The University Center for Human Values' Graduate Prize Fellows for 2021-22

Thursday, Apr 29, 2021

Colin Bradley is a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Philosophy. His research explores the role that private moral convictions should play in public institutions. His dissertation argues that public institutions, including but not limited to the state and the law, are necessary in order to develop the content of our moral obligations to one another, and that this provides a useful way of conceptualizing the duties and responsibilities of the state and of citizens. He is particularly interested in the liberties associated in the US with the First Amendment—freedoms of conscience, speech, and protest—and how these can enable ordinary people to shape the content of public morality. Colin also has extensive interests in Kant’s practical philosophy and its legacy in the liberal and socialist traditions, and has written on the law governing the democratic process in the US and its relation to the First Amendment. He has held research fellowships from the Research Center for Analytic German Idealism at the University of Leipzig, the Legal Priorities Project, and the Center for Global Constitutionalism at the Berlin Social Science Center. He holds a JD from NYU School of Law where he was a Furman Academic Scholar, and a BA from the University of Chicago.  

Casey Eilbert is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History. She specializes in the modern United States, with interests in work, political culture, and the history of ideas. Her dissertation explores the evolution of “bureaucracy” as a concept in modern U.S. history. Looking to both the private and public sectors, it considers how discourses about bureaucracy invoked questions about work, merit, and justice and were crucial in debates about the size and structure of government and corporations. Before coming to Princeton, Casey received her B.A. in Political & Social Thought from the University of Virginia.

Thalia Gigerenzer is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology. Her research lies at the intersection of the anthropology of emotions, gender, Islam and the urban environment in South Asia. Her dissertation, “Coming of Age in the End Times: an Ethnnography of Muslim Women in Delhi,” examines the aspirations of a new generation of young, Muslim women at a time of intense political insecurity for Muslim communities in India today. Drawing on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Delhi, her dissertation documents how these young women strive for a life of vibrancy and variety as they seek out new experiences of work, romance and political action.  Before starting her PhD, Thalia received a BA in South Asian Studies from the University of Chicago and an MA in Social Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. Thalia is also interested in multi-media storytelling. Before coming to Princeton, she worked as a journalist and sound artist, publishing in outlets such as the New York Times, National Public Radio and BBC Radio, among others. 

Eleanor Gordon Smith is a Ph.D. candidate (G5) in the Department of Philosophy. She specializes in ethics and epistemology and issues at their intersection. Her dissertation studies the mental states involved in interpersonal respect and asks whether those states are themselves the objects of moral adjudication or demands. She has additional research projects on the cognitive mechanisms that mediate or create socio-moral powers, including the role of ‘uptake’ in speech acts like promise and consent, the moral necessity (or not) of rational enquiry, and the structure of credibility. Before arriving at Princeton she received her B.A. at the University of Sydney and worked in radio journalism. 

Hochan "Sonny" Kim is a fourth-year graduate student in the Politics department. His dissertation undertakes a conceptual and normative exploration of the idea of structural injustice, drawing on social theory, philosophy, and political theory to address two foundational questions: (1) “What exactly is structural about structural injustice?” and (2) “What exactly is unjust about structural injustice?” He also has research interests in several more applied topics spanning social, legal, and political philosophy, including: the ethical and political dilemmas surrounding artificial intelligence and algorithmic decision-making, the moral evaluation of cultural appropriation, and the moral implications of criminogenic distributive injustice for the legitimate authority of the state to punish the socioeconomically deprived. Before Princeton, Sonny received a B.A. in Political Science and in Philosophy from Brown University and a BPhil in Philosophy from the University of Oxford.

Larry Liu is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology. His interests are in political, economic and labor sociology. His main research and dissertation questions are: What are the causes and consequences of automation of work? What are the worker experiences and discourses of automation and technological change of work? Among other things, he finds that complex economic and social mechanisms, including wages, social contestation at the workplace, state power, research enterprises, social/ professional norms and demography all play a role in whether and how fast new technology can be rolled out. Social views on automation are shaped by both positive and normative considerations. The ubiquity of jobs despite automation hides the precarization of the workforce and the rise of useless jobs. This development has profound implications on alternative designs of the welfare state, e.g. universal basic income. He received his B.A. in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and his M.Sc. in comparative social policy from Lincoln College, University of Oxford.

Camilo Martinez is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Philosophy. His research combines topics in social philosophy, practical rationality, and the philosophy of normativity. His dissertation is on social norms. It aims to provide a unified answer to various philosophical questions surrounding the interdisciplinary study of such phenomena: what they are, what function they serve within human groups, how they guide behavior, and how they emerge and change. He has an additional research interest in Latin American philosophy, particularly in the use of Aristotelian ideas in 16th-century debates about the appropriate treatment of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Before coming to Princeton, Camilo earned his M.A. in philosophy from Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia.

Dan McGee is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Economics, focusing on behavioural economics and economic theory. His dissertation research focuses on how prejudiced beliefs and discriminatory behaviour can arise as the product of incentives that individuals face. These incentives tend to perpetuate prejudicial beliefs and behaviours as stable features of social environments. In this framework, race is a sociopolitical tool used to mark certain individuals for different treatment in a society by referring to certain physical and cultural traits and an ideology used to legitimize the inequalities arising from the use of this tool.  Hence, discrimination is advantage-seeking behaviour by the discriminating group, rather than an expression of random prejudices or a rational response to group differences. Likewise, prejudice and stereotypes arise as the product of deliberate motivated reasoning for both material and ideological purposes and not as the product of innocuous cognitive error, such as limited attention or memory. Finally, racial categories themselves are endogenously determined as a product of social interactions, not exogenous categories to which individuals inescapably belong.  Dan received his undergraduate degree from Queen’s University (Kingston).

Ryan Parsons is a seventh-year PhD student in the sociology and social policy program at Princeton. His work concerns social and economic mobility for families in persistently poor communities in the United States South, a region marked by a long history of population decline and structural racism. The dissertation draws on a mixture of ethnographic and archival data about a predominantly Black community in the Mississippi Delta to describe the barriers to upward mobility that pattern life there. The dissertation is part of a larger research agenda that investigates how rural and marginalized communities adapt to social change and stratification. Past work investigated how rapid urbanization has produced ethnic and spatial stratification in southwest China. Prior to enrolling at Princeton, Parsons received BAs in international studies and Chinese (summa cum laude, University of Mississippi) and an MPhil in development studies (University of Cambridge). 

Adele Watkins is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Philosophy. Her research is primarily on ancient Greek and Roman philosophy and social philosophy. Her dissertation investigates Plato's treatment of death across three texts –– Phaedo, Crito, and Apology –– with a particular interest in Plato's views of the fear of death and suicide. Adele's work in social philosophy is at the intersection of philosophy of race and social epistemology; she is interested in phenomena which engender self-doubt in people of color. Before coming to Princeton, Adele earned her B.A. in philosophy from Wellesley College, where she was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow.