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Updated 3:00 PM May 2, 2006




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U-M faculty elected to 2006 American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Three LSA professors have been elected fellows by the American Academy of Arts (AAAS) and Sciences.

Judith Irvine, professor of anthropology; Richard Janko, the Gerald F Else Collegiate Professor of Classical Studies, and professor and chair of the Department of Classical Studies; and Robert Lazarsfeld, professor of mathematics, are among 175 fellows and 20 foreign honorary members named this week.

Irvine (Photo courtesy Judith Irvine)
Janko (Photo courtesy Richard Janko)
Lazarsfeld (Photo courtesy Department of Mathematics)

Irvine’s research interests are linguistic anthropology, language in society and culture, history of anthropology and linguistics, social inequality, performance, ethnomusicology, colonialism, and Africa. She joined the University as a professor of anthropology in 2000, and prior to that was an assistant, associate and full professor with the Brandeis University Department of Anthropology, serving as department chair from 1987-90.

“Professor Irvine’s research has been cutting edge since the 1970s,” says Anthropology Chair Conrad Kottak. “Her analyses have reshaped the field at each step, sometimes by redefining key conceptual frameworks, sometimes by defining areas of analysis that have since become central to the field.

“Her writings on linguistic ideology have shown how naïve ideas about the nature of language, its relationship to the world, and its relationship to social differentiation serve as a hinge between social differentiation and linguistic differentiation.”

Janko has been the Gerald F. Else Collegiate professor of Classical Studies and department chair since 2003. He is an internationally recognized expert on Homer, Linear B, Aegean Bronze Age archaeology, Herculaneum papyri, ancient literary theory, ancient religion and aspects of Presocratic philosophy. In 2002 Janko received the American Philological Association’s highest honor, the Goodwin Award of Merit, for his book, “Philodemus: On Poems, Vol. I.”

“I’m delighted to have been elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. This is the first such honor that has befallen me. I shall always be very proud to have been elected,” Janko says. “I’m especially gratified to see my field of study—classical antiquity—recognized in this way. Classical ideas and ideals played an essential role in the founding and history of this Republic, and remain as vital for its future happiness as they have always been.

“It is also gratifying to see the strength of the Department of Classical Studies at the University of Michigan recognized in this way, and I am very grateful to my colleagues for the support they have given me since I arrived here four years ago.”

Lazarsfeld is an expert in algebraic geometry. In recent years his research has focused on applying ideas and techniques from higher-dimensional geometry to a number of concrete algebraic and geometric problems.

“I’m surprised and delighted by my election to the academy,” Lazarsfeld says. “My research uses geometric ideas to study algebraic questions and vice versa. This work has profited greatly from the fabulous intellectual environment here in the mathematics department at Michigan.

“I’d like to express my thanks to the Academy for bestowing this honor, and to my colleagues for all their support over the years.”

The 195 scholars, scientists, artists, civic, corporate and philanthropic leaders come from 24 states and 13 countries, and range in age from 37-83. Represented among this year’s newly elected members are more than 60 universities, a dozen corporations, as well as museums, research institutes, media outlets and foundations.

Fellows are selected through a highly competitive process that recognizes individuals who have made preeminent contributions to their disciplines and to society at large, according to academy President Patricia Meyer Spacks.

This year’s fellows include former presidents George H.W. Bush and William Jefferson Clinton; Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts; and Nobel Prize-winning biochemist and Rockefeller University President Sir Paul Nurse.

The academy will welcome the class at its annual induction ceremony Oct. 7 at the AAAS headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.


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