2018 Summer Institute Research Mentors

Deborah Nelson, a professor in and current chair of the Department of English, works on late 20th-century literature and culture. Her book, Tough Enough: Arbus, Arendt, Didion, McCarthy, Sontag, Weil, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2017. She is also the author of Pursuing Privacy in Cold War America and articles published in PMLA, American Literary History, Contemporary Literature, Feminist Studies and in several edited collections. Nelson led a Mellon-funded Sawyer Seminar called “@1948” and edited with Leela Gandhi a special issue of Critical Inquiry devoted to the topic. Nelson has worked closely with Special Collections for projects at the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, has taught classes with Smart Museum curators, serves on the Faculty Board of the Court Theatre, and has advised dozens of BA essays.

James T. Sparrow is Associate Professor in History and the College. He is the author of Warfare State: World War II Americans and the Age of Big Government (Oxford University Press, 2011), a cultural and social history of the pivotal moment when federal power became a permanent feature of everyday life in the United States. His current research centers on the cultural and intellectual history of democratic state-building in the American Century. Sparrow has taught several undergraduate research colloquia in Regenstein Library’s Special Collections, working closely with students to explore the archival record of major figures and groups who shaped the intellectual life and politics of the University of Chicago, the City of Chicago, and the U.S. Government. He has also worked on several grant-funded digital history projects.

Nora Titone is Resident Dramaturg at Court Theatre and the author of the Civil War history My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry of Edwin and John Wilkes Booth (Simon & Schuster, 2010). As a dramaturg and historical researcher, Titone has collaborated with a range of artists and scholars including the playwright Anna Deavere Smith and the historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. She has taught nonfiction writing for the Chicago Studies Quarter; students in her course “Writing Chicago” used collections at Chicago archives to fuel original works of biography, creative nonfiction and narrative history.  She also has contributed to research projects at Arena Stage, DreamWorks Studios and the Kennedy School of Government. Titone studied history at Harvard University and UC Berkeley, and is represented by ICM Partners.


College Summer Institute Leadership:

Faculty Director, Christopher J. Wild is Associate Professor of Germanic Studies, Theater and Performance Studies, and Collegiate Master of the Humanities in the College; he is also Associated Faculty in the Divinity School and Deputy Dean of the Humanities Division. Professor Wild is the author of Theater der Keuschheit - Keuschheit des Theaters. Zu einer Geschichte der (Anti-)Theatralität von Gryphius bis Kleist (Rombach: Freiburg, 2003), which traces the profound historical transformation of theatricality that takes place in German theater from the Baroque to Classicism. His current projects examine the ways in which theology and religion inform developments that are generally considered genuinely modern. Most immediately, he is working on a book that asks the seemingly simple question why Descartes’ founding text of modern philosophy was titled Meditations on First Philosophy in order to take its generic affiliation seriously. 

Program Director, Nichole J. Fazio, is Director of the College Center for Research and Fellowships (CCRF). She holds a doctorate in the History of Art from the University of Oxford, with a specialization in 19th- and early 20th-century photography in Britain. Her current research considers Julia Margaret Cameron's visual treatment of the poetic sublime, particularly in her photographic illustrations of Tennyson's Arthurian poem, Idylls of the King, and Cameron's significance as an early British Symbolist. She has worked extensively in the photographic and archival collections at Oxford's Bodleian and Weston Libraries, as well as in collections held at the Ashmolean Museum, National Portrait Gallery (London), George Eastman House, AIC, and the Center for Creative Photography at Arizona.