Fung Global Fellows to focus on global diffusion

April 3, 2014, 9:20 a.m.

Six exceptional early-career scholars from around the world will come to Princeton University in the fall to begin a year of research, writing and collaboration as the second class of Fung Global Fellows.

The Fung Global Fellows Program, administered by the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, brings together international faculty members from the social sciences and humanities around a common theme.

The theme for the 2014-15 academic year will be "Global Diffusion," an examination of how certain policies, such as minority quota systems; specific modes of social categorization, such as race in census forms; and cultural templates, such as the tradition of brides wearing white, spread to nations around the globe while others never catch on.

Andreas Wimmer, the Hughes-Rogers Professor of Sociology at Princeton, will direct the program during the coming year.

The six fellows selected for 2014-15:

  • Seva Gunitsky, an assistant professor of political science at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto in Canada;
  • Alexandra Kowalski, an assistant professor of sociology and social anthropology at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary;
  • Deepak Malghan, an assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, India;
  • Lorena Poblete, a researcher at Centro de Investigaciones Sociales del Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas/Instituto de Desarrollo Económico y Social (CIS-CONICET/IDES) in Buenos Aires, Argentina;
  • Aashish Velkar, a lecturer in economic history at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom; and
  • Fabio Wasserfallen, an assistant professor of political economy at the Salzburg Center of European Union Studies in Salzburg, Austria.

The fellows are a "great group of very talented post-Ph.D. scholars from around the world," Wimmer said. "Half of them are historically, qualitatively minded scholars, and half of them are more oriented toward quantitative social science work. I hope there will be some good and lasting moments of intellectual cross-fertilization and excitement."

The program is funded by a portion of a $10 million gift from Princeton alumnus and trustee William Fung of Hong Kong that is designed to substantially increase the University's engagement with scholars around the world and inspire ideas that transcend borders.

The first group of fellows, which is completing its work this spring, came together around the theme of "Languages and Authority" — an examination of how languages interact with political, social, economic and cultural authority.

The following is more information on the newly appointed Fung fellows:

Gunitsky received a Ph.D. from Columbia University. His research focuses on the external determinants of domestic reforms, particularly the effects of hegemonic transitions and the global diffusion of political institutions. He is currently completing his first book, "Democracy and the Decline of Great Powers," which examines the causes of democratic waves in the 20th century.

Kowalski received a Ph.D. from New York University. Her work deals with the modern history of cultural institutions and cultural policy, with a focus on museums, heritage and historic preservation, cultural and international relations, state history and theory, knowledge and experts, nations and nationalism, and social theory. At Princeton, she will begin a project that maps the progressive organization of historic preservation across Europe and America between the Enlightenment and World War I.

Malghan received a Ph.D. in ecological economics from the University of Maryland-College Park. His primary interest is in theoretical models of the economy-ecosystem interaction problem. He is completing a book manuscript that develops a framework for empirical measurement of scale — the physical size of the economy relative to the ecosystem that contains and sustains it. His current project, "Citius, Altius, Fortius: A History of How the World Became Efficient," examines the global diffusion of material and sociological objects associated with the idea of efficiency.

Poblete received a Ph.D. in sociology from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. Her research focuses on labor regulations, labor policies, social protections, social stratification and comparative studies. Her current project, "Between Global Trends and Local Versions: Policies of Self-Employment Promotion in the U.S., Argentina and France," involves analysis of the mechanisms of public policy diffusion and the modes of policy implementation and their consequences.

Velkar received a Ph.D. in economic history from the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research interests include modern British economic history, historical institutions and institutional change, historical metrology, standards and standardization, and the history of technology. His current project, "Inching Toward the Meter," studies the global diffusion of metric measures.

Wasserfallen received a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Zurich. His research interests include policy diffusion processes, European integration and fiscal federalism. His current work focuses on the diffusion of unconventional monetary policy.