Announcing the Class of 2023 Kling Fellows

Seven sophomores join the competitive Merle Kling Undergraduate Honors Fellowship

The Merle Kling Undergraduate Honors Fellowship is delighted to welcome its 2021–23 cohort. Over the next two years, seven new fellows from the WashU Class of 2023 will pursue their own independent research projects in the humanities or humanistic social sciences, explore the public dimensions of humanistic work and enrich the intellectual life of the Center for the Humanities.

The incoming Kling Fellows’ projects span over 500 years, at least three continents and numerous disciplinary intersections within Arts & Sciences. Although their initial orientation sessions took place on Zoom, they hope to join the returning Class of 2022 Kling Fellows for an in-person weekly seminar starting in fall 2021.

Aaliyah Allen (American Culture Studies major, Music and Psychological & Brain Sciences minors) plans to interrogate the discursive practices through which Black female audiences identify with and respond to contemporary Black female cultural producers, especially female pop stars.

Hannah Grimes (Political Science and Philosophy majors) plans to analyze the impact of Friedrich Nietzsche’s thought on the philosophical and literary output of German World War I soldiers, especially their attitudes toward authority and war.

Matthew Layden (History major) plans to examine how World War II’s surviving prisoners of war remembered their wartime and postwar experiences, and how their descendants memorialized these same experiences, focusing on cultural artifacts such as books, films and popular music.

Hechen (Henry) Liu (Anthropology and East Asian Studies majors) plans to focus on a group of private-factory dormitories turned socialist workers’ village in suburban Shanghai, interviewing residents and assembling an archive of historical materials ahead of the complex’s planned demolition.

Ranen Miao (Political Science and Sociology major, WGSS minor) plans to conduct an ethnographic study about the sexual and romantic racism experienced by young queer people of color.

Jordan Rivera (History major, Writing minor) plans to explore the role of music in mobilizing and unifying Black American social movements, ranging from so-called “slave songs” to civil rights anthems to the music of the contemporary Black Lives Matter movement.

Chloe West (History major, Religion and Politics minor) plans to investigate the famous disappearance of the “Princes in the Tower” in 15-century England, using early Tudor chronicles to chart the gradual development of plausible (and politically advantageous) explanations for their likely death.

The Kling Fellowship looks forward to supporting these talented undergraduates and watching their research interests evolve and mature. We are proud to contribute to the innovative research conducted by humanists across Washington University.

Wendy Love Anderson is the assistant director of academic programs for the Center for the Humanities, which coordinates the Kling Fellowship.