Emory Report

September 21, 1998

 Volume 51, No. 5

New faculty awards will honor top research at Emory College

Emory College has created the Distinguished Research Award to recognize faculty "who demonstrate singular accomplishments in research," said Dean Steven Sanderson. Recipients of the inaugural awards are Associate Professor Mikhail "Michael" Epstein, Department of Russian, Eurasian and East Asian Languages and Cultures; Assistant Professor Cynthia Willett, Department of Philosophy; and Professor Bruce Knauft, Department of Anthropology.

"It's easy to overlook the exceptional people on campus when you're looking outside to recruit stellar faculty," Sanderson said. "This is a nice chance to pay attention to some of the really great people we have here."

The three-year awards consist of a salary supplement of $5,000 and a $3,000 research fund annually. Recipients can use the research funds for whatever they choose -- hiring assistants, visiting archives, buying books or attending conferences. Sanderson said he hopes to bestow additional awards this year so that grant cycles will be staggered. Recipients are chosen by a committee consisting of the college's associate dean and by recommendation of department chairs, he said.

Knauft has interests in a wide range of issues in the ethnographic study of culture and power. He is currently in Papua, New Guinea, for six months of field research on the post-colonial dynamics of social control, local aspiration and belief. Knauft has written four books, three of them examining cultures in the Pacific Rim.

The most junior of the faculty members honored, Willett was granted tenure recently. She specializes in contemporary continental philosophy, 19th and 20th century philosophy, ethics and social theory, race and gender studies, and philosophy and literature. Her most recent book is a collection of essays titled Theorizing Multiculturalism, and she is currently working on A Dialectic of Eros and Freedom. Willett also received a Faculty Development Award in 1997.

Epstein's interests lie in the theory of literature, the history of Russian literature, and philosophy and religion in contemporary Russia, among other areas. He has been a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars and was director of the Laboratory of Contemporary Culture at the Experimental Center of Creativity in Moscow. His critical works have been the focus of a number of symposia and articles.

-Stacey Jones

Return to Sept. 21, 1998, contents page