Working Paper
PerkinElmer. Working Paper. “AlphaLISA Assay Development Guide”. Publisher's Version AlphaLISA Assay Development Guide.pdf
APHASIA, APHONIA, AND ALTERNATE ARTICULATIONS: Francophone Polyphonic Narratives and Assia Djebar’s L’amour, la fantasia
Zhe Geng. 1/28/Working Paper. “APHASIA, APHONIA, AND ALTERNATE ARTICULATIONS: Francophone Polyphonic Narratives and Assia Djebar’s L’amour, la fantasia”. Full TextAbstract

Gayatri Spivak’s seminal essay, “Can the Subaltern Speak?,” assumes that subaltern speech can be physically produced but cannot be “heard” or circulated without becoming complicit in the task of imperialism. How then, can we understand the inability to physically produce articulate vocal utterance within the postcolonial context? If the voice, or the ability to articulate coherently is privileged, what then, is the place of inarticulations in a landscape fixated on retrieving and rehabilitating the articulate voice? How is language implicated in silence or in inarticulate vocal expression such as the incoherent cry or wail? This paper examines the question: can the subaltern physically speak? By interrogating how the disruptive forces of aphasia, aphonia, and “alternate articulations” work within the polyphonic narrative technique of L’amour, la fantasia (1985) by Assia Djebar, this paper argues that focusing upon physical (bodily) processes of producing inarticulate utterances and silence intervenes in the task of speaking and writing in the colonizer’s language.

Author Bio

Zhe Geng is a third year PhD student in the Department of Comparative Literature at Harvard University. She works on Transnational Anglophone, Sinophone, Japanese, and Francophone literature with a focus on Asian American literature.

Raghuvir Viswanatha, Enzo Mameli, Jonathan Rodiger, Pierre Merckaert, Fabiana Feitosa-Suntheimer, Tonya M. Colpitts, Stephanie E. Mohr, Yanhui Hu, and Norbert Perrimon. Working Paper. “Bioinformatic and cell-based tools for pooled CRISPR knockout screening in mosquitos.” bioRxiv. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Mosquito-borne diseases present a worldwide public health burden. Genome-scale screening tools that could inform our understanding of mosquitos and their control are lacking. Here, we adapt a recombination-mediated cassette exchange system for delivery of CRISPR sgRNA libraries into cell lines from several mosquito species and perform pooled CRISPR screens in an Anopheles cell line. To implement this method, we engineered modified mosquito cell lines, validated promoters and developed bioinformatics tools for multiple mosquito species.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.
BORDER QUEERS: WRITING THE GENDER OF BOUNDARIES - A comparative reading of Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera and Ananda Devi’s Ève de ses décombres
Francesca Bellei. Working Paper. “BORDER QUEERS: WRITING THE GENDER OF BOUNDARIES - A comparative reading of Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera and Ananda Devi’s Ève de ses décombres”. Full TextAbstract

Borders have traditionally been seen as places where people and cultures mix and bleed into one another, even though they exist to prevent exactly such an exchange. How can we reconcile the ambiguous nature of the border as that which forbids entry whilst generating both a point of access and the desire for it? I will explore this paradox through a comparative study of Ananda Devi’s Ève de ses décombres, and Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera. Ève and Gloria are two women on the edge of their communities. As bilingual, biracial and gay/bisexual women they don’t fit in on either side of the wall; my thesis is that they become the wall itself. In Anzaldúa’s text, the US-Mexico border is described as an “open wound” which “staking fence rods in my flesh, / splits me splits me”: a body both active and passive, a phallic serpent which she erects as the symbol of her womanhood. Similarly, Ève closes in like a wall around all those who fall for her and prevents them from escaping Troumaron, while she is herself besieged, and her body is a wall where everyone leaves their mark. Are the ruins of the title her own, or just the rubble she leaves behind? By reading Devi and Anzaldúa through classic works of postcolonial and queer theory, I want to uncover whether and to what extent borders can be read (and written) as hybrid bodies or whether they demand permanent crossing over.

Author Bio

Francesca Bellei is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at Harvard University. She holds a BA in Classics from the University of Cambridge and an MLitt in Creative Writing from the University of St Andrews. Her research interests include queer, feminist and migration theory, as well as postcolonial and Mediterranean studies.

Junling Huang, Dongbo Shi, Lan Xue, and Venkatesh Narayanamurti. Working Paper. “A Case Study of a World-Class Research Project Accomplished in China: Lessons for China's Science Policy”. Publisher's VersionAbstract

It has long been a great Chinese ambition to have a high impact toplevel scientific research conducted in domestic China. In this paper, we provide a case study of the recent discovery of the Quantum Anomalous Hall Effect by the group led by Prof. Qikun Xue at Tsinghua University. We analyze the entire experimental discovery process, explore the research culture developed in this condensed matter and materials physics research group, examine China's funding environment and investigate the functioning of this multi-group collaboration. Lessons from this case study will shed lights on how to foster high impact world-class research institutions in China.

Richard Green and Iain Staffell. Working Paper. “The Contribution of Taxes, Subsidies and Regulations to British Electricity Decarbonisation”.Abstract

Great Britain’s carbon emissions from electricity generation fell by two-thirds between 2012 and 2019, providing an important example for other nations. This rapid transition was driven by a complex interplay of policies and events: investment in renewable generation, closure of coal power stations, raising carbon prices and energy efficiency measures. Previous studies of the impact of these simultaneous individual measures miss their interactions with each other and with exogenous changes in fuel prices and the weather. Here we use Shapley values, a concept from cooperative game theory, to disentangle these and precisely attribute outcomes (CO2 saved, changes to electricity prices and fossil fuel consumption) to individual drivers. We find the effectiveness of each driver remained stable despite the transformation seen over the 7 years we study. The four main drivers each saved 19–29 MtCO2 per year in 2019, reinforcing the view that there is no ‘silver bullet’, and a multi-faceted approach to deep decarbonisation is essential.

CORPS NATURELS ET DÉSIRS "CONTRE-NATURE" : Jeux narratifs dans le Roman de Silence
Anthony Revelle. Working Paper. “CORPS NATURELS ET DÉSIRS "CONTRE-NATURE" : Jeux narratifs dans le Roman de Silence”. Full TextAbstract

Cette communication vise à interroger une œuvre en ancien français du XIIIe siècle, le Roman de Silence, au regard des questionnements actuels sur le genre et la sexualité. Ce roman met en scène les aventures d'une jeune fille noble élevée comme un garçon qui devient ménestrel puis chevalier dans une Angleterre mythique post-arthurienne ; Silence triomphe dans toutes les épreuves qui se présentent à lui/elle, mais son refus de l'amour de la reine, au mépris des conventions courtoises, provoque finalement le dévoilement de sa vraie « nature » (terme utilisé dans l’œuvre), c’est-à-dire l'identité de genre qui lui a été assignée à la naissance par une Nature allégorisée.

Je veux interroger la possibilité d’une lecture transgenre du Roman de Silence et de sa mise en scène d’un conflit entre la nature et l'éducation, et m'intéresser particulièrement à la signification du désir dans cette œuvre : corps désiré et corps désirant, impossibilité du désir ou homo-érotisme latent... Le Roman de Silence déploie un ensemble de jeux narratifs autour des désirs et des corps s’appuyant sur une opposition entre le naturel et le contre-nature dans le domaine du genre et des actes sexuels, tout en déviant ostensiblement des modèles courtois de la littérature médiévale, ouvrant au sein du corpus des romans arthuriens tardifs des possibilités de réflexion sur le genre, le corps, la nature et le désir, qui n'ont peut-être pas encore été assez explorées par les universitaires.

Author Bio

Graduate student (PhD) in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan, I am working on Medieval French literature with interests in gender studies, queer theory, and critical animal studies. Previously, I worked on masculinity in Arthurian chivalric romances during my studies in France (M.A., Université de Caen-Normandie, Département des Humanités et Sciences Sociales).

R. Viswanatha, M. Zaffagni, J. Zirin, N. Perrimon, and S. Kadener. Working Paper. “CRISPR-Cas13 mediated Knock Down in Drosophila cultured cells.” BioRxiv.Abstract
Manipulation of gene expression is one of the best approaches for studying gene function in vivo. CRISPR-Cas13 has the potential to be a powerful technique for manipulating RNA expression in diverse animal systems in vivo, including Drosophila melanogaster. Studies using Cas13 in mammalian cell lines for gene knockdown showed increased on-target efficiency and decreased off-targeting relative to RNAi. Moreover, catalytically inactive Cas13 fusions can be used to image RNA molecules, install precise changes to the epitranscriptome, or alter splicing. However, recent studies have suggested that there may be limitations to the deployment of these tools in Drosophila, so further optimization of the system is required. Here, we report a new set of PspCas13b and RfxCas13d expression constructs and use these reagents to successfully knockdown both reporter and endogenous transcripts in Drosophila cells. As toxicity issues have been reported with high level of Cas13, we effectively decreased PspCas13b expression without impairing its function by tuning down translation. Furthermore, we altered the spatial activity of both PspCas13b and RfxCas13d by introducing Nuclear Exportation Sequences (NES) and Nuclear Localization Sequences (NLS) while maintaining activity. Finally, we generated a stable cell line expressing RfxCas13d under the inducible metallothionein promoter, establishing a useful tool for high-throughput genetic screening. Thus, we report new reagents for performing RNA CRISPR-Cas13 experiments in Drosophila, providing additional Cas13 expression constructs that retain activity.
María Luisa Parra. Working Paper. The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures' Initiative on Teaching Spanish as a Heritage Language:Bringing Together a New Teaching and Learning Community.Abstract

This report presents a summary of the activities between 2011 and 2014 that comprise the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures’ (RL&L) Initiative on Teaching of Spanish as a Heritage Language. This initiative includes two symposia, one new course, two collaborative research projects, a permanent seminar, and a lecture series. This report intends to provide a model for developing similar initiatives that help practitioners and researchers form new communities of practice to advance the field of teaching Spanish as a heritage language.


Key words: Heritage Spanish, heritage language pedagogy, collaborative research, initiative, seminar.

Misha Teplitskiy, Hardeep Ranu, Gary Gray, Michael Menietti, Eva Guinan, and Karim Lakhani. Working Paper. “Do Experts Listen to Other Experts? Field Experimental Evidence from Scientific Peer Review.” HBS Working Paper Series. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Organizations in science and elsewhere often rely on committees of experts to make important decisions, such as evaluating early-stage projects and ideas. However, very little is known about how experts influence each other’s opinions and how that influence affects final evaluations. Here, we use a field experiment in scientific peer review to examine experts’ susceptibility to the opinions of others. We recruited 277 faculty members at seven U.S. medical schools to evaluate 47 early stage research proposals in biomedicine. In our experiment, evaluators (1) completed independent reviews of research ideas, (2) received (artificial) scores attributed to anonymous “other reviewers” from the same or a different discipline, and (3) decided whether to update their initial scores. Evaluators did not meet in person and were not otherwise aware of each other. We find that, even in a completely anonymous setting and controlling for a range of career factors, women updated their scores 13% more often than men, while very highly cited “superstar” reviewers updated 24% less often than others. Women in male-dominated subfields were particularly likely to update, updating 8% more for every 10% decrease in subfield representation. Very low scores were particularly “sticky” and seldom updated upward, suggesting a possible source of conservatism in evaluation. These systematic differences in how world-class experts respond to external opinions can lead to substantial gender and status disparities in whose opinion ultimately matters in collective expert judgment.

D’origine vietnamienne, née à Saigon en 1968 et arrivée à Montréal à l’âge de dix ans avec les boat people, Kim Thùy a conquis un large public grâce à son premier roman Ru (2009). La narratrice, Nguyễn An Tịnh, y évoque la façon dont sa famille et elle ont fui le Vietnam, voyagé en mer sur une embarcation de fortune et séjourné dans un camp de réfugiés en Malaisie avant leur arrivée au Canada.

Ce qui est intéressant, c’est que l’arrachement au pays natal et les traumatismes qui s’en sont suivis sont représentés essentiellement à travers la vulnérabilité du corps. Il suffit, pour s’en convaincre, d’observer le rôle dévolu à la miction et à la défécation dans le texte. En ce sens, l’écriture de Kim Thùy relève des éthiques du care dans la mesure où elle « appelle notre attention sur ce qui est juste sous nos yeux, mais que nous ne voyons pas, par manque d’attention tout simplement, ou mépris » (Laugier 2009). De surcroît, en optant pour une esthétique parcellaire, fragmentaire, l’auteure inscrit la vulnérabilité non seulement au cœur, mais aussi dans le corps même du texte.

Dans le présent article, je me propose d’examiner les liens que le texte tisse entre corporéité et postures du care. Je tenterai notamment de montrer comment l’attention accrue à la singularité des corps permet une « reconfiguration de l'expérience commune du sensible » (Rancière 2008).

Author Bio

Asma M’Barek est doctorante à l’Université de l’Alberta (Edmonton, Canada), chargée de cours à la faculté Saint-Jean et chercheuse associée au Centre de littérature canadienne de l’Université de l’Alberta.

LIBER, GASTER, CLYSTER : La littérature à l'estomac chez Mme de Sévigné et Montesquieu
Nicolas Garroté. Working Paper. “LIBER, GASTER, CLYSTER : La littérature à l'estomac chez Mme de Sévigné et Montesquieu”. Full TextAbstract

On dit communément, pour évoquer une lecture frénétique et passionnée, qu'on avale ou qu'on dévore un livre. À l'âge classique, on appelle « nourriture » ce que nous appelons aujourd'hui éducation : c'est que les livres nourrissent autant l'esprit que les aliments restaurent le corps. Certains écrivains ont poussé l'amour des livres jusqu'à donner à cette image un sens littéral, et ont imaginé l’absorption du corpus par le corps dans des scènes où l'on ingurgite réellement des livres.

Au fil d'une série d'éloges de plus en plus enthousiastes, Mme de Sévigné somatise sa lecture des Essais de Morale de Nicole jusqu'à vouloir, après en avoir fait une médecine, en « faire un bouillon et l'avaler ». Dans les Lettres persanes (CXLIII), Montesquieu imagine une « pharmacie » comique conçue par un médecin de province qui se propose de soigner ses malades par l’absorption et le rejet de livres dont les pages sont réduites en tisanes, lénitifs, vomitifs et clystères.

L'étude de ces scènes montre qu'à travers ce jeu comique, se dessine non seulement l'essence du rapport de Mme de Sévigné et de Montesquieu aux belles-lettres mais aussi, en l'espace d'un demi-siècle (1671-1721), et dans le temps même de son élaboration, l'élection d'une certaine littérature, d'un corpus, qui correspond quasi exactement à ce que l'histoire littéraire élèvera, bien plus tard, à la dignité de « classique ».

Author Bio

Agrégé de lettres modernes, Nicolas Garroté prépare une thèse de doctorat sur Mme de Sévigné et enseigne la littérature française à l’Université Paul Valéry - Montpellier.


Andrew Bacher-Hicks, Mark Chin, Heather Hill, and Douglas Staiger. Working Paper. Explaining Teacher Effects on Achievement Using Measures from Multiple Research Traditions.Abstract

Researchers have identified many characteristics of teachers and teaching that contribute to student outcomes. However, most studies investigate only a small number of these characteristics, likely underestimating the overall contribution. In this paper, we use a set of 28 teacher-level predictors drawn from multiple research traditions to explain teacher-level variation in student outcomes. These predictors collectively explain 28% of teacher-level variability in state standardized math test scores and 40% in a predictor-aligned math test. In addition, each individual predictor explains only a small, relatively unique portion of the total teacher-level variability. This first finding highlights the importance of choosing predictors and outcomes that are well aligned, and the second suggests that the phenomena underlying teacher effects is multidimensional. 

Read the working paper
Mark Chin and Dan Goldhaber. Working Paper. “Exploring Explanations for the "Weak" Relationship Between Value Added and Observation-Based Measures of Teacher Performance”. Read the working paper

In this paper I analyze a corpus of works, primarily verse, published during and in the aftermath of the French Wars of Religion (1562–1598). This “corpus” displays a markedly corporeal, bodily aspect: its authors conceive of the violent factional conflicts of the Wars of Religion as “intestinal,” a disease like a plague tearing apart the civic and political “body” of France from within. The “troubles” were often described as a poison or venom infecting the flesh and blood of France and its citizens or as a monstrous form, like wolves, attacking them. Writers from both the Catholic and Protestant factions frequently utilized this corporeal rhetoric, including Pierre de Ronsard in his Discours des misères de ce temps (1562), Agrippa d’Aubigné in his long epic poem Les Tragiques (1616), and the authors of numerous contemporary polemical pamphlets like the anonymous Discours contre les Huguenots, auquel est contenue et déclaré la source de leur damnable religion (1573). Unlike their predecessor Rabelais, who accorded a primary place to the body and all its functions in his grotesque satires, for these authors the body is always diseased and dying. By studying the place of the body and discourses of disease in literary texts surrounding the Wars of Religion in conjunction with early modern theories about the physical body and the body politic, this paper will analyze the images of plague and disease so prevalent during this turbulent period and what they can tell us about contemporary understandings of the Wars of Religion.

Author Bio

Charlee Redman is a PhD student at the University of Maryland-College Park interested in early modern literature and culture and the intersections between literature and science.

Ben Kelcey, Dan McGinn, Heather C. Hill, and Charalambos Charalambous. Working Paper. The Generalizability of Item Parameters Across Lessons.Abstract

The purpose of this study is to investigate three aspects of construct validity for the Mathematical Quality of Instruction classroom observation instrument: (1) the dimensionality of scores, (2) the generalizability of these scores across districts, and (3) the predictive validity of these scores in terms of student achievement.

Read the paper summary
A Tanner. Working Paper. “Helpful Hints to Manage Edge Effect of Cultured Cells for High Throughput Screening.”. an_hintsedgeeffecthts.pdf
Trustee Leadership Forum Retirement for Security. Working Paper. Infrastructure Investment: A Resource for Pension Trustees (Working Document).Abstract

Since the first meetings of the TLF in 2011, infrastructure investment has been a topic of interest to the pension trustees.  As an asset class, it has the potential to provide not only appropriate returns to workers’ pension funds, but also investments in communities that need good jobs and modern rail, energy, internet, roads, bridges, and damns.  It also poses risks, including privatization of public jobs and assets.

In 2017, pension trustees have more questions than ever about infrastructure investment.  This working document compiles some of the thinking from the past six years of trustee discussions at TLF convenings, and aims to briefly summarize the key issues and questions that have been raised.  Trustees with whom we work are asking how, as institutional investors, they may signal what is of value in these investments, or, in other words, what makes an infrastructure investment a “high road” investment.

Investor Expectations on the Just Transition: Publicly Traded Utilities
David Wood and Vonda Brunsting. Working Paper. “Investor Expectations on the Just Transition: Publicly Traded Energy”.Abstract
The just transition poses a set of particular concerns for responsible investors. In research conducted by the Initiative for Responsible Investment (IRI), and through engagement with the investment community via the IRI and the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), the authors identify sector-specific guidance, laying out investor expectations of corporations on the just transition.
Matthew Bunn, Martin B. Malin, Nickolas Roth, and William H. Tobey. Working Paper. “Key Steps for Continuing Nuclear Security Progress”. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The work of improving nuclear security is not done, though leaders are no longer meeting at the summit level. The threats of nuclear theft and terrorism remain very real. States, nuclear operating organizations, and institutions and initiatives supporting nuclear security must strive for continuous improvement in nuclear security. The alternative is dangerous decline. Achieving genuinely effective implementation of existing recommendations and commitments in five key areas could dramatically strengthen nuclear security around the world.