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Harvard Profs. Named Fellows

By Barbara E. Martinez

The Guggenheim grants, some of the most prestigious awards for mid-career scholars, were announced late last week and six Harvard professors as well as several members of the greater Boston community found themselves among the recipients.

The Guggenheim grants provide Fellows with periods of time, from six to 12 months, in which they can work with as much creative freedom as possible.

Peter M. Sacks, University professor of English and American literature and language, received a fellowship for his continued work on composition and academic critique of poetry.

Sacks, who teaches English 184, "Fundamentals of Lyric Poetry and English Cpw: Poetry Workshop," has written two collections of poems Promised Lands and Natal Command.

The second "recollects some elements from the Natal province of South Africa where I'm from," Sacks said.

The fellowship will help Sacks write more poems and another book.

"I hope [the judges] saw something in the work that was valuable and worth supporting," he said. "My work as a poet challenges and nourishes my work as a teacher of poetry."

James E. Alt, professor of government and associate of Winthrop House, who received an honorary degree in 1986, received a fellowship to help him continue his research into political parties, institutions and fiscal policy.

"In my application, I outlined a proposal to develop some research I've been doing on balanced budget laws, political parties and taxing in the states," Alt said.

Alt said his interest in these topics developed from his course on the Political Economy of Public Decision.

"[The subject] is timely and people are interested." Alt said. "This is a topic at the heart of my scholarship."

Mario Biagioli, professor of the history of science, received a fellowship to continue his research into contemporary styles of authorship and economies of credit in the past 20 years.

"The topic of authorship in science has quite a lot of relevance today, especially because of the issue of fraud in science," Biagioli said.

He said that the large number of fraud cases over the past 10 years, and the complexity of assigning responsibility, has caused much debate over the definition of an author.

Biagioli will stay at Harvard during his period of fellowship. He will continue current research and interview members of the biomedical field who live in the Boston area.

James Goodman, associate professor of history and social studies, however, will use his fellowship to take a full-year leave of absence before he continues his career as a professor at Rutgers University.

Goodman, has taught a survey course on race relations in 20th century America for the past seven years.

"Men and women who were radical about race in the 1960's have often become much more conservative about race," Goodman said. "These people tend to think about racial inequality less in terms of sociology and history, and more in terms of the pathology and individual behavior of African-Americans."

The other Harvard Faculty who have received Guggenheim fellowships are: Norman Bryson, professor of the fine arts for his work in art, gender and nation in Japanese visual culture; and Raphael Campo, instructor in medicine, for his work in the field of poetry.

Mahzarin R. Banaji, associate professor of psychology at Yale University and a visiting scholar at Harvard this semester, also received a fellowship for her work on the nature of implicit prejudice.

Several Boston-area artists and professors at Boston College, Emerson College, MIT and Tufts University also received fellowships.

Donal Fox, an African-American composer who lives in Roxbury, received a fellowship to support his innovation in music composition.

"I blend the African-American experience with the classical tradition in terms of spirit freedom of expression, and spontaneity of thought," Fox said. "I'm trying to combine the freedom of a great performer, such as Yo- Yo Ma ['76] or Billie Holiday, with the classical tradition. I'm trying to write this freedom into my compositions."

Russell L. Roberts, a painter and Cambridge resident said he considers the Fellowship "an incredible honor."

"Having this much money guaranteed changes the ingrained attitude of an artist," said Roberts. "It snaps the mental adhesions to a budget and financial constraints. Budgeting normally spreads and colors many attitudes of doing my work."

This year--the 72nd since Guggenheim and his wife made their initial donation--164 artists, writers and professors received a total of $4,890,000 in fellowship awards.

"It is our conviction, based on our experience with the present Fellowships of the Foundation, that this may best be accomplished by aiding scholars and artists of proven abilities to carry on research and creative work in contact with the scholars and artists of other lands," wrote Senator John S. Guggenheim in his Letter of Gift dated June 7, 1929

The other Harvard Faculty who have received Guggenheim fellowships are: Norman Bryson, professor of the fine arts for his work in art, gender and nation in Japanese visual culture; and Raphael Campo, instructor in medicine, for his work in the field of poetry.

Mahzarin R. Banaji, associate professor of psychology at Yale University and a visiting scholar at Harvard this semester, also received a fellowship for her work on the nature of implicit prejudice.

Several Boston-area artists and professors at Boston College, Emerson College, MIT and Tufts University also received fellowships.

Donal Fox, an African-American composer who lives in Roxbury, received a fellowship to support his innovation in music composition.

"I blend the African-American experience with the classical tradition in terms of spirit freedom of expression, and spontaneity of thought," Fox said. "I'm trying to combine the freedom of a great performer, such as Yo- Yo Ma ['76] or Billie Holiday, with the classical tradition. I'm trying to write this freedom into my compositions."

Russell L. Roberts, a painter and Cambridge resident said he considers the Fellowship "an incredible honor."

"Having this much money guaranteed changes the ingrained attitude of an artist," said Roberts. "It snaps the mental adhesions to a budget and financial constraints. Budgeting normally spreads and colors many attitudes of doing my work."

This year--the 72nd since Guggenheim and his wife made their initial donation--164 artists, writers and professors received a total of $4,890,000 in fellowship awards.

"It is our conviction, based on our experience with the present Fellowships of the Foundation, that this may best be accomplished by aiding scholars and artists of proven abilities to carry on research and creative work in contact with the scholars and artists of other lands," wrote Senator John S. Guggenheim in his Letter of Gift dated June 7, 1929

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