The University of Chicago News Office
June 17, 1997 Press Contact: Julia Morse
(773) 702-8359

University of Chicago Faculty Member, Recent Alumnus Win “Genius Grants"

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced today that a University of Chicago Visiting Professor, Brackette F. Williams, and a recent alumnus, Loic J. D. Wacquant (Ph.D.’94), are among the recipients of 1997 MacArthur Fellowships, commonly known as “Genius Grants.”

Among the 23 fellows named are individuals in fields ranging from evolutionary biology to dance; from telecommunications policy to education.

The MacArthur Fellowships range from $150,000 to $375,000 annually over five years, depending on the age of the recipient. Along with their five-year stipend, the Fellows are offered health insurance coverage.

MacArthur Fellowships are unrestricted, “no strings attached” awards in support of persons, not projects or organizations. Recipients are free to use the awards as they please. The Foundation does not require or expect specific products or reports from MacArthur Fellows.

Brackette F. Williams, University of Chicago Visiting Professor in Anthropology, is an anthropologist who focuses on issues of cultural production and social relationships. She combines ethnographic research on multiracial communities with a sophisticated understanding of social conflict theory. Her work includes an in-depth study of ritual and symbolism in the construction of national identity in Guyana, and the ways race and class function in the national consciousness of the United States.

Williams, 46, is the author of Stains on My Name, War in My Veins: Guyana and the Politics of Cultural Struggle (1991), editor of Women Out of Place: The Gender of Agency and the Race of Nationality (1992) and past editor of the journal Transforming Anthropology. She received her B.S. (1973) from Cornell University, her M.Ed. (1974) from the University of Arizona, and her Ph.D. (1983) from Johns Hopkins University. Total grant amount: $285,000

Loic J. D. Wacquant, University of Chicago Ph.D. ‘94, is a sociologist who has written extensively on urban poverty. He has recently completed a major work on this subject, using the rich ethnographic material he collected while immersing himself in the social world of a boxing gym on Chicago’s South Side. In addition, Wacquant has addressed larger issues such as the transformation of American ghettos, and the changing forms of urban poverty in Europe and America.

A young, distinguished scholar, he is highly regarded as a bridge between the heavily theoretical French human sciences and the more empirical methods of mainstream American social science. Wacquant, 36, is acting associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his Doctorat de sociology (1993) from the école des études en science sociales, Paris, and Ph.D. (1994) in sociology from the University of Chicago. Total grant amount: $235,000.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, with assets of about $3 billion, is a private, independent grantmaking institution dedicated to helping groups and individuals foster lasting improvement in the human condition. The Foundation seeks the development of healthy individuals and effective communities, peace within and among nations, responsible choices about human reproduction and a global ecosystem capable of supporting healthy human societies. The Foundation pursues this mission by supporting research, policy development, dissemination, education and training, and practice.
Last modified at 03:50 PM CST on Wednesday, June 14, 2000.

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