April 25, 2011

JHU deans and faculty named AAAS fellows

A Johns Hopkins University dean, a vice dean and a professor are among the 212 fellows named to the 231st class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Elected last week as new members were Katherine S. Newman, the James B. Knapp Dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and a professor of sociology; Chi Van Dang, vice dean for research, the Johns Hopkins Family Professor in Oncology and a research professor of medicine, cell biology, oncology and pathology at the School of Medicine; and Gabrielle M. Spiegel, the Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of History in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.

Some of the world’s most accomplished leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities and the arts have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, which was founded during the American Revolution by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock and others. Its dual role is to honor excellence in the arts and sciences and to provide independent, nonpartisan study of important societal issues.

Newman, a widely published expert on poverty and the working poor, came to Johns Hopkins in September 2010 from Princeton University, where she had taught since 2004 and where she was the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes ’41 Professor in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Department of Sociology. Previously, during eight years at Harvard University, she was the first dean of social science at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. In addition, Newman has served on the faculties of Columbia University and the University of California, Berkeley.

Newman has focused much of her scholarship on the lives of the working poor and on mobility up and down the economic ladder. She has investigated the impact of tax policy on the poor, school violence, the history of public opinion’s impact on poverty policy and the impact of globalization on young people in Italy, Spain, Japan and South Africa, among other topics. She has written or co-authored 10 books and has several more in progress. Her newest book, Taxing the Poor: Doing Damage to the Truly Disadvantaged, was recently published by the University of California Press.

Dang’s research has unraveled key functions of the MYC oncogene, establishing the first link between a cancer gene and altered cancer cell metabolism. His laboratory contributes and stimulates research on the age-old observation of altered sugar metabolism in cancers, which is now beginning to be exploited for cancer therapy. He has authored more than 200 papers, book chapters and monographs. A 1982 graduate of the School of Medicine, Dang joined the faculty in 1987 after completing a fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco and a residency at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

An expert in medieval history with a special interest in historiography and linguistic analysis, Spiegel was elected president of the American Historical Association in 2007. She is the author or editor of four books and more than 40 academic articles. Her article “History, Historicism and the Social Logic of the Text in the Middle Ages,” which appeared in Speculum in 1990, has been hailed as one of the most important analyses of medieval historiography ever written, and as a critical intervention in debates over historians’ use of postmodern theory. The article has been widely reprinted, translated and commented upon, and won the article prize of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians. She has held fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, among many other honors.

This year’s 212 new AAAS fellows and foreign honorary members were nominated and elected to the academy by current members. A broad-based membership of scholars and practitioners from mathematics, physics, biological sciences, social sciences, humanities and the arts, public affairs and business allows the academy to conduct a wide range of interdisciplinary studies and public policy research.

Newman, Dang and Spiegel will be inducted on Oct. 1 in Cambridge, Mass., alongside other distinguished fellows, including singer-songwriters Leonard Cohen and Paul Simon, actors Helen Mirren and Sam Waterston, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, French poet Yves Bonnefoy, University of Cambridge classicist Mary Beard, Tel Aviv University President Joseph Klafter and financier David de Rothschild.

Newman, Dang and Spiegel join 44 other Johns Hopkins faculty members as fellows of the AAAS. A list is available online at webapps.jhu.edu/jhuniverse/information_