Home > News & Publications > Announcements > 2009 Distinguished Achievement Award Recipients Named

2009 Distinguished Achievement Award Recipients Named

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has named three scholars for this year’s Distinguished Achievement Awards. Intended to underscore the decisive contributions the humanities make to the nation’s intellectual life, the awards, amounting to as much as $1.5 million each, honor scholars who have made significant contributions to humanistic inquiry.

The Board of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has approved the selection of this year’s recipients of the Distinguished Achievement Award.  The awards are intended to underscore the decisive contributions the humanities make to the nation’s intellectual life.  Amounting to as much as $1.5 million each, the awards honor scholars who have made significant contributions to humanistic inquiry and enable them to teach and do research under especially favorable conditions while enlarging opportunities for scholarship and teaching at the academic institutions with which they are affiliated.

In contrast to other notable awards that benefit individual recipients exclusively, the Distinguished Achievement Awards are designed to recognize the interdependence of scholars and their institutions.  Accordingly, while these grants honor the achievements of individuals, the funds that accompany them support institutional activities that will enhance both research and teaching and permit the recipients to deepen and extend their own scholarship.

Three scholars were selected this year:

Joseph Leo Koerner, the Victor S. Thomas Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University.  Professor Koerner is an art historian specializing in German painting of the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Romantic period within the wider frame of European cultural history.

Jonathan Lear, the John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor, Committee on Social Thought, Department of Philosophy at the University of Chicago.  Lear is a philosopher and psychoanalyst who studies imagination and its connections to virtue and meaning.

Edward Muir, the Clarence L. Ver Steeg Professor in the Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University.  Muir is a leading historian of early modern Italy who introduced social scientific perspectives into the study of Renaissance history.

The Mellon Foundation has conferred Distinguished Achievement Awards every year since 2001.  Previous recipients have been: 

2001:  Peter Brown, Philip and Beulah Rollins Professor of History at Princeton University; Stephen Greenblatt, John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University; Sabine MacCormack, then at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, currently Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C, College of Arts and Letters Professor of History and Classics at the University of Notre Dame; Alexander Nehamas, Edmund N. Carpenter II Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literature at Princeton University; and Robert Pippin, Raymond W. and Martha Hilpert Gruner Distinguished Service Professor, Committee on Social Thought, Department of Philosophy, and the College at the University of Chicago. 

2002:  Michael Cook, Cleveland E. Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University; Sheila Fitzpatrick, Bernadotte E. Schmitt Distinguished Service Professor in Modern Russian History at the University of Chicago; Michael McCormick, Francis Goelet Professor of Medieval History at Harvard University; Jerome McGann, John Stewart Bryan Professor of English at the University of Virginia; and Susan Wolf, Edna J. Koury Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

2003:  Roger S. Bagnall, Professor of Classics and History at Columbia University; Robert B. Brandom, Distinguished Service Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh; Anthony Grafton, Henry Putnam University Professor of History at Princeton University; and Christopher Ricks, Warren Professor of the Humanities at Boston University. 

2004:  John Dower, Ford International Professor of History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Michael Fried, James R. Herbert Boone Professor of Humanities and Professor of the History of Art at the Johns Hopkins University; Philip Gossett, Robert W. Reneker Distinguished Service Professor of Music at the University of Chicago; and Christine Korsgaard, Arthur Kingsley Porter Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University.

2005:  Timothy J. Clark, George C. and Helen N. Pardee Chair and Professor of Modern Art at the University of California at Berkeley; Thomas Nagel, University Professor at New York University; Stephen Owen, James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University; and Joseph Roach, Charles C. and Dorathea S. Dilley Professor of Theater and Professor of English and African American Studies at Yale University.

2006:  Ellen Rosand, Professor of Music History at Yale University; Peter Schäfer, Ronald O. Perelman Professor of Judaic Studies and Professor of Religion at Princeton University; Eric Sundquist, UCLA Foundation Professor of Literature at the University of California at Los Angeles; and Richard White, Margaret Byrne Professor of American History, Stanford University.   

2007:  Peter Brooks, Sterling Professor of Comparative Literature at Yale University; William V. Harris, William R. Shepherd Professor of History at Columbia University; and Thomas W. Laqueur, Helen Fawcett Professor of History at the University of California at Berkeley.

2008:  Judith Butler, the Maxine Elliot Professor in the departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at the University of California at Berkeley; Tom Gunning, Edwin L. and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago; Barbara Newman, Professor of English, Religion, and Classics; John Evans Professor of Latin Language and Literature; and Director of Graduate Studies at Northwestern University; and Sheldon Pollock, the William B. Ransford Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Studies at Columbia University. 

Each award is for a three year term, with funds being granted to, and overseen by, the recipients’ institutions.  Although the recipients’ uses of funds differ in each case and reflect a wide range of scholarly interests and institutional settings, in general, the awards underwrite a portion of their salaries and their research expenses, while also providing support for colleagues and students engaged in collaboration with the awardees who are expected to spend at least two of the three years on their home campuses.  Previous years’ awards are being used to bring co-workers and visiting scholars to the recipients’ institutions; to provide postdoctoral and graduate fellowships; to subsidize instruction in areas not offered by their institutions; and to support an array of scholarly projects including the preparation and editing of texts, the development of electronic scholarly tools, seminars and meetings to explore promising new directions in the relevant fields, and archeological excavations.

The award recipients are chosen through an intensive process of nomination and review.  Final selections were made by a panel of distinguished scholars led by Heinrich von Staden, Professor, School of Historical Studies, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.  The selection panel consisted also of Bernard Bailyn, Adams University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University; Elizabeth Cropper, Dean of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art; Stephen Greenblatt, John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University; and J. Paul Hunter, Barbara E. and Richard J. Franke Professor Emeritus, Department of English Language and Literature and the College at the University of Chicago, and Professor of English at the University of Virginia. 

Recipients are chosen from such fields as classics, history, history of art, musicology, philosophy, religious studies, and all areas of literary studies, including the study of foreign literatures.  Recipients of the awards must hold tenured appointments at US institutions of higher education. 

Contact: 
Martha Sullivan
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
(212) 838-8400
###

For more information about The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, see http://www.mellon.org.

Further description of the Distinguished Achievement Awards, and the Foundation’s programs for research universities and humanistic scholarship, is available here.

Terms of Use | Accessibility | Site Map
Personal tools