May 25, 1995
Vol. 14, No. 18

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    Five on faculty elected to American Academy

    120 University faculty members now fellows of academy Five University faculty members -- anthropologists Jean Comaroff and John Comaroff, political scientist David Laitin, writer Richard Stern and astrophysicist James Truran -- have been elected fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. They are among 120 University faculty members who are current members of the academy.

    Jean Comaroff, Professor in Anthropology, is an expert on the impact of colonization on native peoples in South Africa. She and her husband, John Comaroff, are co-authors of Of Revelation and Revolution: Christianity and Colonialism in South Africa (1991), which won the Laing Prize from the Press in 1994, and Ethnography and the Historical Imagination: Selected Essays (1992). She is also the author of Body of Power, Spirit of Resistance: The Culture and History of a South African People, published by the Press in 1985.

    She received her B.A. in 1966 from the University of Cape Town and her Ph.D. in 1974 from the London School of Economics. She has been a University faculty member since 1978.

    John Comaroff, Professor in Anthropology, has, with his wife, conducted extensive fieldwork in South Africa and Botswana. In addition to co-writing their joint book, Of Revelation and Revolution, he is the author of The Structure of Agricultural Transformation in Barolong (1977) and The Tswana (1991).

    He received his B.A. in 1966 from the University of Cape Town and his Ph.D. in 1973 from the London School of Economics. A Chicago faculty member since 1978, he was Chairman of Anthropology from 1991 to 1994.

    The Comaroffs, who are on leave of absence from the University, are currently in England working on their next book, the second volume of Of Revelation and Revolution.

    Laitin, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor in Political Science, is an expert on the impact of language and religion on politics. The recent recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, Laitin is currently studying reformation of national identity among the Russian diaspora in the republics of the former Soviet Union.

    He has conducted extensive fieldwork in Estonia, Nigeria, Somalia and Spain and is the author of several books, including two published by the Press, Politics, Language and Thought: The Somali Experience (1977) and Hegemony and Culture: The Politics of Religious Change Among the Yoruba (1986). His most recent book is Language Repertoires and State Construction in Africa (1992).

    Laitin received his B.A. in 1967 from Swarthmore and his M.A. in 1968 and his Ph.D. in 1974 from Berkeley. He has been a University faculty member since 1987.

    Stern, the Helen A. Regenstein Professor in English Language & Literature, has published nearly 20 volumes of fiction and nonfiction. He has received numerous awards for his work, including a Longwood Foundation Award for his stories, a National Humanities Award for his criticism and Guggenheim and Rockefeller fellowships.

    His novels include A Father's Words (1986), Natural Shocks (1978), In Any Case (1962), which was nominated for the National Book Award, and Golk (1960), which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. In 1985 he received the Medal of Merit for novels, a prize awarded every six years to a novelist by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Other Medal of Merit recipients have included Ernest Hemingway and Nelson Algren.

    Stern received his B.A. in 1947 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, his M.A. in 1950 from Harvard and his Ph.D. in 1954 from the University of Iowa. A University faculty member since 1955, he also has been a visiting professor at universities around the world.

    Truran, Professor in Astronomy & Astrophysics, focuses his research on theoretical astrophysics. His research has made significant contributions to our understanding of nucleosynthesis -- the creation of chemical elements in the stars -- as well as of the nature of stellar explosions and the evolution of galaxies.

    He is the author of more than 250 scientific research papers as well as co-author of a forthcoming textbook in nuclear astrophysics, The Nuclear Evolution of the Universe. The recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship in 1979 and a Humboldt fellowship in 1986, he also is a fellow of the American Physical Society.

    Truran received his B.A. from Cornell in 1961 and his M.S. in 1963 and his Ph.D. in 1965 from Yale. He taught at Yeshiva University in New York and at the University of Illinois before coming to Chicago in 1991.

    The American Academy of Arts and Sciences was founded in 1780 by John Adams and other leaders of the young American republic, who chartered the learned society "to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity and happiness of a free, independent and virtuous people." Today the academy includes more than 3,800 fellows and foreign honorary members from a broad range of geographic, professional and cultural backgrounds. Among its fellows are 156 Nobel laureates and 61 Pulitzer Prize winners.