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New fellowships support diverse scholars in the humanities

Two recent College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) doctoral graduates have been named Emerging Voices Fellows by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). Cornell will also be hosting an ACLS postdoctoral fellow in the Department of History.

Sadia Shirazi, Ph.D. ’21, and Dexter Lee Thomas, Ph.D. ’20, are two of 48 new fellows in the program, which “identifies and assists a vanguard of scholars whose voices, perspectives and broad visions will strengthen institutions of higher education and humanistic disciplines in the years to come,” according to an ACLS press release.

“A&S is pleased to partner with the ACLS to support a highly diverse group of emerging scholars at a critical time,” said Derk Pereboom, senior associate dean for the arts and humanities in A&S. “We are delighted that two of our own doctoral graduates will benefit from these fellowships, and look forward to engaging with an incoming fellow at Cornell.”

The Emerging Voices Fellowship program allows recent Ph.D.s in the humanities and interpretive social sciences to take on one-year remote positions for the 2021-22 academic year at select institutions in the ACLS Research University Consortium.

Thomas, whose doctoral degree is in the field of East Asian studies, will be a fellow at Princeton University. Shirazi, whose degree is in art history and visual studies, will be at Johns Hopkins University. Emerging Voices Fellows will advance their research agendas while undertaking a variety of roles including teaching, research, program development and public engagement, based on the needs of each institution.

Each fellow receives a stipend of $60,000, health insurance, a $5,000 discretionary fund to be used for research, child care or elder care costs, as well as access to ACLS professional development resources. The fellows were selected from nearly 300 scholars nominated by nearly 100 universities.

Cornell will host Abikal Borah, a postdoctoral fellow in history who received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Texas, Austin, in 2021. Borah’s research focuses on the history of racial violence in South Africa, exploring how conflict between indigenous Zulu workers and Indian migrants was shaped by white settler colonialism. This year, Borah will work with the Department of History’s Public History Initiative to develop a new course on apartheid and memory and help develop public history programming.

“We are excited to have Abikal joining the Public History Initiative at Cornell,” said Paul Fleming, the Taylor Family Director of the Society for the Humanities and L. Sanford and Jo Mills Reis Professor of Humanities in A&S. “The work of Stephen Vider in developing public history at Cornell has been transformative and has already left its mark in a few short years; I am delighted to see Abikal as part of this growing field at Cornell.”

Kathy Hovis is a writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.

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