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Week of April 15, 2013

Two professors named Guggenheim fellows

For their distinguished achievement and exceptional promise for future accomplishment, U-M faculty members Elizabeth Anderson and Scott Page have been awarded the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship for their research.

They are among the 175 fellowships the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded last week to individuals from nearly 3,000 applicants.

“From philosophy, one of the oldest fields of study, to complex systems, one of the newest, Michigan has outstanding faculty who break new ground with their work,” Provost Phil Hanlon said. “We’re pleased and proud that Liz Anderson and Scott Page have been named Guggenheim Fellows. It’s wonderful recognition of their scholarly achievements.”

Anderson

For Anderson, the John Rawls Collegiate Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies, her topic is “Moral epistemology from a pragmatist perspective: Case studies from the history of abolition and emancipation.”

Three centuries ago, few people thought slavery was morally wrong. Over the course of two centuries of struggle to abolish slavery, nearly the whole world came to believe that slavery is profoundly unjust. Anderson is investigating how people learn moral lessons through experiments in living, and through contesting unjust social orders from below.

“I am greatly honored to receive the recognition of a Guggenheim award, and hope to do my best to live up to the high expectations generated by it,” said Anderson, who donated the Guggenheim funds back to the foundation “so that other fellows who have greater needs can take advantage of them.”

Page is the Leonid Hurwicz Collegiate Professor of Complex Systems and professor of political science and economics. He will focus on how institutions — social, political, economic, formal and informal — influence the amount and types of diversity in behavior, predictive models, skills and interests that can be sustained.

Page

In addition, he will explore the consequences of that diversity — does it drive innovation, does it make for too much complexity, does it produce robustness? The research will involve longtime collaborators Lu Hong, Jenna Bednar and others.

“On a personal level, this sort of recognition is humbling, to be in the same cohort as Liz Anderson — whose intellectual vision and dedication to craft have been an inspiration to me — makes the recognition even more meaningful,” he said.

“I’m particularly delighted to have the University of Michigan attached to the award. Not only did I earn my undergraduate degree here, but the project for which I received the award — which doesn’t fit nicely within disciplinary boundaries — has been supported, encouraged and improved by some incredible Michigan colleagues including Ken Kollman, Pat Gurin, Carl Simon, Michael Cohen, Bob Axelrod, Jenna Bednar, Evan Economo, Mark Newman, as well as a large number of undergraduates and graduate students.”

The full list of 2013 fellows is available at www.gf.org.

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