Mita Choudhury was awarded 2024–2025 NIAS Fellowship
Mita Choudhury, Professor and Chair of History on the Evalyn Clark Chair, has been awarded a Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS) fellowship. NIAS, one of the institutes of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, provides a “physical and intellectual space for advanced research in the humanities and social sciences that is driven by curiosity and cross-discipline collaboration.” Mita will spend five months at NIAS in Amsterdam during the 2024–2025 academic year.
The fellowship will support her book-length project The Silent Chain: History and Reckoning in the Catholic Church, which examines sexual violence documented in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century court records throughout France. Influenced by recent scholarship on slavery as well as contemporary scandals involving sexual assault, Mita will foreground victims, trauma, and silence.
Her book will go beyond the traditional monograph, blending together the past and the present, the personal, and the professional and fusing microhistorical and metahistorical methodologies as well as memoir writing. This book project necessarily reexamines Mita’s previous work. It interrogates how she may have contributed to the broader silence that surrounds the topic of sexual assault, a subject that tests who we consider credible within the archives and even the professional legitimacy of the historian.
The project will contribute to the growing histories on sexual violence, trauma, and subjectivity and insert itself into ongoing discussions about historical objectivity by seeking to disrupt the hierarchical dynamic embedded in the production of knowledge. NIAS’s emphasis on multidisciplinarity and intellectual community dovetails with the project’s central goals, and residency in Amsterdam will strengthen the international connections that have enhanced Mita’s work to date.