(Photo courtesy Division of the Social Sciences)
Accolades, news, and events
Updates from the Division of the Social Sciences.


Yale honors Holt

In October, Thomas Holt, the James Westfall Thompson Distinguished Service Professor of American and African American History, received the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Wilbur Cross Medal, the school’s highest honor. Holt, who received his PhD from Yale in 1973, specializes in US Southern political history, race relations, and the African diaspora, particularly in the Caribbean and the United States. He served as president of the American Historical Association in 1994–95, and his work has been recognized by the MacArthur Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Fletcher receives Turkish Order of Merit

Cornell Fleischer, the Kanunî Süleyman Professor of Ottoman and Modern Turkish Studies in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, History, and the College, received the Order of Merit, Turkey’s highest civilian order. During a 2014 ceremony at the Cankaya Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkish president Abdullah Gül recognized Fleischer for his published work and ongoing research on Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, the Caliph of Islam and the longest-reigning sultan of the Ottoman Empire.

Divisional news

Faculty appointments

Amanda Woodward, the William S. Gray Professor of Psychology, has been appointed deputy dean of faculty affairs for the Division of the Social Sciences for a three-year term beginning July 1. Chair of the Department of Psychology, director of the Infant Learning and Development Laboratory, and president of the Cognitive Development Society, Woodward studies infant cognition, social cognitive development, imitation, and theory of mind.

In January Jean Decety was named the Irving B. Harris Distinguished Service Professor in Psychology. A leading scholar on the social and developmental neuroscience of empathy, moral judgment, motivation for justice, and prosocial behavior, Decety directs the Brain Research Imaging Center at the University of Chicago Medicine, heads the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, and directs Child NeuroSuite. He is president of the Society for Social Neuroscience and the founding editor of the journal Social Neuroscience. In 2013 he was awarded the Jean-Louis Signoret Neuropsychology Prize by the French biomedical research organization Fondation Ipsen for his research on new understandings of empathy, affective processes, and moral decision making in children and adults.

Leora Auslander, professor of modern European social history, has been named the first Arthur and Joann Rasmussen Professor in Western Civilization. Auslander’s research and teaching interests include material culture, memory and commemorative practices, gender history and theory, and Jewish history. She has held fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study and at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, as well as visiting professorships in France and Germany. At UChicago she was the founding director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality and is a member of the Center for Jewish Studies.

Magne Mogstad has been named professor of economics, effective in July. Mogstad joined the University as an assistant professor in 2014, coming from University College London. Mogstad, who earned his PhD from the University of Oslo, studies public economics, labor economics, and applied econometrics. In February he was one of five University of Chicago faculty members awarded a $50,000 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship, which honors early-career scientists and scholars whose achievements and potential identify them as the next generation of scientific leaders.

In March Julie Chu (Anthropology) and Kristen Schilt (Sociology) were promoted to associate professor. Chu, a sociocultural anthropologist with interests in mobility and migration, economy and value, ritual life, material culture, media and technology, and state regulatory regimes, earned her PhD at New York University. Schilt’s (pictured) research interests center on sociology of gender and sexualities, the sociology of culture, and the sociology of work and occupations. She received her PhD from UCLA.

Alumni news

Nancy Kornblith Kopp, AM’68 (Political Science), received the Wellesley College Alumnae Achievement Award in February. For 27 years Kopp served in the Maryland state legislature. In 2002 she became the first woman elected state treasurer and is now in her fourth consecutive term. She is also a founder of the Women Legislators of Maryland and was inducted into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame in 2012 for her state pension and savings planning.

In January Frank Ellsworth, PhD’76 (Education), was appointed vice chair of Claremont Lincoln University’s board of directors. He previously served as president of Pitzer College (where he was also a professor of political studies), chair of the strategic planning and executive committees of the Japanese American National Museum, president of the Japan Society in New York, and interim president of Sofia University in Palo Alto, California. He serves as a trustee of the Paul Taylor Dance Foundation; trustee, vice chair, and chair elect of the Japan Society of Northern California; trustee of Give2Asia; and chair of the board of Global Partners Institute in Vancouver. His current research is on 1960s pop art in Japan and the United States.

Sara Ray Stoelinga, AB’95, AM’01, PhD’04 (Sociology), was appointed the Sara Liston Spurlock Director of the University’s Urban Education Institute in March. Stoelinga is a faculty member in the University’s Urban Teacher Education Program and also teaches courses in the College and in the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies. She is preparing to pilot an undergraduate course sequence in education for the UChicago Careers in Education Professions program. Stoelinga writes and conducts research on teacher effectiveness, urban school reform, and teacher leadership.

The documentary She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, about women who helped shape the women’s liberation movement from 1966 to 1971, features two Social Sciences alumnae. Released in November and screened across the country in theaters and film festivals, the film, directed by Mary Dore, focuses on activists such as Jo Freeman, AM’72, PhD’73 (Political Science), and Heather Booth, AB’67, AM’70 (Education), covering their contributions to the movement and catching up with them today. For more information, see the film’s website: shesbeautifulwhenshesangry.com.

In October Jose Alberro, AM’73, PhD’78 (Economics), became a senior adviser at Cornerstone Research, heading the consulting firm’s international arbitration and litigation practice. Alberro’s work focuses on oil, natural gas, energy, telecommunications, water distribution, electricity, and consumer goods. Cornerstone Research provides economic and financial analysis in all phases of commercial litigation and regulatory proceedings.

Andrew Twomey, AM’86 (Political Science), has been named ManTech International’s senior vice president and general manager of the company’s mission solutions and services group’s Army business unit. ManTech provides advanced technological services to the US government. Earlier Twomey was chief operating officer at the energy company Phycal Inc. He also worked as president of global security and engineering solutions at L-3 Communications and served in the Army, retiring as a brigadier general.

Keir Lieber, AM’96, PhD’00 (Political Science), an associate professor at Georgetown University, was one of 32 fellows named to the inaugural Andrew Carnegie Fellowship program supporting scholars in the social sciences and humanities. The fellows receive awards up to $200,000 each, enabling them to take sabbaticals and devote time to their research and writing. Lieber, who has a joint appointment in Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service and the Department of Government, researches nuclear weapons, deterrence and strategy, US foreign policy, and international relations theory.


Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles: A History of LGBTQ Life at the University of Chicago

From relationships between early female professors to the beginnings of gay liberation on campus, this exhibition examines the range of experiences lived by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students and faculty at the University. Drawing on holdings from the University archives, including those of University and Social Sciences pioneers, the exhibition displays letters, academic papers, and student newspaper articles, as well as posters, photographs, and other visual documentation. Closeted/Out runs at the Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery through June 15.

Alumni Weekend 2015 June 4–7, 2015

Friday, June 5 2–3 p.m. UnCommon Core | A Conversation with Nobelists Saieh Hall for Economics, 5757 S. University Ave. Nobelists in economics Lars Peter Hansen, James Heckman, and Robert Lucas, AB’59, PhD’64 (Economics), share insights and offer a closer look at the science of economics. 3–5 p.m. Economics Research Open House Saieh Hall for Economics, 5757 S. University Ave. Mingle with faculty and students and learn about their current research. Saturday, June 6 10–11 a.m. Generation Next Saieh Hall for Economics, 5757 S. University Ave. A panel of young faculty members give their perspectives on the future of the Chicago school of economics. 2–3 p.m. UnCommon Core | Past for Sale: New Approaches to Archaeological Looting Neubauer Collegium, 5701 S. Woodlawn Ave. A panel of scholars discuss an interdisciplinary collaboration that studies the scope of the illicit antiquities market and new strategies to combat it. 2–3 p.m. UnCommon Core | Human Capital Investment, Inequality, and Growth Saieh Hall for Economics, 5757 S. University Ave. Professor Kevin Murphy, AM’81, PhD’84 (Economics), argues for a focus on the supply side in policy proposals that mitigate earnings inequality. 3–4:30 p.m. Neubauer Collegium Building Open House Neubauer Collegium, 5701 S. Woodlawn Ave. Explore the newly renovated Meadville Lombard Theological School building, home of the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society.