Cohort 2

Duration of stay: 1 April 2021 – 30 September 2021

From left to right: Ricarda Menn (Coordination, KWI International Fellowships), Bécquer Seguín, Chiara Salari (Thyssen@KWI Fellow), Emily Doucet, Péter Kristóf Makai and Director of KWI Essen Julika Griem. ©KWI, Foto: Muchnik,
Cohort 2 of KWI International Fellows with Ricarda Menn (coordination of KWI International Fellowships) and Julika Griem (KWI Director). ©KWI, Foto: Muchnik,

Dr. Emily Doucet

Emily Doucet is a historian of visual media. She specializes in the history of photography and new media in the nineteenth century, with a particular interest in conceptual questions at the crossroads of media history, visual culture, communication studies, and the history of science and technology. She received her PhD in Art History from the University of Toronto in 2020.

She writes regularly on historical and contemporary culture for a variety of print and digital publications, including Border Crossings , C Magazine , Canadian Art online, Communication + 1, Lady Science , and Public Parking among others. She co-edited a special issue of the academic journal Gray Room on „The Aerial Image.“ Forthcoming in Spring 2021, the issue will include an editorial introduction co-authored with Dr. Matthew Hunter (McGill) and Dr. Nicholas Robbins (UCL) and an article by Doucet entitled “The Idea Was in the Air: Nadar’s Aerial Media.”

As an international fellow at KWI, she will begin work on a new project, examining the relationship between the postal service and the development of new photographic formats in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. By examining this juncture, this project will unpack the place of state communication networks in the co-constitution of private, military, and corporate visual communication between 1870 and 1945—dates which bookend international conflicts which called for a reconfiguration of communications networks such as the Franco-Prussian War and World War II. In a period when global communication was hastening and expanding, the transnational development of photographic technology proceeded in tandem with the expansion and reimagining of postal delivery systems—a process driven in large part by a series of wars. As such, this project is also a cultural history of the ways that visualities, communications delivery systems, and war are entangled. This project examines how these relationships have evolved historically, charting an extended history of the processes of visual communication and photographic exchange that have come to characterize contemporary life and their imbrication in military and state institutions.

Dr. Péter Kristóf Makai

Péter Kristóf Makai recently finished his Crafoord Postdoctoral Fellowship in Intermedial and Multimodal Studies at Linnaeus University in Växjö, Sweden, where he studied how evolutionary theory is being communicated across media borders, from popular science to science fiction, historical fiction, video games and board games. He earned his English Literature PhD from the University of Szeged, where he wrote his dissertation on how cognitive literary theory, clinical psychology, disability studies and contemporary English and American middlebrow novels represent autism spectrum conditions and fictional mental functioning.

He is excited to join the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut to continue studying how theme parks are transmediated into digital and board games. As a KWI International Fellow, he will investigate how digital and cardboard media use the principles of theming and theme park design to deliver memorable experiences, how themes serve and inspire gameplay mechanisms, how theming is used to mediate narratives, and what different media modalities contribute to the process of meaning-making. Previously, his work on theme parks and games was featured in Apertúra (ISSN 1787-7245), Time and Temporality in Theme Parks (2017, Wehrhahn Verlag), and Transmediations: Communication across Media Borders (2020, Routledge).

In addition to theme park research, he has published work on Tolkien, games and worldbuilding in Reconstructing Arda (2019, Walking Tree Publishers), A Companion to J. R. R: Tolkien (2013, Wiley-Blackwell) and Tolkien Studies(ISSN 1547-3155). He is a member of COST Action 18230, Interactive Narrative Design for Complexity Representations.

His professional interests include fantasy and science fiction studies, evolutionary and cognitive literary theory, game studies, postmodern and contemporary literature. He serves on the expert panel awarding Hungary’s longest-running science fiction, the Péter Zsoldos Award and the newly-formed Monolit Prize. He is an avid hiker, cyclist, and wine aficionado (WSET Level 3).

Dr. Chiara Salari

Chiara Salari is an associated researcher at the LARCA (Center for the Studies of the Arts, History and Literature of the English Speaking World) in Paris, where she participates in the activities of the “Art and Visual Culture” research group and of the “Environmental Humanities” interdisciplinary seminar.

For her doctoral research, titled “The Landscape Exploded”, Chiara has focused on contemporary practices of landscape photography in a cross-cultural European/North American perspective. She has completed her PhD at the Université de Paris, in co-supervision with Roma 3 University in Italy (PhD program “Contemporary city landscapes. Politics, technics, and visual studies”), where she previously obtained a Bachelor’s degree in “Visual and performing arts” and a Master’s degree in “Cinema, television and multimedia production”, before undertaking the Erasmus Mundus Master “Crossways in cultural narratives” in Canada (Ontario) and the South of France (Perpignan). While writing her Master’s dissertations on documentary cinema and urban photography, she also worked in multimedia production projects, film cataloguing and programming. As a teaching and research assistant at the universities of Guelph, Paris 7 and Roma 3, she taught visual culture, image analysis, and history of photography courses, and published many articles on photographic exhibitions, surveys or projects documenting landscapes transformations.

Chiara will devote her time at the KWI to write a book from a part of her thesis, expanding the study of the relations between landscape photographic representations, cultural identities and environmental issues. The aim of this project is to explore the concept of environmental aesthetics, by analyzing the role of photography in the perception of natural, urban and post-industrial landscapes. Part of the research will be focused on the (cultural) conversion projects of industrial sites of the “industrial heritage trail” in the Ruhr area (which will be compared to the North of France and North-East of Italy regions, both theoretically and by means of a photographic survey).

Dr. Bécquer Seguín

Bécquer Seguín is Assistant Professor of Iberian Studies at Johns Hopkins University and the Senior Editor of the MLN Hispanic Issue. In 2016, he completed his PhD in Romance Studies from Cornell University, where he was a Graduate School Dean’s Scholar and an Andrew W. Mellon and John E. Sawyer Seminar Fellow.

Bécquer specializes in the literary, cultural, and political history of modern Spain, with related interests in political theory, intellectual history, and cultural sociology. His research has appeared in Hispanic Reviewboundary 2, and a number of edited volumes. In addition to his scholarship, Bécquer has also written on Spanish politics and culture for The NationSlateDissent, and Public Books.

At the KWI, Bécquer will be completing his first book, The Op-Ed Novel: Spain and the Politics of Literary Persuasion, which is under contract with Harvard University Press. The book combines sociology and literary history to examine why novelists have come to play an unusually prominent role in the Spanish public sphere since the country’s transition to democracy in the 1970s. It argues that opinion journalism, in particular, has dramatically shaped the intellectual careers and novels of prominent writers in Spain, whose views on everything from historical memory to terrorism have influenced public opinion.