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April 5, 2007
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Five Brown Faculty Members Receive 2007 Guggenheim Fellowships

Five members of the Brown faculty have received Guggenheim Fellowships for 2007. They are among 189 scholars and artists selected from more almost 2,800 applicants for this honor.

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University]Five faculty members at Brown University have been awarded 2007 Guggenheim Fellowships, the most ever received by Brown in a single year. They are among 189 artists, scholars and scientists selected from nearly 2,800 applicants to receive awards totaling $7,600,000.

Guggenheim fellows are appointed on the basis of distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment. This year’s award recipients at Brown are Jeffrey Brock, associate professor of mathematics; Susan Harvey, professor of religious studies; Michael L. Satlow, associate professor of Judaic studies and religious studies; Robert O. Self, associate professor of history; and Michael J. Tarr, the Fox Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and professor of cognitive and linguistic sciences.

“We are extremely proud that the Guggenheim Foundation is honoring our five distinguished colleagues with one of the most prestigious fellowships available to scholars,” said Rajiv Vohra, dean of the faculty. “The Guggenheim Foundation has recognized their significant achievements in their respective fields and ensured that they will be able to continue making important contributions.”

Jeffrey Brock

Brock’s research focuses on low-dimensional geometry and topology, particularly on spaces with hyperbolic geometry (the most prevalent kind of non-Euclidean geometry). He received his undergraduate degree in mathematics at Yale University and his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California–Berkeley. He came to Brown as an associate professor following postdoctoral positions at Stanford University and the University of Chicago. He was awarded the Donald D. Harrington Faculty Fellowship to visit the University of Texas, and has had National Science Foundation support since receiving his Ph.D. In his Guggenheim project, titled “Models, Bounds, and Effective Rigidity in Hyperbolic Geometry,” Brock will explore the possibility of using a kind of “mathematical DNA” for a 3-dimensional space to relate its topological and geometric properties.

Susan Ashbrook Harvey

Harvey specializes in late antique and Byzantine Christianity and focuses primarily on Syriac studies. She is the author of Scenting Salvation: Ancient Christianity and the Olfactory Imagination, as well as Asceticism and Society in Crisis: John of Ephesus and the Lives of the Eastern Saints; co-author, with Sebastian P. Brock, of Holy Women in the Syrian Orient, and co-editor, with David G. Hunter, of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies. She has published widely on topics relating to asceticism, hagiography, women and gender, hymnography, homiletics, and piety in late antique Christianity. Harvey has received fellowships from the NEH, ACLS, the George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation, Dumbarton Oaks Research Institute, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center (Smithsonian Institute). As a Guggenheim fellow, she will work on her current book project, titled Teaching Women: Biblical Women and Women’s Choirs in Syriac Tradition.

Michael L. Satlow

Satlow specializes in early Judaism and has written extensively on issues of gender, sexuality, and marriage among Jews in antiquity, as well as on the Dead Sea scrolls, Jewish theology, methodology in religious studies, and the social history of Jews during the rabbinic period. He received his Ph.D. in ancient Judaism from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in 1993 and began teaching at Brown in 2002, after having taught in the religious studies departments at Indiana University and the University of Virginia. He is on the board of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion and is a co-editor of the Brown Judaic studies series. Satlow recently finished a book titled Creating Judaism: History, Tradition, Practice (Columbia University Press, 2006). His current research is on Jewish piety in late antiquity. During his year as Guggenheim fellow, Satlow will investigate how the Jews of late antiquity understood their relationship with God in a project titled “Jewish Piety in Late Antiquity.”

Robert O. Self

Self’s teaching and writing focus on 20th-century U.S. history. His principal research interests are in urban history, the history of race and American political culture, post-1945 U.S. society and culture, and the relationships among gender, sexuality, and citizenship. His first book, American Babylon: Race and the Struggle for Postwar Oakland, was published by Princeton University Press in 2003. It won four prizes, including the James A. Rawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians. In 2007-2008, he will be the American Council of Learned Societies Frederick Burkhardt Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University. As a Guggenheim fellow, Self will work on a project titled “The Politics of Gender and Sexuality in America from Watts to Reagan,” examining the intersection of gender, sexuality, race, and political culture in the U.S. between the Watts riot and uprising in 1965 and the election of Ronald Reagan to the presidency in 1980.

Michael J. Tarr

Tarr earned his B.A. in psychology from Cornell University and received his Ph.D. from the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He taught at Yale University for six years before coming to the Department of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences at Brown in 1995. His research focuses on how cognitive and perceptual knowledge interact; how different sensory modalities interact and are integrated; and how the primate visual system achieves invariance over changes in pose, viewpoint, and lighting. Tarr was elected a fellow of the American Psychological Society in 2006, and his numerous honors include the Troland Research Award from the National Academy of Sciences and the American Psychological Association Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology in the area of cognition and human learning. During his year as a Guggenheim fellow, Tarr will collaborate with colleagues from applied mathematics, computer science, and neuroscience to develop a more comprehensive model of visual object recognition in a project titled “Statistical Models of Structured Visual Object Recognition in Humans.”

This is the 83rd year of the Guggenheim Foundation’s United States and Canadian competition. Appointments are based on the recommendations of expert advisors and are approved by the foundation’s Board of Trustees, which includes six past fellows – Joyce Carol Oates, Joel Conarroe, Richard A. Rifkind, Charles Ryskamp, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, and Edward Hirsch.

The full list of year 2007 fellows is available at

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