Four UChicago scholars receive Guggenheim fellowships

Four UChicago scholars—Alison Bechdel, John H. Cochrane, Adrian Johns, and Don Kulick—have been named 2012 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellows. They are among 181 diverse scholars, artists and scientists selected this year in the 88th annual competition for the United States and Canada.

Chosen from a group of almost 3,000 candidates, the recipients have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.

Cochrane, the AQR Capital Management Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Johns, the Allan Grant Maclear Professor in History, Kulick, professor of anthropology in Comparative Human Development, and Bechdel, a renowned cartoonist and 2011-2012 Mellon Residential Fellow for Arts and Practice at the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, are part of the group that Guggenheim Foundation president Edward Hirsch calls "the best of the best."

Alison Bechdel


Acclaimed cartoonist Alison Bechdel will use her Guggenheim Fellowship to complete a third graphic memoir.

She is the author of two other memoirs, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic and the forthcoming Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama. Fun Home, an exploration of the death of Bechdel’s father, was described as “a pioneering work” by the New York Times Book Review and named the Best Book of 2006 by Time magazine.

Bechdel currently co-teaches a course on comics and autobiography with Hillary Chute, the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of English Language and Literature.

As part of the fellowship, Chute and Bechdel have organized an upcoming conference, “Comics: Philosophy and Practice,” that will bring together 17 world-renowned cartoonists for three days of public lectures and conversation.

Bechdel created the cult comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, which ran from 1983 to 2008. Her comics have appeared in Entertainment Weekly, McSweeney’s, Slate, and the New York Times Book Review. Bechdel edited Best American Comics 2011.

John Cochrane


John Cochrane focuses on macroeconomics, monetary economics and several areas of finance in his research. His recent finance publications include the book Asset Pricing as well as journal articles on dynamics in stock and bond markets, the volatility of exchange rates and the term structure of interest rates. He also has researched and written on the returns to venture capital, liquidity premiums in stock prices, the relation between stock prices and business cycles, and option pricing when investors can’t perfectly hedge.

Cochrane’s monetary economics publications include articles on the relationship between deficits and inflation, the effects of monetary policy, and on the fiscal theory of the price level. Cochrane will use his Guggenheim Fellowship to further his research on the fiscal theory.

Cochrane is a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and past director of its asset-pricing program. He is an adjunct scholar of the CATO institute, past president and a fellow of the American Finance Association, and a fellow of the Econometric Society.

Cochrane has been an editor of the Journal of Political Economy, and associate editor of several journals, including the Journal of Monetary Economics, Journal of Business, and Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control. His recent awards include the TIAA-CREF Institute Paul A. Samuelson Award for his book Asset Pricing, the Chookazian Endowed Risk Management Prize, and the Faculty Excellence Award for M.B.A. teaching.

He currently teaches an M.B.A. course in advanced investments and several Ph.D. courses in asset pricing and monetary economics. Cochrane joined the Chicago Booth faculty in 1994 after spending nine years on the faculty of UChicago’s Department of Economics.

He earned his Ph.D. in economics at the University of California, Berkeley.

Adrian Johns


Adrian Johns, a specialist on intellectual property, will study the intellectual property defense industry with his Guggenheim Fellowship.

An expert on British history and the history of the book and other media, Johns chairs the Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science.

He is the author of Death of a Pirate: British Radio and the Making of the Information Age (2010), Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates (2009), and The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making (1998).

The Nature of the Book won the Leo Gershoy Award of the American Historical Association, the John Ben Snow Prize of the North American Conference on British Studies, the Louis Gottschalk Prize of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, and the SHARP Prize for the best work on the history of authorship, reading and publishing.

Johns also has published widely in the history of science. He has published papers on the ideal of scientific collaboration in the 17th and 18th centuries, the history of science and the history of the book.

Prior to his appointment at UChicago in 2001, he taught at the California Institute of Technology; the University of California, San Diego, and the University of Kent.

Johns received a Ph.D. in 1992 from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. 

Don Kulick


Don Kulick, a linguistic anthropologist, will use the Guggenheim Fellowship to work on a book manuscript titled, The End: How a Language Dies.

Kulick spent most of 2009 in a small Papua New Guinean village called Gapun. The language spoken in Gapun is a linguistic isolate that is dying, and currently, only about 45 people fluently speak it. Kulick documented the cultural underpinnings of this language shift in his 1992 book Language Shift and Cultural Reproduction: Socialization, Self, and Syncretism in a Papua New Guinean Village. Last year, he completed the first and only linguistic documentation of the language, Tayap Mer: Grammar and Dictionary of a Papuan Language Isolate.

In addition to his work in Gapun, Kulick has conducted anthropological fieldwork in Brazil, Italy, Sweden and Denmark. He publishes in both English and Swedish, addressing such topics as the language socialization of children, the anthropology of literacy, indigenous forms of Christianity, reflexive epistemology, prostitution, queer theory, transgenderism, language and sexuality, animal studies, disability, and the politics and representation of fat.

His books include Travesti: Sex, Gender and Culture among Brazilian Transgendered Prostitutes, (1998), Language and Sexuality (with Deborah Cameron, 2003), Fat: the Anthropology of an Obsession (co-edited with Anne Meneley, 2005),  Queersverige [Queer Sweden, 2005] and Taboo: Sex, Identity, and Erotic Subjectivity in Anthropological Fieldwork, (co-edited with Margaret Willson, 1995)

Prior to his 2008 UChicago faculty appointment, he held academic positions at the Australian National University, Linköping University, the University of Manchester and Stockholm University. Previously, Kulick was a professor of anthropology and director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at New York University.

Kulick received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Stockholm University in 1990.