May 15, 2003 – Vol. 22 No. 16

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    Five University scholars named Guggenheim fellows for 2003

    By William Harms, Seth Sanders
    News Office

    Five University faculty members have received 2003 Guggenheim fellowships in the 79th annual U.S. and Canadian competition sponsored by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

    The five received funding based on “distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment.” The 2003 Guggenheim fellows from the University are Arnold Davidson, Professor in Philosophy and the College; James Fernandez, Professor Emeritus in Anthropology; Michael Geyer, Professor in History; John Haugeland, Professor in Philosophy and the College; and Susan Stokes, Professor in Political Science.

    The 2003 fellowship winners, announced by Guggenheim Foundation President Edward Hirsch, include 184 artists, scholars and scientists selected from more than 3,200 applicants for awards totaling $6,750,000.

    Decisions are based on recommendations from hundreds of expert advisers and are approved by the foundation’s board of trustees, which includes eight members who are past fellows of the Guggenheim Foundation––Hirsch, Joel Conarroe, Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Rifkind, Charles Ryskamp, Jean Strouse, Wendy Wasserstein and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.

    Arnold Davidson is interested in the history of philosophy and contemporary European philosophy, as well as in the relation between philosophy and other disciplines, especially theology, the history of science and literary studies.

    Davidson is co-editor of Questions of Evidence and editor of Foucault and his Interlocutors, both published by the University Press. He is co-author of La philosophie comme manière de vivre and author of The Emergence of Sexuality: Historical Epistemology and the Formation of Concepts. He is the general editor of the English language edition of Michel Foucault’s courses at the Collège de France and Executive Editor of the journal Critical Inquiry.

    Publishing regularly in French and Italian as well as in English, Davidson has recently been a visiting professor at the University of Paris and the University of Naples.

    “My project is to show that there is an authentically philosophical tradition of spiritual exercises,” said Davidson. “I want to reconstruct the tradition that takes self-transformation to be one of the principal goals of philosophy and show how certain exercises of the self have been advanced to achieve that goal. I hope to be able to show that philosophers as radically different as Michel Foucault, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Simone Weil have contributed to the contemporary renewal of this tradition and to examine how philosophical conceptions of self-transformation have interacted with theological and literary exercises of the self.”

    James Fernandez, Professor Emeritus in Anthropology, will pursue an ethnography project on the social imagination of Spain with his fellowship.

    “My wife and I have been working in Asturias (Northern Spain) for a number of years now. Half my Guggenheim year will be spent there, and half here,” he explained.

    “The award will allow us to complete a longitudinal study in which we have tracked, by various measures and continuous first-hand field work, the changing modes of production and related changes in social and cultural life from agro-pastoralism, to mining and metallurgy to post-industrialism, and now tourism.”

    The couple will compare the understanding of social life (the social imagination) of the present generation in a select group of towns with that of their grandparents’ generation studied in the early 1970s.

    Fernandez’s previous ethnography, Bwiti: An Ethnography of the Religious Imagination in Africa (1982), was a study of the religious imagination in Africa. “It was also longitudinal but did not have the advantage of directly comparing generational change over so many years,” Fernandez said. The book won the M.J. Herkovits Prize in 1983 from the African Studies Association.

    Fernandez is the author of numerous papers and recently co-edited a book on the ironic imagination in social life and conduct, Irony in Action: Anthropology, Practice and the Moral Imagination.

    Michael Geyer, a historian of Germany with a strong interest in transnational issues, has received a Guggenheim fellowship to do research for a book titled Catastrophic Nationalism: The Culture of Defeat in Modern Germany.

    He will pursue this work at the American Academy in Berlin, which has given him a concurrent fellowship. He will study a wide variety of archival records as well as artistic and literary sources, including pamphlets and films, related to World War I and World War II.

    Geyer will look at the periods of the close of the wars, from 1917 to 1923 and from 1942 to 1946, respectively, studying how and why nations end wars. “In particular,” said Geyer, “I hope to make sense of the decision in 1918 to end war without recourse to a last desperate battle and the reverse choice in the Second World War.” Although the Nazi leadership expected the final battles to turn into a collective suicide, they pursued war, and “the death-toll of the last year of the war, when all was lost for Nazi Germany, was still higher than for the entire preceding period between 1939 and mid-1944,” Geyer said.

    What compelled the leadership to fight to death, and what made soldiers and civilians do the fighting? While there are a variety of reasons for their actions, Geyer said, a closer look at the catastrophic dimensions of modern nationalism is needed. “We further have to explore,” he said, “how this figure of collective death is internalized and becomes part of the everyday cultural baggage and the economy of emotions.”

    He is currently completing a book, Processes of Globalization: The Twentieth Century in Global Perspective. Among his books are German Armaments: Policies and Politics 1860-1980, and with Konrad Jarausch, Shattered Past: Reconstructing German Histories. He also edited The Power of Intellectuals in Contemporary Germany, published by the University Press.

    John Haugeland’s main interests include the philosophy of mind (especially the problem of “intentionality” and the philosophical implications of artificial intelligence), early Heidegger, the philosophy of science, the philosophy of language, and contemporary metaphysics, focusing on the problems of objectivity, truth and materialism.

    Haugeland has written Artificial Intelligence: The Very Idea and Having Thought, has edited Mind Design and has co-edited, with James Conant, Professor in Philosophy and the College, Thomas Kuhn’s The Road Since Structure.

    “I plan to present, in a book tentatively entitled Heidegger Disclosed, a fundamentally new interpretation of what’s going on in Heidegger’s work in the Being and Time period,” Haugeland said. “In particular, I expect to be able to integrate the doctrines in the first and second halves of that treatise in a way that, so far as I know, has not previously been attempted. If all goes as hoped, that interpretation (along with other texts by Heidegger) will support some substantial hypotheses about how Being and Time itself might have concluded, had Heidegger finished it.”

    Susan Stokes, Professor in Political Science and a specialist on Latin America, will use her Guggenheim fellowship to study “political clientelism” in Argentina.

    “By ‘political clientelism,’ I mean a strategy that political parties use to get voters to support them by giving away minor handouts (bags of food, articles of clothing) in exchange for a person’s vote,” Stokes explained. “This is considered a problem in many democracies where there is a lot of poverty and economic inequality.”

    Part of Stokes’ research career has focused on how democracy works in less developed countries, as well as how it compares to democracy in advanced industrial countries.

    In her latest book, Mandates and Democracy: Neoliberalism by Surprise in Latin America (2001), Stokes examined the tendency of politicians to promise one thing on economic issues in campaigns and then pursue the opposite policies once they are in office.

    She also edited a book, titled Public Support for Economic Reforms in New Democracies (2001), which looked at public opinion in new democracies in Europe and Latin America, where governments were undertaking drastic market-oriented economic reforms. The book’s contributing authors found that in such places as Poland and Argentina, people sometimes became optimistic and supported reformist governments more when economic conditions deteriorated.

    More information and a complete list of Guggenheim winners are available at http://www.gf.org.