Announcing 2017–2018 Radcliffe Institute Fellows

Meet the Diplomat, the Cryptologist, the Playwright, the Genetic Biologist, and the University Librarian
Photo by Kevin Grady, Radcliffe Staff PhotographerPhoto by Kevin Grady, Radcliffe Staff Photographer
May 4, 2017

A Radcliffe Institute fellowship can propel the career of a junior scientist, foster a year of creativity for a mid-career artist, give a diplomat time to write, and provide an established scientist with a chance to start new research. The more than 50 women and men in the 2017–2018 Radcliffe fellowship class are doing this and more as they pursue work across the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences.

“It is always wonderful to announce our incoming fellows and celebrate the 4 percent of applicants who were accepted,” said Radcliffe Institute Dean Lizabeth Cohen RI ’02, also the Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies in the Department of History at Harvard University. “But it's even more exciting when they arrive in the fall and start working on their projects and sharing their ideas with one another and the public.” Fellows at the Radcliffe Institute present lectures and exhibitions to the public, participate in cross-disciplinary study groups, and work closely with undergraduate Harvard students who serve as research partners.

The incoming fellowship class includes:

Cultural historian Robert Darnton—the Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor at Harvard, emeritus, and the Harvard University Librarian, emeritus—will be working on a book about publishers, booksellers, and readers in France from 1769 to 1789. He will be the 2017–2018 Joy Foundation Fellow.

A playwright from Nigeria, Ifeoma Fafunwa, who was a visiting scholar at Radcliffe last spring and presented the play Hear Word! in partnership with the American Repertory Theater and the Harvard University Center for African Studies, will be returning to work on a new play: Who the Hell Would Choose to be LGBT and Nigerian!? She will continue to work with the A.R.T. as the 2017–2018 Mary I. Bunting Institute Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute.

Shafi Goldwasser, who won a Turing Award for her work on cryptography, is the RSA Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT and a professor of computer science and applied mathematics at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. At the Radcliffe Institute, Goldwasser will be the 2017–2018 William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Fellow and her focus will be on applying cryptography to advance scientific discovery.

One of many international fellows, Thomas Lenormand will be coming from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique to be the 2017–2018 Hrdy Fellow at Radcliffe. He will work on the role of gene regulation in adaptation and will synthesize new ideas for evolutionary theory and contribute to the unification of life sciences.

The legal scholar Martha Minow, who is concluding her service as the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean of the Harvard Law School, will be returning to her core area of scholarship—social justice and the law—with a fellowship project about child soldiers, sovereign and consumer debt, and forgiveness in law.

Samantha Power is an academic, author, and diplomat who most recently served as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations from 2013 to 2017. She has joined the faculty at Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School and will be the 2017–2018 Perrin Moorhead Grayson and Bruns Grayson Fellow at the Institute. During her fellowship year at Radcliffe, she will work on a book about her years in public service.

Pulitzer Prize–winning author Marilynne Robinson, acclaimed for the novels Housekeeping (1980), Gilead (2004), Home (2008), and Lila (2014), will spend her fellowship year working on a series of lectures that will become a book about the Old Testament. She will be the 2017–2018 Walter Jackson Bate Fellow at the Institute.

Chad Williams, an associate professor and chair of the Department of African and Afro-American Studies at Brandeis University, will be part of the Institute's research initiative on citizenship. His focus will be on an uncompleted work by W.E.B. Du Bois about black participation in World War I. He will be the 2017–2018 Evelyn Green Davis Fellow.

Patricia J. Williams, a law professor at Columbia University and columnist for the Nation, will be the 2017–2018 Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Fellow at the Institute, where she will work on “Gathering the Ghosts,” a book about race and American family life from the late 1800s to today. She will use collections at the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe, including a collection of her own family’s archive of letters and photographs that she donated.

This class of fellows hails from across the United States, including the first fellow who is on the faculty at Howard University, and from around the world, including the Institute's first fellow coming from Singapore. They will join the nearly 850 fellows who have spent a year at the Radcliffe Institute in pursuit of knowledge and the creation of original work.

Learn more about the 2017–2018 class of fellows and what they will be working on at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study:

www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/fellows2017.

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