2020 Bilinski Foundation Fellowship Recipients

Candolin Cook


Candolin Cook is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History. Her research focuses on social and cultural histories of the American West, with an emphasis on myth, memory, and popular culture. Her dissertation provides a microhistory of an incident that took place in the Arizona-Sonora border region in the late 1920s, involving the kidnapping of a Mexican boy by Apaches, the American expedition to recover him, and the media frenzy that ensued. This dissertation uses the event to explore borderlands relations and identities in the early twentieth century, as well as to analyze broader societal concerns and attitudes about race, class, gender, myth, and violence. She hopes this dissertation will add to discussions exploring the tension between modernity and a mythic past in western spaces, as well as in the minds of the American people.

Jerry Lavin


Gerard Lavin is a doctoral candidate in British and Irish Literary Studies at the University of New Mexico, with a focus on the interactions between textual and oral cultures in the middle ages. He holds an MFA in Theatre from Michigan State University and a BA in English from the University of Notre Dame. He is currently working on a dissertation about the use of oral rhetoric in the works of the Venerable Bede, in which he argues that the introduction of literacy did not present a binary choice, but rather functioned as one disruptive element among many within the established but dynamic oral culture of seventh-century England.

Marcel Lebow


Marcel Lebow is a PhD candidate in the Department of Philosophy at the University of New Mexico. He holds an MA in Philosophy from UNM as well as a BA in Philosophy from the University of California at Riverside. His dissertation aims to develop a critical interface between the earlier works of the 19th century German philosopher F.W.J. Schelling and some of the contemporary research done in the philosophy of mind. Central to Marcel’s dissertation is the claim that Schelling offers a prescient articulation of a theory of mind investigated today under the heading of “panprotopsychism.” Marcel aims to extract the basis of Schelling’s theory and to argue the manner in which it offers a cohesive set of technical solutions to several interrelated problems within recent research.

Lauren Perry


Lauren Perry is a PhD candidate in American Literary Studies in the UNM English Department. Her dissertation, “Animal Texts: Critical Animal Concepts in Environmental Literature for the Anthropocene” illustrates the critical contribution environmental literature makes to animal studies and animal conservation. Lauren specializes in nineteenth and twentieth century American literature, along with Southwestern Literature and texts that interrogate human-animal relationships. Her dissertation analyzes the work of prominent environmentalists and animal activist writers of fiction and creative nonfiction that, through animal studies readings, also establish critical conceptions of animal counterparts in the environment. “Animal texts” redefines humanities’ role in environmentalism.

David Puthoff


David Puthoff is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English Language and Literature. His dissertation examines how in several key texts African American authors theorize and practice solidarity in the antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction eras. Drawing on political philosophy, historical context, affect theory, African American print culture studies, and above all, the primary texts, David explores how authors such as Frederick Douglass, Francis Harper, Harriet Wilson, and Martin Delany imagined characters recognizing common interests across class and race lines. This project will contribute to a still-emerging scholarly understanding of solidarity as a political emotion and a social practice.

Idris Robinson


Idris Robinson is a PhD candidate in the Department of Philosophy at the University of New Mexico. His research interests include contemporary Continental philosophy, early analytic philosophy, ancient Greek thought, and open comparative philosophy. His dissertation is an inquiry into the role of paradigms and logical morphology in both the early and the mature philosophical contributions of Ludwig Wittgenstein. In particular, Robinson aims to elucidate the realist and materialist ontological status of paradigms throughout Wittgenstein’s corpus and to explain how it figures in an expansive and rigorous philosophical methodology based on analogy and comparison.

Moises Santos


Moises Santos is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History. His fields of study include Chicanx political history, Borderlands Studies, and Transnational Studies. His dissertation explores the use of newspapers, theater, and independent schools by Chicanx activists in the mid-20th century to educate their communities. As a grassroots movement concurrent to other movements among Mexican American activists, the history of these alternative educational mediums adds to the history of the struggle for equitable and culturally relevant education among Chicanx communities in the U.S. Southwest. He hopes his dissertation will add to the understanding of the historical and ongoing struggle among Chicanx communities to reform and resist racist, oppressive, and marginalizing institutions of learning in the Southwest.