Public Humanities Fellows

Tabb Center Public Humanities Fellows are non-institutionally affiliated organizers, artists, cultural workers, public historians, and knowledge-creators who mobilize and creatively interpret materials from the Sheridan Libraries’ rare book, manuscript, and archival collections.

Nicoletta Darita de la Brown
Nicoletta Darita de la Brown
Hoesy Corona standing in an art gallery
Hoesy Corona

Nicoletta Darita de la Brown

Nicoletta Darita de la Brown is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist and chamána (shaman) who comes from a long line of healers. She is Black Latinx; proud to be a first-generation Panamanian born in the United States. Her artworks re-conceive the life of an artist as thriving, nourishing herself and others through her art practice. Her performances have been staged at The Phillips Collection, Washington DC; The Smithsonian, Washington DC; and The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore MD. Her video and installations have been presented at The Tribeca Film Festival, New York, NY; the Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore MD; IA&A at Hillyer Gallery, Washington DC; and Cardinal Gallery, Baltimore MD.

As a Public Humanities Fellow with the Winston Tabb Special Collections Research Center, de la Brown will explore and respond to Special Collections materials, especially collections focused on black women, through video artwork, self-portrait photography, and site-specific performance art. During her archival research she will ask a variety of questions: “How many black women are living in the archives? How many black women are hidden in plain sight? What happens to us when we are invisible? How can I feel seen as a black woman?” The project celebrates ourselves out loud, on purpose, and unapologetically.

Visit Nicoletta Darita de la Brown’s personal website

Hoesy Corona

Hoesy Corona is a Queer Latinx artist creating uncategorized and multidisciplinary art spanning installation, performance, and podcasting. He is the founding co-director of Labbodies (2014-2020), a performance art laboratory focused on creating opportunities for underrecognized queer and women artists of color, and is founding co-host of La Valentina Podcast. Corona has been a Tulsa Artist Fellow in Tulsa, OK; a Restoring Hope, Restoring Trust Artist in Residence at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, IN; and a Halcyon Arts Lab Fellow in Washington, DC. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including the Andy Warhol Foundation’s Grit Fund Grant. His latest installation, Terrestrial Caravan (2022), is on view at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, MD through Fall 2023.

As a Public Humanities Fellow with the Winston Tabb Special Collections Research Center, Corona will help document and establish a collection that reflects Baltimore’s Latinx presence at a pivotal moment of its growth. Corona will conduct oral histories with Latinx artists and thinkers in the DMV area and archive them at the Sheridan Libraries. Additionally, Corona will develop a culminating exhibition that mobilizes and remixes elements from Special Collections, including queer and Latinx texts and rare books.

Visit Hoesy Corona’s personal website

Dean’s Undergraduate Research Award (DURA) Fellows

Dionna Gant: Black Historical Artifacts in Baltimore (2022)

Gant conducted research and composed an independent essay for Memory We Hold in Our Hands: Black History Artifacts in Baltimore and Beyond, an illustrated anthology that pairs photographs of archival objects with essays by curators, archivists, historians, and community advocates. The collected essays will help readers imagine Black experience/s from the time period in question—an intersection between people of the past and the present, with the object serving as the connector. Read about Gant’s research in this Sheridan Libraries blog post.

Advisors: Gabrielle Dean, Tonika Berkley

Jessica Shelton: Black Migration and Latinx Immigration in Baltimore (2022)

Shelton is exploring Black migration and Latinx immigration in Baltimore, Maryland in the 20th century with a focus on the Highlandtown area. Shelton is analyzing the relations between African Americans migrants and Latinx immigrants as well as the shared history of the Great Migration in connection to Latinx immigration, drawing on a wide array of sources: newspapers such as the Baltimore Afro American, Special Collections’ Maryland African American History and Culture collection, and other local sources. The outcome of this research will be an academic paper.

Advisor: Lawrence Peskin

Huyentran Vo Ngomai: American Romance Comic Books (2022)

Ngomai is conducting research with Special Collections’ recent acquisition of midcentury American romance comic books, which offer valuable insight and a unique lens into the era’s youth culture and are a rich primary source for gaining a more nuanced understanding of mid-century American events, ideas, and social issues. The expected outcome of this research is to create a physical deliverable in the form of a short graphic novel that is based on the romance comic books of the 1950s and adapted to the contemporary social and political context.

Advisor: Heidi Herr

Abigail Wren: Elizabeth Cobbold Valentine Collection (2022)

Wren is conducting research with Special Collections’ Elizabeth Cobbold Valentine collection, which contains an album of over one hundred hand-cut valentines and handwritten love poems. Wren argues that the album is a window into the material culture of upper-class Regency-era society and illuminates the roles of women in that culture. After transcribing the poems, comparing the verse to previously published Cobbold poems, and investigating the materials that make up the album, Wren will create an online exhibition of selected valentines.

Advisor: Heidi Herr

Han Zhang: Chinese National Health Governance (2022)

Han Zhang’s research addresses the legacy of medical orientalism and colonialism that, they argue, remains prominent in modern discourse on global health. As a DURA fellow, Zhang will produce an essay about the making of Chinese national public health in the mid- to late-twentieth century, a critical period in the formation of nascent global health governance. She will draw primarily on Special Collections’ “Chinese Public Health Campaign Slides,” which includes educational slides on a wide range of global infectious diseases from the 1950s through the 1970s, including tuberculosis, whopping cough, diarrhea, and malaria.

Advisor: Alexandre White

Special Collections Freshman Fellows

Vanessa Han

Vanessa Han: Across the Burning Sands

Han is conducting research with the Across the Burning Sands sheet music collection, exploring over 200 years of music, art, architecture, celebrities, and history through the lens of popular music. The discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922 spurred a flurry of fascination with Middle Eastern history, culture, and art. Even before this discovery, the United States had an unyielding obsession with the Middle East and Asia, featuring exoticized (and often Islamophobic) images of its geography, people, and architecture in popular culture. Since television and cinema hadn’t yet become widely available, this “Egyptomania,” as it was called, was often expressed in the form of sheet music.

Advisor: Sam Bessen

Amy Li

Amy Li: Student Life at Hopkins

Li is researching student life over the course of Johns Hopkins University’s almost 150-year institutional history, focusing on its commitment to lifelong learning and responsive change to improve the world. The Student Life at Hopkins project poses a number of related questions: how has the idea of a “student center” evolved and been addressed over the years? How has undergraduate student life changed over the years? How did university administration address student needs and concerns?

Advisor: Katie Carey

Arusa Malik

Arusa Malik: POP Feminism

Malik is researching the women’s liberation movement, especially as it manifested through nineteenth century popular culture. She will explore Special Collections materials and develop unique research questions tied to the social sciences and humanities. The POP Feminism project explores two major campaigns for women’s rights in the twentieth century: the women’s suffrage movement and the women’s liberation movement. The politics, antics, and slogans of the suffragists and “libbers” captured the attention of the nation, creating a marketplace of purchasable propaganda to show support for or disapproval of the fight for equality.

Advisor: Heidi Herr

Victoria Popoola

Victoria Popoola: It’s Greek (or Latin or Spanish or Italian) to Me

Popoola is exploring the humanities and engineering aspects of classical Latin, translating a host of texts on a variety of subjects that have never been rendered into English. The author Italo Calvino once called the translator his “most important ally” who “introduce[d] [him] to the world.” By translating hitherto untranslated works in Latin held in Special Collections at Johns Hopkins University, Popoola will introduce readers to the world and be introduced to the libraries at Hopkins in turn.

Advisor: Mackenzie Zalin