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Four Emory faculty named to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

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Elaine Justice

Four Emory University faculty members are among the world's most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists and other leaders who have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Those elected from Emory this year are:

  • Sander L. Gilman, Distinguished Professor of the Liberal Arts and Sciences, professor of psychiatry
  • Melvin J. Konner, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Anthropology and Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology
  • Carol A. Newsom, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Old Testament, Candler School of Theology
  • Kevin L. Young, Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Creative Writing

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the country's oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers, convening leaders from the academic, business and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing and opportunities available to the nation and the world. Members contribute to Academy publications and studies of science, engineering and technology policy; global security and international affairs; the humanities, arts and education; and American institutions and the public good.

Sander Gilman, Distinguished Professor of the Liberal Arts and Sciences and professor of psychiatry, is a cultural and literary historian, and the author or editor of more than 90 books. His research interests encompass the history of medicine, history of psychiatry, Jewish cultural studies, visual studies, European comparative literary studies and cultural history.

Among his many recent prominent and groundbreaking publications are his 2015 book, “Image and Illness:  Case Studies in the Medical Humanities,” which is still in print, and his most recent edited volume, "The Third Reich Sourcebook" (2013, with Anson Rabinbach). He is the author of the standard study on visual stereotyping of the mentally ill, titled "Seeing the Insane: A Cultural History of Psychiatric Illustration," as well as "Jewish Self-Hatred: Anti-Semitism and the Hidden Language of the Jews."

For 25 years, Gilman was a member of the humanities and medical faculties at Cornell University, where he held the Goldwin Smith Professorship of Humane Studies. For six years he held the Henry R. Luce Distinguished Service Professorship of the Liberal Arts in Human Biology at the University of Chicago and for four years he was a distinguished professor of the Liberal Arts and Medicine and creator of the Humanities Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Gilman has served as a visiting scholar at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland; as a fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University; as a Berlin prize fellow at the American Academy in Berlin; as the Weidenfeld Visiting Professor of European Comparative Literature at Oxford University; as professor at the Institute in the Humanities at Birbeck College; and as a visiting research professor at the University of Hong Kong. He has held many other visiting professorships with universities in North America, South Africa, The United Kingdom, Germany, Israel, China and New Zealand.

A former president of the Modern Language Association, Gilman holds an honorary degree from the University of Toronto, was elected an honorary professor of the Free University in Berlin, and is an honorary member of the American Psychoanalytic Association.

Melvin Konner is the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Anthropology and also holds appointments in Emory's Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology program and its Tam Institute for Jewish Studies. His pioneering research explores the links between biology and human behavior, medicine and society, and nature and culture.

Konner spent two years among the !Kung San (Bushmen) of the Kalahari, an experience that helped inform the first book about the "Paleo" diet, entitled "The Paleolithic Prescription: A Guide to Diet and Exercise and a Design for Living," co-authored by Konner, S. Boyd Eaton and Marjorie Shostak.

His 11 books are distinguished for being both scientifically significant and widely popular. "The Evolution of Childhood: Relationships, Emotion, Mind" was named one of the Best Five Books of 2010 by The Atlantic magazine and one of the Top Ten Science Books of 2010 by His most recent book is "Women After All: Sex, Evolution and the End of Male Supremacy." His other books include "The Tangled Wing," "Becoming a Doctor" and "Unsettled: An Anthropology of the Jews."

Konner also writes for major newspapers and magazines: His articles have appeared frequently in The New York Times, Newsweek and other publications, and he currently writes a monthly column for The Wall Street Journal.

Konner holds PhD and MD degrees from Harvard University and taught there before joining Emory in 1983.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science made Konner a fellow in 1996. His other awards and honors include the John McGovern, MD Medal in Medical Humanities from Yale University School of Medicine and the American Anthropological Association's Anthropology in Media Award.

Carol Newsom, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Old Testament at Emory's Candler School of Theology, also serves as a senior fellow at Emory's Center for the Study of Law and Religion. She came to Candler in 1980, only the second woman to hold a tenure-track position. Her research focuses on the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Wisdom tradition, the book of Daniel, apocalyptic literature, and theology and the environment.

Newsom has written and edited 13 books and scores of articles, book chapters, translations, encyclopedia articles and reviews. She is co-editor of the acclaimed "Women's Bible Commentary," now in its third edition, which explores the implications of and challenges long-held assumptions about the Bible's portrayal of women and other marginalized groups.

Newsom holds honorary degrees from the University of Copenhagen, Birmingham-Southern College, and Virginia Theological Seminary in recognition of her scholarship in Old Testament theology and her innovative work in transcribing, translating and providing commentary on the Dead Sea Scrolls.

She has received several prestigious research fellowships, including grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Henry Luce Foundation, and has won several awards for excellence in teaching and mentoring, including the university's Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award.

Newsom is past president of the Society of Biblical Literature and an honorary member of the Society for Old Testament Study. She served as director of Emory's Graduate Division of Religion from 2012 to 2014.

Kevin Young, Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Creative Writing, is the author of 11 award-winning books of poetry and prose, including most recently, "Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems, 1995-2015."

His other poetry collections include "Book of Hours," a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize for Poetry from the Academy of American Poets; "Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels," winner of an American Book Award; "Dear Darkness"; "For the Confederate Dead"; "Black Maria"; "To Repel Ghosts"; "To Repel Ghosts: The Remix"; "Jelly Roll: A Blues," a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize; and "Most Way Home," winner of the National Poetry Series and the Zacharis First Book Award.

Young also serves as curator of literary collections at Emory's Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library, and as curator of the Rose Library's Raymond Danowski Poetry Library, a 75,000-volume collection of rare and modern poetry.

Young's poetry and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, Callaloo, and many other journals and anthologies. He is the editor of eight volumes, including "The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965 – 2010," "The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food & Drink," "The Best American Poetry 2011," and "The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief & Healing."

His nonfiction book, "The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness," won the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, was a New York Times Notable Book for 2012, a finalist for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism, and won the PEN Open Award.

Young's many honors include a Stegner Fellowship in Poetry at Stanford University, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a MacDowell Foundation Fellowship, and an honorary degree from Beloit College.

About the American Academy

One of the nation's most prestigious honor societies, the American Academy is also a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to Academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, global security and international affairs, social policy and American institutions, and the humanities, arts and education.

In 2015, the Academy collaborated with Emory to host a discussion on "Teaching and the Digital Humanities" on campus, and a regional forum of the Academy's "Lincoln Project: Excellence and Access in Public Higher Education" that developed policy recommendations for ensuring future access to public universities to Americans from all backgrounds.

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on Oct. 8, 2016, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The list of new members is on the Academy's website

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