Announcing 2018–2019 Radcliffe Institute Fellows

Photo by Kevin Grady/Radcliffe InstitutePhoto by Kevin Grady/Radcliffe Institute
May 8, 2018

The disciplinary breadth of Radcliffe’s incoming 2018–2019 fellowship class is impressive, from a scientist seeking a solution to water scarcity in North Africa and the Middle East to a celebrated documentary photographer best known for her iconic images of carnival strippers and Nicaragua’s Sandinistas.

Panče Naumov, a professor of chemistry at New York University Abu Dhabi who is working on water scarcity, and Susan Meiselas EdM ’71 (David and Roberta Logie Fellow), a documentary photographer renowned in both the art and journalism worlds, are among the more than 50 individuals from 11 countries who make up Radcliffe’s new fellowship cohort. All will be in residence at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University in 2018–2019, pursuing work across the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and arts. This year’s fellows represent just under 3.5 percent of the applicant pool.

“The range of proposed projects is truly remarkable,” says Radcliffe Institute Dean Lizabeth Cohen RI ’02, the Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies in Harvard’s Department of History. “We’re delighted with this new group of exceptionally talented fellows and we are excited to see what the coming year holds, as they each embrace the unique intellectual and creative freedom that a Radcliffe fellowship offers.”

Unlike many other institutes for advanced study, Radcliffe welcomes literary and visual artists to work alongside fellows from other disciplines. The best-selling novelist Min Jin Lee (Radcliffe’s first Catherine A. and Mary C. Gellert Fellow)—author of Pachinko, which was a finalist for the National Book Award—plans to complete her thematic trilogy, The Koreans, during her fellowship. Another best-selling fiction writer, Lauren Groff (Suzanne Young Murray Fellow)—author of Fates and Furies, also a National Book Award finalist—will work on a novel based on early American captivity narratives by women.

The 2018–2019 fellowship class will welcome Radcliffe’s first Mellon-Schlesinger Fellow, Corinne Field, of the University of Virginia. Drawing on the collections of Radcliffe’s Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Field’s research during her fellowship year will explore the intertwined roots of race and age segregation in American feminism, arguing that white woman suffragists first promoted the idea of generational “waves” in order to justify political alliances with white supremacists.

A number of other incoming fellows will, like Field, pursue research relevant to inclusion/exclusion and citizenship in the United States and around the world. Their work will contribute in important ways to the Institute’s two-year citizenship initiative, which began in 2017–2018 and is timed in part to anticipate the 2020 centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution.

  • Hernan del Valle (Rita E. Hauser Fellow), the head of humanitarian advocacy and communications for the Nobel Prize–winning organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF), will draw on recent humanitarian search-and-rescue efforts in the Mediterranean to explore fundamental questions about migration and society: Who are “we”? Who do “we” want to become? Who is worthy to join “us”?
  • Moon Duchin ’97 (Evelyn Green Davis Fellow), a professor of mathematics at Tufts University, will analyze the impact of political boundaries through the lens of geometry in her examination of electoral districting.
  • Jacob S. Hacker ’94, GSAJF ’02 (Perrin Moorhead Grayson and Bruns Grayson Fellow), the Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science at Yale University, will look at how the new geography of prosperity and partisanship is redrawing boundaries and remaking politics in the United States.
  • Beth Simmons AM ’87, PhD ’91 (Matina S. Horner Distinguished Visiting Professor), the Andrea Mitchell University Professor of Law, Political Science, and Business Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania, will use her fellowship year to explore the decreased permeability of international borders in the current era.
  • The poet Javier Zamora (Walter Jackson Bate Fellow), a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, will work on a novel-in-verse based on his journey as a nine-year-old unaccompanied minor traveling from El Salvador to Mexico. Zamora will use his work to explore various questions: What constitutes citizenship in the context of migration? Who dictates who can be a citizen? Who is enabled to access the full benefits of citizenship? Why does the United States fail to recognize many Central Americans as refugees?

“One of the things I find most exciting about this fellowship class is the cluster of work that is emerging around our theme of citizenship—about who belongs and what it means to belong,” says Dean Cohen. “The work of our fellows, coming from such diverse perspectives, will make an enormous contribution to the larger Harvard community, demonstrating why and how an institute for advanced study plays such a vital role in the life of a university—and the world beyond it.”

The full list of fellows is online at www.radcliffe.edu/fellows2018.

Search Year: 
2018