2018 - 2019 Dietrich School Humanities Center Postdoctoral Fellows
Sarah's research interests include black popular music from a global perspective, relationships between religion, tradition, and creativity, and the cultural economics of the music industry. As a Postdoctoral Fellow at Pittsburgh, Sarah is completing work on a book project tentatively titled "The Call of the Bell: Resonance, Spirituality, and Migration in Benin's Jazz and Brass Band Music," which analyzes the transformations of jazz and brass band repertoires from Benin, West Africa in performances for audiences in Europe and North America, and examines musicians’ deployment of southern Benin’s pluralistic spiritual traditions (vodun, Christian, and Muslim), and their associated conceptions of the materiality and sanctity of sound. Sarah completed her Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology in 2017 at Harvard University. She received her B.M. in jazz trombone performance from Oberlin Conservatory, and also holds a B.A. in English with honors from Oberlin College, and an M.A. in ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University. Before coming to Pitt, Sarah was Visiting Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at Williams College. She performs with the Boston-based Makanda Project, and with the Theodicy Jazz Collective.
Mary Zaborskis is a Dietrich School Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow affiliated with the programs in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies and Children's Literature. She completed her PhD in English at the University of Pennsylvania and works at the intersection of queer, critical race, and childhood studies in twentieth-century and contemporary American literature and culture. Her book project, tentatively entitled "Erotics of Education," explores productions of queer childhood in boarding schools established for racialized, criminalized, and disabled children in the Progressive Era. Her work has appeared in GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, WSQ, and Journal of Homosexuality, and she is a contributing editor at Public Books. She has taught at Vanderbilt University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Bryn Mawr College.
Jason studies U.S. cultural development from the postwar period to the present, with a particular interest in the ideological foundations of theatrical form. His current book project maps how avant-garde theater and performance artists in the late 1960s grappled with the philosophical and political humanism that undergirded the left-wing counterculture, in the process transforming their own practices while laying the groundwork for theatrical innovations that followed. Meanwhile, he has begun a new research trajectory in ecocriticism, beginning with the study of theatrical representations of global warming, and expanding into a larger project that will interrogate the connections between literature about nuclear warfare in the 1950s-70s and cultural production about climate change in the twenty-first century. These projects are linked by an interest in the changing fate of humanist thought, in particular claims about human historical agency, since the second world war. Jason holds a PhD in Theatre from Columbia University’s Department of English and Comparative Literature and an MFA in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism from Yale School of Drama. His essay “Ratifying the Myth of Eden: The Open Theater’s Critique of Humanism” appears in the Winter 2018 edition of Modern Drama, and his short essays, book and performance reviews have been published in Theatre Journal,Theatre Survey, Modern Drama, PAJ, Public Books, Politics/Letters, The Huffington Post, and Theater. Jason is also a practicing dramaturg and active theatre critic, with reviews appearing in The Village Voice, Back Stage, and the New Haven Independent.