Class of 2022 Merle Kling Fellows Announced

Erica Williams, Class of 2020, is program assistant for the Kling Undergraduate Honors Fellowship.

The Merle Kling Undergraduate Honors Fellowship is thrilled to welcome its 2020-22 cohort. Six talented and promising sophomore scholars in Arts and Sciences will pursue two-year, independent research projects in the humanities and/or humanistic social sciences under the supervision of a faculty mentor.

This new cohort joins the Kling fellowship during uncertain times as students and faculty transition to e-learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, like most areas of life, the Kling fellowship has adapted with the times and is strategizing ways of continuing the program virtually for the foreseeable future. Historically, Kling fellows are bright and resilient scholars who find innovative ways of addressing obstacles throughout the research process. We have no doubt that the incoming cohort will find creative ways to conduct their research projects during these unprecedented times. We are also excited about the ways in which the Kling Fellowship’s public humanities focus will find new forms of expression.

The Class of 2022 Kling Fellows met together for the first time, as circumstances dictated, by Zoom.

This year’s cohort features a diverse array of projects – from anthropology, area studies, dance, history, and philosophy, among others – that reflects the commitment of the Center for the Humanities towards interdisciplinary inquiry and collaboration. The new cohort will participate in a weekly writing-intensive seminar, present their own work and critique one another’s proposals and draft articles, engage with faculty and graduate fellows at the Center, and gain a solid foundation as researchers and scholars in their chosen fields. They were selected for their potential as scholars and their commitment to the pursuit of original research.

Meet the new cohort below, and read about their unique academic interests and Kling projects.


Name: Lauren Bush
Major(s): Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology & Germanic Languages and Literature
Project Description: Lauren plans to conduct an apophatic hermeneutical analysis of rhetorical trends in philosophical inquiries of the mind. In doing so, she hopes to illustrate how the accumulative significations of ambiguous terms carry unfounded assumptions into philosophical dialogues and hinder insights.




Name: Malcolm Douglass
Major(s): History; Minor(s): Religion and Politics
Projection Description: Malcolm plans to focus on the time period spanning from President Kennedy's assassination to President Johnson’s win in the 1964 presidential election. His goal is to chronicle the experiences of Americans who lived through this moment, focusing on the trauma of JFK’s death and the establishment of Johnson as Kennedy’s heir.



Name: Kiara Mallory
Major(s): English Literature
Minor(s): African and African-American Studies
Project Description: Kiara plans to research how Black hair has been used as an identifying factor for certain individuals, and how preconceptions and value judgments pose threats to Black identifying individuals in the world place. She will explore Black hair’s historical and cultural significance, and how its character as a polarizing force in the political economy deems it a prominent factor in the reconstruction of perceptions of Black people as marginalized beings equally capable of success.


Name: Christian Monzon
Major(s): Political Science and Latin-American Studies
Projection Description: Christian seeks to understand how Latin American Indigenous movements change how Indigenous people view themselves in the context of Latin American politics and global neoliberalism. By specifically examining the case of Mexico’s EZLN — the Zapatista Army for National Liberation — his project will explore what it means for an Indigenous movement to “succeed” and how Indigenous movements change Indigenous people’s perceptions of themselves and the world.


Name: Grace Myers
Major(s): Anthropology and Dance
Project Description: Grace plans to examine the competitive nature of dance spaces within the competitive (and oppressive) structures of the U.S. through ethnographic case studies of dance communities. She hopes to investigate the impacts of competition on the ecological relationality of participants to each other and their world, focusing mainly on the felt agency, mutuality, and/or altruism of the participants.


Name: Josie Robinson
Major(s): East Asian Studies; Minor(s): Psychology and Global Film Studies
Project Description: Josie aims to look at the influence of neo-Confucian ideology on the biopolitics of motherhood in contemporary South Korea.