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2 Duke Ph.D. Candidates Receive Newcombe Fellowships

May 23, 2018

Jeffrey Nicolaisen (left) and Isak Tranvik
Jeffrey Nicolaisen (left) and Isak Tranvik

Duke Ph.D. candidates Jeffrey Nicolaisen (religion) and Isak Tranvik (political science) have been named Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellows for 2018 by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

The Newcombe Fellowship is the nation’s largest and most prestigious award for Ph.D. candidates in the humanities and social sciences addressing questions of ethical and religious values. Each fellow will receive a 12-month award of $25,000 to support their final year of dissertation work. 

Nicolaisen is completing a dissertation titled Equality of Life: Thinking with Multi-Species Relationships in Taiwan. It investigates the Taiwanese Buddhist concept of “equality of life” through human, dog, and monkey interaction.

Tranvik’s dissertation is titled Existential Revolution: Democracy, Citizenship, and the Source of Popular Politics. It examines the conceptions of citizenship used by groups engaging in popular politics.

The Newcombe Fellowship fosters the original and significant study of ethical or religious values in all fields of the humanities and social sciences. Funded by the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation, the fellowship was created in 1981 and has supported just over 1,200 doctoral candidates. This year’s 21 Newcombe Fellows represent 15 institutions. Their fields of study include anthropology, English, ethnomusicology, geography, health policy and management, history, philosophy, political science, religious studies, and sociology.