The New York Public Library’s Center for Research in the Humanities Announces the 2022-2023 Diamonstein-Spielvogel Fellows

Media Contact: Sara Beth Joren /

JUNE 15, 2022 -- The New York Public Library is pleased to announce the second class of fellows for the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Fellowship Program at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building’s Center for Research in the Humanities. This program, established with the generous support of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Foundation, offers mid-term support to scholars and writers whose work will benefit directly from access to the outstanding collections at the Schwarzman Building and is intended to provide support for under-resourced and underrepresented communities in the humanities.

Fellows were selected from a competitive pool of applicants, and many factors were taken into account to ensure the Library built a class of fellows whose work spans a diversity of subject matter from a range of disciplines and who are at different points along their career trajectories. The 2022-2023 class includes: 

  • Elya Rachel Assayag, Ph.D. Candidate, Columbia University
  • S.E. Hackney, Part-Time Faculty, Pratt Institute
  • Sangamithra Iyer, Independent Researcher
  • Carl Kubler, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Chicago
  • Stefano Morello, Ph.D. Candidate, The CUNY Graduate Center

During their fellowship term, Diamonstein-Spielvogel Fellows will have access to the world-class research collections and electronic resources of The New York Public Library, as well as the invaluable assistance of its curatorial and reference staff. Fellows will also receive a stipend and the use of a quiet, reserved workspace in the recently renovated Center for Research in the Humanities, located in the Library’s landmark Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. 

With a fellowship duration of four months, mirroring the typical length of one academic semester, the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Fellowships provide a meaningful platform for the fellows’ scholarship and research, with an added benefit for the public: fellows will be required to make public presentations, related to their work to advance knowledge and ideas in the humanities. 

More information is available at

About the 2022-2023 Diamonstein-Spielvogel Fellows

Elya Rachel Assayag

Ph.D. Candidate, History, Columbia University

Marriage Law, Domestic Violence and Conversion in Colonial Morocco (1912-1956)

This project will trace the subject of gender based violence and religious conversions in local communities under the Moroccan French protectorate (1912-1956). Due to the scarcity of written materials on the subject, the project uses new methodologies and new sites of study and will utilize  embroidery and material culture to uncover what is missing in traditional textual archives.

S.E. Hackney

Part-Time Faculty, Pratt Institute 

Classification in a Networked World: Viewing the Work of S.R. Ranganathan from the Digital Age

This project will examine the life and writings of LIS scholar S.R. Ranganathan, providing a narrative history of the development of Colon Classification. Additionally Ranganathan's work will be brought into conversation with the contemporary world of born-networked digital information and big data. 

Sangamithra Iyer

Independent Researcher

Governing Bodies: A Catena

Governing Bodies is an ecological history and ethical reckoning of how earthly bodies are controlled by and liberated from colonialism, capitalism, and speciesism. This is an interdisciplinary environmental humanities project that spans critical animal studies, philosophy, engineering ethics, food studies, and decolonization studies. Governing Bodies acts as a catena, linking wide-ranging subjects from personal and planetary grief to invisible inheritances, and asks what it means to embody nonviolence.

Carl Kubler

Ph.D. Candidate (2022), History, University of Chicago

Barbarians on the Shore: Negotiating Global Trade and Daily Life on the South China Coast, 1780-1860

This book project examines the history of commerce and daily life at the nexus of global interactions between China, America, and Europe in the decades before and after the first Opium War (1839-1842). In particular, it focuses on the dynamics of everyday socioeconomic opportunity seeking and conflict resolution between merchants, sailors, prostitutes, interpreters, coolies, cooks, pirates, and other liminal actors whose global circulations helped shape the course of Sino-Western relations in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Stefano Morello

Ph.D. Candidate (2023), English, The CUNY Graduate Center

The Lung Block: A New York City Slum & Its Forgotten Italian Immigrant Community

The Lung Block: A New York City Slum & Its Forgotten Italian Immigrant Community juxtaposes the Progressive Era narrative attached to a city block between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges as the epicenter of tuberculosis, and the lived experience of the majority Italian immigrant tenement dwellers therein.

About The New York Public Library

For 125 years, The New York Public Library has been a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars. The New York Public Library receives approximately 16 million visits through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at and e-books via its e-reader app SImplyE. To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at 

About the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Foundation

The Diamonstein-Spielvogel Foundation was established by Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel and Ambassador Carl Spielvogel to continue and extend their long-term commitment to the common good and the public interest. The Foundation creates, supports, and seeks original projects based on results-driven and innovative strategies. All funding initiatives are by invitation only.