SAS Faculty Fellowships. Networked Regimes of Labor, and Ruptured Experiences of Time. Social history of Ophthalmology.

School of Advanced Studies 10 February 2021

In 2020, two SAS professors were awarded international scholarships. Anne Mulhall was awarded a two-year fellowship by the Irish Research Council (€46,000 p/a), whereas Corinne Doria received a 6-month Scholar-in-residence fellowship (€20,000) from the Deutsches Museum in Munich.


Anne Mulhall’s project, addressing recent philosophical and literary approaches to time and work, has been awarded funding of c.. For the duration of the fellowship Anne will be employed in the French Department at Trinity College Dublin. Anne’s project is a comparative interdisciplinary study, surveying works of literature, art, and philosophy in French, German, English, and Russian. It explores two related phenomena: networked regimes of labor, and ruptured experiences of time, both of which have appeared recently as dominant themes in global literature. Culminating in a comparative mixed-methodologies book manuscript, the project is intended to inaugurate a new approach to the volatile period between the financial crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic.

To know more about Corinne Doria’s award, here is an interview with her about her fellowship.

You have been awarded the Scholar-in-Residence Fellowship from the Deutsches Museum in Münich in 2020. Can you say something about the institution hosting your fellowship, and why did you apply for it?

The Deutsches Museum of Münich is a leading international center for research in the history of science and technology. It holds one of the largest collections of scientific instruments in Europe. Every year there is the opportunity for 1-2 scholars to apply for a scholarship at the Museum. Successful applicants are allowed to spend 6 to 12 months working on a project that requires the use of the Museum’s collections and library. I am a historian of medicine, and my work focuses on the social history of ophthalmology in Europe between the 1850s and 1950s. Germany has been the leading country in producing instruments for eye examination and optical lenses during this period. I have seen this fellowship as a unique opportunity to access artifacts and sources on German optical companies.

Could you tell us something about the work you did at the Deutsches Museum and how it relates to your SAS work?

My work on the history of ophthalmology is part of the broader multi-disciplinary project on sensory manipulations and enhancement hosted at SAS (“(Un)naturally Human: Enhancement and Manipulation of Human Capacity to Perceive and Perform”). I am part of a team of scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds (anthropology, biology, philosophy, media studies) inquiring about the individual and social implications of manipulating human sensory perception from a longue durée perspective. My work on the history of ophthalmology aims at investigating the impact that scientific medicine has had on the sense of sight or, to put it in different terms, on the modalities and consequences of the “medicalization” of eyesight that started with modern ophthalmology. At the Deutsches Museum, I have been able to study sources and literature on the development of technologies for the exploration of the human eye and the improvement of eyesight, getting access not just to the considerable material held by this institution but also to the collections of other German institutions, such as the Museum of Medicine in Ingolstadt or the Zeiss Archives in Iena. Moreover, I can share my findings with several leading experts in the history of science and technology.

Did your colleagues at Deutsches Museum know about SAS?

In general, German scholars are not very familiar with Russian higher education institutions. Still, when my colleagues learned that I am working at the SAS, they have been very intrigued and wanted to know more about the School. They had difficulty understanding why, with a Ph.D. at Sorbonne and experience as a lecturer and scholar in France and the US, I have decided to move to Siberia. I explained that SAS is a unique institution with pioneering ambitious and innovative programs in teaching and research. It is rare to find such an environment in most Western universities. I encouraged them to look at the School’s website to get more information. They were genuinely impressed by the quality and quantity of work that this institution has accomplished since its foundation in 2017.

Do you consider this experience beneficial for you as a scholar and for SAS?

This experience has been very positive for me as a scholar, both for the work I have been able to get done in these months and for enlarging my professional network. As for SAS, my German colleagues have been asking me questions on teaching and research at the School throughout the semester, and every time, they have been positively impressed. They also appreciated the fact that the School is supportive of faculty conducting research abroad, which is not the case in many universities in the West. I like to think that many of them will be looking at Russian universities with fewer prejudices and more interest from now on.


Source: UTMN Department of Strategic Communications
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