In May of 2012, Janine di Giovanni, the Middle East editor of Newsweek, travelled to Syria, beginning what would become a long relationship with the country. She started reporting from both sides of the Syrian conflict, witnessing its descent into one of the most brutal internecine conflicts in recent history. In her new book, The Morning They Came for Us, she relays the personal stories of rebel fighters thrown in jail at the least provocation; of children and families forced to watch loved ones taken and killed by regime forces with dubious justifications; and the stories of the elite, holding pool parties in Damascus hotels, trying to deny the human consequences of the nearby shelling. The Morning They Came for Us is an unflinching account of a nation on the brink of disintegration.
In cooperation with S. Fischer Verlage
Ioana Uricaru is a director, screenwriter, and assistant professor of film and media culture at Middlebury College. “Paperclip,” Uricaru’s fiction film project at the Academy, is inspired by real events: the American intelligence project Operation Paperclip. At the end of World War II, the OSS recruited German scientists and brought them to the United States. Wernher von Braun, the inventor of the V2 rocket, was perhaps the most infamous example. The story follows OSS officer Rutherford, tasked with assessing the value of German physiologist Hubertus von Gellert for the American military and deciding whether he and his wife, Helga, should be relocated to the US. Against this backdrop, Uricaru places a fictional character, comprised of elements blended from several real-life beneficiaries of Project Paperclip, to explore questions of ethics, historical representation, and the relationship of science with politics and society—as well as the aesthetics of lived experience.
Tom Franklin, the fall 2016 Mary Ellen von der Heyden Fellow in Fiction at the Academy, teaches in the University of Mississippi’s MFA program. He was born and raised in Dickinson, Alabama, received his MFA in creative writing from the University of Arkansas, and his BA and MA from the University of South Alabama. He is the author of Poachers (William Morrow, 1999), Hell at the Breech (2003), Smonk (2006), Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (2010), and The Tilted World (2014), written collaboratively with his wife, poet Beth Ann Fennelly. At the Academy, Franklin is working on a hybrid, mutli-genre novel set in rural Alabama, and is adapting his book Smonk as a screenplay for the actor/director James Franco.
Jennifer R. Davis is an associate professor of history and director of graduate studies at the Catholic University of America and the John P. Birkelund Fellow at the Academy in fall 2016. She is the co-editor, with Michael McCormick, of The Long Morning of Medieval Europe (Ashgate, 2008), and has written numerous articles on early medieval politics, Charlemagne, and Louis IX of France. In her recent book Charlemagne’s Practice of Empire (Cambridge, 2015), Davis examines how the Frankish king Charlemagne and his court held together his vast new empire created during the first decades of his reign. In her Academy project, “Per capitularios nostros: Law and its Uses in the Frankish Kingdoms,” Davis turns her attention to the invention of the capitularies, a form of royal law created by the Merovingian Franks. Using manuscript evidence, she examines how these legal sources – a new genre of law in the post-Roman period – were transformed from the sixth to the twelfth centuries.
Rebecca Boehling, the Academy's Berthold Leibinger Fellow in fall 2016, is a professor of history and an affiliate professor of Judaic studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where she was the founding director of the Dresher Center for the Humanities. From 2013 to 2015 she directed the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen, which archives collections about Nazi persecution, forced labor, the Holocaust, and post-WWII Displaced Persons. Boehling is the author of A Question of Priorities: Democratic Reform and Economic Recovery in Postwar Germany (Berghahn, 1996) and Life and Loss in the Shadow of the Holocaust: A Jewish Family’s Untold Story (Cambridge, 2011), based on some 600 German-Jewish family letters written primarily between 1933 and 1955. In her Academy project, "Denazification and Transitional Justice: American, British, and French Approaches to Purging Nazi Influence in Postwar Germany," she assesses Western Allies’ approaches to the process of undoing Nazi influences in postwar German society, examining the divergent theories behind denazification and how they were implemented.