Announcing the 2019-2020 Lennihan Arts & Sciences Grant Winners

The Futures Initiative is pleased to announce that the fourth annual Dr. Louise Lennihan Arts and Sciences Grants will be awarded to eight outstanding doctoral students at the Graduate Center. The grant recipients were chosen by a selection committee from a pool of 27 highly competitive applications across many fields.

Thanks to a generous gift from Curtis Wong, recipient of an honorary degree from the Graduate Center in 2016, the competition honors Dr. Lennihan for her extraordinary service on behalf of students and faculty at the Graduate Center. Funding to the following students has been awarded for research or travel related to scholarship at the intersections of humanities, arts, science, and technology.

Brad Fox, English
The Dives: on the Bathysphere Logbooks

Brad Fox is a fifth-year student in English, writing a dissertation on the expedition logbooks of the bathysphere dives from the 1930s—the first eyewitness account of the deep ocean. Dispatched from as much as half a mile below the ocean’s surface, the logbooks record new species, bioluminescent phenomena, and unfamiliar effects of light and color, interrupted at times with passages bemoaning the inadequacy of language. Historically important, they are also texts of peculiar beauty and immediacy. The project will move from a narrative of the dives into a larger exploration of oceanic ecologies, matter, memory, imagination, and visionary experience. Fox’s essays, stories, and translations have appeared in The New Yorker, Guernica, and in the Whitney Biennial. His novel To Remain Nameless will be released by Rescue Press in 2020. He teaches at City College in Harlem.

Anh Luong, Information Systems and Statistics
The Interplay of People, Technology, and Organizational Practices in Algorithmic Decision-Making: An Experimental Study Using Loan Application Evaluation

Anh Luong is a doctoral candidate in Information Systems at Baruch College, The City University of New York. Her current research examines organizational collaboration in the age of automation. She studies the factors that enable firm success when employing machine learning technologies in complex decision-making. The Louise Lennihan Arts & Sciences Grant will allow Luong to present her paper at the Workshop on Information Systems and Economics (WISE) 2019, in Munich Germany.

Brenna McCaffrey, Anthropology
Abortion Pills and Social Change in the Republic of Ireland

Brenna McCaffrey is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology whose dissertation examines the interaction of feminist activism and the medical profession in the legalization of abortion in Ireland. The Louise Lennihan Arts & Sciences Grant will support travel to the Heritage Center Archives at the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland, which houses a recently donated collection of materials on the history of the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) through the 1990s-2010s. These materials will provide crucial insight into the factors that impacted cultural change around reproductive healthcare and reproductive rights over the 35 years that abortion was illegal in Ireland.

Maegan Miller, Earth and Environmental Sciences
The Library of the Sea: Maritime Labor and Radical Internationalism, 1760-1930

Mae Miller is a fifth-year student in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Program. She has previously worked as a visiting lecturer of Black Geographies at Vassar College and as a museum educator at the Museum of the City of New York. Miller currently volunteers with several Black community archives in London where she is completing research for her dissertation. Her dissertation, The Library of the Sea: Geographies of Maritime Radicalism and Internationalism, 1760-1930, explores everyday spaces and processes of political education in ports, alleyways, and backwaters of the British empire. The Louise Lennihan Arts & Sciences Grant will allow her to travel to Liverpool, where she will consult the oral histories and testimonies of colonial seafarers in the UK in the aftermath of World War I. This research will inform a chapter of her dissertation entitled, “Riots, Writings, and Restaurants: The Reverberations of Transnational and Multiracial Seafarers Organizing in the Interwar Period.”

Sarah Molinari, Anthropology
Digital Learning and Social Scholarship: The #PRSyllabus and Listening to Puerto Rico

Sarah Molinari is a doctoral Candidate in the Anthropology Program writing a dissertation on debt resistance and alternative disaster recoveries in Puerto Rico. The Louise Lennihan Arts & Sciences Grant will allow Molinari to present on a plenary session at the 2020 Latino Studies Association conference at the University of Notre Dame. Molinari will be presenting on The Puerto Rico Syllabus, a bilingual hashtag/public/crowd-sourced digital project she co-founded in 2017 that works at the intersections of digital and public humanities. The plenary will bring together two digital learning projects that emerged in the wake of Puerto Rico’s debt crisis to discuss how social justice-oriented digital public scholarship and other collective projects of intellectual community building can serve as a call to action and advocacy.

Justo Planas, Latin American, Iberian, and Latino Cultures
The New Cuban Republic and the Born Criminal. Medical and Literary Conception of Minor Offenders in the Early Twentieth Century

Justo Planas is a doctoral candidate in Latin American, Iberian, and Latino Cultures at The Graduate Center, CUNY. He received his M.A. in Latin American Studies from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and his B.A. in Journalism from the University of Havana. His doctoral dissertation traces the connection between medicine and literature in turn of the 20th century Cuba with regards to childhood. The Louise Lennihan Arts & Sciences Grant will allow him to travel to the National Library of Cuba to work with originals of the medical journal Vida Nueva and the articles of criminologist Israel Castellanos, which scientifically authorized racial prejudices and molded the relationship between children and public institutions. Based on his archival research, Justo Planas will write the third chapter of his dissertation: “The New Cuban Republic and the Born Criminal. Medical and Literary Conception of Minor Offenders in the Early Twentieth Century.” He will also write a paper about Israel Castellanos’s “born criminal,” Alfonso Hernández Catá’s novel “La Piel,” the idea of Cuba in the early 20th century.

Heidi Rhodes, Political Science
Corpus Nullius and the Traffick in Blood: Biocolonialism, Reproductive Futurity, and the Afterlives of Human Property

Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes is a doctoral candidate in Political Theory writing a dissertation on settler colonial futurity and futures otherwise in the Colombian political landscape. The Louise Lennihan Arts & Sciences Grant will allow Rhodes to present a paper on the panel, “Art of Resistance: Reading Transnational Responses to Racialized Medical Violence” at the National Women’s Studies Association conference in San Francisco, November 2019. The paper is titled, “Corpus Nullius and the Traffick in Blood: Biocolonialism, Reproductive Futurity, and the Afterlives of Human Property” and considers the violent impact of a Colombian genetic research project on the social fabric, generational reproduction, and futures of indigenous and black populations.

Portia Quiroz Seddon, Music
Mapping Musical Gentrification: Oral histories of a Mexican music community in New York

Portia Quiroz Seddon is a fourth-year student in Ethnomusicology writing a dissertation on gentrification and migration in the formation of the Mexican ska-punk music community in New York City. She has taught at Hunter College, CUNY in the Women & Gender Studies Department since 2012, and in the Music Department since 2017. The Louise Lennihan Arts & Sciences Grant will allow Seddon to create an interactive digital map to be used by educators and community organizers of New York City’s process of gentrification as it coincides with the changing soundscape of the Mexican ska-punk community since the 1990s.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners!


The Futures Initiative
The Graduate Center, CUNY
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