The University Center for Human Values is pleased to announce the award of the Laurance S. Rockefeller 2020-21 Graduate Prize Fellowships to twelve advanced graduate students who are working on interdisciplinary dissertations in the area of ethics and human values.
Min Tae Cha is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of History. As a historian of the nineteenth-century British Empire and U.S.A., he is primarily interested in the global histories of law and religion: especially in the competing and complementing norm-generating powers of both spheres, and the relative autonomy (or lack thereof) of one from the other. His dissertation, provisionally entitled “Presbyterian Visions of Global Order: Religious Networks, Constitutionalism, and Empire, c.1830-c.1880”, shows that Presbyterian ecclesiology influenced developments in “secular liberal” constitutional movements and in case law. Through the medium of sectarian periodical publications, developments in Britain, the settlement colonies, and the USA influenced each other and took on a global significance. Before entering Princeton, Cha received B.A.(cum laude) and M.A. degrees in history at Yonsei University.
Théophile Deslauriers is a 4th year graduate student in the Politics department. His dissertation examines the use of the concept of civilization in 19th century Britain to elaborate theories of autonomy, equality, representation and free speech. The British Empire raised questions about the nature and value of these concepts that had a profound impact on political debates among Victorians. Because of this, some of the most important issues in Victorian political theory are best understood as the working out of ideas that the Victorians thought were relevant both domestically and in the empire. In some cases, grappling with these concepts across the different political contexts of imperial and metropolitan Britain corroded liberal commitments to them; in other cases, it reinforced such commitments. The same was true for more conservative and radical thinkers. Other research interests include debates about freedom of commerce in Early Modern Europe and contemporary issues regarding the status of children in politics, including a project on the case for enfranchising children and a project on the relationship between political equality and social equality in the case of children. Before coming to Princeton, Deslauriers received a B.A. in Political Science from McGill University.
Samuel Fullhart is a fourth-year student in the Department of Philosophy. He’s interested in a range of issues in ethics, metaethics, rationality, and epistemology. His dissertation focuses on issues in ethics and diachronic rationality related to collective action. The central claim of this project is that, with respect to both of these normative domains, there can be a “disharmony” between an individual and a collective level of evaluation. It is sometimes the case that if each of us does what is morally best, we collectively perform a set of actions that is worse than at least one other set of actions we could have performed. Similarly, even if some sequence of actions A is better than an alternative B, and you are able to perform either sequence, it can turn out that at each choice point, you ought to act so as to perform B. The dissertation will explore how these situations can arise in various contexts. One current project draws on empirical research to argue that we can often know, e.g. that our purchases of factory farmed meat won’t make any difference to animal suffering, and considers the implications of this fact for a decision-theoretic approach to individuals’ moral obligations in collective action cases.
Peter Giraudo is a fourth year graduate student in the Department of Politics. His dissertation examines debates over the nature of worker participation in nineteenth and twentieth-century German political thought in order to shed light on the normative aims of the German approach to corporate governance. It shows that while nineteenth-century justifications for worker participation relied on the concepts of state-aid or self-help, twentieth-century defenses had to more explicitly respond to the free-market critique that workers lacked the capacities for self-management in the firm. The dissertation also seeks to demonstrate how different perspectives on the desirability of worker participation influenced thinkers’ conceptions of democracy. Peter’s other research focuses on the status of political parties in contemporary and historical democratic theory. Before coming to Princeton, Peter received his B.A. in history from Columbia University.
Joy Shim is a fifth-year graduate student in the Department of Philosophy. She works primarily at the intersection of philosophy of mind and social philosophy, with serious side interests in aesthetics, philosophy of language, and moral psychology. Her dissertation explores the representational nature of perspectives, especially as they apply to groups. Before coming to Princeton, she received her bachelors degree in philosophy from the University of Toronto.
Elizabeth Durham is a sixth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology. Her academic interests include but are not limited to the social life of medicine, the politics of responsibility, affective and material agencies, and the ethics of social science research and collaboration in clinical and humanitarian settings. Her dissertation, “The Post-Asylum Good Life: Keeping Time with Psychiatry, Pentecostalism, and Political Violence in Cameroon,” examines how psychiatric patients in Yaoundé learn to relate the management of time to the pursuit of mental health, and to navigate upon discharge competing frameworks of time and wellbeing in clinical, religious, and political venues across the city. Before coming to Princeton, she received an M.Phil. in Anthropology from the University of Oxford and a B.A. in Sociology/Anthropology and French/Francophone Studies from Carleton College.
Gabrielle Girard is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of History, focusing on modern Latin America. She is interested in the recent history of Argentina and the global history of human rights, particularly during the 1980s and 1990s. Her dissertation, tentatively titled “Modeling Democracy: The Global History of an Argentine Human Rights Experiment, 1978-1996,” explores how Argentina contributed to a conceptual and methodological transformation of global human rights activism. This project traces how newly democratic Argentina pioneered the idea of the truth commission, which it paired with the world’s first major domestic human rights prosecution. It examines how Argentina’s innovations captured the imagination of foreign human rights advocates, who repackaged and then circulated Argentina’s example to new democracies around the world. Before coming to Princeton, Gabrielle graduated with a B.A. in History and Spanish from Cornell.
Madeline McMahon is a sixth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of History and a historian of early modern Europe, focusing on how radical religious change intersected with the history of ideas. Her dissertation, Shepherding a Church in Crisis: Religious Life, Governance, and Knowledge in Early Modern Italy, traces the history of an idea, episcopacy, as it was lived out and embodied by Italian bishops who sought out new strategies and information to reconcile competing historical, legal, and liturgical traditions. In reconstructing this history, her project tells the intertwined stories of how bishops worked to direct human behavior and belief and of how they strove to make sense of their position. Before beginning the PhD at Princeton, Madeline received her MPhil (Early Modern History) from the University of Cambridge. More recently, she was an exchange scholar at Harvard and a Fulbright doctoral grantee to Italy.
Jade Ngo is a fourth-year graduate student in the Department of Politics, specializing in political theory. Her main research interests include contemporary political thought, black political thought, feminist theory, identity politics, and theories of individual and collective self-determination. Jade’s dissertation, “Structural Injustice and the Duty of the Oppressed,” seeks to answer the question of what role the oppressed play in eliminating structural injustice. It argues that victims of structural injustice have a duty to resist this injustice by virtue of both their participation in social structures and their status as victims of those very structures. Jade’s other ongoing project explores the political thought of Ida B. Wells and the role of anti-black violence in enforcing the American racial contract. Prior to coming to Princeton, Jade completed a B.A. in International Relations and German Studies at Mount Holyoke College.
Jordan Starck enrolled as a graduate student in Princeton’s Psychology department in 2016. In pursuit of his joint PhD in Psychology & Social Policy, he is currently working to complete his dissertation, titled Perpetuating Inequality in Pursuit of Diversity. His dissertation work experimentally contrasts how effective moral and instrumental approaches to diversity are for bringing about racially equitable outcomes within organizations. More broadly, Jordan studies race, bias, and interventions for social change, often within the context of education. Before arriving at Princeton, he received his BS in Psychology and Professional Educator’s License from Davidson College, after which he spent four years as a K-12 educator where he taught a variety of social studies courses and directed mentoring programs. He also consulted with other educators, officers, and non-profits on topics related to bias and conducted research to help improve programs targeted at empowering underrepresented groups.
Tara Suri is a PhD candidate studying modern South Asia in the Department of History and a certificate student in Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her dissertation examines the politics of rhesus monkey export from South Asia over the twentieth century. By tracing the making of the macaque into a biomedical commodity deemed essential for modeling human bodily capacities, the project considers the postcolonial remaking of human/non-human borders. The project draws together her interests in histories of decolonization and the Cold War, sociolegal studies, and feminist, queer, and postcolonial science and technology studies. Tara received an AB in Social Studies from Harvard College and an MPhil in Multi-Disciplinary Gender Studies from the University of Cambridge, where she was a Gates Cambridge Scholar. Before coming to Princeton, she worked at the Saida Waheed Gender Initiative at the Lahore University of Management Sciences.
Claudia Yau is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Philosophy and a member of the Program in Classical Philosophy. She specializes in ancient philosophy, especially ancient ethics, politics, and epistemology. Her dissertation is on wisdom (sophia) in Plato and Aristotle: what wisdom is, its importance to their broader ethical, political, and epistemological commitments, and how it connects to related concepts like knowledge, virtue, expertise, and political rule. She has additional research projects on Sextus Empiricus’s Modes of Suspension of Judgment in Outlines of Pyrrhonism and Aristotle’s account of Justice in the Nicomachean Ethics. Outside of ancient philosophy, Claudia has research interests in social philosophy, especially the philosophy of race. Claudia earned her B.A. in philosophy from Wellesley College, where she was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow.