Big Thinkers, Big Projects

Radcliffe Institute Fellows for 2015–2016
Photo by Kevin GradyPhoto by Kevin Grady
May 14, 2015
By Alison Franklin

Where does a brain surgeon examine neurobiology and psychiatry for new approaches to achieving environmental sustainability?

Where does a magistrate critically probe the state of the judicial and electoral systems in Guatemala after resigning her post and denouncing the election process?  

Where does an influential journalist go after writing The Omnivore’s Dilemma to investigate how psychoactive molecules alter human consciousness?

Where does a Harvard anthropologist turn his research about witnessing death in Chicago into a book about living and dying in urban America?

Where does a “punk ballerina” create immersive public performance pieces inspired by the ways in which indigenous peoples inhabit their natural and built surroundings? 

The answer to all of these questions is the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

Harvard Medical School professor Ann-Christine Duhaime, judge Claudia Escobar Mejía, author Michael Pollan (Suzanne Young Murray Fellow), associate professor Laurence Ralph (Joy Foundation Fellow), and choreographer Karole Armitage (Mildred Londa Weisman Fellow)—respectively—will begin one-year fellowships at the Radcliffe Institute in September 2015.

They are among the more than 50 scholars, scientists, and artists who will be Radcliffe fellows during the 2015–2016 year, each one pursuing an ambitious individual project within the Institute’s multidisciplinary community with access to resources across Harvard. In a sign of how highly desirable the fellowship opportunity is, only 3 percent of applicants were accepted.

“It is an honor to provide these innovative thinkers with time, space, and intellectual stimulation to do their best work in ways that often defy expectations and disciplinary boundaries,” said Radcliffe Institute Dean Lizabeth Cohen RI ’02. “As Radcliffe fellows, they are sure to develop unusual collaborations, take unexpected risks, and generate new ideas.”

The full list of fellows and their projects—which include studying the impact of coastal living on Medieval communities and building solar batteries—is online at

About the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University

The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University is dedicated to creating and sharing transformative ideas across the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences. The Fellowship Program annually supports the work of 50 leading artists and scholars. Academic Ventures fosters collaborative research projects and sponsors lectures and conferences that engage scholars with the public. The Schlesinger Library documents the lives of American women of the past and present for the future, furthering the Institute’s commitment to women, gender, and society. Learn more about the people and programs of the Radcliffe Institute at

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