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Indiana University Bloomington

Current Research Projects

Jane Goodman is currently researching amateur theater in Algeria, where she has been conducting ethnographic research with five troupes since 2008. Two books will emerge from this research. The first, Algerian Tempest, examines how one theater troupe survived the state's demolition of their theater and went on to produce their own original adaptation of Shakespeare's Tempest. The second will be a broader study of theater, artistic practice, and civil society.

Mary L. Gray studies how people, particularly groups pushed to the margins, use media in their everyday lives. She has two book-length ethnographic projects competing for her attention: one study examines what the rise in mobile phone-based information access means in the lives of people who feel stuck or stay put and the second study traces how cyberinfrastructures of university research ethics and compliance produce norms of vulnerability and risk in human subjects social scientific research.

Ilana Gershon is starting a project on how new media is affecting people's hiring and firing practices in the recession.  The Pink Slip 2.0 builds theoretically on her earlier work about new media and heartbreak.  She is also continuing longstanding historical research on the legislative origins of the Maori seats in the New Zealand parliament.

Joan Hawkins' research continues to focus on gender and sexuality. She is particularly interested in the intersection between low body genres and high culture and in the way theory travels into art culture. She is currently working on a book on Downtown Film and Video Culture, 1975-2001. She is also compiling a Beat cookbook.

Robert Ivie's title of his current book project, coauthored with Oscar Giner, is “Hunt the Devil: The Resurrection of American Democracy in an Age of Terror.” Initial products of this genealogical study of myth and ritual in contemporary U.S. political culture are reflected in a number of our recently published and forthcoming articles. These works examine the role of demonology in presidential rhetoric, work out an approach to rhetorical genealogy that reaches back to McCarthyism and its forerunner in the Salem witch trials, and explore the rhetoric of democratic exceptionalism in Obama’s campaign for the presidency. The book proceeds from the premise that the figure of the devil, and corresponding images of evil, haunt American political culture. This devil is a dark and unholy presence in the nation’s political religion, a figure that tests the nation’s devotion to its special calling, taunts the self-conceit of a chosen people, and must be repeatedly exorcised from the body politic by redemptive acts of violence. The question we address is whether and how American democracy might be rhetorically resurrected to serve as a motive and model for building a culture of peace that embraces diversity rather than damns it as deviance. It is a study of cultural transition, or the potential thereof.

Barbara Klinger's is working on a book entitled, Becoming Classic: Hollywood Cinema, Transmediation,, and the Popular Canon. Her research focuses on a group of "celebrity" films, such as Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, and It's a Wonderful Life, which were made during the height of the classic studio period and went on to become pervasively present in American culture for more than half of a century. Without attempting to exhaust the many ways in which these films have circulated over the years, her book concentrates on key moments within the reissue of these films over time to investigate the role that other media, including radio, television, and digital technologies, have played in making these films into exemplars of Hollywood cinema and perpetuating their cultural status.

Michael T. Martin is currently working on two publications Caribbean Cinemas: Evolution, Articulations, Transnationality and History Betrayed: Gillo Pontecorvo's Cinema of Decolonization.

Phaedra Pezzullo has been traveling throughout the United States this year presenting on her current research about toxic pollution, bodies, and reproductive justice movements.  In 2012, she will be giving a keynote at the Crossroads in Cultural Studies Conference in Paris, jointly sponsored by UNESCO. Her research continues to engage questions about: the challenges toxic pollution poses for movements towards sustainability (especially historical and current struggles with PCBs); the complicated relationships between practices of touring and disasters (especially in southern Louisiana); and, more broadly, the possibilities for social change in an age of ecological crises."

Jennifer Meta Robinson is currently bringing together her interests in the lives of agriculturalists, human/environment sustainability, and scholarship of teaching and learning in a multifaceted ethnographic project about the education of today’s small farmers. Her research continues to ask questions about “how people learn to be themselves”--how they understand themselves as individuals who are also members of a community and how their life choices reveal larger systems of value and socialization.  This research implicates issues of social justice and policy in local food and place movements.


Susan. Seizer's current ethnographic research is about road comics, those professional comedians who earn their livelihood playing U.S. stand-up comedy club circuits. The project, entitled "Road Comics: Big Work on Small Stages," has both book and documentary film components.

simonsJon Simons is beginning an interdisciplinary study of images of peace promoted by the Israeli peace movement that assesses the productivity of those images in promoting peace. Images of peace are treated as abstract, complex condensations at work in the minds of Israeli publics. These images are manifested through the activities of the various peace groups as performances and enactments of style, and through visual and other media. Potentially, such imagery could operate as critical concepts in relation to dominant discourses such as “security” and “the Jewish nature of the State of Israel”, playing a role in a future public culture of peace. A research trip to Israel in the summer of 2009 is supported by an Indiana University New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Exploration Travelling Fellowship.

Ted Striphas' is working on two main research projects.  The first, which he is developing into his next book, focuses on "algorithmic culture," or the role new media increasingly play in the organizing, classifying, and hierarchizing of people, places, objects, and ideas.  Some preliminary thoughts on the subject are available on his blog, The Late Age of Print.  His second project focuses on the transformation of academic publishing, an recent example of which is available on his other website, The Differences & Repetitions Wiki

Robert Terrill continues to explore exemplars of public discourse, however mediated, as resources for rhetorical invention; he has become especially interested, most recently, in discourses of "duplicity" that foster a doubled attitude as a productive manner of engaging critically with contemporary democratic public culture."

Japan-in-AmericaGregory A. Waller is working on a history of 16mm and traveling film exhibition in the 1930s-1940s and on Japan-in-America: The Turn of the Twentieth Century, a study of the varied representations of Japan that circulated in the United States, 1890-1915 (http://www.indiana.edu/~jia1915/).