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External Advisory Board

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The External Advisory Board meets annually to review Faculty Fellowship proposals and to select the Faculty Fellows for the next academic year.

James Boon
Professor of Anthropology, Princeton University

Professor Boon's research bridges comparative studies of societies and institutions; colonialist ethnology; literary analysis; approaches to kinship, ritual, myth, and media; and the history of ideas. His books are From Symbolism to Structuralism: Lévi-Strauss in a Literary Tradition; The Anthropological Romance of Bali: 1597-1972: Dynamic Perspectives in Marriage, Caste, Politics, and Religion; Other Tribes, Other Scribes: Symbolic Anthropology in the Comparative Study of Cultures, Histories, Religions, and Texts; Affinities and Extremes: Crisscrossing the Bittersweet Ethnology of East Indies History, Hindu-Balinese Culture, and Indo-European Allure; and Verging on Extra-Vagance: Anthropology, History, Religion, Literature, Arts... Showbiz.

Anne Anlin Cheng
Professor of English and of the Center for African American Studies, Princeton University

Professor Cheng specializes in race studies and psychoanalytic theory and works in 20th-century American literature, with special focus on Asian American and African American literature. She is also affiliated with the Princeton Program in American Studies and the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is the author of The Melancholy of Race: Assimilation, Psychoanalysis, and Hidden Grief, which examines the notion of racial grief at the intersection of culture, history, and law, exploring how writers and artists of color contribute to our understanding of racial injury by exploring the complex etiology of racism and the education of desire that it instills in both dominant and minority subjects. Her new book Second Skin: Josephine Baker and the Modern Surface, traces the story of the unexpected intimacy between the invention of a modernist style and the theatricalization of black skin at the turn of the twentieth century. This study situates Baker’s famous nakedness within larger philosophic and aesthetic crisis about the ideal of the “pure surface” that crystallized at the convergence of modern art, architecture, machinery, and philosophy. She is currently working on a new project on the discourse of "shine" in early century philosophy and aesthetics. Cheng is the founder and organizer of Princeton's public conversation series, Critical Encounters, that promotes dialogue between art and theory and encourages cross-disciplinary conversations on the shared topic of social justice. Prior to Princeton, she taught a wide range of courses at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley.

Tom Conley
Abbott Lawrence Lowell Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and of Visual and Environmental Studies, and Co-Master of Kirkland House, Harvard University

With interests in early modern French literature, film and media studies, and the intersections of literature and graphic imagination, Tom Conley is the author of:  Cartographic Cinema (2006), The Self-Made Map: Cartographic Writing in Early Modern France (1997), The Graphic Unconscious in Early Modern French Writing (1992), Film Hieroglyphs: Ruptures in Classical Cinema(1991) and co-editor of Identity Papers: Contested Nationhood in Twentieth-Century France (1996). His major translations include Christian Jacob, The Sovereign Map, Michel de Certeau, The Writing of History, Gilles Deleuze, The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque, Marc Augé, In the Metro, and Christian Jacob, The Sovereign Map.

Brent Edwards
Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

Brent Edwards is the author of The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism (Harvard UP, 2003), which was awarded the John Hope Franklin Prize of the American Studies Association, the Gilbert Chinard prize of the Society for French Historical Studies, and runner-up for the James Russell Lowell Prize of the Modern Language Association. With Robert G. O'Meally and Farah Jasmine Griffin, he co-edited the collection Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies (Columbia UP, 2004). He has published essays and articles on topics including African American literature, Francophone literature, theories of the African diaspora, black radical intellectuals, cultural politics in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s, surrealism, 20th-century poetics, and jazz. His translations include essays, poems, and fiction by authors including Edouard Glissant, Jacques Derrida, Jean Baudrillard, Sony Labou Tansi, and Monchoachi. He is co-editor of the journal Social Text, and serves on the editorial boards of Transition and Callaloo. He is currently working on two book projects: a study of the interplay between jazz and literature in African American culture; and a cultural history of the jazz scene in New York in the 1970s.