The Mellon-Morgridge Professors: With generous support from the Mellon Foundation and a matching gift from John P. and Tashia Morgridge, we are proud to support four rotating professorships in the humanities. Our Mellon-Morgridge Professors develop the curriculum for the Constellations program while engaging in cutting-edge research that transcends disciplinary boundaries and deeply connects the humanities to modern concerns.

Dr. Ortiz-Robles is a leader in the emerging field of animal studies. His home department is English, but his wide-ranging intellectual interests have allowed him to forge strong connections across the UW-Madison campus. His Constellation aspires to build off the success of his Borghesi-Mellon workshop in Animal Studies and create a hub for scholarship and research focused on representation, rights, and animal-human relations. Prof. Ortiz-Robles has an extensive publication record that includes his book Literature and Animal Studies, which asks “Why do animals talk in literature?”

Dr. Jenell Johnson’s work is recognized internationally for reshaping our understanding of science and medicine in the field of Rhetoric and Communications, as well as in Science and Technology Studies. Much of her work looks closely at issues related to how we understand the meaning of neuroscience, psychiatry, and mental disability. These interests are best illustrated in her first book American Lobotomy, and the edited collection The Neuroscientific Turn, a collection of essays from humanists and scientists reflecting on the growth of the “neuro-disciplines.” Johnson is the director of UW-Madison’s Disability Studies Initiative. She leads a double life as a cartoonist and has recently published a comic anthology entitled Graphic Reproduction.

Dr. Frédéric Neyrat is a French philosopher with expertise in the environmental humanities and contemporary theory. He is the author of several books, including The Unconstructable Earth: An Ecology of Separation, and Atopias: Manifesto for a Radical Existentialism. Dr. Neyrat recently launched Alienocene, an electronic journal that gathers texts, sounds, and images seeking to reshape the relationship between the human and the inhuman, the terrestrial and the extraterrestrial, the near and the distant, what is familiar to us and what persists in remaining – despite everything – alien.

The Mellon-Morgridge Fellows: With generous support from the Mellon Foundation and a matching gift from John P. and Tashia Morgridge, we support four graduate fellowships in the humanities. Our Mellon-Morgridge Fellows support the research of our professors and contribute to Constellations programming.

Iseult Gillespie is a PhD student in English and a Mellon-Morgridge Fellow supporting the Planetary Constellation. She is interested in contemporary Anglophone literature and visual culture, gender and sexuality, disability studies and critical theory. She is also a TED-Ed educator who is passionate about spaces that allow the relationship between scholarship and public needs to flourish.

Jared Seymour is currently a PhD Candidate in the Department of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests include nineteenth-century British literature, the Victorian novel, critical theory, biopolitics, and animal studies. He is at work on a dissertation that tracks the idea and category of species, as well as the figure of the animal, in the late Victorian novel and in scientific, philosophical, and political discourses. He serves as the Mellon-Morgridge Fellow for the Animal Studies Constellation.

Caroline Hensley is a PhD student in English with a BS in health sciences and a BA in literary studies. Her work pertains to the intersections of these disciplines in both literature and the public sphere. In addition to her interests in poetry, biopolitics, and migration/diaspora studies, she currently focuses on how critical race theories inform the emergent area of “health humanities.” She serves as the Mellon-Morgridge Fellow for the Health and Inequality Constellation.

The Constellations Program Staff: