Fellows - Oklahoma Center for the Humanities


2020-2021 Research Fellowship Cohort

Courage Seminar Leader:  Matt Drever (Philosophy and Religion) 

Faculty Fellows 

Jeffrey Alderman, M.D., M.S. is Associate Dean for Medical Education at the University of Tulsa, where he serves as the Barbara Yetter Roth chair in Community Medicine. Dr. Alderman is a teacher and student of health care policy and systems – focusing on ways to improve the delivery of care to broad and diverse populations. He also is a long-time hospice and palliative medicine physician in the Tulsa community, where he continues to provide end-of-life care and hospice services.  Dr. Alderman hopes to empower students and patients alike with the tools to live their healthiest lives.

Aila Hoss is an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Tulsa College of Law where she teaches and researches Indian law and health law. Professor Hoss practiced public health law as a staff attorney with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Law Program, where she worked to improve public health through the development of legal tools and the provision of legal technical assistance to state, Tribal, local, and territorial governments. Her work at CDC included supporting the agency’s Ebola Emergency Operations Center and serving as a faculty member for the agency’s Working Effectively with Tribal Governments course. Prior to joining TU Law, she was a visiting assistant professor at Indiana University McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis. Her research explores topics in health law and Indian law, particularly Tribal public health law and the impact of federal Indian law on health outcomes. She completed her BA at Emory University and her JD at the University of Oregon. She is an active member of the Indiana bar.

Don James McLaughlin is an assistant professor of nineteenth-century American literature at the University of Tulsa. His research focuses on literary movements in the Americas, the history of medicine and psychiatry, the queer past, disability theory, and the history of emotions. His scholarship has been published in the peer-reviewed journals Literature and MedicineAmerican Literature, and J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, as well as the New RepublicLapham’s Quarterly, and Common-place: The Journal of Early American Life.

Public Fellows 

Jessica Harvey is an artist and writer who conducts long-term investigations of natural, historical, and personal events, paying close attention to the interpretation of facts, which often changes based on the narrator. Using photography, video, sound, archival resources, and objects constructed from everyday materials, her images and installations act as a catalyst for the fantastical exploration of the psychology that one attaches to memory and place, putting a particular emphasis on the role of women in these histories. Through humor and tragedy, Harvey creates a new way of re-evaluating life, death, and the mythology of our own history.

Student Fellows 

Ritvik Ganguly is a current senior at the University of Tulsa pursuing a Biochemistry degree and Biomedical Engineering minor with the intent of attending medical school. Alongside his experiences in integrative medicine and patient advocacy, Ritvik looks towards the humanities to research varying conceptions of health. His interest in the nuances of courage and resilience stems from a desire to understand the humanity that resides in healthcare. Ritvik is a Presidential Scholar, Global Scholar, Fulbright Canada Scholar, and in the honors program.   

Jasmine Johnson is a Junior at the University of Tulsa in the Accelerated MBA Program, majoring in Management with a Business Law Specialization and double-minoring in Sociology and English. She is a member of the Association of Black Collegians (ABC), Women in Business (WIB), and a mentor for Leaders Incorporated (LINC). Participation in this seminar will allow her to contribute to her own work, both individually and professionally within the larger community. In this seminar, she would like to see questions that address topics as to how one’s environment, community, and consummation play a part in one’s lived experience, and why the questioning of one’s self is key to finding and reshaping one’s identity and humanity.

Rage Seminar Leader: Zenia Kish (Media Studies)

Faculty Fellows: 

Danielle Macdonald is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Tulsa. As an anthropological archaeologist, her research focuses on the intersection of people and material culture, exploring how we make meaning in the world through the objects in our lives. Danielle directs excavations in Jordan and Cyprus, examining the transition from hunting-gathering to the origins of agriculture.  She is interested in the role of objects during transformational moments and how we can understand emotions (such as rage) in the human past.

Robert Jackson is the James G. Watson Professor of English at the University of Tulsa.  His work focuses on connections among modern American literature, history, and media, with special interests in the history of representations of race and race relations in the United States.  Most recently, he published FADE IN, CROSSROADS: A HISTORY OF THE SOUTHERN CINEMA and edited a special issue of THE GLOBAL SOUTH on “Global Migrant Media.”  This fall he is teaching a course called “The History and Culture of Civil Rights.”


Public Fellows: 

Steve Bellin-Oka earned his MFA in poetry from the University of Virginia and his PhD in 20th Century American Poetry from the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers. He is the author of Instructions for Seeing a Ghost (U of North Texas P, 2020), which won the Vassar Miller Prize, as well as three chapbooks of poems, most recently Out of the Frame (Walls Divide P, 2019). Currently a Tulsa Artist Fellow, his other honors include fellowships from Yaddo, the National Parks Arts Foundation, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. His current creative and research interests focus on the connections between the AIDS era and the current coronavirus pandemic and how marginalized communities can harness rage as a constructive force for positive social change.

Janine Utell is Homer C. Nearing, Jr. Distinguished Professor in English at Widener University, where she also chairs the Department of English and Creative Writing.  She is the author of James Joyce and the Revolt of Love (2010), Engagements with Narrative (2015), and Literary Couples and 20th-Century Life Writing (2019), and the editor of The Comics of Alison Bechdel (2020) and Teaching Modernist Women’s Writing in English (forthcoming).  She is working on a monograph about modernist women’s writing and rage and a biography of gay comix artist and activist Howard Cruse.

Student Fellows: 

Joshua Boyle is a senior at the University of Tulsa double majoring in economics and French. In his time at TU, he has read and analyzed works by authors like Victor Hugo, Marie Ndiaye and Arthur Rimbaud, as well as film directors like Ousmane Sembene, Raoul Peck and Rachid Bouchareb. Through his writings and reflections on such works and his own experience, he has explored issues including social class inequality, societal perceptions of women, immigration, poverty, Africa’s colonial past and racism. In the tumultuous year this has proven to be, open and honest dialogue about rage is as important as ever. Joshua is excited to share his unique perspective and learn from the collective knowledge of the other fellows, in what he is sure will be an enlightening and fruitful seminar. 

Jayla Simone Meeks is a junior at the University of Tulsa, double majoring in Political Science and Organizational Studies with a minor in Musical Theatre. Jayla was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. In addition to serving as the president of the Association of Black Collegians, Jayla is a member of the Honors Program and serves as a Resident Assistant on campus. Jayla is also an entrepreneur, and owns a meaningful and affordable jewelry business. As a research fellow, Jayla looks forward to studying and reflecting on the theme of “rage” in relation to the social injustice in today’s society; especially the rage surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement and the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre.She believes that participating in this seminar would serve as a great inspiration and would contribute to her Honors Plan and would also help her in contributing to the larger Tulsa community, through her various leadership positions on TU’s campus.

Breanna Naughton is a biology major, studying to become a future obstetrician-gynecologists. Breanna currently works as a nursing assistant in a clinical setting.  Breanna’s research interests include pathogenic microbiology, artificial intelligence, and the human condition. Breanna is currently completing my Honors Plan project, the final component of her honors portfolio, where she analyzes the human condition through conversational interviews. Breanna hopes to gain a different perspective from the Rage seminar that might aid her in her pursuit of understanding the human-condition.