Two Mellon Postdoctoral Fellows to join the Department in September - March 13th, 2017


March 13th, 2017

Two Mellon Postdoctoral Fellows to join the Department in September

The Department of History and Classical Studies will be hosting not one, but two holders of the prestigious Mellon Foundation postdoctoral fellowships as of September 2017.

Rosanna Dent

Rosanna Dent, who is completing her dissertation in the Department of History and Sociology of Science, will be working under Prof. David Wright.

Ms Dent's dissertation "Studying Indigenous Brazil: the Xavante and the Human Sciences, 1958-2015" will be the platform for her postdoctoral research. Her work examines how Indigenous people and academic scientists have interacted over the past sixty years in domains such as human genetics, anthropology, and public health. Even is a context of unequal power, Indigenous people have marshaled scientific knowledge for their own economic, social and political ends. In so doing, they shaped the scholars that were studying them, transforming their methods and results. By engaging in human sciences research, scientists and Indigenous people develop new subjectivities which function at both the individual and the professional or ethnic level. Her research shows how people are made into scientific subjects, but also how they in turn transform the nature of science.

Rosanna Dent's record is very impressive: she has received fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the ACLS, the Max Planck Center for the History of Science, and the Fulbright Student Program. She has delivered numerous conference papers and invited talks (in English and Portuguese), and has one published article and three more forthcoming. Rosanna Dent is a welcome addition to our Department, as she bridges our established strengths in the history of science and medicine and in Latin America with the emerging domain of Indigenous history.

Dr Eduardo Fabbro

Dr Eduardo Fabbro will be supervised by Prof. Travis Bruce. His principal focus is the history of warfare in the early medieval West.

Presently he is turning his Toronto 2015 doctoral dissertation into a book entitled Society and Warfare in Early Medieval Italy (c. 568-652), but his new project widens the lens to examine the issue of warfare and theology prior to the First Crusade of 1095. While the notion of "holy war" is notoriously absent before 1095, Dr Fabbro argues that the belief that God grants victory to "the just" proved to be a portal through which armed violence could be given theological meaning. Initially, this trope was used to explain and justify victories, but what happened when the "wrong" side won? From the Carolingian period onwards, theologians struggled with the implications of God's intervention in battle, and in particular, how to interpret an influential letter falsely ascribed to St Augustine that strongly endorsed the literal reality of that intervention.

Dr Fabbro is the author of five articles and chapters, with a sixth in press. He has created digital editions of medieval texts, and delivered papers on subjects as diverse as Lombard women, the digital mapping of medieval Florence, and the career of the Carolingian historian Paul the Deacon. Eduardo Fabbro's liminal position between late Antique Italy and the western Middle Ages will makes his sojourn with us of high importance, particularly in deepening the links between historians and classicists.