Four Columbia Faculty Members Elected to the American Philosophical Society

May 16, 2012

Five members of the Columbia community—including President Emeritus George Rupp—were elected to the American Philosophical Society, the oldest learned society in the United States.

Founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin to “promote useful knowledge,” the American Philosophical Society honors and engages distinguished scientists, humanists, social scientists, and leaders in civic and cultural affairs and promotes opportunities for “interdisciplinary, intellectual fellowship.” Its members include George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Robert Frost. Since 1900, more than 240 American Philosophy Society members have received the Nobel Prize.

Columbia professors selected as 2012 members include:

Jon Elster, Robert K. Merton Professor of Social Sciences, taught at Paris, Oslo and Chicago before coming to Columbia. His research interests include the theory of rational choice, the theory of distributive justice and the history of social thought (Marx and Tocqueville). He is currently working on a comparative study of constitution-making processes from the Federal Convention to the present, besides being engaged in a project on the microfoundations of civil war. Elster's publications include "Ulysses and the Sirens," "Sour Grapes," "Making Sense of Marx," "The Cement of Society," "Solomonic Judgements," "Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences," "Local Justice," "Political Psychology," "Alchemies of the Mind," "Ulysses Unbound," and "Closing the Books: Transitional Justice in Historical Perspective."

Alice Kessler-Harris, R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History in Honor of Dwight D. Eisenhower, specializes in the history of American labor and the comparative and interdisciplinary exploration of women and gender. She received her B. A. from Goucher College and her Ph.D. from Rutgers . Her published works include: "In Pursuit of Equity: Women, Men and the Quest for Economic Citizenship in Twentieth Century America," "Out to Work: A History of Wage-Earning Women in the United States," "A Woman’s Wage: Historical Meanings and Social Consequences," and "Women Have Always Worked: A Historical Overview." She is co-editor of "Protecting Women: Labor Legislation in Europe, Australia, and the United States, 1880–1920" and "U.S. History as Women’s History." Kessler-Harris’ most recent book is called "A Difficult Woman: The Challenging Life and Times of Lillian Hellman."

Rosalind Krauss, University Professor of Art History and Archaeology, attempts to understand the phenomenon of modernist art in its historical, theoretical, and formal dimensions. She has been interested in the development of photography, whose history-running parallel to that of modernist painting and sculpture-makes visible certain previously overlooked phenomena in the "high arts," such as the role of the indexical mark, or the function of the archive. She has also investigated certain concepts, such as "formlessness," "the optical unconscious," or "pastiche," which organize modernist practice in relation to different explanatory grids from those of progressive modernism, or the avant-garde. Her publications include "Under Blue Cup," "Formless: A User's Guide," "The Picasso Papers," "October: The Second Decade, 1986–1996," "The Optical Unconscious," and "The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths."

George Rupp, President Emeritus and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion, International Affairs and Public Health, served as Columbia’s 18th President from 1993-2002. A Princeton, Yale and Harvard educated author and Presbyterian minister, he had previously presided over Rice University and served as dean of the Harvard Divinity School before accepting the presidency at Columbia. Dr. Rupp studied in Germany before he was awarded an A.B. from Princeton University in 1964, a B.D. from Yale Divinity School in 1967, and a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1972. He is the author of numerous articles and five books including: "Globalization Challenged: Commitment, Conflict, and Community," "Christologies and Cultures: Toward a Typology of Worldviews," "Beyond Existentialism and Zen: Religion in a Pluralistic World," and "Culture Protestantism: German Liberal Theology at the Turn of the 20th Century." Rupp is currently the president and chief executive officer of the International Rescue Committee (IRC).