Campus & Community

Postdoc Thiemann Scales awarded 2006-07 fellowship at the AAAS

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Harvard postdoctoral scholar in English Laura Thiemann Scales is among seven scholars recently awarded fellowships for the 2006-07 academic year at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS). The academy’s visiting scholars program supports promising scholars and practitioners in the early stages of their careers – both postdoctoral fellows and untenured junior faculty – who show potential of becoming leaders in the humanities and social sciences. This year’s scholars are studying topics including social policy, history, literature, political science, and race relations.

Scales’ research, titled “Speaking in Tongues: Mediumship and the American Narrative Voice,” is a study of the pervasive influence of prophets, spiritual mediums, and psychics in the works of Stowe, Hawthorne, James, Faulkner, and other novelists from the Second Great Awakening to the modernist movement.

“Fellowships in the humanities and social sciences are limited,” said academy executive officer Leslie C. Berlowitz. “The visiting scholars program offers an opportunity for newer scholars to engage in interdisciplinary studies of complex social and intellectual issues. The ability to interact with academy fellows, who bring an unparalleled wealth of knowledge from diverse scholarly and professional backgrounds, also provides a unique intergenerational opportunity for visiting scholars.”

Launched in 2002, the visiting scholars program is chaired by Patricia Meyer Spacks, Edgar F. Shannon Professor of English Emerita at the University of Virginia, who is completing a six-year term as president of the academy. The scholars focus on their individual projects in addition to participating in many ongoing programs and activities at the academy, which is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass.

Members of the preceding classes of visiting scholars have secured teaching and research positions at Boston, Case Western Reserve, Columbia, Harvard, Northwestern, and Yale universities.

Guidelines and application forms for the visiting scholars program are available on the AAAS Web site at

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. Current AAAS research focuses on science and global security, social policy, education, and the humanities and culture. Advancing the work of the academy are its 4,600 elected members, who are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.