Campus & Community

Announcing 2017-18 Radcliffe Institute Fellows

3 min read

Meet the diplomat, the cryptologist, the playwright, the genetic biologist, and the University librarian

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 new 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, the Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies. “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.”

The fellowship class includes: Cultural historian Robert Darnton (Joy Foundation Fellow), the Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor at Harvard, Emeritus, and the Harvard University Librarian Emeritus, will work on a book about publishers, booksellers, and readers in France from 1769 to 1789.

A playwright from Nigeria, Ifeoma Fafunwa (Mary I. Bunting Institute Fellow), 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!?”

Shafi Goldwasser (William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Fellow), 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. Goldwasser will focus on applying cryptography to advance scientific discovery.

One of many international fellows, Thomas Lenormand (Hrdy Fellow) will be coming from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique to 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 (Perrin Moorhead Grayson and Bruns Grayson Fellow) is an author and diplomat who most recently served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. She has joined the faculty at Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School. During her Radcliffe fellowship, she will work on a book about her years in public service.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marilynne Robinson (Walter Jackson Bate Fellow), acclaimed for the novels “Housekeeping” (1980), “Gilead” (2004), “Home” (2008), and “Lila” (2014), will spend her year working on a series of lectures that will become a book about the Old Testament.

Chad Williams (Evelyn Green Davis Fellow), 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 a work by W.E.B. Du Bois about black participation in World War I.

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

The full list of fellows is online: