Shakespeare Authorship Controversy
James Shapiro is Larry Miller Professor of English at Columbia University. He is the author of Rival Playwrights: Marlowe, Shakespeare, JonsonShakespeare and the Jews;Oberammergau: The Troubling Story of the World's Most Famous Passion Play; and, most recently, A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Huntington Library, and the Guggenheim Foundation.
Laurie Sheck
Archangel, a hybrid work centered around the un-named "monster" in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Laurie Sheck has published five books of poems, including The Willow Grove, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and Captivity, forthcoming in Spring 2007. She has received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and was a 2004-05 Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. She is currently a member of the MFA faculty at the New School.
Nelson Alexander Smith
Dumbbell & Haunt: The Lives, History, and Poetics of a New York Tenement
Nelson Smith is a freelance writer whose essays have appeared in The Baffler,Harper'sThe New York Times Magazine, and elsewhere. He has received the Richard J. Margolis Award for nonfiction writing and a fellowship in creative nonfiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts. At the Center he will be working on a personal narrative relating to the social and architectural history of the New York "dumbbell" tenement in which he has lived for the past twenty years.
Jeff Talarigo
Blurred by Exile–A Novel
Jeff Talarigo is the author of The Pearl Diver, which won the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Foundation Award. His second novel, The Ginseng Hunter, on North Korean refugees escaping into China, will be published in the summer of 2007. While at the Cullman Center, he will be working on a novel that will follow five characters from four generations of Palestinians exiled in Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Lebanon, New York, and the Italian island of Lampedusa.
Sean Wilentz
Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation Fellow
The Liberal Historians: Hofstadter, Woodward, Schlesinger
Sean Wilentz is George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton University. His many books on U.S. history and politics include The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln, which was awarded a Bancroft Prize in 2006. He is a contributing editor at The New Republic. The coeditor of a 2004 collection of essays and stories, The Rose & The Briar: Death, Love and Liberty in the American Ballad, Wilentz has written broadly on American music and Bob Dylan, which earned him both a Deems Taylor-ASCAP writing award and a Grammy nomination in 2005.