Harvard Law School Professor Annette Gordon-Reed ’84 was inducted as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and served as the academy’s Class IV speaker at the 2011 induction ceremony, held Oct. 1.
Gordon-Reed’s talk focused on AAAS’s 1780 founding – highlighting the ideology of President John Adams, one of the academy’s charter members – and detailed how American humanities and social sciences have since flourished and contributed to the development of a strong nation.
Appointed in February to AAAS’s new Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, Gordon-Reed stressed the importance of humanities and social science education in the United States, in addition to the math and science disciplines often mistakenly hailed as more essential to success.
“This is not an either/or proposition,” Gordon-Reed said of American educational priorities. “Our students can be proficient in math, science and the humanities. … American students need to draw from every form of creativity – arts, science, mathematics – to put them in the position to tackle the tough questions and to solve the problems that inevitably await us as the years unfold.”
At the time of Gordon-Reed’s election to AAAS, Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow said: “Professor Gordon-Reed’s remarkable work spans the disciplines of law, history and literature, and will be valued forever because of its originality, scrupulousness, and imagination. I can think of no one more deserving of election to an academy that brings together scholars, artists and leaders from so many areas of expertise and pursuit.”
One of 179 new members, Gordon-Reed joins leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities and the arts among the ranks of the Academy. The academy’s 231st class of influential artists, scientists, scholars, authors, and institutional leaders includes winners of the Nobel, Pulitzer, and Pritzker Prizes; the Turing Award; MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships; and Kennedy Center Honors, Grammy, Golden Globe, and Academy awards, according to the AAAS announcement. Foreign Honorary Members from Argentina, India, Israel, Japan, and the United Kingdom were also inducted.
Gordon-Reed joined the Harvard faculty in July 2010 as a professor of law at Harvard Law School, a professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
Among Gordon-Reed’s many honors are: a 2010 MacArthur Fellowship, more commonly known as the MacArthur “Genius Award;” the National Humanities Medal and the Pulitzer Prize in history for her book, “The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family” and the National Book Award in nonfiction for the same work in 2008; a Guggenheim Fellowship in the Humanities (2009); a Fellowship at the Cullman Center at the New York Public Library (2010-1011); NOW’s Woman of Power and Influence Award (1999); the NYLS Otto Walter Prize for best faculty publication of 1999 and 2008; the Bridging the Gap Award, recognizing her efforts to foster racial reconciliation (2000); Columbia University’s Barbara A. Black lectureship (2001); the Trailblazer Award from the Metropolitan Black Bar Association (2001); Old Dominion Fellowship at Princeton University (2002); and selection as a National Book Award judge in the nonfiction category.
Other members of the HLS faculty who have been selected as fellows in previous years include Lucian Bebchuk LL.M. ’80 S.J.D. ’84, Victor Brudney, Robert Clark ’72, Richard Fallon, Roger Fisher LL.B. ’48, Charles Fried, Mary Ann Glendon, Jack Goldsmith, Charles Haar LL.B. ’48, Morton Horwitz LL.B. ’67, Elena Kagan ’86, Benjamin Kaplan, Louis Kaplow ’81, Duncan Kennedy, Randall Kennedy, Michael Klarman, Daniel Meltzer ’75, Frank Michelman LL.B. ’60, Martha Minow, Robert Mnookin LL.B. ’68, Gerald L. Neuman ’80, Mark Roe ’75, Steven Shavell, William Stuntz , Cass Sunstein ’78 , Laurence Tribe ’66, Mark Tushnet, Roberto Mangabeira Unger LL.M. ’70 S.J.D. ’76, and Elizabeth Warren.