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Two Weinberg Professors Named Guggenheim Fellows

Alter and Biss will use awards to work on their next books

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April 20, 2011 | by Amy Weiss

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Karen J. Alter, professor of political science in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences with a courtesy appointment in the Northwestern University School of Law, and Eula Biss, lecturer in the English department, have been awarded John Simon Guggenheim Fellowships. 

Alter was awarded a fellowship in law to continue working on her book “The New Terrain of International Law,” which Alter explains, “investigates the causes and consequences of delegating authority to international courts.” 

Alter’s main research focus is international legal systems, with extensive expertise in Europe and Latin America. She is the author of “The European Court’s Political Power” and Establishing the Supremacy of European Law: The Making of an International Rule of Law in Europe.” She recently concluded five years of research on the Andean Tribunal of Justice, which is in the process of being published in a series of articles. 

Biss, who won a fellowship in general nonfiction, also will work on her next book, titled “Quickening: On Medicine, Myth and Metaphor.” The book “will explore the intersection of public health and private decisions in four areas: childbirth, breastfeeding, vaccination and plastics.”

Biss won a 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award for her acclaimed book "Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays," a collection of essays on race and identity in the United States. She is the author of “The Balloonists” and is a founding editor of Essay Press, a publisher of creative nonfiction. 

Guggenheim Fellowships recognize demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability across an array of fields. From as many as 4,000 applicants, approximately 220 fellows are named each year. The program helps provide blocks of time for fellows to work with as much creative freedom as possible.