Princeton Weekly Bulletin   December 3, 2007, Vol. 97, No. 10   prev   next   current

Postdoctoral scholars join interdisciplinary community

Princeton NJ — Five new postdoctoral fellows have joined the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts this year.

The society, created in 2000 by a gift from Charter Trustee Lloyd Cotsen, is an interdisciplinary community that seeks to bring innovative approaches to scholarship and teaching at Princeton. It offers outstanding young scholars who recently have completed their Ph.D. the opportunity to enhance their teaching and research over a period of three years.


The new Cotsen Fellows joining the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts this year are, from left, Daniel Cloud, Michael Emmerich, Mayling Birney, Mischa Gabowitsch and Graham Jones. (photo: John Jameson)

The society is led by Leonard Barkan, the Arthur W. Marks ’19 Professor of Comparative Literature. It includes Princeton faculty members who serve as faculty fellows and meet regularly with the Cotsen Fellows in the Joseph Henry House for informal and formal discussions, seminars and lectures. The full complement of 14 postdoctoral fellows is drawn from a range of disciplines in the humanities, related social sciences and natural sciences.

The Cotsen Fellows for 2007-10 were selected from a pool of more than 750 applicants. They teach half-time in their academic department or program or in the Council of the Humanities and pursue their own research. They are:

Mayling Birney, a Wilson-Cotsen Fellow and lecturer in public and international affairs. She received her Ph.D. in political science from Yale University. Her dissertation focuses on the political ramifications of village elections in China. She has received numerous awards and fellowships, which have supported her qualitative and survey research in China as well as research in residence at Yale, Nuffield College at Oxford University and the Brookings Institution. She also has written about the political uses of public opinion in the United States, and has worked as a political organizer for a presidential campaign and as a legislative aide to former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley. While at Princeton, she will extend her research to examine the political impact of local democratic institutions across different types of regimes. She will teach seminars on political reform in China and comparative democratization.

Daniel Cloud, a Perkins-Cotsen Fellow and lecturer in philosophy and in the Council of the Humanities. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia University. His dissertation develops theoretical insights into the chemistry of living things explored by Nobel laureate Erwin Schrödinger in his 1944 monograph “What Is Life?” Cloud’s research interests include problems in the philosophical foundations of economics and evolutionary game theory, and in evolutionary and molecular biology. At Princeton, he will further his research and teach a course related to his dissertation as well as team-teach a course in humanistic studies.

Michael Emmerich, an East Asian Studies-Cotsen Fellow and lecturer in East Asian studies and in the Council of the Humanities. He received his Ph.D. in East Asian languages and cultures from Columbia University. His dissertation examines the 11th-century text “The Tale of Genji” and the role that its translations into early-modern and modern Japanese have played in maintaining its place in the canon. Emmerich has won a number of awards for his graduate studies, including a Fulbright Scholarship and an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies. He has published widely in both English and Japanese. At Princeton, he will join the faculty team teaching the new yearlong, interdisciplinary sequence, “East Asian Humanities.”

Mischa Gabowitsch, a Cotsen Fellow and lecturer in sociology and in the Council of the Humanities. He received his Ph.D. from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, with a dissertation titled “The Specter of Fascism: Russian Nationalism and its Opponents, 1987-2007.” Using a multidisciplinary approach, Gabowitsch analyzed conceptual and pragmatic responses to Russian nationalism, in Russia and internationally, since perestroika. His work has garnered several awards, including the first Einstein Fellowship awarded to live and work in Albert Einstein’s summer house in Caputh, Germany. At Princeton, he will pursue a research project that examines the ways in which contemporary Russian culture has been shaped by new, post-Soviet institutions. He also will teach a course on contemporary European sociological theory and a European cultural studies seminar titled “Why Everyone Hates the West.”

Graham Jones, a Haarlow-Cotsen Fellow and lecturer in the Council of the Humanities. He earned his Ph.D. in anthropology from New York University. His dissertation provides an ethnographic account of the social world of entertainment magic in a contemporary setting. His publications address topics ranging from the language of magic performance to the craft of ethnographic fieldwork and the ethnographic filmmaker Jean Rouch. He has won numerous awards and fellowships, including a Fulbright Fellowship and the Ford Foundation Dissertation Diversity Fellowship. At Princeton, he is undertaking a new historical project on “magical thinking” and is continuing linguistic research on the representation of speech and thought in everyday conversation. He will join a faculty team teaching a yearlong course in humanistic studies.

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