Annual fellows

Since 1977, the Institute has offered Annual Fellowships to faculty members at the University of Calgary. Awards are given to support specific research projects and provide the recipient with release from a portion of their teaching obligations. Without such leave time, the scholarly output that is crucial to a university’s mandate would be substantially reduced.

We are grateful to our donors and to the Faculty of Arts for providing this support to our scholars.

Graphic rendering of the UCalgary Biological Sciences Building in 1968

Graphic rendering of the UCalgary Biological Sciences Building in 1968

Welcome to the 2021-22 CIH Fellows

Each year the CIH hosts a variety of research fellowships, including resident fellows, doctoral and postdoctoral fellows, and visiting fellows. Fellows at the institute are given the time and space to pursue high-calibre research projects, and to share their insights with scholars from different disciplines. A number of the Fellowships at the CIH are made possible by generous community donors who have endowed these fellowships in perpetuity. We are grateful to them for their commitment to the humanities and to the valuable research produced by scholars at the University of Calgary. 

Please join us in welcoming our 2021-22 cohort.

Dr. Shelley Alexander

Shelley M. Alexander, PhD

Applied Ethics Fellow
Professor, Department of Geography

Lessons from Coyote: Decolonization, Jurisprudence and the Geo-ethics of Marginalized Populations

Burdened by the colonial label of ‘pest’, coyotes can experience legally sanctioned, often unrestrained, persecution everywhere in Canada. Yet, evidence shows the species presents minimal risk to people, is ecologically important, and has social systems analogous to those of humans. As such, coyotes are my entry point to critically explore the marginalization of populations, engendered by the intersection of animal ethics, jurisprudence, and colonial worldviews. My aim is to expose the mechanisms and relationships that reinforce speciesism and oppression, and to offer insights and recommendations to de-colonize wildlife conservation and everyday practice towards marginalized non-human and human animals alike. Applied outcomes include characterization of an understudied ethical challenge, support for legal reform, and guidelines that can empower human communities to make ethical and ecologically sustainable choices that embody justness for  for non-human animals. 

Nella Darbouze Bonyeme

Nella Darbouze Bonyeme

Frances Spratt Graduate Student Fellow
PhD Candidate, School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures

Systemic Racism in Nineteenth-Century Tales of Black and Mixed-Race Revenge

“All Negroes need is a leader, valiant enough to guide them towards vengeance and massacre” wrote Denis Diderot, one of the most famous figures of French Enlightenment, in Histoire des deux Indes (1770). Far from viewing revenge as a private vendetta, Diderot saw revenge as revolution; as a way for the oppressed to repair systemic wrong to which they are victims and establish social equilibrium. For that reason, recent scholarship has identified nineteenth-century tales of black and mixed-race revenge as vehicles for discourse regarding black agency and racial injustice. However, narrative form and its import on the appraisal of social inequality has been neglected. The aim of my dissertation is to investigate the narrative structure of six nineteenth-century tales of revenge. I argue that the formal features of revenge narratives evolve throughout the century, revealing shifts in thinking about systemic racial injustice and black agency.

Dr. Petra Dolata

Petra Dolata, PhD

Scholar-in-Residence, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of History

(Hi)Stories of Energy Transitions

As current discussions revolve around decarbonizing the economy, net zero emissions targets and the upcoming global energy transition, understanding society’s role in such transformative processes will be paramount. Recognizing that energy transitions also include social and cultural transformations and conceptualizing energy systems and regimes as socially constructed and narrated, this project studies both the histories of specific energy transitions in the past as well as the many stories that have been created to make sense of and frame these transformative processes. It investigates how individuals, communities and nations have caused, adapted to and rejected changes in energy systems providing a better understanding of historical resilience and agency while facilitating empathy, especially since energy transitions are often connected to processes of deindustrialization and always entail winners and losers. Different societies and cultures have responded differently to and created different stories about the same energy challenges. This diversity of historical experiences and narratives highlights how important it is that we know more about our energy pasts. Such historical knowledge facilitates informed discussions about our energy futures that include and give voice to every citizen and have the potential to facilitate the creation of just and sustainable policies.


Dr. Eleonora Buonocore

Eleonora Buonocore, PhD

CIH Annual Fellow
Instructor, School of Languages, Linguistics, Literatures and Cultures

Dante’s Memory: From Fixity to Fluidity

Memory played a key role in the Middle Ages: it was ubiquitous in medieval education, from rhetoric to philosophy and even theology. Dante’s Divine Comedy is a masterpiece of medieval culture, yet, before my research, there was no comprehensive study of Dante’s concept of memory. I argue that memory is one of the underlying structuring principles of the Comedy. Dante begins with a rhetorical memory trap, rooted in the fixity of the art of memory, that is a punishment in Inferno. In Purgatorio memory becomes a force for good, linked to prayer, which reduces penance. In Eden, at the rivers Lethe and Eunoè, signifying oblivion and good memory, there is a paradigm shift: from memory to forgetfulness. This oblivious memory, fluid and altruistic, informed by theology, is the only memory left in Paradiso. My book shows the Divine Comedy’s importance within the studies of memory in the European Middle Ages.

Dr. Ryan Pierson

Ryan Pierson, PhD

Naomi Lacey Resident Fellow
Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, Media, and Film

Pragmatic Visions: Vachel Lindsay’s “Democratic” Spectatorship and Early Cinema

In 1915, as cinema was coalescing into a major industry, American poet Vachel Lindsay wrote the first book of film theory, arguing for film as a tool of aesthetic enlightenment and political engagement. Pragmatic Visions traces Lindsay’s little-understood theory of how cinema engages viewers. Lindsay argued that film’s sensuous power could offer spectators “visions,” in something like a religious sense, of society’s potential future. But the public nature of film exhibition meant that, unlike private religious visions, cinema’s visions could be debated democratically. This project also unearths the cultural context around Lindsay’s ideas. By locating Lindsay’s encounters with print culture, Progressivism, and primitivism, this project reveals disturbing tensions between the ideal and practice of democracy in turn-of-the-century America—tensions that still exist today.

Dr. Annie Rudd

Annie Rudd, PhD

Wayne O. McCready Fellow
Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, Media and Film

Unbidden Exposures: Histories of Candid Photography

Unbidden Exposures will offer the first full-length study of the history of candid photography, focusing on the period between the 1890s and the 1960s. Defining candid photography as a genre in which the depiction of unsuspecting subjects is assigned special revelatory capacities, Unbidden Exposures historicizes the idea that an unposed image is an optimally “natural” or “truthful” image. Topics discussed include the “art of not posing” in late-19th-century commercial portrait studios; the shifting meanings of candid photographs in the news, and the strategic deployment of “behind-the-scenes” aesthetics by political figures; the establishment of the candid camera as a mass-culture cliché, and the artistic appropriation of this trope; and midcentury female photographers’ contestations of candid photography’s truth claims. Through these case studies, this book illuminates the development of a pervasive yet largely unquestioned contention: the idea that the camera can best reveal its subjects when it is itself concealed.

Dr. Frank Stahnisch

Frank W. Stahnisch, PhD

CIH Annual Fellow
Professor, Department of History
AMF/Hannah Professor in the History of Medicine and Health Care, Department of Community Health Sciences

Great Minds in Despair – The Forced-Migration of German-Speaking Neuroscientists to North America, 1933 to 1989

In the history of science scholarship, the ‘Brain Gain Thesis’ is often taken as an unquestioned given in studies of the forced migration of physicians and medical researchers following the Nazis’ rise to power in Germany after 1933. Research literature on the receiving countries has primarily tended to take the intellectual, academic, and institutional dimensions of the forced migration wave into account, while the individual fate and adaptation problems of many émigré psychiatrists and neurologists are still considerably under-investigated.  In this project, I thus want to look at the fate of a group of émigré physicians and researchers, who could be classified as early “neuroscientists” and who immigrated to Canada and the US either transitionally or for good. The thesis put forward here is that the process of forced migration most often constituted an end or at least a drastic change to the careers of this group of medical professionals.