Seven faculty members named Guggenheim Fellows

Seven Yale faculty members have received 2024 fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
Portraits of the Yale 2024 Guggenheim Fellows

Top row: Ned Blackhawk, Marta Figlerowicz, Ben Hagari, Elizabeth Hinton; Bottom row: Tavia Nyong’o, Doug Rogers, Travis Zadeh

Seven Yale faculty members are among the 188 artists, writers, scholars, and scientists awarded 2024 fellowships by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Ned Blackhawk, Marta Figlerowicz, Ben Hagari, Elizabeth Hinton, Tavia Nyong’o, Douglas Rogers, and Travis Zadeh were selected through a rigorous peer-reviewed process from a pool of about 3,000 applicants. Fellows are chosen for their achievements and exceptional promise.

This is the largest cohort of Yale faculty members to be named Guggenheim fellows in at least a decade.

The Guggenheim Foundation offers fellowships to exceptional individuals in pursuit of scholarship in any field of knowledge and creation of art in any form. Each fellow receives a stipend to pursue independent work at the highest level under “the freest possible conditions.”

Humanity faces some profound existential challenges,” said Edward Hirsch, president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. “The Guggenheim Fellowship is a life-changing recognition. It’s a celebrated investment into the lives and careers of distinguished artists, scholars, scientists, writers and other cultural visionaries who are meeting these challenges head-on and generating new possibilities and pathways across the broader culture as they do so.”

Six of the seven recipients are affiliated with Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS).

 “It’s a credit to the brilliance of the FAS faculty that the Guggenheim Foundation has awarded fellowships to six (yes, six!) of our FAS colleagues,” said FAS Dean Tamar Gendler, the Vincent J. Scully Professor of Philosophy, and a professor of psychology and cognitive science. “The work of this spectacular group represents a wide range of humanities and social science approaches, from the anthropological to the literary to the historical, and exemplifies the FAS’s ambition to broaden the frontiers of knowledge.”

Another recipient, Hagari, is affiliated with Yale School of Art.

Since its founding in 1925, the Foundation has awarded over $400 million in fellowships to more than 19,000 fellows. The 2024 fellows represent 52 scholarly disciplines and artistic fields and range in age from 28 to 89.

Ned Blackhawk, the Howard R. Lamar Professor of History and American Studies, and professor of ethnicity, race, and migration, is a scholar of Native American history and Native American law. He won a National Book Award for his 2023 book, “The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History” (Yale University Press), a sweeping volume that documents the central role of Native Americans in the political and cultural life of the country. Among his previous books is “Violence over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West” (2006), which received numerous professional awards. A member of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone, he is on the advisory board of the Native American Cultural Center and serves as faculty coordinator of the Yale Group for the Study of Native America and the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program.

Marta Figlerowicz, associate professor of comparative literature and English, is a theorist of literature from the 18th century to the present and of contemporary visual media. Working in more than seven languages, Figlerowicz studies how aesthetic objects depict and mediate interpersonal and trans-cultural communication. Her first two books, “Flat Protagonists” (2016) and “Spaces of Feeling” (2017), reflect on interpersonal and cross-cultural communication within the context of literary studies. A book in progress, “It Must Be Possible: Global Modernisms and the Problem of Trans-Cultural Knowledge,” offers an intellectual history of anthropology and comparative literature at the beginning of the 20th century from the perspectives of ethnically, racially, or (geo)politically marginalized modernist writers. 

Ben Hagari, a lecturer in sculpture, works collaboratively to create experimental films, video installations, video-sculptures, kinetic environments, animations, photographs, and prints. His work often employs optical illusions and “persistence of vision” (visuality after the image ceases) to understand the origins of moving images and technologies’ effects on perception. His work has been shown internationally, including solo exhibitions at Brandeis University’s Rose Art Museum, The Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and Flora Ars+Natura in Bogotá, Colombia. His films were screened at The Whitechapel Gallery, London; Ballroom Marfa, Texas; Istanbul Museum of Art; and City Gallery Wellington, New Zealand, among others.

Elizabeth Hinton, professor of history, African American studies, and law, focuses her research on the persistence of poverty, racial inequality, and urban violence in the 20th-century United States. Her first book, “From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America” (2016), examines the implementation of federal law enforcement programs, beginning in the mid-1960s, that transformed domestic social policies, expanded policing in low-income communities, and facilitated the dramatic expansion of the U.S. prison system. Her 2021 book, “America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s,” provides a new framework for understanding the problem of police abuse and the broader, systemic repression of Black people and other people of color in America following the civil rights movement.

Tavia Nyong’o, the William Lampson Professor of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, and American studies, and professor of African American studies, works on historical and contemporary approaches to Black performance. His current research, teaching, and advising focuses on the longue durée of speculation as it relates to Black lives. Nyong’o’s first book, “The Amalgamation Waltz: Race, Performance, and the Ruses of Memory,” published in 2009, won the Errol Hill award for the best book in Black theater and performance studies. His second book, “Afro-Fabulations: The Queer Drama of Black Life” (2018), won the Barnard Hewitt award for best book in theater and performance studies. He chairs the Department of Theater and Performance Studies.

Douglas Rogers, professor of anthropology, is a sociocultural anthropologist with research and teaching interests that include political and economic anthropology, natural resources and energy, corporations, and socialist societies and their post-socialist trajectories. He has conducted archival and ethnographic research in Russia since 1994, often in collaboration with scholars based in the country. His 2009 book, “The Old Faith and the Russian Land: A Historical Ethnography of Ethics in the Urals,” is a historical ethnography that charts the ebbs and flows of ethical practice in a small Russian town over three centuries. His 2015 book, “The Depths of Russia: Oil, Power, and Culture After Socialism,” offers a multifaceted analysis of oil’s place in Soviet and Russian life. Rogers chairs the Department of Anthropology.

Travis Zadeh, professor of religious studies, writes and teaches on the connected histories of science, magic, and religion, as well as on law, literature, and philosophy. His 2011 book, “Mapping Frontiers across Medieval Islam: Geography, Translation and the Abbasid Empire,” explores the diverse uses of translation, scriptural exegesis, and administrative geography in the projection of imperial power. His 2012 book, “The Vernacular Quran: Translation and the Rise of Persian Exegesis,” examines how early Arabic juridical and theological debates on the linguistic nature of revelation informed the development of Persian translations and commentaries of the Quran. His latest book, “Wonders and Rarities: The Marvelous Book that Traveled the World and Mapped the Cosmos,” examines wonder, nature, and empire by tracking the many afterlives of an Arabic compendium of natural history written in the wake of the Mongol conquests. 

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