Postdoctoral scholars join interdisciplinary community

Three 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, a 1950 graduate, is an interdisciplinary community that seeks to bring innovative approaches to scholarship and teaching 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.

Susan Stewart, the Annan Professor of English, has joined the society as its new director.  A former MacArthur Fellow, Stewart serves as a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The society includes Princeton faculty members who serve as faculty fellows and meet regularly with the Cotsen Fellows in the Joseph Henry House. The full complement of 14 postdoctoral fellows is drawn from disciplines in the humanities, related social sciences and natural sciences.

The Cotsen Fellows for 2010-13 were selected from more than 1,400 applicants. They teach half-time in their academic department and pursue their own research. They are:

Simon Grote, Cotsen Fellow and lecturer in history, who recently completed his Ph.D. in history at the University of California-Berkeley. His research project aims to rewrite the early history of modern aesthetic theory by situating its origins in late 17th and early 18th-century theology, moral philosophy and natural law theory. He will offer a seminar on the Enlightenment and join the faculty team teaching "Approaches to Western Culture."

Christina Halperin, PLAS-Cotsen Fellow in Latin American studies and lecturer in art and archaeology, who holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California-Riverside. Her dissertation examines late classic Maya state and household relations through the lens of their production, circulation and imagery of ceramic figurines. She will teach an art history course on Mesoamerican material culture and an anthropology course on gender and Latin America. 

Janet Vertesi, Link-Cotsen Fellow and lecturer in sociology, who received her Ph.D. in science and technology studies from Cornell University. Her dissertation analyzes the use of images to conduct scientific investigations of Mars and plan robotic operations on its surface. She will revise her dissertation for publication and pursue a second, interdisciplinary project on "the social life of spacecraft." She is teaching a course on the sociology of technology and a freshman seminar on "Science and Art."  

More information on the new fellows can be found at on the society's website.