UCHV Awards the 2009-2010 Graduate Prize Fellowships

Friday, May 1, 2009


Graduate Prize Fellowships, made possible by a gift from Laurance S. Rockefeller '32, are awarded to excellent doctoral students at Princeton who are working on interdisciplinary dissertations in the area of ethics and human values.






2009-2010 Graduate Prize Fellows


Sofya Aptekar is a sixth-year graduate student in the Department of Sociology and is affiliated with the Office of Population Research and the Program in American Studies.  Her interests bridge sociology of culture and immigration studies.  Aptekar’s dissertation is an empirical examination of tensions in the social construction of nationhood at the critical juncture of citizenship acquisition by foreigners.  In it, she explores nationalist discourse and boundary construction in Canada and the United States and considers the disjunction between these and realities and motivations of immigrants themselves.  Aptekar received a B.A. in sociology from Yale University.   


Samuel Arnold is a fifth-year graduate student in the Politics Department.  His dissertation concerns justice in production.  It argues that liberal egalitarian principles of justice, properly understood, impose demanding, novel, yet feasible requirements on work’s content and context.  Arnold holds an A.B. in philosophy from Bowdoin College and an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh.


David Decosimo is a fifth-year student in the Department of Religion.  His dissertation explores Aquinas’s and al-Ghazâlî’s conceptions of the moral capacities of those outside of their respective religious communities.  He is especially interested in the potential significance of their perspectives in two respects: first, for forming inter-communal political alliances of the sort that have animated large scale democratic movements, and second, for understanding the relations between religious or philosophical commitments and living a virtuous life.  More broadly, his research interests include Christian and Islamic thought, moral philosophy, philosophy of religion, religion and politics, and theory of religion.  He holds an MA from the University of Chicago Divinity School and received his BA with distinction from the University of Virginia where he was an Echols Scholar and studied religion, literature and intellectual history.


Yiftah Elazar is a fifth-year graduate student in the Department of Politics. His current research explores the role of democratic participation in republican theories of freedom. The dissertation criticizes, on historical and normative grounds, the influential definition of freedom as the security of rights against arbitrary interference under the law. The democratic theory of freedom developed by the radical philosopher Richard Price in his defense of the American Revolution is offered as an alternative model for contemporary political theory. Yiftah’s additional interests include theories of political change, and the philosophy of David Hume. He holds an M. A. in Politics and a B. A. in Philosophy from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Sandra Field is a fourth-year graduate student in the Department of Politics.  Her dissertation examines the theories of political power found in the work of early modern philosophers Thomas Hobbes and Benedict de Spinoza.  She argues that for both thinkers, political power is essentially constituted neither from brute force nor from rightful entitlement; but rather from the actual beliefs of political subjects, however unreasonable they may be.  She intends to demonstrate that Spinoza’s more thoroughgoing treatment of the problem of rationality forces him to abandon Hobbesian political absolutism.  Sandra received an M.A. and a B.A. (Hons) from the University of New South Wales, and a Bachelor of Liberal Studies from the University of Sydney.


Corinne Gartner is a fifth-year graduate student in the Department of Philosophy and a member of the Program in Classical Philosophy.  Her research interests are in ancient ethics and moral psychology.  Her dissertation, which takes into account claims Aristotle makes about friendship in the Nicomachean Ethics and the Magna Moralia, looks closely at Aristotle’s conception of friendship in the Eudemian Ethics, a text that scholars have long neglected.  It examines Aristotle’s idea that friendship is a necessary part of human flourishing and argues that, in the Eudemian Ethics, Aristotle may view the end of human living as a shared end.  Gartner holds a B.A. in philosophy and an M.A. in classical philosophy from Stanford University.


Javier Hidalgo is a fourth-year graduate student in the Department of Politics and the Program in Political Philosophy. His dissertation is on the ethics of climate change, particularly on the question of how to allocate responsibility for mitigating climate change. His other research focuses on justice in immigration. Hidalgo received a B.A. from Reed College in Political Science and Philosophy.


Benjamin McKean is a sixth-year graduate student in the Department of Politics. His dissertation seeks to understand what the obligation to achieve global justice means for individuals. In doing so, it also explores the limits of an exclusively institutional approach to political theory and draws attention to some tensions within egalitarian liberalism. His other research projects include work on questions of theory and practice, the role of habit in politics, and the relationship between aesthetics and power. He received his B.A. summa cum laude in Social Studies from Harvard University.


Eve Morisi is a fifth-year graduate student in the department of French and Italian. She is interested in the literary representations of violence and alienation, and in the relationships between poetics, ethics, and politics. Her dissertation, “Literature In Extremis,” is an attempt to examine how literature acts in the face of Western society’s most violent legal practice: capital punishment. Morisi received a licence in American civilization and a maîtrise in American literature from Paris VII University. She holds an M.A. in French and Romance philology from Columbia University.


Geneviève Rousselière is a fourth-year graduate student in the department of Politics. Her dissertation “Labor, Freedom and Politics” investigates competing definitions of freedom in early 19th century Europe, juxtaposing them to labor-related issues in order to delineate their features and limits. Through a historical approach, she hopes to provide new ways of thinking occupational freedom and freedom in the workplace. Other interests include democratic theory, liberalism and its critiques (particularly on neutrality and public reason) and distributive justice. She is an alumni of the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris) and holds a B.A. and a M.A. (summa cum laude) in philosophy from Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne.


Julianne Werlin is a fourth-year graduate student in the Department of English.  Her research focuses on the relationship between narrative, causality, and counterfactual scenarios in Early Modern utopian literature.  Her dissertation considers utopianism and natural law as two techniques used by Early Modern authors in an attempt to discover the fundamental rules governing social intercourse; in particular, she examines the distinctive use of fictional models in the works of Francis Bacon, James Harrington, and Margaret Cavendish.  Other interests include the ontology of fiction, the representation of contingency in literature, and Early Modern conceptions of property.  She received a B.A. in English and linguistics from The University of Chicago.


Josh Wilburn is a fifth-year graduate student in the Department of Philosophy.  His research focuses primarily on ancient theories of moral psychology, and in particular on Plato’s theory that the soul has three parts.  His dissertation is on the part of the soul that Plato calls “the spirited part” and that Plato identifies as being responsible for a diverse range of psychological and behavioral phenomena that includes anger and shame.  Wilburn’s research interests also include related topics in moral philosophy, aesthetics, and politics.  Wilburn received a B.A. in philosophy and religious studies from the University of Texas at Austin.