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Humanities Institute


Visiting Scholars

The DHI hosts a variety of visiting scholars, many of whom have selected UC Davis as an institutional home for residency during fellowship terms.

Visiting Scholars, 2010-2011

  • Karen Hiles, Mellon/ACLS Recent Doctoral Recipients Fellow (2010-2011)

Karen Hiles is assistant professor of music at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA and holds a Ph.D. in historical musicology from Columbia University (2009). A specialist in eighteenth-century music, Hiles’ research focuses on Vienna and Joseph Haydn. She is particularly interested in the diverse political, social, and cultural roles for music during wartime. Her dissertation, “Haydn’s Heroic Decades: Music, Politics, and War, 1791–1809,” explores this topic in Vienna during the 1790s and 1800s, and was awarded Distinction. Hiles also holds an M.F.A. in musicology from Brandeis University, and a B.A. in English Literature and Music from Swarthmore College.

Hiles has been awarded research fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), the Whiting Foundation, and the American Musicological Society (AMS). She was an Alvin H. Johnson AMS 50 Fellow for 2008. She has presented her research at many conferences, including the national meeting of the AMS (2009), the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (2008, 2009, 2010), a joint meeting of the Society for Eighteenth-Century Music and the Haydn Society of North America (2008), as well as the International Congress on Medieval Studies (2005). She served as editor-in-chief of the journal Current Musicology from 2005 to 2007 and has contributed reviews to Eighteenth-Century Music and Notes (the quarterly journal of the Music Library Association).

Trained as a pianist and violinist, Hiles has more recently taken up the viola and plays an instrument she built in Carmel Valley, CA, in 1999. Outside of academia, Hiles was a historical consultant on Sofia Coppola’s 2006 film, Marie Antoinette, and has worked as an expert tour guide along the Danube River for the Tauck Company. She grew up in Monterey, CA.

With the generous support of the American Council of Learned Societies and the UC Davis Humanities Institute, Hiles is excited to spend the 2010-11 academic year developing her research on Haydn and Vienna.

During her fellowship year, Hiles will begin work on a book project centered on Joseph Haydn, Haydn and Musical Cultures of War, 1790–1809, which seeks to resituate his music within the cultural and political context of Vienna in the 1790s and 1800s – an era marked by war, political upheaval, and Haydn’s emergence as a cultural hero. Beginning from the premise that the Napoleonic Wars are central to understanding Haydn’s success, the book will restore vital connections among the political-cultural climate of Haydn’s late years, his music, and his unprecedented status. In this way, the project is as much concerned with a central individual as with the relationship between music, war, and audiences in Vienna around 1800.

Bringing together archival and reception studies, cultural and military history, and music analysis, the book will trace two central questions: How was Haydn able to reach such heights and transcend the divisions of the war-torn continent, and how might one characterize the cultures that placed him on that pedestal? In his last years, Haydn was concerned to reach what Elaine Sisman has termed “multiple audiences” – critics, publishers, amateurs, professionals, listeners, and performers – as he shaped his musical legacy through a popular late style calibrated to appeal widely. Taking a cue from the composer’s attempts to reach a broad public, Hiles’ wider historical perspective helps reestablish Haydn within the context he has been lifted away from by nineteenth-century portraits of an over-simplified and unworldly “Papa Haydn.” This study not only opens up new readings of Haydn’s music and a more nuanced conception of his personality, but, in reading his music as an important mode of political (and often patriotic) expression for musicians and audiences, has broad implications for other humanistic disciplines. Hiles explores music’s role in what historian David A. Bell has recently called the new “culture of war” that emerged across Europe during the Napoleonic era. The historiographical gap that Bell has observed between military history and cultural history is particularly pronounced for Vienna in these decades; with her investigation of the cultural role played by Haydn and his music within that setting, Hiles hopes to help bridge the divide, and at the same time deepen our understanding of Haydn’s position in his world.

Read Karen Hiles’ interview with the DHI here!

Catherine Carstairs is primarily a historian of Canada, but as a medical and cultural historian, her research and teaching interests regularly cross the border.  Although she is a Canadian and grew up in Calgary and Winnipeg, Carstairs did her undergraduate degree at Harvard University in American history.  She then worked for several years on the “Heritage Minutes” – sixty-second long dramas about Canadian history.  The minutes were widely shown on television, and have played a huge role in informing what her students today know about the Canadian past.  But after several years of making popular history, Carstairs decided on a more academic path and went to the University of Toronto for graduate school to study Canadian history.

Her first book, Jailed for Possession: Illegal Drug Use, Regulation and Power in Canada, 1920-1961, examined the impact of harsh drug laws on the lives of drug users in Canada, but also engaged with the more extensive literature on drug use and policy in the United States. She argued that Canada’s strict drugs laws between 1921 and 1961 had more costs than benefits. Over the past several years, Carstairs has been working on the history of the Canadian health food movement and on the history of water fluoridation.  She has also published on the history of Canadian nationalism in the 1980s and 1990s. At the DHI, Carstairs will be working on the history of the American health food movement. During her residency here, she will be writing articles on two American health food reformers:  Gaylord Hauser and Adelle Davis. Hauser’s books including: Look Younger, Live Longer (1950), Be Happier, Be Healthier (1952), Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Invitation to Beauty (1960), sold more than a million copies and were translated into at least a dozen languages. Reader’s Digest condensed Look Younger, Live Longer as a book of the month, and the book was on best-seller lists for more than a year. Hauser promised people that they could live to be a hundred years old and that they could get there without aches and pains or a wrinkled face, and that they could still contribute to the world around them. While there has been a lot of attention paid to the baby boomers in the years after World War II, the elderly were also becoming aware of themselves as an age-based cohort that was increasing in size, and had unique interests. The expansion of Old Age Security (first passed in 1935), and greater access to retirement packages meant that people could think of old age as a distinct, and perhaps pleasurable, period of life.  In the 1940s and 50s, magazines and newspapers told people that life expectancies were increasing, and that new scientific developments could mean an end to declining health and vigour in old age. Carstairs’ paper will argue that Hauser was part of an important shift in re-imagining what it meant to age in the United States in the years after World War II.

The second paper focuses on Adelle Davis, the author of Let’s Cook it Right (1947), Let’s Have Healthy Children (1952) Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit (1954) and Let’s Get Well (1965).  Davis argued that American soil was poor and food was over-processed and badly cooked.  As a result, Americans were suffering from sub-clinical deficiencies of vitamins and minerals, making them tired, sick, irritable, and old before their time. Her solution was heavy vitamin and mineral supplementation along with the extensive use of liver, wheat germ, powdered skim milk and brewer’s yeast. Carstairs’ paper will focus on the advice Adelle Davis gave to pregnant women and young mothers. Like other “experts,” Davis outlined clear expectations for how babies and toddlers should look and behave.  The parents of children who did not live up to these ideals were told that they needed to carefully manage their children’s diets to ensure their adequate development.  Even more disturbingly, her books spoke powerfully to people’s fears about disability and imperfection. Let’s Have Healthy Children warned that there was a dangerous rise in the number of hyperactive, mentally retarded and deformed children. Although Davis was not a eugenicist, in the sense that she did not encourage the “fit” to have more children, or the “unfit” to have less, her language was remarkably similar to that employed by eugenicists in the interwar years, especially those with a more Lamarkian, or environmental, orientation.  As such, she can tell us something about the ways in which the language (and ideas) of the eugenicists persisted well into the 1970s.

Visiting Scholars, 2009-2010

This page was last updated: July 9, 2012



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