Fay Prize 2020

Radcliffe Institute Awards 2020 Fay Prize for Outstanding Theses

Alejandro Ruben Quintana, Chinmay Sonawane, and Adele Woodmansee recognized for their exceptional undergraduate work in the classics, integrative biology, and social anthropology, respectively

For four years, Jordan Villegas '20 participated in the Radcliffe Research Program. He is pictured here at his parents' home in Cicero, N.Y. Photo courtesy of Jordan VillegasFor four years, Jordan Villegas '20 participated in the Radcliffe Research Program. He is pictured here at his parents' home in Cicero, N.Y. Photo courtesy of Jordan Villegas

Birth of a Sleuth

Harvard College senior Jordan Villegas hears the call of the archives as a Radcliffe Institute researcher.

A single N95 face mask along with several prescription painkillers. Image credit skhowardA single N95 face mask along with several prescription painkillers. Image credit skhoward

Eclipsed by Virus, Addiction Still Shadows the Land

"COVID-19 detrimentally impacts people with addiction and people in pain, making vulnerable people even more vulnerable," says sociologist Liz Chiarello.

A sign at a retailer tells customers they accept SNAP. Image source: jetcityimageA sign at a retailer tells customers they accept SNAP. Image source: jetcityimage

Ideas for Flattening the Hunger Curve

“There is no question that COVID-19 will drive food insecurity into the mainstream,” says Harvard public health policy researcher Sara Bleich.

Voters observe social distancing guidelines as they wait in line to cast ballots in the presidential primary election in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on April 7, 2020. Image source: AP Photo/Morry Gash FileVoters observe social distancing guidelines as they wait in line to cast ballots in the presidential primary election in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on April 7, 2020. Image source: AP Photo/Morry Gash File

Health of Democracy Faces Daunting Test

Historian Liette Gidlow RI '20 speaks on the tension between in-person voting and public health as American states scramble to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Daniel P. Carpenter is the Director of Social Sciences at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Photo by Soumyaa MazumderDaniel P. Carpenter is the Director of Social Sciences at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Photo by Soumyaa Mazumder

Harvard Government Professor Carpenter Calls for Federal Job Guarantee in White Paper

Daniel Carpenter calls for the US government to adopt a number of public policy measures to redress economic losses suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A deserted 23rd Street, in Manhattan's Flatiron District. Credit: Alex PotemkinA deserted 23rd Street, in Manhattan's Flatiron District. Credit: Alex Potemkin

How to Build a Better World

Esra Akcan RI '20, a professor in Cornell's Department of Architecture, answers questions as part of a series on the wide-ranging effects of COVID-19.

Photo by Orbon AlljaPhoto by Orbon Allja

The Fraught Promise of Digital Remedies

As the COVID-19 pandemic has thrust many of our activities into cyberspace, Fran Berman RI ’20 discusses the need for comprehensive privacy protections, better security standards, and a national discussion about when surveillance is acceptable.

Elena Glassman has converted her course, Design of Useful and Usable Interactive Systems (CS 179), into podcast form, where she interviews expert researchers on topics that would normally be discussed through lectures. This method allows students in different time zones to listen at their own pace and provide reflections. Photo courtesy of Eliza Grinnell/Harvard SEASElena Glassman has converted her course, Design of Useful and Usable Interactive Systems (CS 179), into podcast form, where she interviews expert researchers on topics that would normally be discussed through lectures. This method allows students in different time zones to listen at their own pace and provide reflections. Photo courtesy of Eliza Grinnell/Harvard SEAS

Bringing Additional Expertise to Class via Remote Instruction

Radcliffe Professor Elena Glassman has converted her course, Design of Useful and Usable Interactive Systems, into podcast form, where she interviews expert researchers on topics that would normally be discussed through lectures.

Photo source UnsplashPhoto source Unsplash

In Prisons, a Looming Coronavirus Crisis

Harvard experts, including Radcliffe's Tomiko Brown-Nagin and Kaia Stern, warn of rapid spread amid crowded conditions and large numbers of older inmates with chronic conditions.

Mary T. Bassett and Khalil Gibran MuhammadMary T. Bassett and Khalil Gibran Muhammad

The Pandemic's Unequal Toll

The Radcliffe Institute hosted an online discussion with Mary T. Bassett and Khalil Gibran Muhammad about the disproportionate toll of COVID-19 on poorer Americans and communities of color.

Tali Mendelberg. Photo by Tony RinaldoTali Mendelberg. Photo by Tony Rinaldo

America Failed to Prepare for Disaster Long before Trump Took Over

Bracing for the worst saves lives and money, but voters are more likely to reward relief after the fact than they are careful planning.

Photo by Kris Snibbe/Harvard file photoPhoto by Kris Snibbe/Harvard file photo

New Members of the American Academy Arts & Sciences Announced

Radcliffe Institute Dean Tomiko Brown-Nagin is among the new members of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, who "are united by a place in history and by an opportunity to shape the future through the Academy’s work to advance the public good.”

Radcliffe fellows Edo Berger, Daniel M. Callahan, Corey Rayburn Yung, Liette Gidlow, Margot E. Fassler, and Ayodele Casel. Courtesy of Daniel M. CallahanRadcliffe fellows Edo Berger, Daniel M. Callahan, Corey Rayburn Yung, Liette Gidlow, Margot E. Fassler, and Ayodele Casel. Courtesy of Daniel M. Callahan

A Fellowship Interrupted—but Still Vibrant

The Institute’s 53 fellows vacated their offices in Byerly Hall in March, but their work continues in an unofficial capacity—via Zoom, like so many other activities during quarantine.

Photo credit Jonnica Hill/UnsplashPhoto credit Jonnica Hill/Unsplash

COVID-19 Targets Communities of Color

Camara Jones RI '20 and other Harvard specialists say the pandemic exacerbates longstanding inequities in American society.

Image courtesy of Jessica BrilliImage courtesy of Jessica Brilli

So What Have You Been Up To?

Harvard faculty and staff talk about how they’re spending their time during social distancing when there’s nowhere to go and no one to see.

Bunting Fellows in conversation, circa 1964-1972; Tillie Olsen, holding a cup, is at right.  Photograph by Olive Pierce (circa 1964-1972). Copyright (C) the Pierce family. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard UniversityBunting Fellows in conversation, circa 1964-1972; Tillie Olsen, holding a cup, is at right. Photograph by Olive Pierce (circa 1964-1972). Copyright (C) the Pierce family. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University

The “Messy Experiment”

On November 20, 1960, scientist Mary Ingraham Bunting unveiled her vision for the Radcliffe Institute for Independent Study. Newly appointed as Radcliffe’s president, she made her announcement just weeks after the country had elected John F. Kennedy its youngest president. 

One former fellow wrote from Oxford, in the United Kingdom, where life has "completely changed within just two weeks."One former fellow wrote from Oxford, in the United Kingdom, where life has "completely changed within just two weeks."

A New Reality

We asked Radcliffe fellows around the world to write about the life-altering effects of COVID-19.

Jessica Brilli, Study: The Neighbor's House. Acrylic on panel, 2020. 9" x 12".Jessica Brilli, Study: The Neighbor's House. Acrylic on panel, 2020. 9" x 12".

The Quarantine Diaries

The history of our present moment is taking shape in journals and drawings. “Diaries and correspondences are a gold standard,” says Jane Kamensky of the Schlesinger Library. “They’re among the best evidence we have of people’s inner worlds.”

"As a scholar of law, inequality, and the long Civil Rights movement, I am deeply interested in issues related to slavery and its legacy," said Tomiko Brown-Nagin, who will lead the committee. Photo by Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer"As a scholar of law, inequality, and the long Civil Rights movement, I am deeply interested in issues related to slavery and its legacy," said Tomiko Brown-Nagin, who will lead the committee. Photo by Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

A Renewed Focus on Slavery

A new University-wide initiative deepening the exploration of Harvard’s historical ties to enslavement is difficult but vital work, says the program chair, Radcliffe Dean Tomiko Brown-Nagin.

From the "Papers of Pin Pin T'an Liu," who earned a master's degree from Radcliffe in 1938: an undated photograph that includes her grandfather, Chang Yin T'ang (seated on left). Courtesy of Schlesinger LibraryFrom the "Papers of Pin Pin T'an Liu," who earned a master's degree from Radcliffe in 1938: an undated photograph that includes her grandfather, Chang Yin T'ang (seated on left). Courtesy of Schlesinger Library

Diversifying Schlesinger’s Records

The Library continues to broaden its collections with a focus on materials pertaining to Asian American women.

In this illustration, the "Radcliffe Wave" data is overlaid on an image of the Milky Way galaxy. Image from the WorldWide Telescope, courtesy of Alyssa GoodmanIn this illustration, the "Radcliffe Wave" data is overlaid on an image of the Milky Way galaxy. Image from the WorldWide Telescope, courtesy of Alyssa Goodman

The Giant in Our Stars

Interconnected stellar nurseries, named the Radcliffe Wave, form the largest gaseous structure ever observed in the Milky Way galaxy.

 "I was about to be outed in a country that hates homosexuals," said former teacher and current Radcliffe fellow Neal Hovelmeier, who hopes to one day to return to Zimbabwe. Photo by Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer "I was about to be outed in a country that hates homosexuals," said former teacher and current Radcliffe fellow Neal Hovelmeier, who hopes to one day to return to Zimbabwe. Photo by Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

A Flight from Homophobia

Fearing for his safety after being outed, educator and novelist Neal Hovelmeier RI '20 flees Zimbabwe to become Harvard Scholar at Risk.

Chanan Tigay during his talk at Radcliffe. Photo by Kevin Grady/Radcliffe InstituteChanan Tigay during his talk at Radcliffe. Photo by Kevin Grady/Radcliffe Institute

The Hunt for a Lost Book of Moses

Radcliffe scholar Chanan Tigay tried to track down what could be a forgery, or the oldest Bible in the world.

 Christina Warinner, who was recently appointed assistant professor of anthropology, considers calcified plaque a DNA "time capsule." Photo by Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer Christina Warinner, who was recently appointed assistant professor of anthropology, considers calcified plaque a DNA "time capsule." Photo by Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

The Archaeology of Plaque (Yes, Plaque)

Radcliffe Professor Christina Warinner says studying ancient teeth offers insights into diets, disease, dairying, and women’s roles.

 Shawon Kinew leads a first-year seminar where students study portraits of indigenous American leaders to learn about art, identity, and the history of indigenous peoples. Photo by Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer Shawon Kinew leads a first-year seminar where students study portraits of indigenous American leaders to learn about art, identity, and the history of indigenous peoples. Photo by Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

Art and the History of Indigenous America

Radcliffe Professor Shawon Kinew's first-year Harvard College seminar focuses on the 19th century oil portraits of 25 Native leaders captured in an era of forced relocation.