Seeta Chaganti (Ph.D., Yale University, 2001) is the Interim Director of the DHI and an Associate Professor in the Department of English, where she specializes in late-medieval literature and material culture. Her first book, The Medieval Poetics of the Reliquary (2008), explores the relationship between poetic language and devotional objects in the Middle Ages. She has also edited a volume of essays on medieval poetics and social practice for Fordham University Press (2012). Her current book project concerns poetic and visual representations of dance in late-medieval England and France. Seeta has also published articles on Anglo-Saxon and medieval French literature, and in addition to her scholarly writing, she contributes to a blog for Stanford University’s Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, where she comments on the presence of the medieval in contemporary culture and everyday life, from television shows to Las Vegas casinos.
Molly McCarthy comes to the UC Davis Humanities Institute with experience in the academy and the world of journalism. As a teacher and working scholar, she has held faculty positions at Stanford, Wellesley College, and Queens College CUNY. Her teaching and research interests include U.S. women’s history, immigration, print culture and consumption. She is the author of The Accidental Diarist: A History of the Daily Planner in America. Before returning to Brandeis University to complete a Ph.D. in American History, McCarthy, a graduate of Columbia’s School of Journalism, worked as a daily reporter for Newsday where she shared in the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Reporting for coverage of the tragic crash of TWA Flight 800. In October 2010, the New York Times Week in Review editors selected her essay, published by the digital history journal Commonplace, comparing the early American almanac to the iPhone as a “must-read” of the week. As the DHI’s chief communicator and grant writer, McCarthy seeks to continue to advocate broadly for the importance and relevance of humanities research.
tel: (530) 754-4993
Laine Keneller brings a BA in business administration and over 10 years project management experience – as well as a lifelong passion for reading and literature – to the position of program manager. Laine began her career at UC Davis in 2002 in the IET department. During her years on campus she has been involved in several major initiatives providing strategic planning and project management. At the DHI, Laine is responsible for coordinating the new Chancellor’s Colloquium Series and other special events as well as managing the DHI’s core research programs.
tel: (530) 752-3099
Before becoming a Californian, Elliott worked in Drury University’s web office, in Springfield, Missouri, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in math, computer science, and physics. Elliott divides his time between the DHI and the University Writing Program. At the DHI, he is responsible for website maintenance and production.
tel: (530) 752-2716
The tech guru for the Voorhies unit, Kevin Bryant helps the DHI with programming, computer repair, and computer related purchasing.
Lisa Carvajal provides administrative support to the Mellon Research Initiative in Early Modern Studies and the Mellon Research Initiative in Environments & Societies.
Graduate Student Researcher, ModLab Project
Josef Nguyen is a graduate student in English, focusing on contemporary literature and science writing. His interests include science and technology studies, ecocriticism, posthumanism, ethics, energy production, and disaster. He is currently affiliated with the ModLab project under the Digital Humanities Initiative within the Davis Humanities Institute.
Graduate Student Researcher, BOOM: A Journal of California
Ami Sommariva is a Ph.D. Candidate in Cultural Studies. Her dissertation is tentatively titled “Free as a Tree: The Cultural Infrastructure of American Belonging, 1976-2010,” and it examines the use of family tree symbolism in popular media, K-12 curricula, and information architecture. Concerned primarily with how social structures are maintained through the most quotidian practices of everyday life, she asks how the figure of the family tree, which represents inalienable material connections and rootedness, persists as a model for describing relationships in a cultural ecology that feeds on mobility, flexibility, and the notion of self-determination. Her work for BOOM as an Editorial Assistant builds upon her interest in linking scholarship with everyday life so that both may be transformed.