Columbia Faculty Members Receive Guggenheim Fellowships

Georgette Jasen
April 11, 2013

Several Columbia professors, in disciplines ranging from dance to history to psychiatry, were awarded prestigious Guggenheim Fellowships for 2013, based on their distinguished achievement and exceptional future promise.

They are among 175 scholars, artists and scientists chosen from nearly 3,000 applicants for this year. The award comes with a grant from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to pursue their work. Since it was established in 1925, the Foundation has awarded some $306 million to more than 17,500 individuals. It didn’t disclose the total awarded this year, or the amount of individual grants.

This year's winners from Columbia and Barnard are:

Stuart Firestein is chair of the University’s Department of Biological Sciences. He and his colleagues study the vertebrate olfactory system, which he has called the best chemical detector on the face of the planet. Firestein is an advisor for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s program for the public understanding of science and his book on the workings of science for a general audience, "Ignorance," How it Drives Science, was published last year by Oxford University Press. In 2011, he was awarded the University’s Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award for scholarship and teaching.

Lynn Garafola, professor of dance at Barnard, has written extensively about dance in Europe and the United States and has curated major exhibitions about the New York City Ballet and Jerome Robbins. Her books include "Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes" and "Legacies of Twentieth Century Dance," and she is working on a biography of the Russian choreographer Bronislava Nijinska. She was recently awarded a fellowship by the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.

Robert Klitzman, professor of clinical psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Mailman School of Public Health, is co-founder of the University’s Center for Bioethics and director of the Master of Science in Bioethics program in the School of Continuing Education. He is the author or co-author of more than 100 articles and eight books examining ethical issues involving genetics, HIV, assisted reproductive technologies and other areas. His books include "A Year-long Night: Tales of a Medical Internship," "Being Positive: The Lives of Men and Women with HIV" and "Am I My Genes? Confronting Fate and Family Secrets in the Age of Genetic Testing."

Ben Marcus is a professor of writing in the School of the Arts. He is the author of two novels, "The Flame Alphabet" and "Notable American Women" and a collection of short stories, "The Age of Wire" and "String." His new book, "Leaving the Sea," will be published by Knopf next January. His stories and essays have appeared in "Harper’s," "The New Yorker," "The Paris Review" and other publications and he is fiction editor of "The American Reader." This fall (2013) he will be a Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.

Sylvia Nasar is the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Business Journalism at the Journalism School. Trained as an economist, she is a former writer for "The New York Times," "Fortune" and "U.S. News and World Reports." Nasar is the author of "A Beautiful Mind," the biography of mathematician John Nash that inspired the 2001 Academy Award-winning movie of the same name. Her most recent book is "Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius."

Ira Sachs is an adjunct professor of film at the School of the Arts. His most recent film, "Keep the Lights On," had its premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and won the Teddy Award at the 2012 Berlin Film Festival. His film "Forty Shades of Blue" won the 2005 Sundance Grand Jury Prize, and his short film "Last Address," honoring artists who died of AIDS, is part of the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. His next film, "Love is Strange," will be shot this summer in New York.

Terese Svoboda is an adjunct professor of writing in the School of the Arts whose work includes poetry, fiction, memoir and translation. Her most recent novel "Bohemian Girl," was named one of the ten best 2012 Westerns by "Booklist." Her memoir "Black Glasses Like Clark Kent" won the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize. She is a three-time winner of a New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship.

Marc Van De Mieroop, professor of history, specializes in the history of the ancient Near East and Middle East, including socio-economic history and intellectual history. His books include "The Ancient Mesopotamian City" and "A History of Ancient Egypt." While a Guggenheim fellow, he plans to explore ancient Babylonia approaches to the truth, which differed radically from the classical Greek attitudes that form the basis of Western knowledge.