2019-2020 Wall Scholars

April 3, 2019

The Faculty of Arts is pleased to announce that five faculty members have been selected as Wall Scholars for 2019-2020.

The Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies (PWIAS) Wall Scholar Research Award provides support for full-time, tenured or tenure-track UBC faculty members to spend one year in residence at the Peter Wall Institute in a collaborative, interdisciplinary environment. Wall Scholars are chosen among leading UBC researchers from all academic disciplines, with the objective of creating a dynamic and diverse intellectual community at the Institute.


Katherine Bowers, Assistant Professor, Central, Eastern & Northern European Studies

Dr. Katherine Bowers is a specialist in nineteenth-century Russian literature and culture. She is the co-editor of three volumes: Russian Writers at the Fin de Siècle: The Twilight of Realism (2015); Information and Empire: Mechanisms of Communication in Russia, 1600-1850 (2017); and A Dostoevskii Companion: Texts and Contexts (2018).

As a Wall Scholar, Bowers will finish a book on Russian realism’s engagement with European gothic fiction and embark on a new project about the way Russians imagined Arctic space from the time of Peter the Great until the 1917 Revolution.


Sima Godfrey, Associate Professor, French, Hispanic & Italian Studies

In 1998, Sima Godfrey founded the UBC Institute for European Studies, which she directed until 2007. Under her directorship, the Institute organized 30 conferences and established an interdisciplinary MA programme in European Studies, the first of its kind in Canada. Her research interests range from Baudelaire and 19th-century French art to French fashion and product placement in literature.

As a Wall Scholar, Godfrey will research the invisible Crimean war in 19th-century French literature and why, despite the deaths of 100,000 Frenchmen, despite inescapable coverage in the French press at the time, despite the fact that this was the only war the French won in the 19th century, it does not figure in French cultural memory.


Tara Mayer, Instructor, History

Tara Mayer is a historian of South Asia whose scholarship traces material and aesthetic exchanges between India, Britain, and France. Her work examines the tension between Enlightenment ideas and the praxis of empire in the construction and contestation of European racial and gendered identities. It explores the deeply reciprocal processes of appropriation, assimilation, and influence that took place at the intersections of European and Asian material culture, as well as the role of racism and colonial power in shaping these exchanges.

As a Wall Scholar, Dr. Mayer will advance on a project that lies at the nexus of historical inquiry, critical race and gender theory, and critical pedagogy. Her project is currently configured around two axes: the first on Visual Literacy, and the other on Scholarship and Emotion, which aims to advance pedagogical practices that do not marginalize or homogenize student experiences.


Denise Ferreira da Silva, Director, The Social Justice Institute

As a Professor and Director of The Social Justice Institute (the Intititue for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice), Adjunt Professor of Fine Arts at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and Visiting Professor of Law at Birkbeck University in London – Denise Ferreira da Silva’s academic affiliations reflect her multifaceted work.

As a Wall Scholar, da Silva plans on completing two projects: a book titled Blacklight and an experimental film titled Corpus Infinitum. Both include thinking experiments and analytical tools inspired by black feminist thought, speculative and science fiction as well as findings and theoretical innovations in thermodynamics, electromagnetism, quantum physics, cosmology, and astrophysics.


Mark TurinAssociate Professor, Anthropology

Mark Turin is an anthropologist, linguist and occasional radio presenter. His research and writing focus on language endangerment, documentation and revitalization; language policies and politics; orality, archives, digital tools and technology, and Indigenous methodologies and decolonial practice broadly conceived. For over twenty years, Dr. Turin’s regional focus has been the Himalayan region (particularly Nepal, northern India and Bhutan), and more recently, the Pacific Northwest.

As a Wall Scholar, Dr. Turin will see one book project through to completion and embark on a new one. Both of these research projects coincide with the United Nations Year of Indigenous Languages 2019, a welcome declaration that brings international visibility to the precarious state of the world’s linguistic diversity.