CHI Theme for 2019-2021: Home

"Home" by Patrick Hughes (courtesy of Amherst College Archives)

Home: across time and space and culture, there has been perhaps no more resonant an idea.  Both material and affective, home is a space of origin and dwelling, set apart from spheres of promiscuous public interaction and of emptiness.  To have a home is to be more than housed: it is to be given an identity, to feel belonging, to find refuge, to constitute private or domestic life, to gather people and material objects, and to generate memory. By contrast, to be without a home is to be outside of or excluded from that centering and protective space, to feel estrangement or abandonment, to wander detached from place, or perhaps from another perspective to take on a new and cosmopolitan identity, self-willed and multivalent. 

From homepage to homeroom to homeland, home is a place to which one is tethered. Yet home and homelessness are also constituted from the outside – constructed through policy, imbued with ideology, and elaborated aesthetically in relation to other times and traditions. Authorities construct and destroy homes; institutions proclaim their economic and moral value; designers imagine their utopic possibilities. 

Throughout 2019 to 2021, we engage a wide range of humanities-oriented scholarship as we take up a number of questions addressing our theme.  What is home’s force or energy as a thing and an idea?  How is home imagined, deployed, and conjured as an object of desire?  How is home simultaneously a mechanism of protection and of exclusion?  Who can have a home, and what are the conditions of its possibility?  How has the home evolved historically and manifested differently across cultures?  What is home’s relation to language and identity, exile and migration? 

Above: "Home" by Patrick Hughes (courtesy of Amherst College Archives)


Stephen Dillon

Steve Dillon Stephen Dillon is Associate Professor and Critical Race and Queer Studies at Hampshire College. He is the author of Fugitive Life: The Queer Politics of the Prison State (Duke University Press, 2018). His other writings on race, sexuality, feminism, and incarceration have appeared in Radical History ReviewWomen and Performance: A Journal of Feminist TheoryCultural Studies and Critical Methodologies; Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social Sciences, and the edited collections Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex and Active Intolerance: Michel Foucault, the Prisons Information Group, and the Future of Abolition. He received his Ph.D. in American Studies with a minor in Critical Feminist and Sexuality Studies from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Allison Formanack (2019-20)

Allison Formanack Allison Formanack is an incoming Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Southern Mississippi. A cultural anthropologist, Dr. Formanack considers the process by which pollution, ruin, and “trashiness” is transferred from home to resident in the context of the most maligned housing type in the United States: the “mobile” or “trailer” home. Drawn from 28 months of ethnographic fieldwork in urban mobile home communities in Nebraska, her work finds that immaterial systems of law and finance conditions the materiality of categorically ambiguous “mobile” housing. This creates a state of “im/permanence,” or imposed temporariness, which threatens the rights and wellbeing of an estimated 22 million mobile-homeowners. She is currently working on a book project based on this work, Mobile Home on the Range: Manufacturing Ruin and Respect in an American Zone of Abandonment. Dr. Formanack received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Colorado Boulder, where her research received support from from the National Science Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, among others.

Lili Kim

Lili Kim Lili M. Kim is an interdisciplinary historian of the 20th-century United States, specializing in (im)migration, race and ethnicity, gender, nation, and empire.  Her first book project, Unlikely Enemy:  Korean Americans, World War II, and Transnational Struggle for Justice on the Homefront, investigates how Korean immigrants negotiated the racial terrain of the homefront as stateless, colonized subjects of Japan in Hawai‘i and the continental United States against the backdrop of the unprecedented mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.  At CHI, she will be working on her second book project, In Transit:  Migration, Globalization, and Koreans in Argentina and the United States, which traces the history of Korean migration to Argentina that began in 1965 and the subsequent remigration to the United States through the lens of gender, work and family, and transient (un)belonging. Lili is currently Associate Professor of History and Global Migrations at Hampshire College.  During the 2017-2019 academic years, she and her family lived in Seoul, South Korea, where she was a Fulbright Senior Scholar and Professor of History at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.  Prior to coming to Hampshire College, she was the Institute of American Cultures Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her scholarship has been supported by the NEH Summer Stipend, Fulbright Foundation, Korea Foundation, and Whiting Foundation, among others.  

Samantha Presnal

Samantha Presnal Samantha Presnal’s research focuses on domestic cooking and food culture at the turn-of-the-twentieth century. Her dissertation examines the emergence of new mediums of culinary education such as cooking demonstrations, competitions, magazines, home economics courses, and private institutions in fin-de-siècle Paris. Utilizing archival sources and prescriptive literature, her dissertation shows how chefs and culinary specialists transmitted class, gender, and civic values through culinary principles, and how students reified but sometimes defied these ideals through daily practices. Broadening her research geographically, her current project uncovers the imperial and transnational dimensions of domestic cooking. She compares domestic cooking programs in France to concurrent initiatives in the colonies and in the US and studies how culinary informants and information circulated between these sites. She received her degree in French Studies from New York University in 2019, where her research was supported by the Fulbright. Her tenure as a CHI fellow marks a homecoming of sorts; her “entrée” to humanistic inquiry was through the French department at Amherst College, where she received her BA in 2011.

Ashlie Sandoval (2020-21)

Ashlie Sandoval Ashlie Sandoval’s research interests involve performance, Marxist, architectural, and feminist theory, as well as critical ethnic studies. Sandoval’s research project, Designing Work, Performing Architecture, examines how the concept of home influences how societies interpret and respond to racial capitalism. This research explores how the home, as a designed object and a rhetorical device, serves to mask evolving exploitative labor practices, and it highlights the various ways architecture has lent itself to processes of racialization. Sandoval’s research and teaching combine architectural theory with performance studies, exploring architectural design’s influence on race through discursive and visual representations of architecture and bodily engagements with design. Sandoval completed her PhD in the Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University. Previously, she earned an MA from the University of Cincinnati in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Ashley Smith

Ashley Smith Ashley Smith is Assistant Professor of Native American Studies and Environmental Justice at Hampshire College. She earned her PhD in Anthropology with a graduate minor in American Indian and Indigenous Studies from Cornell University in 2017. Broadly, Smith’s research interests include indigenous decolonization and revitalization, especially in northern New England; indigenous-settler relations past, present, and future; and the politics of knowledge production in settler colonial societies. Her current work focuses on the place, history, and memory of the Wabanaki village at Nanrantsouak on the upper Kennebec River in Maine. In this work, she considers how Wabanaki story, memory, and kinship to this place resist settler colonial productions of history and memory that have narrated this place as the “end” of the Wabanaki in this area while simultaneously enacting new possibilities for the future. Her work is grounded in community and land. She is an advocate of research community-engaged, community directed, and collaborative on-the-ground learning.

Hidden Drives: The Scene and Unseen of Home

Small figure of James Baldwin with gigantic yellow and blue rays emanating from his head
Rico Gatson (American, born 1966), St. James #3, 2015, color pencil and photograph on paper. Purchase with Richard Templeton (Class of 1931) Photography Fund. Mead Art Museum, Amherst College.

What’s visible or invisible in where you call home?

Hidden Drives presents a collection of essays, interviews, and recipes, centered around artworks—including many from the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College—that examine how the unseen plays a pivotal role in scenes of home. The exhibit is curated by CHI Fellows Stephen Dillon, Lili Kim, Samantha Presnal, Ashlie Sandoval, and Ashley Smith under the direction of the Mead's curator of academic programs Emily Potter-Ndiaye.

Visit the virtual exhibit