Benjamin Lawrance, the Hon. Barber B. Conable Jr. Endowed Professor of International Studies at Rochester Institute of Technology, has been named a 2017 American Council of Learned Societies Fellow.
He is the first RIT faculty member to receive an ACLS Fellowship.
ACLS is the leading private institution supporting scholars in the humanities and related social sciences at the doctoral and postdoctoral levels. The fellowships support scholars for six to 12 months of full-time research and writing.
“I’m thrilled to be the first ACLS fellowship recipient at RIT,” Lawrance said. “It’s a tremendous personal honor and a fitting recognition of the importance of narrating the lives and traumas of refugees and asylum seekers, particularly in this fraught national political climate.”
Lawrance plans to complete a book which recounts the contemporary historical experience of Africans who flee torture, political violence and persecution, and to advance understanding of how African refugee lives transform our understanding of refugee law.
“I think now, more than ever, it is important to pay attention to what forces people to flee the country they were born and grew up in. To move across the world in search of a better life is a profound statement about the conditions in which you live, and it is also at the core of the foundation narrative of our United States,” he said.
This year, 71 fellowships were awarded from a pool of nearly 1,200 applicants. The winners were selected by committees of scholars in a peer review process.
“The awardees were selected for their potential to bring new understandings of the human experience and creativity, from antiquity to the present, in contexts across the globe,” said Matthew Goldfeder, ACLS’s director of fellowship programs. “We are grateful to be able to support the intellectual vitality and rigor of humanistic inquiry at this challenging moment.”
James Winebrake, dean of RIT’s College of Liberal Arts, said he was “extremely pleased that Dr. Lawrance was named an ACLS fellow for 2017. This fellowship rightly recognizes his work as having tremendous impact in his field, and the college is proud of his accomplishment.”