Social Sciences faculty receive named professorships

John D. Kelly, Professor in the Department of Anthropology, and Howard Nusbaum, Professor in the Department of Psychology, have been appointed to named professorships, effective January 1, 2018.

John D. Kelly has been named the inaugural Christian W. Mackauer Professor in the College and the Division of the Social Sciences.

Kelly’s professional scholarship has focused on rituals throughout history, semiotic and military technologies, and colonialism and capitalism. His research explores the impact of these topics in both India and Fiji. In addition to over 30 articles, edited volumes and numerous lectures, Kelly has written several influential books, including The American Game: Capitalism, Decolonization, World Domination, and Baseball (Paradigm Press, 2006), Represented Communities: Fiji and World Decolonization (University of Chicago Press, 2001), and A Politics of Virtue: Hinduism, Sexuality, and Countercolonial Discourse in Fiji (University of Chicago, 1992).

Kelly has been a member of the faculty of the Department of Anthropology since 2001. He served as Master of the Social Sciences Collegiate Division from 2002-2005, and currently serves as Core Chair for the Self, Culture, and Society sequence in The College.

In their joint letter of nomination to the Provost, Social Sciences Dean Amanda Woodward and Dean of the College John Boyer noted that Kelly is consistently highly evaluated by his students, and described him as “an influential and exceptionally dedicated teacher on the College and graduate levels. He is an important scholar, and a dedicated citizen of our community.”

The Christian W. Mackauer Professorship in the College was created in 2017 as part of the College’s chaired professorship program. First launched in 1950 by President Robert M. Hutchins and Dean of the College F. Champion Ward, chaired professorships were established as a way of honoring senior scholars who provide especially important contributions to the educational work of general education in the College. Mackauer, the William Rainey Harper Professor of History in the College until 1970, was a prominent figure in the study and teaching of Western Civilization, and delivered the first Aims of Education address to undergraduates in 1962.

Howard Nusbaum was named the Stella M. Rowley Professor of Psychology in the Division of the Social Sciences.

Nusbaum is internationally recognized for his multi-disciplinary studies of the nature of wisdom and the cognitive and neural mechanisms that mediate communication and thinking. Nusbaum’s past research has investigated the effects of sleep on learning, adaptive processes in language learning, and the neural mechanisms of speech communication. His current research investigates how experience can increase wisdom and produce changes in insight and economic decisions, and examines the role of sleep in cognitive creativity and abstraction.

Nusbaum is the Director of the Center for Practical Wisdom and a member of the Executive Committee of the Division’s new Computational Social Science program (MACSS). From 1997-2010, he served as the Chair of the Department of Psychology. He has also served as Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience and as a Steering Committee Member of the Neuroscience Institute. In 2012, Nusbaum was honored with the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and he received the Future Faculty Mentorship Award in 2007. He played an instrumental role in the creation of the Division’s new Computational Social Science program.

Nusbaum joined the University of Chicago faculty in 1986. He will return to full University service in December 2018, after serving two years as the Division Director for Social, Behavioral, and Economics Sciences at the National Science Foundation.

“Howard has long been a constructive leader at the University and his further contributions to scientific leadership nationally make him eminently deserving of this distinction,” Woodward said.

The Stella M. Rowley chair was established in 1969 with an endowment to the Division of Social Sciences to support a professorship in the field of education, broadly conceived. Previously, the professorship was held by such distinguished scholars as Susan Levine, currently the Rebecca Anne Boylan Professor of Education and Society and the Chair of the Department of Psychology; Larry Hedges, one of the nation’s leading scholars of methods for educational research (now at Northwestern University); and, most recently, Sian Beilock, a renowned specialist in child and adult learning and performance (now President of Barnard College).

The appointments were approved by the University’s Board of Trustees Executive Committee at their December meeting.

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