“Meet the Scholar” February Preview

The Graduate Commons Program is excited to announce the distinguished group of faculty members who will be joining our community for “Meet the Scholar” lectures this February.  We hope that you’ll take advantage of the wonderful opportunity to hear these prestigious faculty members speak about their work.

1325915338562Professor William Julius Wilson | Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor; Director: Joblessness and Urban Poverty Research Program

Tuesday, February 11th @ Peabody Terrace

William Julius Wilson is Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor at Harvard University. He is one of only 24 University Professors, the highest professional distinction for a Harvard faculty member. After receiving the Ph.D. from Washington State University in 1966, Wilson taught sociology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, before joining the University of Chicago faculty in 1972. In 1990 he was appointed the Lucy Flower University Professor and director of the University of Chicago’s Center for the Study of Urban Inequality. He joined the faculty at Harvard in July of 1996.

He is the author of numerous publications, including The Declining Significance of Race, winner of the American Sociological Association’s Sydney Spivack Award; The Truly Disadvantaged, which was selected by the editors of the New York Times Book Review as one of the 16 best books of 1987, and received The Washington Monthly Annual Book Award and the Society for the Study of Social Problems’ C. Wright Mills Award; When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor, which was selected as one of the notable books of 1996 by the editors of the New York Times Book Review and received the Sidney Hillman Foundation Award; and The Bridge Over the Racial Divide: Rising Inequality and Coalition Politics. Most recently he is the co-author of There Goes the Neighborhood: Racial, Ethnic, and Class Tensions in Four Chicago Neighborhoods and Their Meaning for America and Good Kids in Bad Neighborhoods: Successful Development in Social Context.

Professor Wilson is a member of numerous national boards and commissions, and was previously the Chair of the Board of The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and of the Russell Sage Foundation.

thProfessor Maria Polinsky | Professor of Linguistics

Tuesday, February 18th @ 10 Akron Street

Professor Polinsky’s work is at the intersection of theoretical syntax and the study of cross-linguistic variation in sentence structure. Language-wise, she specializes in Austronesian and languages of the Caucasus. These days she divides her time between theoretical and experimental work on long-distance dependencies, ergativity, and subject island effects. Her research interests include: language universals and their explanation, comparative syntactic theory, information structure in natural language, incomplete acquisition (heritage languages), and Austronesian and Caucasian languages.

The Polinsky Language Sciences Lab at Harvard University is a linguistics lab that examines questions of language structure and its effect on the ways in which people use and process language in real time. We engage in linguistic and interdisciplinary research projects ourselves; offer linguistic research capabilities for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and visitors; and build relationships with the linguistic communities in which we do our research.

The Polinsky Langage Sciences Lab is interested in a broad range of issues pertaining to syntax, interfaces, and cross-linguistic variation. The Polinsky Lab places a particular emphasis on novel experimental evidence that facilitates the construction of linguistic theory. We have a strong cross-linguistic focus, drawing upon English, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Mayan languages, Basque, Austronesian languages, languages of the Caucasus, and others. They believe that challenging existing theories with data from as broad a range of languages as possible is a crucial component of the successful development of linguistic theory.

 

220px-Burns,_R__Nicholas_-_Under_Secretary_for_Political_AffairsProfessor R. Nicholas Burns | The Sultan of Oman Professor of International Relations: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Thursday, February 27th @ 5 Cowperthwaite Street

Nicholas Burns is  Sultan of Oman Professor of the Practice of International Relations  at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is Director of the Future of Diplomacy Project and Faculty Chair for the Programs on the Middle East and on India and South Asia. He serves on the Board of Directors of the School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and is a Faculty Associate at Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

Professor Burns served in the United States government for twenty-seven years.  As a career Foreign Service Officer, he was Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2005 to 2008; the State Department’s third-ranking official when he led negotiations on the U.S.–India Civil Nuclear Agreement; a long-term military assistance agreement with Israel; and was the lead U.S. negotiator on Iran’s nuclear program. He was U.S. Ambassador to NATO (2001–2005), Ambassador to Greece (1997–2001) and State Department Spokesman (1995–1997).  He worked for five years (1990–1995) on the National Security Council at the White House where he was Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Affairs and Special Assistant to President Clinton and Director for Soviet Affairs in the Administration of President George H.W. Bush. Burns also served in the American Consulate General in Jerusalem (1985–1987) where he coordinated U.S. economic assistance to the Palestinian people in the West Bank and before that, at the American embassies in Egypt (1983-1985) and Mauritania (1980 as an intern).

Professor Burns has received twelve honorary degrees, the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service from the Johns Hopkins University, and the Boston College Alumni Achievement Award. He has a BA in History from Boston College (1978), an MA in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (1980), and earned the Certificat Pratique de Langue Francaise at the University of Paris-Sorbonne (1977). He was a visiting Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in summer 2008.

 

For more information about these lectures, including how to RSVP, please read your weekly Graduate Commons Announcements.

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