UA Professors Selected For Prestigious NHC Summer Residency

From the February 2019 Desktop News | Two UA professors, Dr. Mairin Odle and Dr. Rekha Nath, were recently awarded summer residencies with the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Nath, an associate professor of philosophy, will spend the summer working on her book detailing the injustice of fat stigma in today’s society. Throughout her book, she strives to clarify what the stigmatization of fatness fundamentally involves, show why and how it is unjust, and develop a framework for identifying practical solutions to remedy it.

“Being fat is widely regarded a bad thing, and fat persons suffer numerous social and economic disadvantages in virtue of their weight,” Nath said. “Despite the seriousness of this problem, it is largely ignored by scholars in my discipline, analytic philosophy. Yet fat stigma poses distinctive philosophical issues: issues that are morally urgent and have interest in their own right.”

Odle, an assistant professor of American Studies , also plans to finish her book, which looks at tattooing and scalping in early America as a study in cross-cultural body modifications.

“I’m really interested in how European colonists adopted these indigenous body modifications as a way to get along with native communities and to compete with them, in some cases,” Odle said. “And you can actually see some really interesting stories come out of comparing them. One aspect is about stories, often of adoption or cultural exchange. And the other stories are about violence and contesting power. Ultimately, my argument is that almost all of the stories end up being about contesting power, and that it ends up being about the emergence of racial identity.”

Nath and Odle will join 40 other professors from across the country in a state-of-the-art research facility for one month during the summer. The facility comes equipped with an extensive team of librarians to help with research.

“It’s a wonderful thing to have a month in the summer where you have one job, and that’s to really work on your book or your project,” Odle said. “I hear wonderful things about the community there. They feed you, they have a library on site to make sure that they can bring you the books that you need,  right away. And so generally, I think it’s probably a little bit like scholarly fantasy to be in the sort of library of your dreams. So I’m excited about that.”

The residency also provides time to collaborate with other residents to improve their projects. Both Odle and Nath were excited to get feedback from a variety of different scholars.

“This promises to be a vibrant and intellectually stimulating community to be a part of, and to exchange ideas with,” Nath said. “I am very excited about this aspect of the residency as my project is an interdisciplinary one, and it will be a wonderful for me to get feedback on it from a diverse range of perspectives.”