The CAH Fellows Program supports research and creative work in the arts and humanities by faculty and students. Each year a cohort of faculty and student fellows pursue projects funded by the CAH, develop collaborative programming based on those projects, and join each other in community-building both on and off campus.
We are pleased to announce our 2023-2024 cohort of CAH Faculty Fellows.
Jimia Boutouba (Modern Languages and Literatures) “ War, Race and Sexual Politics in French Indochina”
This two-part research project investigates French imperial history by tracing the crisscross colonial trajectories of people displaced across the French imperial map. Unsettling colonial cartography, the project attends to narratives of south-south encounters, transnational solidarities in the midst of anti-colonial wars, unexpected unions, invisibilized “métis” (mixed-raced) populations, and forced departures. The project draws on rare archival materials and testimonies from unknown and/or previously unheard minoritized perspectives: those of Black Asian children born during the war of Indochina (1946-1954), and accounts by North African sex workers who were brought to Indochina on a government-approved program of mobile prostitution to “service” combat and support soldiers overseas. In investigating these complex stories that emerge at the intersection of Asian, African, and French imperial histories, Prof. Boutouba’s project seeks to shed new light on the nexus of racial and sexual politics at the heart of French imperialism as well as center the perspectives and historical agency of minoritized trans-imperial groups whose voices and stories are seldom considered as legitimate historical records. To learn more about her work, click here.
Hsin-I Cheng (Communication)“ Bridging the Digital and Physical Spaces: Furthering Black and Asian Solidarity”
The Asian-Black Relationality Project stems from Prof. Cheng’s 2022 publication on the theoretical concept of relational citizenship. From 2022 to 2023, a collaboration between SCU students and former colleagues built the Asian & Black Alliances (ABA) website— a multilingual website highlighting historical and cultural interactions between these two racial groups, which also includes individual and organizational voices to illustrate how such solidarity-building is a continuous process. This project further bridges cyber (i.e., website) and physical (i.e., face-to-face interactions) spaces. Prof. Cheng will build a team of educators/collaborators to generate mini-lesson plans based on the website and host public forums to share these plans and discuss Black-Asian relationality. To learn more about her work click here.
Elizabeth Drescher (Religious Studies) “Seeing Spirits of Silicon Valley in Place: Mural Art as Memory, Identity, Resistance, Solidarity, and Transformation in San José, CA”
Urban corporate development projects reconfigure neighborhoods in complexly entangled cultural, economic, political, social, and, not least, aesthetic ways. One facet of this reconfiguration is marked through mural art in neighborhoods most directly impacted by urban development. Murals, described as “the people’s art” and collectively curated as “museums of the streets,” often foreground religious content as resources for resistance, solidarity, and transformation in the face of corporate- and government-sponsored remaking of neighborhoods according to a social aesthetic of generic placelessness. Prof. Drescher’s project will explore the place of mural art in San José, reading murals as artifacts of the ongoing struggle for spatial justice between local residents and small businesses grappling with gentrification and displacement and corporate developers, government leaders, city planners, and tech workers who will work and live in redeveloped San José neighborhoods. Click here to learn more about the murals that inspired the project.
Christina Zanfagna (Music) “Black-Italian Crossroads: Racial Tensions, Social Solidarities, and Sonic Affinities”
From the influence of North African music in Southern Italy to contemporary “hip-wop” in the U.S., Prof. Zanfanga’s project explores Black-Italian musical affinities and racial tensions. Exposing the local and transnational contact zones between Black and Italian communities, this collaborative project will interrogate their overlapping histories of migration and cultural assimilation as well as racial and ethnic exclusion. These submerged histories of interracial musical exchange reveal new understandings of how race and music intersect as they disrupt the dominant polarized optics of race in American popular music (i.e. Black/White) that are often based on notions of racial essentialism. Work during the fellowship period will focus on the Black-Italian nexus in early 20th-century New Orleans jazz and Italian American female pop stars' appropriation of Black musical and dance styles such as voguing and gangsta rap.
An exciting part of these projects is how they will engage with students, faculty, and community partners. Stay tuned for more details about these collaborations.
We are pleased to announce our 2022-2023 cohort of CAH Student Fellows.
Natalia Cantu ‘24, DH student fellow (English and Biology)"Digital Finding Tools for the Tenacious Box Set of Zines" (Advised by Kirstyn Leuner, English)
The Tenacious Box Set is a collection of zines published by women in prison and held in the Special Collections at SCU. Natalia will be completing a finding aid for this important material, focusing on an index that will organize each publication by topic, theme, author, and date. Her goal is to make the impressive works within the Tenacious Box Set more digitally accessible to students and scholars at and beyond SCU. To learn more about her work click here.
Miriam Chen Lin ‘26 (Psychology and Studio Arts)“The Familiar Yet Esoteric Mind: The Psychological Reasoning of Identity and Mental Health in Undergraduate Students” (Advised by Jennifer Frihauf, Psychology; Jessica Eastburn, Studio Arts; Leandro Glory Damasco Jr., Dance; and Oliver Bochettaz, English)
Miriam brings together her interests in Psychology and Art in a project on the importance of mental health among students and in our society. Her project will consist of multimedia work that integrates studio art, dance, film, and writing. Each visual piece will be accompanied by a paper describing the work and analyzing its relations to psychological theories, experiments, and data. Ultimately the project will be exhibited and compiled into a trade book. To learn more about her work click here.
Charlie DiNapoli ‘24 (Studio Arts) “Shrines” (Advised by Pancho Jiménez, Studio Art)
Charlie will create a series of 6-10 works in ceramics/mixed media that explore his own religious and emotional experiences, ranging from frustration and anger to boredom and despair. The pieces will be sculpted semi-self-portraits displayed in frames that resemble the out-coves that hold religious figures in traditional settings. Charlie plans to enter these works into juried shows and to prepare for his senior show in the Spring. To learn more about his work, click here.
Simon Lanzoni ‘24 (Studio Art, Music, and Italian)“Seeing in Tongues” (Advised by Ryan Carrington, Studio Art)
Seeing in Tongues will take the form of an audiovisual installation that includes sculpture and sound to explore how language and perception define an individual’s interpretation of reality. As someone who is bicultural and bilingual, Simon has begun to perceive how language is culture, how reality can be reflected in language, and how language produces ever-changing realities. Simon will create three different 3D works of art along with one greater soundscape to inspire students, faculty, staff, and visitors to create an inclusive future for the arts at SCU and to celebrate the human impulse to create. To learn more about his work click here.
Natasha Moorjani ‘24 (Music and Political Science)“Choral Music and Justice” (Advised by Scot Hanna-Weir, Music)
Tasha will be composing an original choral work that brings awareness to the legal aspects of social justice by setting to music legal texts, such as Supreme Court opinions or writings by legal scholars. The texts of her choral piece will synthesize the most impactful phrases and pressing ideas from the legal texts, while the medium of choral music will add emotion and emphasis in ways that will allow both the singers and the audience to connect with them. Her project hopes to explore how the arts can be an effective mechanism for social justice and how the emotive qualities of music make it an extremely powerful way to create change. To learn more about her work click here.
Madysen Moreno ‘24 (Music and Philosophy)“Heard Her: A Concert Series” (Advised by Teresa McCollough, Music)
Madysen’s concern with the lack of female representation in the music industry drives her fellowship project, an original four-movement concert series showcasing a suite of music composed to explore the phenomenology of woman through sound. Madysen’s composition will proceed through the help of Santa Clara University’s New Music Ensemble and will debut in a live Spring performance.