Five distinguished Yale faculty members named 2019 Guggenheim Fellows

Five Yale faculty members and affiliates were among 168 scholars, artists, and writers appointed as 2019 Guggenheim Fellows. The fellows, who are appointed by the foundation on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, were chosen from a group of almost 3,000 applicants in the foundation’s 95th competition.

This year’s Yale fellows are: Joseph G. Manning, the William K. and Marilyn Milton Simpson Professor of Classics and History; John Durham Peters, the María Rosa Menocal Professor of English; Aki Sasamoto, assistant professor in sculpture at the Yale School of Art; Ann McCoy, lecturer in the graduate design division of the Yale School of Drama; and Janine di Giovanni, senior fellow at the Jackson Institute of Global Affairs.

Forty-nine scholarly disciplines and artistic fields, 75 academic institutions, 28 states and the District of Columbia, and two Canadian provinces are represented in this year’s class of fellows, who range in age from 29 to 85.

Since its establishment in 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has granted more than $360 million in fellowships to over 18,000 individuals — among whom are scores of Nobel laureates, Fields Medalists, poets laureate, members of the various national academies, and winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Turing Award, National Book Award, and other internationally recognized honors.

Joseph G. Manning

Joseph G. Manning
(Image credit: Venturi Photography Studio)

Manning is an historian of the Hellenistic world, concentrating on the rich documentation from Ptolemaic Egypt, and an economic historian of the pre-industrial world. He is co-director of Archaia, the Yale Initiative for the Study of Antiquity and the Premodern World. Manning’s most recent book, “The Open Sea: The Economic Life of the Ancient Mediterranean World from the Iron Age to the Rise of Rome,” highlights the progress that has been made in recent years in understanding ancient economies in terms of theory and methods, and also argues that approaches to ancient economic life must integrate the environmental conditions and constraints into more dynamic treatments of change over time. Manning’s work over the last five years has been primarily dedicated to understanding the different dimensions and scales of climatic change in the pre-industrial world. He is the principal investigator of a National Science Foundation-funded project assessing volcanic impacts on Nile river hydroclimate and ancient Egyptian civilization. The focus of the project is on climate proxy records in polar ice cores and the volcanic forcing of the East African Monsoon, the source of the vital annual flood of the Nile. From this starting point the team is building a new picture of the pre-industrial world by linking ice core records, other paleoclimate proxy records, and historical data on environmental conditions and climatic change to establish the range of societal responses.

As a Guggenheim Fellow, Manning will be writing a new synthesis of history and climatic change. It takes as its starting point the fact that history matters, and that understanding the historical dimensions of climate change and human responses to various kinds of change is an important aspect of coping with the future impacts of global warming.

John Durham Peters 

John Durham Peters
John Durham Peters

Peters is a media historian and theorist whose research focuses on the question of what it means to live in a world saturated by new and old technologies of communication. His books have placed this question in long historical horizons and wide philosophical frameworks. His most recent book, “The Marvelous Clouds: Toward a Philosophy of Elemental Media,” builds a deep philosophy of technology that rethinks the challenges of the digital moment. “Promiscuous Knowledge: Image, Information, and Other Truth Games in History,” co-authored with the late Kenneth Cmiel and forthcoming in 2020, shows how troubles in managing the truth-value of pictures and facts over the last two centuries presage our so-called post-truth moment. All his work seeks to find original ways to understand how media — conceived broadly — have shaped the world we live in.

With the Guggenheim Fellowship, Peters will complete a book manuscript tentatively titled “Weather Media in the Modern World.” Weather might seem a banal topic, notes Peters, but it is actually one of the most telling domains in which modern men and women have interacted with their environment. Indeed, the idea of prosaic weather is distinctly modern, and this book shows how weather became banal, and even disastrously so in a time of climate change, through a study of five media by which moderns have experienced weather: words, pictures, numbers, sounds, and gods.

Aki Sasamoto

Aki Sasamoto

Sasamoto works in sculpture, performance, and video. She moves and talks inside her arrangements of sculpturally altered objects, activating emotions behind daily life. Sasamoto has collaborated with musicians, choreographers, mathematicians, and engineers on her works, which appear in gallery and theater spaces, as well as in odd sites. Her installation/performance works were shown at Sculpture Center, the Kitchen, Chocolate Factory Theater, Whitney Biennial 2010, Greater New York 2010 at MOMA-PS1, New York; National Museum of Art-Osaka, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Yokohama Triennale 2008, Japan; Gwangju Biennial 2012, South Korea; Shanghai Biennale 2016, China; Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016, India; and numerous other international and domestic venues.

Sasamoto has received grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the New York Community Trust, the Rema Hort Mann Foundation, and the Agency for Cultural Affairs of the Japanese Government, among others.

Ann McCoy 

Ann McCoy

McCoy is a New York-based sculptor and painter who teaches art history, the history of projection, and mythology at Yale. McCoy is known primarily for her large-scale pencil drawings, which are based on her dreams, studies in alchemy, and depth psychology. She has a background in Jungian psychology, archeology, and philosophy. She has worked on alchemical texts at the Palazzo Corsini and the Vatican Library in Rome. McCoy began sculpting in bronze at the Kansas City Art Institute at age 16, and continues to work in the medium. During her year on the Prix de Rome, she worked on large winged tubs at the Mariani Foundry in Pietrasanta. McCoy’s large-scale projection pieces have included “Conversations with Angels” at the Majdanek Museum in Poland. Her work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Australia, the Roy L. Neuberger Museum, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others. McCoy has received awards from the Asian Cultural Council, the Pollock Krasner Foundation, the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Award, the Award in the Visual Arts, the Prix de Rome, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Berliner Kunstler Program D.A.A.D., and the New Talent Award of Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She has shown work in the Venice Biennale and the Whitney Biennial.

Janine di Giovanni 

Janine di Giovanni

In 2017-2018, di Giovanni was the Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a professor of practice in human rights at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She is the author of the three-time award winning book, “The Morning They Came For Us: Dispatches from Syria,” which was described as “searing and necessary” by The New York Times, was named one of the best human rights books in 2016, and has been translated into 30 languages. Previously, di Giovanni was the Middle East editor at Newsweek reporting mainly on human rights abuses and investigating war crimes. A recent Pakis Scholar at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, di Giovanni has extensive experience focusing on international law and international security.

Di Giovanni is a leading expert analyst on the Middle East, conflict prevention, strategic communications, human rights, and global terrorism. She has investigated war crimes and reported war on four continents over the past three decades. She is the subject of two long-format documentaries, including the widely acclaimed “7 Days in Syria.” Her TED talk “What I saw in the War” has received nearly 1 million hits on YouTube. Her documentation of war crimes has resulted in seven books and her work has been used to cite atrocities in later tribunals. She is also non-resident international security fellow at the New America Foundation and an associate fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, di Giovanni has won more than 12 major awards for her extensive work in war and conflict zones and during humanitarian crises in various countries.

U.S. Senator Simon Guggenheim and his wife established the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation as a memorial to a son who died April 26, 1922. The foundation offers fellowships to further the development of scholars and artists by assisting them to engage in research in any field of knowledge and creation in any of the arts, under the freest possible conditions and irrespective of race, color, or creed.

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Media Contact

Bess Connolly: elizabeth.connolly@yale.edu, 203-432-1324