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2 IU Bloomington professors elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Apr 28, 2020

Two Indiana University Bloomington faculty members – Eduardo S. Brondizio and Winnifred F. Sullivan – have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the oldest and most prestigious honorary societies in the country.

Brondizio is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Anthropology and an adjunct professor in the Department of Geography, both in the College of Arts and Sciences, and in the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Sullivan is a Provost Professor in the College’s Department of Religious Studies, director of the Center for Religion and the Human and an affiliated professor in the Mauer School of Law.

They were among the 276 new fellows and international honorary members in the 2020 class that was announced April 23. The class includes artists, scholars, scientists and leaders in the public, nonprofit and private sectors.

The class also includes two IU alumni:

  • Kwesi Yankah, from the Republic of Ghana, who earned a Master of Arts in linguistics in 1984 and a Ph.D. in folklore in 1985. He was elected as an international honorary member.
  • Zainab Bahrani, the Edith Porada Professor of ancient near-eastern art and archaeology at Columbia University, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1981.

“The members of the class of 2020 have excelled in laboratories and lecture halls, they have amazed on concert stages and in operating rooms, and they have led in board rooms and courtrooms,” academy President David W. Oxtoby said.

“These new members are united by a place in history and by an opportunity to shape the future through the academy’s work to advance the public good.”

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, founded in 1780, represents innovative thinkers across fields and professions, and includes more than 250 Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners.

Brondizio’s research focuses on the study of human-environmental interactions in the Amazon, and plays a key role in discussions about climate change, biodiversity, sustainability, institutions and governance.

He is director of the Center for the Analysis of Social-Ecological Landscapes. He has served on many international scientific boards in the Americas, Europe and Asia, including as co-chair of the 2016-19 United Nations’ Global Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Brondizio also has played key roles in international global environmental change and sustainability research initiatives.

Brondizio has been a member of the Science Committee of the Future Earth program and the International Geosphere Biosphere Program, as well as co-editor-in-chief of “Current Opinion on Environmental Sustainability.”

Sullivan’s research focuses on the intersection of religion and law in the U.S, and she has taught in both religious studies departments and law school. At IU, Sullivan teaches courses on religion and law, the politics of religious freedom, the history and phenomenology of Christmas as a church/state event, the trial of Joan of Arc, and contemporary theories of religion.

She is the author of four books – “Paying the Words Extra: Religious Discourse in the Supreme Court of the United States,” “The Impossibility of Religious Freedom,” “Prison Religion: Faith-Based Reform and the Constitution,” “A Ministry of Presence: Chaplaincy, Spiritual Care, and the Law” – and co-author of another, “Ekklesia: Three Inquiries in Church and State.”

Sullivan is co-editor of three volumes: “After Secular Law,” “Varieties of Religious Establishment” and “Politics of Religious Freedom.”

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Kirk Johannesen

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