Duke faculty members Jack Knight and Rey Chow have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The University announced Wednesday that Knight—Frederic Cleaveland professor of law and political science and chair of the political science department—and Chow—Anne Firor Scott professor of literature and director of the Program in Literature—are part of the Academy's new class of 2016, consisting of 213 of the nation's top scholars and leaders. The Academy is an independent policy research institution and one of the nation’s oldest honorary societies.
Knight and Chow are also the latest inductees from Duke, as more than 50 Duke faculty members are active members of the Academy.
“It was a very pleasant surprise to learn that I had been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,” Knight said in a Duke Today release Wednesday. “It is an honor to join the ranks of such a distinguished group of scholars, artists and civic leaders."
Knight is a political scientist and legal theorist whose research has centered on the motivations and decisions of judges in addition to the effects of the norm of extensive prior judicial experience as a prerequisite for service on the U.S. Supreme Court. He has written several books and teaches in the Duke Law School and the Philosophy, Policy and Economics program.
“Through his groundbreaking work in law and political science, including his distinguished scholarship on judicial decision-making and the rule of law worldwide as well as his leadership as co-director of Duke’s Center for Judicial Studies, he has advanced understanding of our society and how it is governed," said David Levi, dean of the Duke Law School, in the release. "He is a thinker, scholar and teacher of the highest caliber, and thus very deserving of this honor."
Chow's research focuses on issues of modernity, sexuality and ethnicity in cultural forms such as literature and film, particularly in East Asia, Western Europe and North America. Currently, her work centers on the legacies of poststructuralist theory, the politics of language as a postcolonial phenomenon and the shifting paradigms for knowledge and lived experience in the age of visual technologies and digital media.
Her book, “Primitive Passions: Visuality, Sexuality, Ethnography, and Contemporary Chinese Cinema,” earned the Modern Language Association's James Russell Lowell Prize in 1995.
“This news came as a complete surprise, and I am greatly humbled,” Chow said in the release. “Being the current director of the Program in Literature, where several of my colleagues are already AAAS fellows, I am truly pleased to see that the work we do in the literary humanities—be it in the form of critical theory, media studies, creative writing, transnational film studies or other specializations—continues to receive major professional recognition such as this distinction."
Knight and Chow, along with the rest of this year's class, will be inducted into the Academy at a ceremony Oct. 8 in Cambridge, Mass.
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