S. Brent Rodriguez-Plate

Brent Rodriguez-Plate, professor of religious studies by special appointment, and Kasia Stempniak, a visiting assistant professor of French and Francophone Studies, will be supported in their research by the newly established Dr. Edgardo Yordán Humanities Faculty Endowment.

Life trustee Jaime Yordán ’71 created the fund, which honors his father, Edgardo Yordán, to provide resources for humanities-related endeavors including research, curriculum development, bringing guest speakers to campus, and other activities. The fund is managed through Hamilton’s Humanities Center.

Rodriguez-Plate will be expanding upon his research that focuses on “a long religio-cultural history that accounts for the making of, playing with, philosophizing with, and ritualizing with dolls.” He plans to begin with questions about our contemporary quest for artificial intelligence — “questions revolving around consciousness, social exchange, emotions, empathy, creativity, and the lines that separate human from machine.” His research will culminate in a book.

Stempniak plans to publish a journal article that provides the first analysis of the Prix Barbet-Batifol, a prize given by the city of Paris from 1886 to 1944 to a working-class woman starting her own clothing business. “The paucity of records of working-class women in the garment industry renders a study of the Prix Barbet-Batifol an indispensable resource into

Kasia Stempniak
Kasia Stempniak. Photo: Nancy L. Ford

understanding the ways that labor and gender intersected in France,” she writes.

The Yordán endowment will also underwrite Interdisciplinary Collaborations, a program that encourages various disciplines throughout campus to explore intersecting research expertise and teaching interests. Last year’s programs included “Boundaries and Transgressions of a Comparative Race Project” directed by Mackenzie Cooley (History) and Mariam Durrani (Anthropology) and “Remaking the Rural” directed by Ruth Lo (Art History) and Priya Chandrasekaran (Environmental Studies).

“These projects and others like it have already brought together faculty, students, and LITS personnel to explore and expand interdisciplinary thinking, and the Yordán contribution will enable us to expand these initiatives,” said Humanities Center Director and Professor of History Tom Wilson. 

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