Faculty Fellowship for Social Sciences, Humanities, and the Arts
The 2017-18 cycle is now closed:
- Previous Call for Proposals
- Selections announced in February
- Next cycle Fall 2017
This fellowship program supports Cornell faculty in the social sciences, humanities, and arts who are working in the sustainability arena. The in-residence fellowship provides faculty with teaching leave for one semester and a small research budget as well as opportunities to engage with a broad, interdisciplinary audience on and off campus.
The fellowships support fellows' research, writing, and teaching on topics related to sustainability. Fellows will engage in transdisciplinary dialogue and will be expected to reach beyond academia in their work, whether through writing for popular or nontraditional audiences or engaging in projects with external, nonacademic collaborators, including social movements, NGOs, or local communities.
Ten faculty were chosen for the 2016-2017 academic year.
Carolyn Goelzer, Performing and Media Arts
Theater artist and educator Carolyn Goelzer created a performance piece in 2013 involving 200 red geraniums grown under different conditions, such as being blessed, insulted, feather-stroked, or tattooed. During her fellowship, she will collaboratively create an original theatrical performance and installation work inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s provocative short story Rappaccini’s Daughter (1844). The project, which will travel for presentations in schools, conferences, and performance spaces, aims to spark conversation around ethical behavior, decision making, and collectively shaping our shared future.
Kim Haines-Eitzen, Near Eastern Studies / Religious Studies / Classics
As a scholar of religion in Late Antiquity, Kim Haines-Eitzen investigates the intersection between sound, desert, and religion. During her semester in residence, she plans to complete her book, A Sacred and Sonorous Desert, on how environmental sounds were essential to the survival of ancient residents of desert regions. She will collect new desert sound recordings to understand the ways in which deserts have been changed or preserved by human activity in these precarious ecosystems. She also intends to create a new Desert Religions survey course to explore the interplay of desert ecology and comparative religions.
George Hutchinson, English / American History and Culture
George Hutchinson, a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee and scholar of Harlem Renaissance literature, gave a winning speech at Cornell in 2013 on “why you need an English major on the life raft.” Having developed the first American environmental literature course at Cornell, he plans to use this fellowship to create a new comparative international environmental literature class. He will also return to Burkina Faso while writing the memoir Zeguedeguin: A Well-Digger in a Dry Season. He looks forward to bringing speakers to campus to discuss their successes in applying the arts and humanities to issues of sustainability and local environments.
Neema Kudva, City and Regional Planning
Neema Kudva will build on her ongoing work with Cornell’s Nilgiris Field Learning Center (NFLC), founded in partnership with the Keystone Foundation in Tamil Nadu, India. NFLC fosters community learning about sustainable environments and livelihoods in the Western Ghats of South India, one of the country’s poorest and most marginalized regions. Kudva’s goal is to ensure sustainable development by understanding the public policies, private interests, and collective norms that make up this complex community. She will create web-based and multimedia content detailing NFLC’s participatory conservation and local development work and collaborate globally with faculty working on similar projects to develop a conference panel and special journal issue.
Annelise Riles, Law / Anthropology
Law professor and lawyer Annelise Riles directs the Cornell Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture and specializes in comparative law as seen through the lens of culture. She plans to use her fellowship semester to study Japanese nuclear policy and interview lawyers who are framing Fukushima nuclear disaster claims for harm before courts. She will investigate how lawyers help survivors of such nuclear disasters translate losses into legal claims. Building on Fukushima experiences, she will launch a working group on environmental security and nuclear power to draft a white paper on best practices for nuclear accidents and the costs of nuclear energy.
Mildred Warner, City and Regional Planning
Mildred Warner conducts innovative research on planning topics impacting families, communities, and regions. She collaborates with local government associations to ensure that her research is relevant to policymaking. Through a recent nationwide survey, she has collected information about the sustainability actions of local governments across the United States. During her fellowship, she will analyze the survey results, compile a summary report, and develop outreach initiatives with her organizational partners. This research will illuminate the factors that lead local governments—which run the majority of U.S. communities—to adopt sustainability policies.
Adam Levine, Government
Adam Levine, who in 2015 published the book American Insecurity: Why Our Economic Fears Lead to Political Inaction, studies how American policies and politics affect citizens’ attitudes and willingness to become politically active on topics such as climate change. For example, specific ways of framing messages about the impact of climate change on personal health and food security can increase people’s concern, while simultaneously decreasing their willingness to advocate for change. During his semester in residence, he plans to test how such different frames influence attitudes and behavior. He will conduct research for three articles to form a new book on citizen engagement and climate change.
Shanjun Li, Applied Economics and Management
Shanjun Li studies the impacts of environmental and energy policies and efficient policy design to improve public policymaking, focusing on the transportation and electricity sectors in the United States and China. His recent research leverages big data to investigate the causes and consequences of China’s most pressing environmental and urban challenges, including air pollution and traffic congestion, and examine policy options. During the fellowship, he will evaluate the effectiveness of rapid and large-scale subway expansion in Beijing on reducing traffic congestion and air pollution.
Noliwe Rooks, Africana Studies / Feminist, Gender, Sexuality Studies
Interdisciplinary scholar Noliwe Rooks analyzes how race and gender both impact and reflect U.S. popular culture, social history, and political life. During her semester in residence, she will explore the raced and classed implications of food justice—a topic that ties together food sustainability, access, and dignity. She plans to travel to San Francisco, Detroit, and New York to learn from community organizations working on the topic and collaborate with our local community to identify and propose workable solutions to food access and sustainability issues, as she conducts research for a book on race, food justice, and sustainability.
Wesley Sine, Johnson Graduate School of Management
Wesley Sine studies how social movements affect the implementation of environmental legislation. During his fellowship, he will investigate why some states set more ambitious standards than others for utilities to source electricity from renewable resources and under what conditions alternative energy policies influence utilities to use renewable energy. While most studies assume that policy adoption results in policy implementation, that is not always the case, so his study will directly measure implementation. In addition, he will host an East Coast sustainability innovation “hackathon” to inspire teams of students and alumni to collaborate and create products and services that develop real solutions to sustainability problems.
The first class of Faculty in Residence included ten faculty in the 2015-2016 academic year.
Anindita Banerjee, Comparative Literature
Anindita Banerjee studies the relationship between energy development, political power, and culture. During her semester in residence, she will work on a book project exploring Russia, from the time Lenin linked electrification of the country to Communist prosperity to 100 years later, when Russian punk band Pussy Riot famously defaced Soviet political symbols with crude oil. Banerjee plans to organize a workshop to highlight the themes of energy and cultural resilience. Her goal is to make us more aware of the role of energy in the humanities, encouraging local and global ways of thinking about energy and culture. Banerjee will simultaneously create a new undergraduate course exploring these themes.
Panle Barwick, Economics
Panle Barwick will investigate China’s path toward greener growth by evaluating the country’s environmental policies over the past 25 years and providing model‐based analysis for more efficient policy design. Barwick’s passion for economics and the environment stems from her childhood. Growing up surrounded by poverty in a small city in northwestern China, she was taught never to waste, because resources are not evenly or efficiently distributed. To support her community, she plans to start a children’s library near her hometown. As a fellow in residence, Barwick will construct a large firm-level database for Cornell researchers and evaluate the effectiveness of China’s environmental policies.
Gustavo Flores-Macías, Government
Gustavo Flores-Macías is passionate about the politics of economic reform and creating public support for higher taxes to supply quality public goods. His recent book After Neoliberalism? The Left and Economic Reforms in Latin America focuses on the role that party systems play in facilitating or hindering economic transformations. The book won the Latin American Studies Association Tomassini Award in 2014. During his fellowship, Flores-Macías will develop a new course: Politics of Energy, Natural Resources, and Sustainability. The new course will teach Cornell undergraduates about how political considerations shape the implementation of solutions to sustainability problems.
Ying Hua, Design and Environmental Analysis
Ying Hua’s research focuses on human beings as a central aspect of the built environment. From 2011 to 2014, she led a research project on sustainability and resilience of the built environment in the United States, Japan, and China. The project resulted in an international network of researchers working to enhance sustainability practices and create resiliency in urban buildings to enhance environmental quality and the health of residents. During her fellowship semester, Hua will write a book on sustainable built environments featuring case studies from the U.S., Japan, and China and organize an international symposium to be held in New York City in 2016.
Gregory Poe, Applied Economics and Management
An environmental economist, Gregory Poe studies factors that affect individual and group participation in public programs. Before he entered graduate school, Poe served as a Peace Corps volunteer in northern Cameroon, working on capture fisheries. During his semester in residence, Poe will partner with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute to provide support for the government and private sector in Myanmar as this ecologically rich country plans sustainable development, embracing human needs for economic growth while maintaining biodiversity. He will also focus on water services in Ecuador and continue work with a multidisciplinary AVF team that is designing a corridor to protect the endangered Andean bear.
Jonathon Schuldt, Communication
Jonathon Schuldt’s research focuses on environmental and health communication, including message framing, health claims and food labeling, and political messages. As a fellow in residence, Schuldt will work on bridging social divisions that hinder regulatory progress on climate change. A recent survey revealed that people of color are more likely to support stricter carbon regulations, but less likely to view themselves as environmentalists. Racial, ethnic, and economic disparities may play a role in this divide, along with media and cultural messages showing environmentalists as white and affluent. Schuldt plans to partner with environmental NGOs to develop evidence-based interventions that support diversity for more effective action on climate change.
Jack Elliott, Design and Environmental Analysis
In 2014, Jack Elliott created a tree sculpture featured in the Johnson Museum of Art’s exhibition, “Beyond Earth Art,” that references the harmful effects of global warming on New York’s trees. During his Atkinson Center residency, Elliott will continue his work on public art to focus awareness on the emerald ash borer beetle, an invasive species that is driving northeastern ash trees toward extinction. He plans to supervise the removal of a large ash tree in one of Ithaca’s public parks. To draw the public into the creation of his newest sculpture, Elliott will attach tools to the tree, videotape the work, and provide a digital soapbox to collect participants’ reactions for the creation of a documentary film.
Ravi Kanbur, Applied Economics and Management
Recognized for his policy analysis and engagement in international development, Ravi Kanbur has served on the senior staff of the World Bank. He is a member of several high-profile global initiatives on environmental issues, climate change, and inequality, including the Climate Justice Dialogue and the OECD High Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic and Social Progress. As a fellow in residence, Kanbur will bring these global processes to the Atkinson Center. He will write academic papers and also shorter pieces to engage with civil society and policymakers. He plans to organize a workshop on climate justice, which will analyze the distributional implications of climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Victor Seow, History
Victor Seow studies the history of energy, science and technology, and the environment in China. During his semester in residence, he will complete his first book, Carbon Technocracy: East Asian Energy Regimes and the Industrial Modern, 1900–1957. Seow’s book argues that fossil fuels played a significant role in East Asia’s modern transformation, powering mass industrial manufacturing and urban expansion and underwriting the emergence of Chinese and Japanese political power. Seow also plans to collaborate with colleagues to develop an undergraduate course on energy and its meaning and importance as a necessity of modern life.
Lindy Williams, Development Sociology
Lindy Williams plans to study awareness about climate change and environmental hazard in the Philippines, working in several coastal communities to assess current attitudes toward risk and potential adaptive strategies. The Philippines regularly experiences severe storms, including a typhoon that devastated the city of Tacloban in 2013. Many of these weather events result in flooding, property damage, and loss of life. During her fellowship, Williams will work with colleagues at the University of the Philippines (UP) to develop a pilot research project on risk awareness. The team hopes to create a short course series on population and the environment at UP; Williams eventually hopes to develop a related course for Cornell.