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Humanities professors win book publication awards

Monday, April 27, 2015

LAWRENCE – Emma Scioli, associate professor in classics, has won the 2015 Vice Chancellor for Research Book Publication Award for her upcoming publication, "Dream, Fantasy, and Visual Art in Roman Elegy," to be published by the University of Wisconsin Press. The annual award is administered by the Hall Center for the Humanities.

The Friends of the Hall Center provides support for a second faculty publication. Katie Rhine, assistant professor of anthropology, received the Friends Book Publication Award for "The Unseen Things: Women, Secrecy, and HIV in Northern Nigeria," to be published by Indiana University Press. 

Scioli’s study analyzes select dreams and related phenomena such as fantasies and visions in the elegiac poetry of Tibullus, Propertius and Ovid, the principal authors of elegiac poetry during its short but explosive growth in Augustan Rome. In particular, Scioli explores the ways in which these poets negotiated the challenges of representing the visual experience of dreaming in textual descriptions of that experience.

The work of art historians informs much of how Scioli approached her analysis in the book. Scioli explores how visuality is established through the subjective gaze of the viewer of a work of art, whether physical or imagined. Scioli posits that the dreamer in elegiac poetry engages in subjective viewing as both the “viewer” of the dreamer and as the detached poet reflecting on the experience. Her study discovers an important dimension of the influence of the techniques of visual artists upon the visual poets, translating specific aspects of the experience of looking at works of visual art into the techniques of their dream descriptions. This approach allows Scioli to illuminate the nature of elegy’s embrace of the visual in a novel way.

The University of Kansas Office of Research sponsors the Vice Chancellor for Research Book Publication Award.  It assists in the publication of meritorious book manuscripts by KU faculty members in the humanities.

Rhine’s book, "The Unseen Things: Women, Secrecy, and HIV in Northern Nigeria," captures the rich and complicated lives of HIV-positive Nigerian women who desire the same things that all people seek: social connection, love, prosperity, security, health and longevity.

The book elucidates the skillful ways in which women attempt to deceive others by masking their diagnosis and treatment, as well as hide social concerns, such as unfaithful husbands and acute economic needs. At the same time, they conspicuously display their material belongings, their desirability and their health — even when these possessions may in fact be fictions. Secrecy, Rhine suggests, is not the passive withholding of information but rather an active set of bodily and social practices that HIV-positive women employ in their attempt to secure their well-being, dignity and faith that the futures they desire will materialize.

Rhine’s award is made possible by the Friends of the Hall Center, an organization of faculty, community members and students who support the Center’s programs.