Resident Fellows Speaker Series

The Hall Center hosts several faculty and graduate student fellows in residence each semester. During their residencies or shortly after, our Fellows give talks about their works-in-progress. These events are public and open to all in the Hall Center's Conference Hall. Lunch is provided, and RSVP is required. Please see the Hall Center Calendar to register for these events.

Kelly Watson, Service Assistant Professor and Assistant Director of Women’s and Gender Studies, West Virginia University
The Pied Piper of New Guinea: The Life and Crimes of D. Carleton Gajdusek

MON AUG 29, 12:00 - 1:30 PM

*Online via Hall Center Crowdcast* Register and view here:

Carleton Gajdusek is best known for three things: 1) his 1976 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine which he received for his field-defining research into “slow viruses” (now known as prion disorders), 2) his adoption of more than 35 children from Micronesia and Melanesia, and 3) his 1997 conviction for the sexual abuse of a minor. This talk will explore the life and works of D. Carlton Gajdusek, illuminating the ways that fame, colonialism, and science created a space for the exploitation of bodies. It will pose difficult questions about the complicity of Western science and (post)colonial institutions in the sexual abuse of children. 

Divya Radhika Bhalla, Sias Graduate Fellow, English
The Empire Writes Back: Counter Discourse and Agency

TUE SEP 13, 12:00 - 1:30 PM

Divya Radhika Bhalla’s creative dissertation is a historical novel set in nineteenth-century India that explores issues of postcolonialism and feminism. In a seminal work of postcolonialism, Edward Said defines Orientalism as a “discourse” by which the West “produce[s]” representations and knowledge about the East to justify colonial rule. Bhalla’s historical novel functions as a counter discourse from an Indian perspective that interrogates and dismantles imperial discourse and wrests back agency through the act of self-representation. Moreover, rather than representing only the British administrators and Indian rulers of the time, Bhalla’s novel also attempts to construct history from below and tell the stories of ordinary women in India, thereby contributing to the feminist recovery of lost voices.

Kyoim Yun, Associate Professor, East Asian Languages and Cultures
Templestay for All: A Wellness Journey Amid a Happiness Crisis in South Korea
WED OCT 5, 12:00 - 1:30 PM

Kyoim Yun’s current book project examines Templestay, a short-term retreat program held for laypersons at Buddhist monasteries, as a form of inclusive wellness tourism amid the happiness crisis in South Korea. Branded now as a wellness journey, the program targets people’s insecurity and implicitly urges them to buy happiness. It is a Buddhist enterprise managed with government support, following a specific business model. How should we make sense of the Buddhist establishment’s own marketing of the monastic experience as a healing commodity? What kind of healing do participants seek, and what does the program provide? In what ways does this state-sponsored Buddhist enterprise help or hinder one of the core missions of Buddhism, the alleviation of suffering? This ethnographic research, combined with an examination of the history, statistics, marketing, and program content of Templestay, illuminates the interplay of secularized religious practices, therapeutic culture, and wellness tourism in post-development South Korea, a country known for the breathless pace of its modernization. Templestay for All seeks to shed light on how secularized religious practices can address social malaise and what are the risks and opportunities that the marketization of the program poses for Korean Buddhism.

Irene Olivarez,Associate Professor, History, Johnson County Community College
Teaching Information Literacy through a Lesson on the Aztec Empire
TUE NOV 1, 12:00 - 1:30 PM

As a Visiting Regional Faculty Fellow, Dr. Irene Olivares used her time at the Hall Center and access to KU Libraries and resources to work on curriculum development and to curate student resources for her courses on world history and the history of Africa. Attend this session to learn about recent national debates on world history standards, discuss pedagogy, and learn how Dr. Olivares transformed her lesson on the Aztec empire to help students practice information literacy. Attendees will also learn about Nahua pictorial histories.

Elizabeth MacGonagle,Associate Professor, History, African and African American Studies
Mapping Memories of Slavery Across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans
TUE NOV 1, 12:00 - 1:30 PM

Elizabeth MacGonagle’s current research project investigates how Africans and those of African heritage in the diaspora shape histories, memories, and identities after enduring centuries of racism amidst enslavement and colonialism. It focuses on the ways in which a number of museums and memorial spaces use histories of enslavement to tell a story about the shaping of our modern world. By examining a wide range of museums and memorial spaces in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Guadeloupe, Charleston SC, Washington DC, Liverpool, Dakar, Zanzibar, Mauritius, and Réunion Island, Professor MacGonagle aims to connect very disconnected histories of slavery throughout the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds. Museums and memorial spaces serve as an entrée point for the public to engage with burdened histories and heavy memories that surround enslavement and colonization, and they are often located at important sites of memory related to this violent past.

Daphne McConnell, Professor, World and Classical Languages and Literatures, Benedictine College
Revisiting Trauma: History, Trauma and the Relationship to the Other in the Novels of Gisele Pineau
WED NOV 16, 12:00 - 1:30 PM

This presentation is part of a larger project on the works of Gisèle Pineau, a novelist from Guadeloupe who grew up in metropolitan France. Pineau’s novels feature protagonists who experience generational trauma and alienation, often navigating the cultural and geographic spaces of Guadeloupe and the metropole. Daphne McConnell’s current project considers the representation of trauma in Pineau’s novels within the context of literary trauma theory, particularly within the postcolonial context. This research is part of a comprehensive study of the themes of cultural identity, history, trauma and relation to the “other” in Pineau’s writing. The theoretical framework for McConnell’s analysis of Pineau’s works includes trauma theory in literature, as well as Édouard Glissant’s recent expansion on his theories of Caribbean literature in Poetics of Relation, where he asserts that identity expressed in relation to the other has a transformative capacity to definitively escape a colonial structure. 

Ross Gilmore,Sias Graduate Fellow, Philosophy
Uncovering Unity: Ontology as a Guide to Living
WED DEC 7, 12:00 - 1:30 PM

How do the pieces of our lives fit together? While at times we may find the variety of our interests and commitments exciting, at others we may despair that our lives lack coherence — that there is no common thread weaving together the hours of our days with any overarching meaning. One of the through lines of Plato’s corpus is the consideration of just what it would mean to have the kind of understanding that would allow us to reconcile into a harmonious whole the seemingly heterogeneous components of our lives. From the early Protagoras through the late dialogues, Plato is perennially interested in the question of how to take the measure of our problems, to find that perspective from which the elements of our lives might fit together in a complex but unified whole. Gilmore’s dissertation, Uncovering Unity, explores the ways in which Plato uses the philosophical tools at his disposal to analyze two such complex wholes: the good life of the individual and the good political community. It investigates Plato’s specific treatments of psychology in the Philebus and political philosophy in the Statesman and illuminates them as aspects of a common mission - to discover how philosophical analysis can help us navigate an at times perplexing world.