Signing Music, Gender in The Iliad, and Civil Rights Performance: Three faculty receive book completion awards

Authored on:

Mar 02, 2021
Headshots of three women

Three UI faculty have received Book Ends awards to complete manuscripts. A jointly sponsored opportunity of the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies and the Office of the Vice President for Research, Book Ends supports faculty from disciplines in which publishing a monograph is required for tenure and promotion. The award, which is now in its third year, is designed to help faculty members transform promising manuscripts into field-changing, published books. Funding is provided for two senior scholars to visit campus (currently, via Zoom) for a constructive three-hour workshop on the faculty member’s book manuscript. The goal is for each author to leave the workshop with concrete suggestions for revision, advice about appropriate presses, and a timeline that will lead to a revised manuscript ready for presses to review within six months.

Anabel Maler, an assistant professor in the School of Music, will work on her manuscript, Seeing Voices: Analyzing Sign Language Music. The project will be "the first monograph-length analytical methodology for engaging with one of the central musical outputs of Deaf culture: signed music." Organized in two parts, the book provides the historical and cultural context of signed music, and then uses melody, rhythm, and timbre to analyze signed music. Essentially, Maler argues that music is a visual-kinesthetic phenomenon in addition to a sonic one. Maler received her PhD from the University of Chicago and joined the UI faculty in 2019. 

The Revolution Will Be Improvised: Civil-Rights Era Performance and Politics is Elizabeth Rodriguez Fielder's monograph that centers people of color in the history of American avant-gardism and its relationship to social movement politics. Analyzing the cultural activism of the civil rights movement as a "collective body," Rodriguez Fielder, an assistant professor in English, argues that these practitioners revolutionized a new relationship between art and politics. Using newly available archival material, she seeks to show how activists "adopted methods of flexibility and participatory democracy while responding to a complex set of issues beyond voter registration and integration." Rodriguez Fielder received her PhD from the University of Mississippi and joined the UI faculty in 2019. 

Celsiana Warwick's project, Gendered Voices in The Iliad: Lament and Heroic Glory, argues that Homer uses feminine voices and perspectives, particularly the female-coded discourse of lament, to critique the ways in which rigid adherence to the hegemonic warrior masculinity of the society depicted in the poem is detrimental to the well-being of the community. The epic poem constructs competing gendered voices that comment on the heroic value system of the poem’s warrior society. Applying Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of dialogism to The Iliad, Warwick, an assistant professor in Classics, says she seeks "to reevaluate assumptions of The Iliad’s monologic masculinity. ... [F]emininity is not excluded from the poem but is instead fundamental in The Iliad’s evaluation of heroic society." Warwick received her PhD from the University of California–Los Angeles and joined the UI faculty in 2019.