News & Ideas

Newsmakers | Fall 2023

A therapists's office with a daybed, a midcentury modern chair, and a box of tissues
Andover, MA. Office with chartreuse analyst’s chair and brown floral print, 2000 © Shellburne Thurber. See Shelf Life.

The Newsmakers section of Radcliffe Magazine brings the extraordinary achievements of Radcliffe alumnae, faculty, and fellows to our readership. Please tell us about your awards, publications, and other accomplishments by e-mailing

The Shanghai Archaeology Forum awarded one of its Research Awards to Christina Warinner AM ’08, PhD ’10, RI ’24 for her contributions to the study of ancient human microbiomes.

Radcliffe Dean Tomiko Brown-Nagin RI ’17 earned the 2023 Order of the Coif Book Award for her biography Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality (Penguin Random House, 2022). Established in 1965 as a triennial award, the prize is now presented annually by the honor society for US law school graduates.

Blackouts (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2023), the sophomore novel by Justin Torres RI ’13, won the 2023 National Book Award for Fiction. The collection suddenly we (Wesleyan University Press, 2023), by Evie Shockley RI ’19, was a poetry finalist, and the memoir A Man of Two Faces: A Memoir, A History, A Memorial (Grove Press. 2023), by Viet Thanh Nguyen RI ’09, was on the longlist for nonfiction. (See Shelf Life for more on these titles.)

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the 2023 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences to Claudia Goldin RI ’06 for her groundbreaking body of research on women and the labor market. She is the first woman to win the award solo. Goldin delivered her prize lecture, which you may watch below, in early December.

Imani Perry JD ’00, PhD ’00 was named a 2023 MacArthur Fellow. A scholar of law, literature, and cultural studies and an author of creative nonfiction who is a Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor, Harvard Radcliffe Institute and the Henry A. Morss, Jr. and Elisabeth W. Morss Professor of Studies of Women, Gender and Sexuality and of African and African American Studies in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, she is one of 20 individuals to receive this no-strings-attached award.

Major Jackson RI ’07 has won the 2023 Academy of American Poets Fellowship, which comes with a cash prize and a residency at the T. S. Eliot house in Gloucester. Jackson—who recently published his sixth poetry collection, Razzle Dazzle (W. W. Norton, 2023)—is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Chair in the Humanities at Vanderbilt University and the poetry editor of the Harvard Review.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters named Laura Elise Schwendinger RI ’03 a cowinner of the 2023 Charles Ives Opera Prize. The $50,000 prize is the biggest such award for composers of opera in the United States. Schwendinger and the librettist Ginger Strand earned the award for their work Artemisia, an opera based on the life of the 17th-century painter Artemisia Gentileschi. 

The American Political Science Association awarded its 2023 John Gaus Award to Daniel Carpenter RI ’08. Presented annually, the award honors a lifetime of exemplary scholarship in the joint tradition of political science and public administration. Carpenter is the faculty director for the social sciences at Radcliffe, the Allie S. Freed Professor of Government, and chair of the Department of Government in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. (8/17)

Claudia Goldin speaking at a podium

On December 9, Claudia Goldin delivered her Nobel 2023 prize lecture at the Aula Magna, Stockholm University.

In “A Forgotten Chapter of Abortion History Repeats Itself,” Linda Greenhouse ’68 considers Sherri Chessen’s 1962 therapeutic abortion in light of the recent case of a Texas woman who had to flee her home state to receive one. In the New York Times opinion piece, Greenhouse mentions her book Before Roe v. Wade: Voices That Shaped the Abortion Debate before the Supreme Court’s Ruling (Yale Law School, 2012), for which she conducted research in Radcliffe’s Schlesinger Library.

In the New York Times guest essay “I Was a Doctor in Iraq. I Am Seeing a Nightmare Play Out Again,” Omar Dewachi AM ’04, PhD ’08, RI ’23 decries the public health crisis in Gaza, seeing it as part of a pattern increasingly playing out in conflicts around the world. “The concept of civilian collateral damage has become disturbingly normalized, resulting in the targeting of hospitals, the easy killing of the sick or injured and the erosion of civilian health care during wartime,” he writes. “When it comes to global conflict, hospitals are no longer safe havens.”

In the Vogue article “How Joséphine Bonaparte Launched Napoleon—Through Fashion,” Anne Higonnet ’80, RI ’20 makes the argument that the “awkward, sallow, provincial, minor army officer” and future self-proclaimed emperor “got a career head start from his wife Joséphine's fashion genius.”

Jennie C. Stephens ’97, RI ’24, an energy and climate justice scholar-activist, opines on what she thinks is a blind spot in the Federal Reserve’s policy in the Hill article “Fed Chair Powell Is Ignoring the Greatest Threat to Our Economy: Climate Risk.”

In the scholarly Africa Spectrum article “Afropolitan Masculinity: Forgeries of Wife-Owning Husbands in West Africa, 1850s–1950s,” Ndubueze L. Mbah RI ’23 examines the effects on gender relations of forgery during slave abolition in Nigeria.

Joelle M. Abi-Rached PhD ’17, RI ’24 and Allan M. Brandt RI ’20 collaborated on an article that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine. In “Do Pandemics Ever End?” they argue that one must consider factors beyond epidemiology—such as social, political, and economic impact—when considering a pandemic’s duration.

Literary Hub published “A Family of Rabbits Embarks on a Perilous Journey,” an excerpt of the James Sturm RI ’21 adaptation of the Richard Adams novel Watership Down 

Tiya Miles ’92, RI ’22, RI ’23 was featured in the New York Times’ By the Book column. In a Q and A titled “For Tiya Miles, Girlhood Reading Was ‘My Escape and Joy,’“ she shared details about her favorite books—from childhood to what’s currently on her nightstand and many points in between.

The New York Times profiled the novelist Justin Torres RI ’13 on the heels of his sophomore novel, Blackouts (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2023), being named a finalist for a National Book Award. “Justin Torres Finds Inspiration in the Erasures of Queer History” chronicles how he arrived at writing his sophomore novel after the critical success of his first, We the Animals (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011). Torres worked on the novel during his Radcliffe fellowship.

The poet Ross Gay RI ’16 gave a tongue-in-cheek nod to his Radcliffe fellowship year in a LitHub article titled “In Praise of (Foot- End- Etc.) Notes.”

The Yale Review published a new poem, “The Nature of Shelter,” by Brenda Shaughnessy RI ’01. Shaughnessy, a professor of English and creative writing at Rutgers University–Newark, published the poetry collection Tanya (Knopf, 2023) earlier this year.

In the Boston Globe article “How to Get the Most out of College—and Save Liberal Democracy,” Omer Aziz RI ’23 makes the argument for liberalism, “not to the political ideology but to the value system of openness to different perspectives,” on college campuses. “You can and should cultivate a spirit of curious engagement, almost of playfulness toward learning,” he writes. “There should be times when it doesn’t even feel like work but is pure joy.” Earlier, he published “Liberals Need a Clearer Foreign Policy” in the Boston Globe.

In “Can We Talk to Whales?” the New Yorker chronicles the genesis of Project CETI, which had its start at Radcliffe when the marine biologist David Gruber RI ’18 teamed up with the computer scientists Shafi Goldwasser RI ’18 and Michael Bronstein RI ’18 to apply machine learning to the study of sperm whale communication.

The Nation published a Q and A with Drew Gilpin Faust, “Drew Faust on Growing Up in the ’60s,” about how she became an activist in her youth. Faust was the inaugural dean of the Institute.

Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela BI ’99, RI ’21, who is a professor and research chair in historical trauma and transformation at Stellenbosch University, published the opinion piece “The Powerlessness of a Mother to Protect Her Children from Starvation Is a Soul-Destroying, Quiet Violence” in the South African online publication Daily Maverick.

The digital magazine Undark published an interview with David Hemenway ’66, PhD ’74, RI ’21, titled “Treating Gun Violence as a Public Health Crisis.” Hemenway is the director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center and a professor of health policy at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.

In an article titled “Ghosts in the Archive,” the filmmaker Irene Luzstig ’96, RI ’11 talked about the importance of primary sources in her work. Her latest documentary is called Richland (see Stage and Screen).

In a New York Times guest essay, “It Was Never Just about the Butterflies,” the writer Lewis Hyde RI ’14 meditates on the thrill of the hunt.

Isabel Galleymore RI ’23 published a poem, “Semi-Unintelligible,” in Issue 10 of the Drift.

In “The Race to Extract an Indigenous Language from Its Last Lucid Speaker,” the Washington Post accompanied the linguist Roberto Zariquiey RI ’23 to the Amazon, where he is working furiously to document the language of Iskonawa with its last speaker, Nelita Campos.

Jennifer Nelson ’03, RI ’24 published a poem, “Conditions for Retention,” in the New York Times Magazine.

In the Washington Post opinion piece “Where Have All the Assault Rifles Gone?Jennifer Finney Boylan RI ’23 turns her attention to the work of Ieva Jusionyte RI ’23. Jusionyte is an anthropologist who will soon publish a book about the flow of guns across the US–Mexico border (see Shelf Life).

Books by Tiya Miles, Justin Torres, and Major Jackson (see Shelf Life)

Martha Minow EdM ’76, RI ’18, Khalil Gibran Muhammad RI ’17, RI ’20, Kathryn Sikkink RI ’15, RI ’17, and Sandra Susan Smith RI ’22 contributed to Making a Movement: The History and Future of Human Rights (Carr Center, 2023), which examines the history and effectiveness of the human rights movement. The essay collection was published in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Octopus in the Parking Garage: A Call for Climate Resilience (Columbia University Press, 2023), by Rob Verchick JD ’89, RI ’24, is a 2023 Choice Outstanding Academic Title.

Katherine Vaz RI ’07 has published Above the Salt (Flatiron Books, 2023). Publishers Weekly gave the novel a starred review, saying, “Readers will be entranced by this ambitious and heartbreaking saga.”

Loveboat Forever (HarperTeen, 2023)—deemed “heartfelt” by Kirkus Reviews—is the third and final book in a series by Abigail Hing Wen ’99. The first book in the series, Loveboat Taipei (HarperTeen, 2020), was Wen’s debut novel; it was a New York Times bestseller and appeared on Seventeen’s “The 7 Best YA Books of 2020 So Far” list. The book was also adapted into a Paramount+ film, Love in Taipei (2023).

James Sturm RI ’21 adapted the classic Richard Adams novel for the graphic novel Watership Down (Ten Speed Graphic, 2023), which was illustrated by Joe Sutphin. NPR aired a story about the adaptation.

Ten years in the making, Blackouts (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2023), by Justin Torres RI ’13, has been described as a genre-defying novel that challenges queer history. “Blackouts is the kind of artfully duplicitous novel which makes a reader grateful for Wikipedia,” said NPR in a review. The book won the 2023 National Book Award in fiction (see Honor Roll).

Viet Thanh Nguyen RI ’09 tackles more than his own life story in the memoir A Man of Two Faces: A Memoir, A History, A Memorial (Grove Hardcover, 2023), of which the Washington Post says in a review, “Sharp and affecting, this book is both: a weapon, a lamentation.”

Wild Girls: How the Outdoors Shaped the Women Who Challenged a Nation (W. W. Norton, 2023), the latest book by Tiya Miles ’92, RI ’22, RI ‘24, examines the role of nature in some of America’s notable women. “Wild Girls reframes hard-fought battles for women’s equality through the lens of empowerment provided by the natural world,” said a New York Times review. “It begs us to acknowledge the primacy of the earth not only in historical lives but in our own as well.” Both Publishers Weekly and the New York Public Library listed it among their best books of 2023.

Major Jackson RI ’07 has published his sixth poetry collection, Razzle Dazzle: New and Selected Poems, 2002–2022 (W. W. Norton, 2023). “The whole world is in these poems,” said a New York Times review.

In Writing for Busy Readers: Communicate More Effectively in the Real World (Dutton, 2023), Todd Rogers AM ’05, PhD ’08, RI ’20, a public policy professor at Harvard University, and his coauthor Jessica Lasky-Fink offer practical writing advice for people who want their e-mails to actually be read. “The thoughtful advice is pragmatic and the prose fittingly concise and straightforward,” said a Publishers Weekly review. “It’s Strunk & White for the internet age.”

The cultural historian Jeremy Eichler RI ’17, who serves as the chief classical music critic for the Boston Globe, has published Time’s Echo: The Second World War, the Holocaust, and the Music of Remembrance (Knopf, 2023). The book, which had its beginnings during Eichler’s fellowship year, examines how the composers Benjamin Britten, Arnold Schoenberg, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Richard Strauss turned their wartime experiences into transcendent works of art, and in a starred review, Publishers Weekly praised its “vivid, luminous prose.”

In Analysis: Psychoanalytic Interiors (Kehrer Verlag, 2023), Shelburne Thurber BI ’00 provides a peek into therapists’ offices in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and across New England. (See lead image.) The book, which consists of 76 color photographs, is the culmination of a project that Thurber began during her Bunting fellowship year. Thurber’s photographs have long examined humanity through unoccupied spaces, from motel rooms to the homes of deceased family members.

Evie Shockley RI ’19 published a collection of verse, suddenly we (Wesleyan University Press, 2023), which was a finalist for a 2023 National Book Award in poetry. A review in Electric Literature called it “a visually exciting, linguistically dynamic, and altogether thrilling shapeshifter of a collection that is both a response and antidote to these times.”

Wonder Foods: The Science and Commerce of Nutrition (University of California Press, 2022), by Lisa Haushofer RIGF ’18, PhD ’18, examines the intersection of science and nutritional advice through the history of engineered nutritional products. The book grew out of her dissertation, which she completed during her graduate fellowship at Radcliffe. Haushofer—a physician and a historian of science, medicine, and food—is currently on the humanities faculty at the University of Amsterdam.

In January, Cynthia Zarin ’81 will publish her debut novel, Inverno (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2024), which a Publishers Weekly review calls “a sly and beguiling love story doubling as a meditation on the nature of time.” Zarin, a poet and essayist, is on the English faculty at Yale University.

Exit Wounds: How America’s Guns Fuel Violence across the Border (University of California Press, 2024), on which Ieva Jusionyte RI ’23 worked during her Radcliffe fellowship, will be published in April.

Installation view, Alia Farid, In Lieu of What Is, Kunsthalle Basel, 2022. Photo by Philipp Hänger/Kunsthalle Basel

Alia Farid RI ’24 exhibited her piece In Lieu of What Is (2022) at National Museum Cardiff as part of Artes Mundi 10, the United Kingdom’s leading biennial exhibition, currently on view through February 25, 2024. The winner of the prestigious £40,000 Artes Mundi Prize will be announced during the exhibition run. Farid’s work also appears in the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston exhibition Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora, 1990s–Today, also on view through February 25, 2024.

Ephraim Asili RI ’24 debuted a new three-channel installation at Amant, in Brooklyn, this fall. Song for My Mother (2023)—described as a historical journey that connects space and time—is part of Rituals of Speaking, a film-led series that explores how artists represent the voices of others through collective storytelling. The piece is on view through January 28, 2024.

The Frye Art Museum, in Seattle, is hosting new works by Clarissa Tossin RI ’18. The solo exhibition, to take root among the stars is on view through January 7, 2024.

This past summer, the Capc Musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, in France, kicked off its 50th anniversary celebration with a site-specific installation by Kapwani Kiwanga RI ’23. For Retenue, in the museum’s great nave, the artist responded to the history of the space, which was a warehouse for colonial goods in the 19th century. The exhibition is on view through January 7, 2024, and Kapwani’s work may next be found at the 2024 Venice Biennale, opening in April, where she will represent Canada.

Together with the American Center for Mongolian Studies, Christina Warinner AM ’08, PhD ’10, RI ’24 and her group developed the scientific exhibition Dairy Cultures: The Science of Mongolian Heritage. It was on view in the fall at the Natural History Museum in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and is still available as an online exhibition.

As part of a multiyear project, Beth Galston BI ’91 gathered decaying leaves in the woods to create a suite of large-scale portraits. Leaf Series: moments in time opened this past summer and was on view at the Gallery at Singer Editions, in Boston, through October 26.

Shimon Attie RI ’07 had a solo exhibition of his large-scale video and photography pieces at Stony Brook University’s Paul W. Zuccaire GalleryShimon Attie: The View from Below featured 25 years of his explorations of migration and displacement. The exhibition ran from July 20 to October 14.

In September, New York’s Museum of Modern Art began to exhibit The Giverny Suite (2019), by Ja’Tovia Gary RI ’19. The three-channel installation is newly part of the museum’s permanent collection. The New York Times Style Magazine profiled the conceptual artist in “Ja’Tovia Gary Sets Her Sights on Love.”

The New York Times classical music critic Zachary Woolf named the New York premiere of the 2019 Double Concerto by Felipe Lara RI ’16 in the article “Best Classical Music Performances of 2023.” The work, he writes, “made Claire Chase (on many flutes) and Esperanza Spalding (vocalizing while playing double bass) into a seething and exuberant, if not always sunny, organism.” Also on his list is the opera The Hunt, by Kate Soper RI ’13, which he calls “sneakily sagacious” (see next item).

The Hunt, a new opera by Kate Soper RI ’13, premiered at the Miller Theater in October. The New York Times profiled the soprano/composer in “Kate Soper Returns to Opera With a Story Medieval and Modern, and it also reviewed the opera, saying “Think “Waiting for Godot,” but with the female rebelliousness of a Sofia Coppola film.” Earlier this year, in February, The Romance of the Rose debuted at Long Beach Opera in California after pandemic delays. Soper codirects the Wet Ink Ensemble, an experimental collective of composers, performers, and improvisers. [image: From left, Brett Umlauf, Christiana Cole and Hirona Amamiya, who play three medieval virgins passing the time while they wait for a unicorn in Kate Soper’s “The Hunt,” at the Miller Theater at Columbia University. Credit...Rob Davidson for Miller Theatre at Columbia University]

From left, Brett Umlauf, Christiana Cole, and Hirona Amamiya, who play three medieval virgins passing the time while they wait for a unicorn in Kate Soper’s The Hunt, at the Miller Theater at Columbia University. Photo by Rob Davidson for Miller Theatre at Columbia University

On November 15, Netflix released a hybrid documentary based on Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (Bold Type Books, 2016), the book by Ibram X. Kendi RI ’21. In a review, NPR said the film “offers a well-paced and affecting look at the roots of Black-focused racism that won’t necessarily surprise those who already know this history, but may still be tough to watch for those sensitive to stories about the exploitation of marginalized people.” The documentary premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

In 1974, a legal ruling deemed Boston schools to be unconstitutionally segregated. The American Experience documentary The Busing Battleground: The Decades-Long Road to School Segregation explores what happened next. Tomiko Brown-Nagin RI ’17, the Radcliffe dean and a constitutional scholar, appears in the film, which also heavily covers the efforts of the Boston educator and advocate Ruth Batson, who pushed for school desegregation—and whose papers are in our Schlesinger Library.

Jules Gill-Peterson RI ’24, a historian of sexuality, gender, and medicine, appears in the American Experience episode “(Trans)formation: The Story of Christine Jorgensen,” which chronicles the life and career of one of the first people to successfully undergo gender-reassignment surgery, in 1952.

Richland (2023), the latest feature-length documentary by Irene Luzstig ’96, RI ’11, looks at the history of the Washington town built to house the employees of the Hanford Nuclear Site. “With curiosity and care, Richland peers into the heart of a small town, acknowledges the joys, and brings the pain and loss and broken promises into the light,” said a Hollywood Reporter review of the film, which had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this past summer.

Jennifer Finney Boylan RI ’23 was recently elected to serve as president of PEN America. “As PEN president, it is my job to fight for free expression on the right and the left,” Boylan said in the New York Times. “I’m an author. I’m a writer. And at this perilous moment, I am really going to try to fight for everybody as best I can.”

In October, the New York Times reported on the death of Natalie Zemon Davis AM ’50 at age 94. In addition to writing deeply researched histories of marginalized people, the social and cultural historian cotaught—with her University of Toronto colleague Jill Ker Conway PhD ’69—one of the first courses in North America on the history of women and gender.

John Tasioulas RI ’15 has been appointed to an advisory committee on artificial intelligence convened by the prime minister of Greece. The 11 experts appointed will make policy recommendations and write guidelines for a long-term national IT strategy, focusing on such areas as the economy, innovation, infrastructure, and managing the climate crisis.

On January 15, Jane Kamensky BI ’97, RI ’07 will assume her new role as the president of Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, in Charlottesville, Virginia. Since 2015, Kamensky has been the Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Director of the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America here at Radcliffe and the Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

The New York Times ran an obituary for Evelyn Fox Keller AM ’59, PhD ’63, RI ’05 in its science section. Keller, a theoretical physicist, mathematical biologist, and feminist theorist, died in September at age 87.

Claudine Gay PhD ’97, RI ’14 was inaugurated as Harvard’s 30th president on September 29 after serving as the Edgerley Family Dean of the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences since 2018.

This year, Viet Thanh Nguyen RI ’09 is delivering the Norton Lectures at the Mahindra Humanities Center. The six-lecture series is titled To Save and to Destroy: On Writing as an Other. Nguyen is a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist and a professor of English and American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California.

Daniel Ziblatt RI ’16, an internationally renowned scholar of democracy and state-building in Europe, will begin a three-year term as the director of the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard on January 12. He is also the Eaton Professor of the Science of Government at the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

On January 1, Marla Frederick RI ’09, a leading ethnographer and scholar focused on the African American religious experience, will become dean of Harvard Divinity School. She is currently the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Religion and Culture at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology.

Anthony Abraham Jack AM ’11, PhD ’16, RI ’22, joined the faculty of Boston University’s Wheelock College of Education and Human Development as an associate professor. He also assumed the post of faculty director of BU’s Newbury Center, which supports and celebrates first-generation students at the university.

In June, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey ’92 appointed Lisa I. Iezzoni SM ’78, MD ’84, RI ’23 to the Department of Transportation’s board of directors—one of four new members and the first from the disability community. Iezzoni, who is a professor and researcher at the Mongan Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital who focuses on improving the lives and health outcomes of people with disabilities, will represent MBTA riders on the board, ensuring that the transportation system is accessible.

Joy H. Calico RI ’10 joined the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music as a professor of musicology and director of graduate studies. A musicologist whose work has focused on 20th-century European music, she was formerly University Distinguished Professor of Musicology and German Studies and Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Music at Vanderbilt University.

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