Scholars join Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts


Princeton NJ -- Five new postdoctoral scholars 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 education at Princeton. It offers outstanding young scholars who have recently received their Ph.D. the opportunity to enhance their teaching and research over a period of three years.

postdoctoral scholars who have joined the Society of Fellows  

The postdoctoral scholars who have joined the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts this year are, from left, Douglas Finkbeiner, Sunil Agnani, Sujatha Fernandes, Anne-Maria Makhulu and Christopher Bush.


This past June, the society celebrated the success of its inaugural group of five postdoctoral Cotsen Fellows -- Giovanna Ceserani, Danielle Fosler-Lussier, Robert Goulding, Lisa Hilbink and Branden Joseph -- who each completed their three-year fellowship term and moved on to a new position as assistant professor at Stanford, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Minnesota and California-Irvine, respectively. Two additional Cotsen Fellows -- Daniel McKinsey and Alex Rehding -- took up assistant professorships at Yale and Harvard.

The Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts is directed by Leonard Barkan, the Arthur W. Marks '19 Professor of Comparative Literature, and includes Princeton faculty members as faculty fellows. The Cotsen and faculty fellows meet regularly in the Joseph Henry House for informal and formal discussion, seminars and lectures. The full complement of 12 postdoctoral fellows is drawn from a range of disciplines in the humanities, related social sciences and natural sciences.

The Cotsen Fellows for 2003-06 were selected from a pool of more than 700 applicants in 19 disciplines. They teach half-time in their academic department or the Humanities Council and pursue their own research. They are:

Sunil Agnani, who recently received his Ph.D. in English literature from Columbia. His dissertation was titled "Enlightenment Universalism and Colonial Knowledge: Edmund Burke and Denis Diderot, 1770-1800." At Princeton, he will pursue a research project on "Colonial Resentment: A Genealogy." He will be teaching a course this year on "Romanticism and the Age of Revolution" in the English department and a freshman seminar on "Literature in the Age of Empire and Decolonization."

Christopher Bush, who holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of California-Los Angeles. He recently taught as a visiting assistant professor at Indiana University. His dissertation was titled "Ideographies: Figures of China and Japan in Modern French Literature." While at Princeton, he will continue his research on East Asian art and literature in European and American Modernism. His teaching will include a comparative literature course on "Modernism, Orientalism and East Asia." In the spring, he will join the faculty team teaching the interdisciplinary course in humanistic studies, "From the Renaissance to the Modern Period: Literature and the Arts."

Sujatha Fernandes, who received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. She is designated as a Wilson-Cotsen Fellow in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and in the Department of Politics. Her dissertation was titled "Reinventing the Revolution: Artistic Public Spheres and the State in Contemporary Cuba." Her further research will focus on "Mobilized Publics, Populist Politics and Marginality in Latin America." She will be teaching a course in public policy in the Wilson School, "Art, Resistance and Power," as well as a course in the politics department, "Politics and Society in the Caribbean."

Douglas Finkbeiner, who received his Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley. He is designated as a Russell-Cotsen Fellow in Astrophysics. His thesis focused on the absorption, emission and scattering of light by interstellar dust. At Princeton, he is investigating microwave emission from spinning interstellar dust. He is a member of the faculty team teaching "The Search for Planets" this fall in the astrophysical sciences department.

Anne-Maria Makhulu, who earned her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Chicago. She wrote her dissertation on "Dismantling Homes, Dismantling Apartheid: The Politics and Practice of Squatting in Cape Town" and will pursue research on witchcraft politics in the "new" South Africa. She is teaching a course at Princeton this fall on "Witchcraft in Africa" in the Program in African Studies and the anthropology department, and in the spring a course on "The Post-Apartheid City" in anthropology.


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