Our Current Fellows

Internal Fellows

Ben Baker (spring 2025)

Assistant Professor, Music Theory, Eastman School of Music

John Givens (spring 2025)

Professor, Modern Languages & Cultures


Cilas Kemedjio (fall 2024)

Professor, Modern Languages & Cultures


tingtingxu.jpgTingting Xu (fall 2024)

Assistant Professor, Art & Art History

Tingting Xu’s research centers on the medium, format, and related discourses in Chinese art. As a fellow in Fall 2024, she aims to complete her book manuscript on the practices and ontology of early Chinese photography. This manuscript views photography against the backdrop of the still ongoing radical political and cultural transformations that have been transpiring in the process of China’s dramatic self-refashioning from an imperial empire to a modern society. It unearths the multifarious understandings of what is “true” about the photographs at the incipient stage of its history in China, or, put more philosophically, the ontological question of the being of photography in different cultural contexts from the 1860s to the 1910s. Her second project explores new methods of conceptualizing the surface, depth, and depths of East Asian pictorial art through the folding formats, especially the accordion format. Xu’s articles have appeared in History of Photography, Archives of Asian Art, Yishu, in addition to edited volumes in both English and Chinese. She was assistant curator of the exhibition Power and Perspective: Early Photography in China, held at the Peabody Essex Museum in 2022-23 and a main contributor to its eponymous publication (Yale University Press, 2022) which won the 2024 Bei Shan Tang Catalogue Prize, awarded by the Association for Asian Studies.

External Postdoctoral Fellows

catlin.jpgJonathon Catlin

“Thinking against Catastrophe: A Concept in Twentieth-Century European Thought"

Jonathon Catlin is a modern European intellectual historian who will join the Humanities Center as a postdoctoral associate in September 2023, after earning his PhD in History and the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities at Princeton. His dissertation is a history of the concept of catastrophe in twentieth-century European thought, from the First World War to climate change, with a focus on German and Jewish thinkers including the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. Jonathon’s research has been supported by a Fulbright Research Grant to Germany, where he was a visiting researcher at Berlin’s Center for Literary and Cultural Studies, and, most recently, by the Berlin Program at Freie Universität Berlin. His work has been published in History and Theory, Memory Studies, Radical Philosophy, Antisemitism Studies, and edited volumes about Zygmunt Bauman and environmental apocalypse. He has also written on topics including Holocaust memory, the Covid pandemic, and representations of climate catastrophe for a number of popular venues, including the Los Angeles Review of Books, Public Seminar, HuffPost, The Point, The Spectator, and the Journal of the History of Ideas Blog, where he is a contributing editor. Jonathon holds a BA in Jewish Studies and Fundamentals: Issues and Texts from the University of Chicago and an MA in Philosophy from KU Leuven in Belgium.

fadok-2.jpegRichard Fadok

"Animal House: Space, Species, and Subjectivity in the United States"

Richard Fadok is an anthropologist of design and multispecies ethnographer. He is currently a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, where he holds dual appointments with the Wolf Humanities Center and the Department of Anthropology. He received his doctorate in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; his master’s degree in Biomedicine, Bioscience, and Society from the London School of Economics; and two bachelor’s degrees in Neuroscience and Science, Technology, and Society from Brown University. His writings have appeared in The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Domus, Noema, PlatypusNature Remade: Engineering Life, Envisioning Worlds (University of Chicago Press), and Teaching and Learning Anthropology. During his fellowship with the Humanities Center at the University of Rochester, Richard will be working on two ethnographic projects about contemporary ecological design in the United States. The first, Lifelike, explores how the design practice of biomimicry signals a shift in the relationships between nature, labor, and capital. Animal House, the second, examines the confluence of space, power, and species in built environments designed for urban wildlife. Together, his work asks how climate change and other environmental crises are altering the meaning of design.