The University Center for Human Values is pleased to announce the award of the University Center’s 2012-13 Graduate Prize Fellowships to ten advanced graduate students who are working on interdisciplinary dissertations in the area of ethics and human values.
Yael Berda is a fifth-year graduate student in the Department of Sociology. Her dissertation examines how the legacies of British colonial administration of populations have impacted and shaped practices and policies related to citizenship and political membership in Israel, India and Cyprus following the regime change from colonial administration to struggling democracies. Formerly a practicing human rights lawyer specializing in administrative, military, and international law, Yael is interested in the ways institutions and organizations shape the life of the state through their mundane routines, forms, and files. She holds an LLB from Hebrew University in Jerusalem and an M.A is sociology & anthropology from Tel Aviv University. Her book, a pioneering study on the bureaucracy of the military occupation in the West Bank, is forthcoming in June 2012.
Joseph Clair is a fourth-year graduate student in the Department of Religion. His dissertation examines the practical, social, and political ethics found in the letters and sermons of Augustine of Hippo. The project also explores the relevance of Augustine's ethical framework for thinking about the contemporary relationship of religion and public life. Joseph's broader research interests include Christian thought, religious and philosophical ethics, political theory, ancient philosophy, and environmental ethics. He received a B.A. in philosophy from Wheaton College, an M.T.S. from Duke Divinity School, an M.A. in philosophy from Fordham University, and an M.Phil in philosophy of religion from the University of Cambridge as a Gates Cambridge Scholar.
Henry Cowles is a fifth-year graduate student in the Department of History. His dissertation treats debates about scientific methodology in the decades around 1900 as debates about the meaning of science itself. He shows that, as philosophers and psychologists like Charles Peirce and William James argued about the methods of science, they revealed shifting assumptions about the nature and value of knowledge in general. By both historicizing and drawing upon work across philosophy and the social sciences, the project also has implications for the range and scope of current historical practice. Henry has an A.B. from Harvard University.
Anthony Cross is a fifth-year graduate student in the Department of Philosophy. His dissertation explores the nature and value of meaningful personal relationships with works of art. He defends the centrality of such relationships to one’s aesthetic life and furthermore argues that such relationships—like other relationships of partiality to one’s friends, causes, and ideals—may often come into conflict with considerations of impartial value. In addition to his work in the philosophy of art, Anthony is interested generally in aesthetics, ethics, and the intersection between the two. He has a B.A. in philosophy from Duke University.
Sarit Kattan Gribetz is a sixth-year graduate student in the Department of Religion. She is interested in the ways in which ancient communities within the Roman Empire regulated their time and invested time with meaning through daily practices, prayer cycles, calendars, astronomical observations and calculations, and other time-keeping mechanisms. Her dissertation examines conceptions of time and rhythms of daily life in ancient Jewish society, with a particular focus the synchronization of Jewish time with Greco-Roman, Christian, and Sasanian time. She has an A.B. in religion from Princeton, studied Talmud and archaeology at the Hebrew University as a Fulbright Fellow, and spent a year as a visiting instructor at the University of Toronto.
Eden Lin is a fifth-year graduate student in the Department of Philosophy. He argues in his dissertation that our negative emotions typically owe much of their intensity and duration to certain types of mental action that we habitually perform while we are experiencing them, and that we can therefore exercise a great deal of control over our negative emotions. He also explores the implications of this view for ethical topics such as blame and forgiveness, responsibility for emotions, and the moral wrongness of hurting people’s feelings. Lin’s dissertation engages with recent psychological research on emotion and emotion regulation, and it has implications for philosophy of action, philosophy of mind, and ethics. His other research interests include well-being and normative reasons. He has a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.Phil. from Magdalen College, Oxford.
Matt McCoy is a fourth-year graduate student in the Department of Politics. His dissertation examines the implications of citizen ignorance, irrationality, and delusion for both the theory and practice of democracy. He argues that a modest, empirically grounded successor to the Marxist theory of ideology should guide our analysis of and response to these challenges. Matt has wide-ranging interests in political and social theory with a particular interest in problems arising at the intersection of knowledge and politics. Before coming to Princeton, he worked as a health policy analyst in Washington, DC. He has a B.A. in English and politics from the University of San Francisco and an M.Sc. in political theory from the London School of Economics.
Christopher Ro is a fifth-year graduate student in the Department of Politics. His dissertation aims to reconstruct the conceptions of alienation found in the works of Hegel and Marx, paying special attention to the social theories and normative principles on which their conceptions depend. The dissertation identifies the central problem of alienation as the domination of individuals by self-made forces and examines the relevance of this idea for contemporary theorizing about politics. Ro’s broader research interests include nineteenth and twentieth century European political and social thought and contemporary topics in egalitarianism, nationalism, and multiculturalism. He received a B.A. in political science from Columbia University.
Avani Mehta Sood is a fifth-year graduate student in the Department of Psychology. She conducts empirical research on the interplay between social psychology and the law, focusing on questions relating to punishment, morality, and torture-interrogation. Her dissertation examines the effects and implications of motivated reasoning in legal decision-making. Before coming to Princeton, Avani practiced law as a litigation associate at Debevoise & Plimpton, clerked for Judge Kimba Wood in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and worked as a Bernstein Fellow on international human rights law projects in India and Kenya. Avani has a B.A. in psychology from Princeton University and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
Kelly Swartz is a fourth-year graduate student in the Department of English. Her dissertation explores the close relationship between the moral maxim, prose satire, and fictional narrative in British and American literature of the long eighteenth century. Particularly interested in literary works that aim to be both instructive and entertaining, both cruel and kind, this project examines how eighteenth-century writers used and expanded traditional forms such as the maxim to test the compatibility of creative liberty with an ethical life. She has a B.A. from Dartmouth College and an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of California, Irvine.