On April 9, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation announced the recipients of the 2020 Guggenheim Fellowships. Among those honored in the highly selective competition were four members of the Barnard community: alumnae Edyta Bojanowska ’93 and Sigrid Nunez ’72 and faculty members Lesley A. Sharp, Barbara Chamberlain and Helen Chamberlain Josefsberg ’30 Professor of Anthropology, and Caroline Weber, professor of French. As part of the foundation’s 2020 class of writers, scholars, artists, and scientists, Bojanowska, Nunez, Sharp, and Weber are recognized for their “prior achievement and exceptional promise” in their fields.
Bojanowska is a professor of Slavic languages and literatures at Yale University, where she teaches a variety of courses on Russian literature and intellectual history of the 1800s. She is continuing her discussion of Russian imperialism and colonialism through her latest project, Empire and the Russian Classics (forthcoming from Harvard University Press). Her contributions to the understanding of Russian culture have led to positions at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., and the Harvard Society of Fellows.
Nunez is a seven-time novelist, including the 2018 New York Times bestseller The Friend, whose work has been recognized with a National Book Award, a Whiting Award, a Berlin Prize Fellowship, and many others. Her achievement in fiction writing has led to several teaching positions across the nation, including at Boston University, Columbia, and Princeton. September 2020 will see the publication of her latest novel, What Are You Going Through.
As a medical anthropologist, Sharp’s extensive research has taken her from a plantation community in Madagascar to transplant units in the US and animal laboratories here and abroad. Much of her work addresses the moral quandaries associated with healing, suffering, and mourning, as evidenced in her teaching at Barnard and several books on these subjects, including the 2008 award-winning Strange Harvest: Organ Transplants, Denatured Bodies, and the Transformed Self and her most recent work Animal Ethos: The Morality of Human-Animal Encounters in Experimental Lab Science. As a Guggenheim Fellow, Sharp will be working on a project focused on inmate-run, prison-based hospice programs. She is currently Department Chair and the Barbara Chamberlain and Helen Chamberlain Josefsberg ’30 Professor of Anthropology at the College.
Weber, Barnard professor of French and comparative literature, has written several books on revolutionary France, discussing its culture through political strategy and Marie Antoinette’s clothing choices. “I received the fellowship specifically to work on the sequel to my latest book, Proust’s Duchess: How Three Celebrated Women Captured the Imagination of Fin-de-Siècle Paris [Knopf 2018/Vintage 2019], which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize,” said Weber. “The new book is a social history of the French aristocracy’s twilight years, from the mid-1890s to World War I. Like Proust’s Duchess, which concentrated on the Parisian nobility’s heyday in the 1880s, it centers on Marcel Proust and the real-life society hostesses who inspired his fictional character the Duchesse de Guermantes.”