Unit for Criticism Faculty Fellowship Awards, 2018-20

We are delighted to announce the recipients of the 2018-20 Unit for Criticism & Interpretive Theory Faculty Fellowships. 

For the first time, recipients of the Senior Faculty Fellowship will also receive funds to organize a manuscript workshop to support the publication of their book projects. I am grateful to Susan Martinis, Vice-Chancellor for Research, for her continued support for and expansion of this fellowship program.

Unit for Criticism Junior Faculty Fellowship

Clara Bosak-Schroeder (Classics)

Other Natures: Environmental Encounters with Ancient Greek Ethnography

Other Natures investigates the relational environmental discourse of Greek ethnographies, descriptions of non-Greek lands and peoples, and its enduring presence in museums of natural history. This pre-Platonic strand of Greek thought enmeshes humans with the rest of nature and imagines different relationships between humans and other species. Like the non-binary theories posthumanists and new materialists now pursue, ancient Greek ethnography affirms that human life and well-being are inextricable from the life and well-being of the nonhuman world. At the same time, Greek writers challenge thinkers in the environmental humanities by showing how humans can pursue self-interest ethically.


Lila Adib Sharif (Asian American Studies)


Olive is a book about 21st century settler-colonialism. Specifically, it connects displacement, land conquest, and memory with the politics of everyday survival for Palestinians located in Palestine and the West, through the optic of the olive. Through multi-sited ethnography, I trace the olive from the moment it is harvested in the West Bank to its circulation to the West—linking the West Bank to olive destination sites like San Francisco—in order to analyze what is enabled by market inclusion for indigenous people, and the violence that is muted in the process. I also conduct close readings of cultural texts including cookbooks, labels, advertisement literature, and brochures for olive commodities, in order to analyze the relationships between neoliberal market inclusion, displacement and memory, and Western settler colonialisms.

Unit for Criticism Senior Faculty Fellowship

Anustup Basu (English)

Hindutva and Advertised Modernization

This is a genealogical study of right-wing Hindu nationalist efforts to devolve a monotheistic political theology in the one God-one Book-one flock Abrahamic model. This was deemed a precondition for the emergence of a Hindu nation with a uniform brotherhood of citizens. This utopian project involved telescoping the immense pluralities of culture, caste and pieties in the subcontinent into a singular axiomatic. In the second part of the book, I examine a late twentieth century mediatic project that has replaced, to a great degree, a prior literary one. It proposes a spectral nation and a normative Hindu peopleness.


David Wilson (Geography)

Toward a Refined Racial Economy Perspective: Gentrification and Political Resistance in Chicago’s South Side Blues Clubs

As Chicago’s poor, largely African American South Side residents negotiate the rise of something unexpected, gentrification, subterranean processes of resistance are alive and well. This proposed research, with two goals, firstly restructures and advances an interdisciplinary theoretical perspective, racial economy, and second, uses it to unveil the nuances and intimacies of this resistance politics. Firstly, I seek to critically “spatialize” the racial economy perspective in a new and novel way, drawing on the work of Ed Soja, Neil Smith, Doreen Massey, and other “scholars of space” around their articulations of the power of discursive space as this is used in narratives. Secondly, this revisionist perspective is applied to understand a new politics having gained a foothold in Rust Belt subaltern environments generally, and these blues clubs specifically, what Ananya Roy calls a politics of emplacement, which we know too little about. To accomplish these goals, the proposed research interrogates everyday social engagements in two current blues clubs in South Chicago, Linda’s Place and the New Apartment Lounge.