Student Research Blog


Kierkegaard on Inwardness, Suffering, and the Search for a Secure Ground in the Face of Contingency

My dissertation research focuses on the turn to interiority in Kierkegaard’s religious ethics. One of Kierkegaard’s central claims is that we, in our modern age, have forgotten how to exist and have forgotten what inwardness is, and that the way in which philosophers generally write about ethics has encouraged this.


Learning from Others: The Influence of People on Event Memory in Infants and Young Children

From birth, the people in our environment shape the way we perceive, understand, and interact with our world. During my four years as a graduate student at the University of Chicago, I have built upon these principles to ask whether people also shape what children remember about their world. In my previous research, I have found that children who watch an event that includes a person are more likely to remember that event than children who see the exact same stimuli without a person present (Howard, Riggins, & Woodward, under review).


Other than Honorable: The Decline of Citizenship for Service

My dissertation prospectus initially sought to understand how non-citizen immigrants incorporate into American society through the United States military. This broad question raised more questions around the relationship between citizenship and membership. The country recognizes its subjects through citizenship, which creates a reciprocal relationship between the individual and the state.


Parental Investments, Social Interventions and Children Outcomes

There is diffused evidence that more than 50 percent of the factors contributing to earnings inequality over the life-cycle are already present at age 18. My research focuses on analyzing how these factors are shaped by parental and social investments in children.


The German Receptions of Derrida, 1967 to the Present

My research focuses on the receptions of the postmodernist French philosopher Jacques Derrida in the Bonn Republic, the German Democratic Republic, and the Berlin Republic.  The literature on contemporary German intellectual history tends to focus on a left-liberal block of thinkers who have been influenced by left-Hegelianism and see themselves as the bearers of the modernist project of human liberation through the advance of reason.  The intensity of the historiographical focus on these left-liberal intellectuals has resulted in the marginalization of other German intellectual currents th


Field note on Archival research in the First Historical Archive at Beijing

The First Historical Archive (di yi li shi dang an guan) stores a large archive treasure about the history of Qing China (1644-1911). Now the original archives are not accessible for researchers. Instead, the Archive permits researchers to view the reproduced documents: the microfilms and the digitized archives. A lot of archives are accessible in both forms, including the legal documents I am interested in.


Psychoanalysis, Pedagogy, and Politics in Interwar Vienna, 1918-1938

This past quarter, with the help of a SSD short-term research grant, I was able to spend a month in Washington D.C. and six weeks in London to conduct research towards my dissertation on psychoanalysis, pedagogy, and politics in Interwar Vienna.  While the bulk of research for the project was completed over ten months in Vienna the previous year, the fact that the lives and careers I study were interrupted by the rise of fascism necessitated a number of follow-up months in the two countries most exiled Viennese psychoanalysts made their home in the late-1930s.


Tracing a Transition: Political Economy in Bronze and Iron Age Mongolia

My dissertation work revolves around the analysis of political economic processes and organizations in prehistoric Mongolia. Specifically, the time period under investigation is the transition between the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age (ca. 1500-500 BC). During this epoch, previous archaeological studies suggest that during this period of transformation the population experienced a radical shift in subsistence practices and political organization.


The rise of finance in the U.S.

The growth of American finance over the past half-century has been phenomenal. Representing only 10% to 15% of total profits in the US economy in the 1950s and 1960s, financial sector profits rose to account for 30% in the mid-1980s and 40% in 2001. Despite a record loss in profits during the recent financial crisis, US finance quickly recovered, bringing its profit share of the economy back to well above 30% by 2010. What explains this remarkable transformation of the US economy?


The Investigation of Collective Investigation

My dissertation research concerns the history of Collective Investigation, a late nineteenth-century international movement that involved the attempt to produce a new science of clinical medicine through the collection and distillation of clinical observations from large numbers physicians. The movement aimed to circulate knowledge from the center to the periphery and back again on the back of paper cards. These cards were designed by expert committees to capture the clinical information essential to a disease such as pneumonia or diphtheria.