Two Yale faculty members win Guggenheim Fellowships

Two Yale faculty members are among a group of 180 artists, writers, scholars, and scientists awarded 2,022 fellowships by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Daphne A. Brooks, a scholar of African-American literature and culture, performance studies, critical gender studies, and popular music culture; and Milan Svolik, a scholar of authoritarian regimes and democratization, were chosen through a rigorous peer-review process from almost 2,500 applicants on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.

Now that the past two years are hopefully behind all of us, it is a special joy to celebrate the Guggenheim Foundation’s new class of fellows,” said Edward Hirsch, president of the Guggenheim Foundation and 1985 Fellow in Poetry. “This year marks the Foundation’s 97th annual fellowship competition. Our long experience tells us what an impact these annual grants will have to change people’s lives.

The work supported by the foundation will aid in our collective effort to better understand the new world we’re in, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going. It is an honor for the foundation to help the Fellows carry out their visionary work.”

The Guggenheim Fellowship, created in 1925 by US Senator Simon Guggenheim and Olga Guggenheim in memory of their son John Simon Guggenheim, honors exceptional individuals in pursuit of scholarship in any field of knowledge and creation in any art form, under the freest possible conditions.

Daphne A. Brooks is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of African American Studies, American Studies, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Music at Yale. She is the author of “Bodies in Dissent: Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850-1910,” winner of The Errol Hill Award for Outstanding Scholarship on African American Performance from ASTR and “Jeff Buckley’s Grace.” Her most recent book, “Liner Notes for the Revolution: The Intellectual Life of Black Feminist Sound” (Harvard, 2021) won the 2021 Museum of African American History Stone Book Award, the 2021 Pen Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Nonfiction, the 2022 Prose Award in Music & the Performing Arts, and the Popular Culture Association’s Shaw and Hazzard-Donald Award for Outstanding Work in African American Popular Culture Studies. She has authored numerous articles on race, gender, performance, and popular music culture and has written the liner notes to accompany the recordings of Aretha Franklin, Tammie Terrell, Prince, and Nina Simone. Her writing by her has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Nation, Pitchfork and numerous other press outlets. She is the editor of “The Great Escapes: The Narratives of William Wells Brown, Henry Box Brown, and William Craft” and “The Performing Arts” volume of “The Black Experience in the Western Hemisphere Series.” Brooks is currently editing an anthology of essays culled from “Blackstar Rising & the Purple Reign: Celebrating the Legacies of David Bowie and Prince,” a 2017 Yale international conference and concert which she curated. She is the co-founder and co-director of Yale University’s Black Sound & the Archive Working Group, a 320 York Humanities Initiative. Her new book project is titled “’One of These Mornings’: Porgy and Bess and the Story of America.”

Milan Svolik is a professor in the Department of Political Science. In his research and teaching, he focuses on comparative politics, political economy, and formal political theory. He has authored and co-authored articles on the politics of authoritarian regimes, democratization, and democratic backsliding. He is the author of “The Politics of Authoritarian Rule,” (Cambridge University Press, 2012), which received the best book award from the Comparative Democratization Section of the American Political Science Association. In addition to continuing work on the politics of authoritarianism and democratization, his current research includes projects on democratic backsliding, support for democracy, and electoral manipulation. His latest book project examines why ordinary people support politicians who undermine democracy.

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