Meet Our Long-Term Fellows | Newberry

Meet Our Long-Term Fellows

2022-23 Long-Term Fellows

Giovanna Benadusi
Mellon Foundation Fellow

Giovanna Benadusi is Professor of History at the University of South Florida and a historian of early modern Europe with concentration on Grand Ducal Tuscany. Her work ranges in focus from gendered models of political power to social and cultural practices of marriage and family, class and gender representation in the law, and the day-to-day negotiations and conflicts between rulers and subjects in the formation of early modern Italian states. She is the author of A Provincial Elite in Early Modern Tuscany: Family and Power in the Creation of the State and Medici Women: The Making of a Dynasty in Gran Ducal Tuscany (co-edited with Judith Brown). Her writing has also appeared in venues like the American Historical Review, Social History, and Nuova Rivista Storica.

While in residence at the Newberry, Benadusi will work on a book project that addresses seventeenth-century Tuscan women’s local and everyday engagement with the law by concentrating on last wills and testaments, the legal, spatial, and social dynamics associated with them, and the people that that took part in producing them, namely notaries and their clients. Women’s engagement with the law was not just structured by the legal restrictions on property and inheritance; it was also rooted in local social and cultural practices and relationships that turned last wills into dynamic arenas about life and the living. In last wills, through their narrative legacies, early modern women, whether they were property-less servants, peasants, artisans, or members of the lesser professional elites, emerged from the civic and legal margins in which they lived, thrusted themselves into existing social and political discourses, negotiated gendered dialectics of power and powerlessness, family and labor relations, and generated a legal literacy that gave meaning to the ordinary, the everyday, that which society took for granted. Understanding the formation and implication of this local legal culture reframes the history of women’s understanding of law and contribution in creating community and identity.

Wendy Castenell
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow

Leslie Harris
David L. Wagner Distinguished Fellow

Leslie M. Harris is Professor of History and African American Studies at Northwestern University. A specialist in Pre-Civil War African American history, she has authored or co-edited five books, including In the Shadow of Slavery: African Americans in New York City (2003) and most recently Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies (2019, with James T. Campbell and Alfred L. Brophy). Harris has also participated in a number of public history projects, including the award-winning Slavery in New York exhibition (2005-2007) at the New-York Historical Society, and the accompanying book (with Ira Berlin); the re-interpretation of the urban slave quarters at Telfair Museum’s Owens-Thomas House in Savannah, Georgia, which included the edited volume Slavery and Freedom in Savannah (2013, with Daina Ramey Berry); and the interactive website “People Not Property” with Historic Hudson Valley (, 2019).

While at the Newberry, Leslie will complete Leaving New Orleans: A Personal Urban History, a book that combines memoir with family, urban and environmental histories to explore the multiple meanings of New Orleans from its founding through its uncertain future amid climate change.

Harris received her undergraduate degree at Columbia and her doctoral degree at Stanford. Before moving to Northwestern, she taught for 21 years at Emory University. Her work has also been supported by the Harvard Radcliffe Institute, the Mellon and Ford Foundations, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Texas, and the University of Maryland.

Ren Heintz
Richard H. Brown/William Lloyd Barber Fellow

Ren Heintz is an Assistant Professor of English at California State University, Los Angeles, and they are also the Director of the Center for the Study of Genders and Sexualities. They received their PhD in English from the University of California, San Diego. Ren’s scholarship has been supported by the Mellon Foundation and ACLS. Their work is published in GLQ: A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies, American Quarterly, Studies in American Fiction, Feminist Media Histories, and forthcoming in the edited collection The New Nineteenth-Century American Literary Studies for Cambridge University Press.

Ren is currently working on a book manuscript entitled, Queer Attachments: Sex, Desire, and Racism in Early America.

As a Newberry Fellow, Ren will be completing research and drafting chapters for their book project, Queer Attachments: Sex, Desire, and Racism in Early America. This project explores queer sexual practices and nonnormative gendered embodiments that emerged from slavery and settler colonialism in the U.S. and Caribbean. My study illuminates how anti-black and anti-native racism produced the conditions that not only rendered Black and Brown people as sexual and gender deviant, but also allowed for queer sexual exploitation. Queer Attachments argues that whites engaged in queer sexual and gendered violence without the stigma of racist practice making its way into the history or genealogy of white queer sexuality. At the Newberry Library, Ren will be conducting research in the Newberry’s holdings of print copies of nineteenth-century slave narratives, their extensive collection of plantation diaries kept by white southern plantation owners and mistresses, as well as the Newberry’s holdings of race scientist Lorenzo Fowler’s studies in phrenology. Finally, Ren is looking forward to collaborating with the Newberry fellows cohort!

Craig Koslofsky
Audrey Lumsden-Kouvel Fellow

Craig Koslofsky is Professor of History and Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. A first-generation college student, he earned his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1994. His publications in early modern German, European, and Atlantic history include Kulturelle Reformation: Sinnformationen im Umbruch 1400-1600, edited with Bernhard Jussen (1999) and The Reformation of the Dead: Death and Ritual in Early Modern Germany, 1450-1700, which appeared in 2000. His award-winning study on the night in early modern Europe, Evening’s Empire, was completed as a long-term fellow at the Newberry Library in 2009-10 and published by Cambridge University Press in 2011. More recently he and Roberto Zaugg published A German Barber-Surgeon in the Atlantic Slave Trade: The Seventeenth-Century Journal of Johann Peter Oettinger, a translation of the only known German-language account of a slaving voyage from this period. In early 2023 Penn State University Press will published a collection of essays on the history of skin he and Katherine Dauge-Roth of Bowdoin College have edited. Stigma: Marking Skin in the Early Modern World contains essays on tattooing, branding, cosmetics, and other aspects of skin marking.

Professor Koslofsky is looking forward to spending the fall semester 2022 at the Newberry Library in Chicago and spring 2023 as the Fowler Hamilton Visiting Fellow at Christ Church, University of Oxford. He’ll be working on his current book project The Deep Surface: Skin in the Early Modern World, 1450–1750. His study locates the origins of modern ideas about skin color and race at the intersection of early modern European, African, and American ways of understanding skin. It will show how the widespread, honorable, and aesthetic skin marking practices of the societies of precolonial West Africa and the Americas (scarification, tattooing, dyeing, and piercing) challenged the European belief that deliberate, permanent marks on the skin showed dishonor and stigma. By starting with pre-contact West African and Native American skin marking, his project develops a new perspective on the key hybrid dermal practices spawned by Atlantic slavery and European colonization, such as the branding of enslaved persons and the rise of legal categories tied to skin color such as “Negro” or “white.” Ranging from branding, blushing, tattooing, and reports of West African “country marks” to theological, medical, and legal discussions about whiteness or the effect of climate on skin color, The Deep Surface examines the two fundamental dermal projects of the early modern period: marking skin and knowing skin. In 2018 work on The Deep Surface was supported by a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Naa Oyo Kwate
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow

Naa Oyo A. Kwate is Associate Professor at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, jointly appointed in the Department of Africana Studies and the Department of Human Ecology. A psychologist by training, she is an interdisciplinary scholar with wide ranging interests in racial inequality, neighborhoods, and African American health. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, and others. Her first monograph, White Burgers, Black Cash: Fast Food from Black Exclusion to Exploitation, will be published by the University of Minnesota Press in spring of 2023.

As a Long-Term Fellow, Kwate will conduct research for her next book project, a comprehensive investigation of the health and social impact of corner liquor stores in Black urban life. The Newberry’s collections will enable close study of the multiple and often conflicting factors that have characterized liquor store operations and change in Chicago. Although research has shown liquor stores to be disproportionately dense in Black neighborhoods, this project will tackle a little-explored topic: how they have served as a site for the enactment and reproduction of racial hierarchy.

Marisa Libbon
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow

Marisa Libbon is Associate Professor of Literature at Bard College. She researches and writes about the literature of medieval England and the paleography and codicology of manuscript-books. Her first book, Talk and Textual Production in Medieval England (Ohio State University Press, 2021), argues that anyone with a voice, regardless of literacy or proximity to books, could be integral to textual production. Using Richard I (r. 1189–99) as an exemplary subject of England’s widespread public discourse or “talk” during the 13th through 15th centuries, the book identifies sites of talk, develops methodologies for talk’s recovery, and constructs a literary history for Richard that attends to the spaces between extant texts, such as the Middle English romance Richard Coeur de Lion.

Her second book and the subject of her work at the Newberry, The Medieval Rumor Mill: Technology, Labor, and the Circulation of Popular Culture, combines literary criticism with visual studies, book history, and the history of knowledge. Like her first book, it seeks to develop methodologies to excavate gaps in the archive and reveal the contributions and experiences of elided voices and bodies. Scholarly theories about England’s secular popular culture in the high and late Middle Ages have often been based on medieval institutions such as libraries, government offices, and monasteries, but to recover the common cultural architecture of medieval experience Libbon turns instead to a technology—the windmill—that was radically new in 12th-century England. As an object, it mechanized production and taxed the bodies of those consigned to labor. As an idea, it was contested among all classes. And as a potent visual and rhetorical image, it was seized by England’s rebels, preachers, and poets to disrupt old structures of class, labor, and power and imagine new ones in their places.

Emily MacGillvray
Lloyd Lewis Fellow in American History

Emily Macgillivray is an Assistant Professor of Native American Studies and the Faculty Curator for the Native American Museum in the Indigenous Cultures Center at Northland College. Her research focuses on gender and women’s histories, Indigenous histories, and North American borderlands, with a focus on the Great Lakes region. She received her PhD from the University of Michigan in 2017 where her research was funded by the American Philosophical Society, the Newberry Library, and the Institute for Humanities at the University of Michigan. Her work has been published in the Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality, Detroit: A People’s Atlas, and Social Histoire/Social History.

At the Newberry, she will be working on her book project titled Navigating the Currents: Gender, Indigeneity, and Property in the Borderland Great Lakes, 1750 to 1850. This project examines the relationships between gender, Indigeneity, politics, and property during Anglo-American expansion in the Great Lakes region when borders were in flux and porous. She focuses on a group of Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe women who worked to acquire property while navigating literally and figuratively through the political turbulence of the fur trade era in the borderland Great Lakes. These women played central roles in the economics and politics of the region, including working as traders, producers of goods, diplomats, interpreters, and messengers during major political events, including the French and Indian War, the American Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and treaty councils.

Miguel Martinez
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow

Miguel Martínez (PhD The Graduate Center, CUNY) is Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of Chicago. His research focuses on the cultural and literary histories of the early modern Iberian world. He is the author of Front Lines. Soldiers’ Writing in the Early Modern Hispanic World (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016), which explored the writing and reading practices of the Spanish popular soldiery in both the Old and the New World. More recently he has published Comuneros. El rayo y la semilla (1520-1521) (Hoja de Lata, 2021), a new history of Castile’s Comunero uprising in 1520 and its modern intellectual and political legacies. He is also the author of a critical edition and thorough rereading of Catalina de Erauso’s Vida y sucesos de la Monja Alférez (Clásicos Castalia, 2021) that aimed at bringing together philology, autobiography studies, and trans history.

At the Newberry, Miguel Martínez will be working on Third New World. Manila’s Literary Culture and the Global Baroque, a book project that attempts to examine the cultural practices of both Manila’s colonial elites and the city’s multiracial third estate as conflicting Baroque vernaculars that brought together, in productive tension, the local and the global.

Florin-Stefan Morar
Evelyn Dunbar and Ruth Dunbar Davee Fellow

Musicologist Nancy Newman is Associate Professor at University at Albany–SUNY, where she chaired the Department of Music and Theatre 2014–2019. She is author of Good Music for a Free People: The Germania Musical Society in Nineteenth Century America (University of Rochester Press, 2010). Additional work on the orchestra includes the book chapter, “Gender and the Germanians: ‘Art-Loving Ladies’ in 19th-Century Concert Life” (University of Chicago Press, 2012). Her American Musicological Society co-sponsored lecture on digitized sheet music collections at the Library of Congress can be viewed here.

A joint faculty member in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Nancy recently completed an essay that considers Alma Mahler-Werfel from the perspective of the #MeToo movement. Other research interests include the films of Judy Holliday, Björk, and the 1950s musical, The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T. She is currently completing a critical edition, Songs and Sounds of the Anti-Rent Movement in Antebellum Upstate New York, for SUNY Press.

As Rudolph Ganz Fellow, Nancy will research her book, “CMC and the Quest for Social Harmony: The Chicago Musical College’s First Hundred Years, 1867–1967.” Participation in the Newberry’s 2019 NEH Summer Institute, “Making Modernism: Literature and Culture in Chicago, 1893–1955,” provided essential grounding for the project, which is also informed by years of piano study with Dr. Ganz’s student, Adrian Goldman.

Miriam Wendling
Richard H. Brown/William Lloyd Barber and Mellon Foundation Fellow

Miriam Wendling is a post-doctoral research associate at KU Leuven. She received her PhD from the University of Cambridge and previously held post-doctoral scholarships in Hamburg, Germany. Her recent work has focused broadly on medieval music and death, including a large-scale study of plainchant masses for the dead and a study on death rituals in female monastic communities.

While in residence at the Newberry, she will work on her book project, tentatively entitled, Translating Liturgy: Late Medieval Dutch-language Rubrics for Women’s Communities. This project considers the production of liturgical books with vernacular rubrics for use by women religious in Dutch-speaking Europe. By studying the Latin to Dutch translations in these books, she examines how the preparation of new rubrics in situations where the liturgies of individual monastic orders and congregations demanded conformity provided an opportunity to codify the practices of individual houses.

Molly Yarn
The Monticello College Foundation Fellowship for Women and Mellon Foundation Fellow

Molly G. Yarn holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge. Her first book, Shakespeare’s ‘Lady Editors’: A New History of the Shakespearean Text, was published in 2022 by Cambridge University Press. She is also a co-editor of the revised edition of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Complete Works (general eds. Bate and Rasmussen; Bloomsbury Publishing, 2022). Her work on women editors has appeared in multiple edited collections, and she has been awarded research fellowships at the University of Chicago Special Collections, Yale’s Beinecke Library, and the Houghton Library at Harvard. She also writes regularly for digital venues; as the digital curator of the Rasmussen Hines Collection, she shares both short and long-form pieces on the collection’s items via the RHC’s Twitter feed and website, while recent guest posts for other blogs cover topics ranging from early modern women book owners to modern academic precarity. A life-long theatre practitioner, she has worked with multiple professional companies, including Jermyn Street Theatre (London) and Theatre for a New Audience (NYC).

At the Newberry, Yarn will be working on her new book, focused on women printers in the London book trade during the English Civil Wars and Interregnum. This project will explore an extended network of women printers, all connected through business, family, and friendship. Despite revolution, war, and economic upheaval, these women ran successful printing houses and contributed to the production of many iconic books, including editions of William Shakespeare, Francis Beaumont, John Fletcher, John Milton, and Margaret Cavendish. Drawing on archival research, social network analysis, and the evidence of material texts, the resulting book will be a vivid, humanist portrait of women’s lives and labors in seventeenth-century London.