Johns Hopkins University

Fall 2008
Vol. 6, No.1


Student Research from the Field

Worth A Surf


Expert Opinion

Research Briefs

Classroom Encounters

Techno Roots of Urban Edens

Student Playwright Finds Success in Failure

Music from the Material World

>Research Rewarded

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Research Rewarded


This year, several Arts and Sciences faculty members have been honored with significant awards and fellowships that will allow them to further their promising research. Among them are senior scientists and rising scholars alike; a cognitive scientist, a sociologist, a classicist, and a historian and Latinist.

Paul Smolensky, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Cognitive Science, has been appointed to an International Blaise Pascal Research Chair by the Ecole Normale Superieure, a prestigious French institute of higher education. The first cognitive scientist to receive this honor, Smolensky is spending this year in Paris conducting research and consulting with colleagues in a diverse set of fields ranging from neuroscience to psycholinguistics to the philosophy of science. His project, "Formal Foundations of Abstraction in Linguistic Cognitive Science," involves building formal mathematical characterizations of the abstractions central to the theory of language within cognitive science.

Stefanie DeLuca, an assistant professor of sociology, was recently named a William T. Grant Scholar, an honor given each year to only a handful of early-career scholars conducting high-quality research in the social and behavioral sciences. The award comes with a $350,000 prize that DeLuca will use over the next five years to examine the role of moving in the lives of American youth. Her project is titled "Moving Matters: Residential Mobility, Neighborhoods and Family in the lives of Poor Adolescents." Her fieldwork will include interviews with low-income mothers in Mobile, Ala., about why they move and how they use moving as a strategy for family management and youth well-being. DeLuca was one of four young scholars to be named William T. Grant Scholars this year.

Among this year's class of Guggenheim Fellows is Christopher Celenza, a professor in the Department of German and Romance Languages and Literatures. Selected from more than 2,600 applicants from the U.S. and Canada, Celenza is a historian and Latinist who studies European intellectual history. He is also director of the School of Arts and Sciences' new Singleton Center for the Study of Pre-Modern Europe (see p. 7). Celenza will use his Guggenheim Fellowship to examine humanism, language, and philosophy from Petrarch (1304-74) to Angelo Poliziano (1454-94). He hopes to illuminate a period he refers to as "Italy's long 15th century" that is typically missing from the history of Western philosophy. Celenza holds secondary appointments in the departments of history, classics, and the Humanities Center.

One of Celenza's colleagues in classics, assistant professor Hérica Valladares, was among the 30 emerging artists and scholars to win a Rome Prize from the American Academy of Rome, a competition now in its 112th year. Valladares received the National Endowment for the Humanities/Andrew Heiskell Post-Doctoral Rome Prize, with which she is spending 11 months at the American Academy in Rome, researching and writing her first monograph, On Tenderness: The Semantics of Love in Roman Painting and Poetry. Her book will analyze the depiction of human and mythological lovers in the art and literature of the early Roman Empire. By situating the development of a Roman discourse on love in a broader historical context, she will offer new insights into individual poems and paintings and on this much-overlooked facet of imperial culture.