Newcombe Fellows Named for 2020

Woodrow Wilson Names 23 Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellows For 2020

June 2, 2020

FOR RELEASE: June 2, 2020
CONTACT:  Frances Hannan | Director of Multimedia Projects | 201-587-4755
                     Jeré Hogan | Program Officer, Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship

Note: Prospective applicants should email

Support For Promising Scholars Completing Dissertations Examining Ethics And Religion

PRINCETON, NJ (June 2, 2020)—The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation has named the 2020 class of Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellows. The 23 exceptional scholars in this year’s class are each exploring topics of religion and ethics in their dissertation research.

Each 2020 Newcombe Fellow receives a 12-month award of $27,500 to support the final year of dissertation writing. The Newcombe Fellowship is the largest and most prestigious award for Ph.D. candidates in the humanities and social sciences addressing questions of ethical and religious values in interesting, original, or significant ways.

Fellows in this year’s class are completing their dissertations at some of the nation’s top institutions. Working in such departments as religion, philosophy, history, and anthropology, Fellows are writing on topics like the politics of African American mourning; anti-gender activism in Mexico; religion, race, and mobility in the American South; and the relationship between Buddhist traditions of saving animals’ lives and modern-day China. (See the full list of Fellows, institutions, and dissertation titles below.)

Funded by the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation, the Fellowship was created in 1981 and has supported nearly 1,300 doctoral candidates. Funding at the dissertation stage remains a vital time to support young scholars. Newcombe Fellows have gone on to be noted faculty at domestic and foreign institutions, leaders in their fields of study, Pulitzer Prize winners, and more. The 2019 class of MacArthur Fellows, for example, included three Newcombe Fellows from the late 1980s.

The Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship is a crucial part of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation’s portfolio in higher education, helping promising scholars generate momentum, strengthening fields of study, and preparing new generations of academic and intellectual leaders.  For more information on the Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship, please visit


About the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
Founded in 1945, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation ( identifies and develops the nation’s best minds to meet its most critical challenges. The Foundation supports its Fellows as the next generation of leaders shaping American society.



Justin Barringer • Southern Methodist University, religious studies
Protest and Politics: A Biographical Theology of Bayard Rustin, Friendship, Charity, and Economic Justice

Tyler Davis • Baylor University, religion
Spirit in the Whirlwind: Discernment, Divine Activity and the Limits of Political Theology

Joanna Demaree-Cotton • Yale University, philosophy
Rehabilitating Moral Agency in the Age of Cognitive Science

Isaiah Ellis • University of North Carolina, religious studies
The Southern Gospel of Good Roads: Religion, Race, and Infrastructure in the United States, 1880–1930

E.C. Feiss • University of California, Berkeley, history of art
Art in the War on Poverty, 1959–1973

Nyle Fort • Princeton University, religion
Amazing Grief: The Politics of African American Mourning

Lara Fresko Madra • Cornell University, history of art and visual studies
The Persistence of Violence: Heterochronic Imagination and Historiography in Contemporary Art from Turkey (1990–2020)

Juliana Friend • University of California, Berkeley, anthropology
“Don’t Click Here!” Porn, eHealth and Radical Ethics of Care in Senegal

Zehra Hashmi • University of Michigan, anthropology and history
Identifying Kin: Biometric Belonging and Databased Governance from Colonial South Asia to Postcolonial Pakistan

Nikki Hoskins • Drew University, religion & society
Everyday Experiments in the Projects:  Urban Black Women’s Moral Visions for Earth

Manpreet Kaur • Columbia University, religion
A Performance History of Farid

Harris Kornstein • New York University, media, culture, and communication
Queer Enchantment: Contours, Cruising, Crystal Visions, and Other Queer Tactics for (Not) Being Seen

Elena Lesley • Emory University, anthropology
Testimony as Moral Performance: Productively assembling the Khmer Rouge past in contemporary Cambodia

Tamar Menashe • Columbia University, history
People of the Law: The Imperial Supreme Court and Jews in Cross-Confessional Legal Cultures in Germany, 1495–1690

Sofia Pinedo-Padoch • Princeton University, anthropology
Life After Death in New York City: An Ethnography of Public Administration

Charlotte Amelia Rossler • Stony Brook University, history
Race Science on Tour: Instructing Publics in Provincial Britain, 1830–1870

Sara Swenson • Syracuse University, religion
“Sharing Hearts”: Buddhist Charities and Urbanization in Vietnam

Lila Teeters • University of New Hampshire, history
Native Citizens: The Fight For and Against Native Citizenship in the United States, 1866–1924

Thomas Thornton • The Johns Hopkins University, anthropology
A Pastoral Prison: Christianity, Ethics, and Place in Cotton County, Alabama

Tara Tran • Johns Hopkins University, history
Hospitality Engendered: Women’s Bodies, Empire, and Humanitarianism in Colonial Cambodia

Annie Wilkinson • University of California, Irvine, anthropology
Securing the Family: Transnational Anti-Gender Activism in Mexico

Hai Xiao • University of Wisconsin-Madison, geography
Spirituality and Subjectivity: Making Sense of Lived Experiences in an African City

Guangshuo Yang • Northwestern University, history
Between the Animal Kingdom and Modern States: Buddhist Animal Protectionism and the Making of Chinese Modernity, 1895-1958

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