Two Liberal Arts faculty members become National Humanities Center fellows

Susan Burlingame
June 16, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Two faculty members from Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts have been named fellows of the National Humanities Center (NHC) for the 2020-21 academic year.

Christopher Moore, Harry and Elissa Sichi Early Career Professor in Philosophy and associate professor of philosophy and classics; and Crystal Sanders, associate professor of history and African American studies, and director of the Africana Research Center at Penn State, were among 33 fellows chosen from a pool of 673 applicants.

Founded in 1978, the National Humanities Center is the world’s only independent institute dedicated exclusively to advanced study in the humanities. Located in Research Triangle, North Carolina, it hosts resident fellows each year, providing scholars with the resources for generating new knowledge. Moore and Sanders will be conducting their research at NHC’s North Carolina facility beginning this fall.

Moore received the Robert F. and Margaret S. Goheen Fellowship (Robert Goheen was the 16th president of Princeton University). He will be working on a project called “The Virtue of Agency: Sophrosune and Selfhood in Ancient Greece,” for which he plans to explore the least understood of the four Greek cardinal virtues.

“The cardinal virtues include courage, wisdom, justice and sophrosune,” said Moore, noting that “sophrosune” is a Greek word for which there is no easy translation. “Some say sophrosune is ‘temperance.’ The Greeks talked about it as being responsible for what you do, so I will be exploring what the Greeks were really trying to capture.”

“The National Humanities Center Fellowship is a very prestigious and coveted award,” said Amy Allen, head of the Department of Philosophy and liberal arts professor of philosophy and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. “Christopher's receipt of this fellowship is a testament to his outstanding, high impact scholarship in ancient philosophy.”

Crystal Sanders will hold the Anthony E. Kaye Fellowship while at NHC. She said she is particularly honored to hold the Kaye Fellowship, because she knew the late Dr. Kaye when he was an associate professor in the Penn State Department of History before serving as vice president of scholarly programs for the National Humanities Center.

At the NHC, Sanders will be working on a book titled “America’s Forgotten Migration: Black Southerners’ Quest for Graduate Education in the Age of Jim Crow.” The book will explore the ways that southern flagship universities preserved segregation by paying for Black students to attend graduate school at northern universities.

“Oftentimes when scholars write about desegregation in schools, it is in the context of elementary and secondary education,” said Sanders. “My research will focus on black southerners and their pursuit of graduate education. There are thousands of black doctors, lawyers, professors and other professionals who had to leave their families and home communities in the south and relocate to the North, Midwest and West to obtain the educational opportunities denied them at home because of racism. Border and southern state legislatures appropriated tax funds to offset the costs of these black scholars' educational pursuits rather than desegregate all-white public universities in the region."

“Our department has a fantastic track record of securing fellowships at the National Humanities Center,” said Michael Kulikowski, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of History and Classics and head of the Department of History. “I’m delighted that Crystal has joined that growing cohort among us. She’s a pathbreaking scholar in the history of education and the long freedom struggle, and she’s been a program builder in the department and the University.”

Both Sanders and Moore will begin their resident fellowships in early fall. They follow two Penn State faculty members who were named NHC fellows during the 2019-20 academic year: Shuang Shen, associate professor of comparative literature and Chinese; and Christina Snyder, McCabe Greer Professor of the American Civil War Era.

  • Sanders_Crystal

    Crystal Sanders, associate professor of history and African American studies and director of the Africana Research Center

    IMAGE: Michael T. Davis Photography
  • Moore_Christopher

    Christopher Moore, Harry and Elissa Sichi Early Career Professor in Philosophy and associate professor of philosophy and classics

    IMAGE: Courtesy of Dept of Philosophy
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Last Updated June 22, 2020