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May 12, 2020

University of Vermont English professor Emily Bernard has been named a 2020 Andrew Carnegie Fellow by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Recognized as one of the highest honors for faculty in the humanities and social sciences, the Carnegie Fellowship awards $200,000 to scholars to support research that addresses important and enduring issues confronting society. Bernard is one of 27 fellows selected from this year’s 322 nominations.

Winners in the competitive selections process were chosen based on the originality and potential impact of proposals they submitted, as well as by the scholar’s capacity to communicate the findings to a broad audience.

Bernard won for a proposal titled "Unfinished Women," a proposed collection of eight narrative nonfiction essays about black women artists and public figures. A meditation on the notion of success itself, the book will explore the experiences of black women whose lives don’t conform to the triumphalism that characterizes typical American success narratives, according to Bernard.

The latest class of fellows was selected by a distinguished panel of 17 jurors made up of scholars and academic and intellectual leaders from some of the nation’s most prominent educational institutions, foundations and scholarly societies. Seven of the jurors are either current or former university presidents.

“The pursuit of knowledge and the generation of ideas were critically important to the Corporation’s founder, Andrew Carnegie, whose mission is especially relevant today as our society confronts problems that have been greatly exacerbated by COVID-19,” said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York and president emeritus of Brown University. “Fellows from earlier classes are actively addressing the coronavirus through their research on topics such as its impact on rural America, government authority during a pandemic, and ways in which different countries address infectious diseases. The work of this exemplary Class of 2020 will also be of service across a range of other crucial issues.”

“A Carnegie Corporation fellowship is one of the most prestigious honors a scholar can receive,” said Suresh Garimella, UVM president. “We are extremely proud of Dr. Bernard’s accomplishment and very much look forward to the important work she’ll produce with the fellowship’s support.”

The award covers a period of up to two years and its anticipated result is a book or major study.

Read more about the Class of 2020, the Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program, the work of past honorees, the criteria for proposals, and a historical timeline of scholarly research supported by the Corporation

Earlier this year, Bernard won the Christopher Isherwood Prize for autobiographical prose in the Los Angeles Times 2020 Book Prizes competition for her 2019 book, “Black Is the Body,” the most recent of many honors the book has received. Bernard is the Julian Lindsay Green & Gold Professor of English at the university.

Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program was established in 2015. The program represents an overall investment of $38 million in some 200 recipients whose scholarly research spans such subjects as U.S. democracy, the environment, technological and cultural evolution, and international relations. The criteria prioritize the originality and potential impact of a proposal, as well as a scholar’s capacity to communicate the findings with a broad audience.

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