Visiting Speakers

Jessica Roda

Postdoctoral Fellow
Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council

Anthropologist and ethnomusicologist (Ph.D Paris Sorbonne-Université de Montréal), Jessica Roda currently serves as a postdoctoral fellow at the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Concordia University, Center for Ethnographic Research and Exhibition in the Aftermath of Violence). Her research interests include the subjects of kinship, religion, cultural heritage as well as intercultural and interreligious dialogue. During her residency at the Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University (Spring 2017), she will investigate ruptures and reconstruction of kinship ties among ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in New York City. Jessica has published widely including co-editing, along with Daniela Moisa, Heritage and Cultural Diversity (Presses de l’Université du Québec, 2015). Her forthcoming book Se réinventer au présent. L’expérience judéo-espagnole en France, famille, communauté et patrimoine musical, which won the UQÀM-Respatrimoni prize, is to be published by the University of Rennes Press in 2017. Jessica is a regular presenter at academic conferences, community gatherings, and cultural events.

Barbara Savage

Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought
University of Pennsylvania

Barbara D. Savage is an historian and the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought in the Departments of Africana Studies of the University of Pennsylvania where she has taught since 1995. She was a member of the University’s History Department from 1995-2013. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in twentieth century African American history; the history of American religious and social reform movements; and the history of the relationship between media and politics. Her most recent book, Your Spirits Walk Beside Us: The Politics of Black Religion (Harvard University Press, 2008), is an historical examination of debates about the public responsibility of black churches and the role of religion in racial leadership.

Maria Semi

Fellow
University of Göttingen
Lichtenberg-Kolleg / Historic Observatory

Maria Semi is a scholar of eighteenth-century music and science. Her research areas include the history of ideas; philosophy and aesthetics of music; reception and translation of ancient Greek theories of music in the eighteenth century; music perception and experience; and music and science. Her book, Music as a Science of Mankind in Eighteenth Century Britain, was published by Ashgate in 2012.

James Shapiro

Larry Miller Professor of English
Columbia University

Professor Shapiro is author of Rival Playwrights: Marlowe, Jonson, Shakespeare (1991); Shakespeare and the Jews (1995), which was awarded the Bainton Prize; Oberammergau: The Troubling Story of the World's Most Famous Passion Play (2000); 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare (2005), winner of the Theatre Book Prize as well as the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize; and Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? (2010), winner of the Lionel Trilling Award in 2011.

Tobin Miller Shearer

Associate Professor of History; Director, African American Studies Program
University of Montana

Tobin Miller Shearer is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Montana where he also directs the African-American Studies Program. He has written widely on issues of race, religion, whiteness, and the civil rights movement. His most recent book is Two Weeks Every Summer: Fresh Air Children and the Problem of Race in America (Cornell, 2017).  

Owen Sheers

Professor in Creativity
Swansea University

Owen Sheers is an author, poet and playwright. He has published two poetry collections, The Blue Book and Skirrid Hill which won a Somerset Maugham Award. His debut prose work The Dust Diaries, a non-fiction narrative set in Zimbabwe won the Welsh Book of the Year 2005. Owen’s first novel, Resistance has been translated into eleven languages. Owen co-wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation, released in the UK in 2011. In 2009 he published the novella White Ravens, a contemporary response to the myth of Branwen Daughter of Llyr, as part of Seren’s ‘New Stories from the Mabinogion’ series. His latest novel, I Saw A Man, will be published in the UK, US and Canada in June 2015, and in territories across Europe from September 2015.

Jessica Simon

PhD Candidate
Columbia University

Jessica Simon is a Ph.D student in the Subcommittee on Theatre and English and Comparative Literature where her interests include melodrama, the interrelation of theatre and the novel, and theories of emotion and physiology in the Victorian period. She’s in the midst of writing her dissertation on how Victorian critics and writers imagined the transmission of affect and emotion across different mediums to audiences. She received her M.A. from the University of Chicago and her B.F.A. from New York University. Jessica has also taught two years of University Writing. Her specialties include: research strategies, brainstorming, organization, University Writing, humanities writing, and thesis writing.

Gabriela Soto Laveaga

Professor of the History of Science
Harvard university

Professor Gabriela Soto Laveaga’s interests are history of science, knowledge production, circulation of knowledge, history of medicine and public health. She is currently finishing a book project which examines public health and social movements in 1960s Mexico City. Her next research project examines the scientific connections between Mexico and India in the mid-twentieth century. She has a forthcoming publication entitled Rural Health Care and Politics in 1970s Mexico. Her most recent publication, Jungle Laboratories: Mexican Peasants, National Projects, and the Making of The Pill (Duke University Press, 2009), was the winner of the 2010 Robert K. Merton Best Book Award in Science, Knowledge and Technology from the American Sociological Association.