The American Academy of Arts and Sciences Inducts Nine Columbia Faculty Members

A group of diverse Columbians join other scholars, artists, scientists, and leaders in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors.

Eve Glasberg
April 22, 2021

Nine Columbia professors have been elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, joining some of the world’s most accomplished leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities, and the arts in one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies.

“We are honoring the excellence of these individuals, celebrating what they have achieved so far, and imagining what they will continue to accomplish,” said David Oxtoby, President of the American Academy. “The past year has been replete with evidence of how things can get worse; this is an opportunity to illuminate the importance of art, ideas, knowledge, and leadership that can make a better world.”

Hilton Als is a professor in the writing program at the School of the Arts. He received the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, and became a staff writer at The New Yorker in 1994, and a theater critic there in 2002.

Kimberlé Crenshaw is the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law. She is a pioneering scholar and writer on civil rights, critical race theory, Black feminist legal theory, and race, racism, and the law.

Virginia Fortna is the Harold Brown Professor of U.S. Foreign and Security Policy in the Political Science Department. Her research focuses on terrorism, the durability of peace in the aftermath of both civil and interstate wars, and war termination. 

David Henry Hwang is the head of the playwriting concentration in the theatre program at the School of the Arts. He is a Tony Award-winning playwright, screenwriter, television writer, and librettist, whose works include the plays M. Butterfly, Chinglish, and Yellow Face.

Gillian Lester is the Dean of Columbia Law School. She is a leading authority on employment law and policy, specializing in workplace intellectual property law, contracts, public finance policy, and the design of social insurance laws and regulations.

Michele Moody-Adams is the Joseph Straus Professor of Political Philosophy and Legal Theory and chair of the philosophy department. She has published widely on equality and social justice, moral psychology and the virtues, and the philosophical implications of gender and race.

Frederick Neuhouser is a philosophy professor whose research focuses on 19th-century German philosophy, and social and political philosophy. He is a specialist in the work of Rousseau, Fichte, and Hegel.

Gayatri Spivak is a University Professor, and a founding member of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. Her research interests include 19th- and 20th-century literature, Marxism, feminism, deconstruction, globalization, postcolonial political theory, and critical social theory.

Mabel O. Wilson is the Nancy and George Rupp Professor of Architecture at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, and codirector of its Global Africa Lab. She also teaches in the African American and African Diasporic Studies Department, and is director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies.