Postdoctoral Associates 2021-2022

Alize Arican

Alize Arican an anthropologist of urban life, politics of time, futurity, migration, racialization, and care. Her current book project, Figuring It Out: The Politics of Future and Care, asserts care as a set of temporal practices that can reconfigure urban politics through an engaged ethnography of Istanbul’s Tarlabaşı  neighborhood. Her second project, Transience and Blackness, critically investigates the notion of “transit migration” by focusing on the urban futures that West African communities create in Istanbul. Her work has appeared in Current Anthropology, City & Society, Radical Housing Journal, and entanglements. Her writing received awards from the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association, Middle East Studies Association, and the American Ethnological Society. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a BA in Political Science and International Relations from Boğaziçi  University.  

Postdoctoral Associates 2020-2021

Alexander Bigman

Alexander Bigman is a historian of modern and contemporary art. His research focuses in particular upon the emergence, circa 1980, of postmodernism as an internationally circulating set of intertwined discourses, creative practices, and political positions. He is currently at work on a book project derived from his dissertation, “Picturing Fascism in Post-Conceptual Art, 1974 - 1984,” which examines how the history and aesthetics of interwar European fascism became newly salient objects of inquiry and representation for artists associated with the so-called “Pictures Generation,” a group defined by its use of imagery drawn from popular culture and its critical engagement with the dynamics of mass media. For artists who were born after World War II and established their careers at a moment marked by rightward political shift, such taboo imagery became a provocative, if often problematic, means of addressing such matters as the representability of history, the nature of cultural memory and its role in group identity formation, and the political ramifications of embracing figuration, photomechanical or otherwise, following the predominantly abstract paradigms of postwar modernism. Alex is also a practicing critic. He received his PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, and his BA from the University of California at Berkeley.

Michelle Smiley

Michelle Smiley is a scholar of 19th-century photography and visual culture whose research investigates the intersection of aesthetics and scientific practice in the antebellum United States. Her current book project, Daguerreian Democracy: Art, Science, and Politics in Antebellum American Photography, examines how the daguerreotype became an object of technological, scientific, and commercial innovation for antebellum scientists, artisans, and political thinkers. By chronicling the contributions of these often-overlooked actors, she explores how the daguerreotype was an object of transatlantic scientific experimentation, a key component of government projects of nation-building, as well as an object of fascination for theorists of democracy. Before coming to Rutgers, Michelle held the Wyeth Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts in Washington, D.C. She holds an A. B., M.A. and Ph.D. in History of Art from Bryn Mawr College. 

Postdoctoral Associates 2019-2020

Research Seminar: The University and its Public World

Jessica Mack

Jessica Mack is a historian of Latin America specializing in 20th-century Mexico, higher education history, and digital public history. Her current book project examines the campus construction for the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in mid-century Mexico City. Following her fellowship at the CCA during the 2019-2020 seminar The University and its Public Worlds, she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. She is now an Assistant Professor of Digital History at Rowan University. She holds a B.A. in History from Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. in History from Princeton University.

Postdoctoral Associates 2018-2019

Research Seminar: Classification

Rachel Miller

Rachel Miller is a labor and cultural historian of the nineteenth-century with a particular focus on the development of the global entertainment industry. She is currently working on a book project adapted from her dissertation, "Capital Entertainment: Stage Work and the Origins of the U.S. Creative Economy, 1843 - 1912," which analyzes the transformation of commercial performance from a small-scale artisanal or folk practice into a staple product of global, export-oriented capitalism. Despite the glossy sheen of stardom that shapes our understanding of stage work, most performers were contingent staffers whose efforts—as the first pastime to become big business—generated exponential profits. Far from a niche interest or obscure curiosity, common understandings of stage work naturalized capitalism’s demands on all workers, even as it introduced prescient questions about talent, creativity, and individuality that persist today. Rachel's other research projects include the global reach of Americana, the legal history of the blackface minstrel show, and the theory and practice of historic house museums. She received a PhD in American Culture at the University of Michigan, and her work has been published in scholarly journals, edited collections, and popular outlets.

Jasmine Samara

Jasmine Samara received a PhD in Anthropology from Harvard University in 2018 and has a J.D. from Columbia Law School.  After her year at CCA, Jasmine is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies at NYU.  She is a legal scholar and social anthropologist whose work explores debates on law, rights and identity politics in contemporary Europe. Her research and teaching focus on law and religion, the governance of minorities, gender, and the anthropology of human rights.  Her work also explores how citizens invoke, contest, or try to evade the legal regulation of minority identity as they navigate shifting lines of belonging and exclusion in the era of Greek economic crisis. 

Postdoctoral Associates 2014-2015

Research Seminar: Totality

Andrew Moisey

Andrew Moisey received his Ph.D. in 2014 from U.C. Berkeley in Film and Media Studies. He is an Assistant Professor of Art History and Visual Studies at Cornell University.  A photographer and a historian of photography, Andrew’s research investigates how photography became an art that deals with philosophical problems. His current book project, The Photographic World Picture, shows how four artists--one early modern and three contemporary--took pictures that reflected prevalent philosophical views of their time. It describes how Newtonian mechanics shaped Canaletto's cityscapes, how structuralism favored Bernd and Hilla Bechers' industrial typologies, and how Andreas Gursky's large-scale digital photographs describe globalization. Each development needed photography's "subjective" point of view on the ground to seem like an "objective" view of the world at large.

Matthew Baxter

Matthew Baxter received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013.  After his year at the CCA, Matthew accepted a fellowship at Harvard University’s Mahindra Humanities Center, then joined the faculty at Ashoka University in July 2018 after two years as a visiting scholar at Cornell University’s South Asia Program (2016-2018).

Postdoctoral Associates 2013-2014

Research Seminar: Objects & Environments

Darryl Wilkinson

Darryl Wilkinson received a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia. After his year at the CCA, he held a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and was also a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Cambridge. He is now an Assistant Professor of Religion at Dartmouth.  He studies the indigenous religious traditions of the Americas, focusing on two main areas: 1) the ancient Andes and 2) the colonial Southwestern United States. His work critically explores the concept of "animism," particularly as a category for framing the metaphysical commitments of indigenous peoples across the globe. He is currently completing a book manuscript on the Inka Empire, which examines how power is realized in an ancient state where mountains and rocks were treated as sentient, living actors. Wilkinson's primary methodological training is in archaeology, and is therefore grounded in the study of material and visual culture, especially the analysis of iconography, landscapes and ceramic artifacts.

Anita Bakshi

Anita Bakshi is an architect with a particular interest in the relationship between memory and the material world, conflict and divided cities, and commemorative structures and practices.  Following several years in architectural practice, Anita received her PhD in the History and Theory of Architecture from Cambridge University, where she was a member of the Conflict in Cities and the Contested State research groups.  After her year as a CCA Postdoctoral Fellow, Anita stayed at Rutgers.  She teaches in the Department of Landscape Architecture, offering courses on Housing and Open Space Design, Visualization, and Research Methods. She is also an affiliated lecturer for the Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies (CHAPS) Program, teaching courses on Heritage and Planning in Divided Cities and Cultural Heritage and Community Organizing.  Her research focuses on questions of mapping and representation for contested environments.  Her book Topographies of Memory: A New Poetics of Commemoration, appeared in 2017 from Palgrave. She leads the Society & Design Lab Working Group at the CCA.