Three UChicago Humanities Scholars Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2022

Three UChicago Humanities Scholars Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2022

The Division of the Humanities campus in the spring

The following was published in UChicago News on April 29, 2022.

Seven members of the University of Chicago faculty have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies.

They include Profs. Christopher R. Berry, Raphael C. Lee, Peter B. Littlewood, Richard Neer, Sianne Ngai and Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, and Prof. Emerita Wadad Kadi.

These scholars have made breakthroughs in fields ranging from condensed matter physics to biomedical engineering and the aesthetics of capitalism. They join the 2022 class of 261 individuals, announced April 28, which includes artists, scholars, scientists, and leaders in the public, nonprofit and private sectors.

Christopher R. Berry

Christopher R. Berry is the William J. and Alicia Townsend Friedman Professor at the Harris School of Public Policy and the College.

Berry is the director of the Center for Municipal Finance at Harris. His research interests include American politics, metropolitan governance, municipal finance and intergovernmental fiscal relations. He is the author of Imperfect Union: Representation and Taxation in Multilevel Governments, winner of the Best Book Award in Urban Politics from the American Political Science Association; Theory and Credibility (with Harris colleagues Scott Ashworth and Ethan Bueno de Mesquita); and many other scholarly publications.

Berry’s research has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Chicago Tribune, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and many other outlets. Visit Berry's research website to read more of his work, and see the Property Tax Fairness website for his recent research on local property taxes in the U.S.

Wadad Kadi

Wadad Kadi is the Avalon Foundation Distinguished Service Professor Emerita of Islamic Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.

An accomplished scholar of Arabic and Islamic civilizations, Kadi’s work focuses on the links between Arabic literature and political, sectarian and cultural Islamic thought. She has written 11 books in both English and Arabic, as well as over 70 published articles and several book reviews.

Her awards include the 1994 King Faisal Prize in Arabic Literature and the Middle East Medievalists Lifetime Achievement Award.

Kadi taught at the University of Chicago from 1988 until her retirement in 2009, after which she continued to pursue research and writing. She chaired UChicago’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from 1991-97, and received a 2004 Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching. She also served as president of the American Oriental Society from 2003-04.

Raphael Lee

Raphael Lee is the Paul and Allene Russell Distinguished Service Professor of Surgery and Medicine and a fellow at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering.

Lee is a plastic surgeon and biomedical engineer. His research has focused on the effects of molecular biophysics of trauma injury, therapeutic control of scar formation, molecular engineering of synthetic stress proteins, and reconstructive surgery. His laboratory was the first to report the capability of certain cell membrane ion channel blocks to reduce scars, to develop the tissue-engineered ligaments, and to develop clinically applicable copolymers to seal disrupted cell membranes and refold denatured proteins that promises to restore viability to damaged tissue following traumatic injury.

His ongoing research focuses on the use of copolymer therapeutics to inhibit severe viral infection and the application of feedback control theory to facilitate medical therapeutics.

Peter B. Littlewood

Peter B. Littlewood is a Professor in the Department of Physics and the James Franck Institute, and a fellow at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering.

Littlewood is a condensed matter physicist whose areas of interest include superconductivity and superfluids, strongly correlated electronic materials, collective dynamics of glasses, density waves in solids, neuroscience, and applications of materials for energy and sustainability.

Littlewood previously served as head of the theoretical physics research group at Bell Laboratories, as head of the Theory of Condensed Matter group at Cambridge, head of the Cavendish Laboratory and Department of Physics, and as director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory.

He serves on the advisory boards of several institutes, including the Faraday Institution, the Simons Foundation, the Paul Scherer Institute, the Carnegie Institute for Science, and the Max Planck Institutes at Halle and Hamburg.

Richard Neer

Richard Neer is the Barbara E. and Richard J. Franke Distinguished Service Professor in Art History, Cinema and Media Studies, and the College.

Neer has been the director of the Franke Institute for the Humanities since 2019. An expert in Greek art and architecture, he works at the intersection of art history, archaeology and aesthetics. He has published widely on Greek art and poetry, as well as on French painting of the 17th century, theories of style and its role in reconstructing the past, and the history of cinema.

From 2010-18, he served as the executive editor of the journal Critical Inquiry, where he continues to serve as co-editor. His most recent books include Art and Archaeology of the Greek World: A New History, 2500–100 BCE, published in its second edition in 2018 along with German, Greek and Chinese translations; Conditions of Visibility, an edited volume; and Pindar, Song, and Space: Toward a Lyric Archaeology, co-authored with Leslie Kurke, which won the 2020 PROSE Award in Classics from the Association of American Publishers.

Sianne Ngai

Sianne Ngai is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature and the College.

Her scholarly work is most broadly concerned with the analysis of aesthetic forms and judgments specific to capitalism. Ngai’s first book, Ugly Feelings (2005), focuses on politically ambiguous, non-cathartic emotions such as envy and irritation compared to anger and fear. Her second book, Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting (2012), argues for the contemporary centrality of three everyday aesthetic categories, which Ngai approaches with the same philosophical seriousness given to the beautiful and sublime. For this book, she received the James Russell Lowell Prize from the Modern Language Association.

Ngai’s most recent book, Theory of the Gimmick: Aesthetic Judgment and Capitalist Form (2020), explores the “gimmick” as an affective speech art and form encoding a series of interconnected contradictions about labor, time and value. Currently, she is working on a book about the ways in which Marx, Hegel and several other well-known writers and artists inhabit error.

Esteban Rossi-Hansberg

Esteban Rossi-Hansberg is the Glen A. Lloyd Distinguished Service Professor in the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics and the College.

Rossi-Hansberg considers the spatial properties of economic growth in terms of both the within-country and international dynamics of the spatial organization of economic activity. His 2018 Journal of Political Economy paper, “The Geography of Development,” offers a novel framework incorporating the barriers that impede workers from migrating, and distinguishing positive reasons for staying in place from barriers to leaving. His contributions to the study of international trade are equally significant.

In addition to these lines of research, Rossi-Hansberg has made important contributions to the study of organizations, with a focus on variations in knowledge in organizational hierarchies and the implications of knowledge asymmetries for labor economics and international trade.

He is an elected fellow of the Econometric Society and has received the August Lösch Prize, and the Geoffrey J. D. Hewings Award, among others. He is an alum of the University of Chicago, having earned his doctorate in economics in 2002 under the advising of Nobel laureate Robert Lucas.


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May 2, 2022