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Three Harvard Professors Named Guggenheim Fellows

By Ameerah Y. Ahmad, Contributing Writer

Three Harvard professors were awarded prestigious Guggenheim research fellowships, an award honoring “exceptional creative ability in the arts,” last week.

Started in 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation awards fellowships each year to individuals who exhibit “exceptional capacity for productive scholarship” and contributions to artistic fields, according to the award’s website.

Of this year’s 173 scholarship recipients, Law School professor Adriaan Lanni, Drama, English, and Comparative Literature professor Martin Puchner, and Education School professor Natasha K. Warikoo will receive grants to assist their respective research projects spanning six to twelve months.

Lanni said she will use her fellowship to conduct research for her book “Crime and Justice in Democratic Athens.”

She wrote in an email that she hopes to explore what it means to have a truly “popular” justice system through her studies in ancient law. Her research will look at Athenian democracy in depth and compare it to modern legal frameworks. She plans to do archival research at Harvard in the spring of 2019.

Puchner said will use his Guggenheim grant to work on his book about Rotwelsch, a language that is “a strange mixture of German, Yiddish, and Hebrew.”

Puchner describes Rotwelsch as “the language of the underground, the language of the road, the language of hobos...of peddlers, of escaped convicts...used by the underground to communicate secretly with each other.”

The language, which he said few know about, was documented only because police officers for hundreds of years tried to decipher it.

Puchner said he plans to study extensive archives on the language he inherited from his uncle as well as conduct research in Germany and Central Europe. He said he will likely take a research leave the year after next.

Warikoo, whose work focuses on the intersection of race and education, said she plans to do ethnographic research at public schools for an upcoming book.

Warikoo said she looks forward to spending time speaking with suburban communities “that are experiencing change.”

She said she hopes to study a wealthy, suburban community with good schools and a large and growing Asian American population.

She said the question in these communities and public schools becomes whether ethnic groups undergo a process of assimilation “or are conceptions of success shifting through the kind of growing Asian American population, and how do these shifts shape kind of race relations among young people in the schools as well as in the community?”

Warikoo said she will likely to go on leave for the 2017-2018 school year.

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