New Fellowships support diverse scholars in the humanities

Two recent College of Arts and Sciences’ doctoral graduates, Sadia Shirazi PhD ‘21 and Dexter Lee Thomas PhD ’20, have been named Emerging Voices Fellows by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). Cornell will also be hosting an ACLS post-doctoral fellow in the Department of History.

Thomas and Shirazi 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.

“Arts and Sciences 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 the College. “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 PhDs in the humanities and interpretive social sciences to take up one-year remote positions at select institutions in the ACLS Research University Consortium for the 2021-22 academic year. Thomas, whose doctoral degree is in the field of East Asian studies, will be a fellow at Princeton University, while 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, childcare 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’s postdoctoral fellow in history is Abikal Borah, who received his PhD in history from the University of Texas at 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 history department’s Public History Initiative to develop a new course on apartheid and memory and help develop public history programming.

“We are excited to have Dr. Borah 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. “The work of Stephen Vider in developing Public History at Cornell has been transformative and already left its mark in a few short years; I am delighted to see Dr. Borah as part of this growing field at Cornell.”

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