UChicago gains five new members of American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Four scholars and one distinguished trustee from the University of Chicago have been elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Michael Fishbane, the Nathan Cummings Distinguished Service Professor of Jewish Studies in the Divinity School and the College; Thomas Ginsburg, the Leo Spitz Professor of International Law at the Law School; Edward Laumann, the George Herbert Mead Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology and the College; and Jonathan Pritchard, Professor of Human Genetics, were elected to the Academy along with UChicago Trustee and alumnus David M. Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group and a major philanthropist for the arts, libraries and higher education.

They join accomplished world leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities and the arts in the 2013 class. It includes winners of the Nobel Prize; the National Medal of Science; the Lasker Award; the Pulitzer and the Shaw prizes; the Fields Medal; MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships; the Kennedy Center Honors; and Grammy, Emmy, Academy and Tony awards.


Michael Fishbane studies the ancient Near East, biblical studies and rabbinics (the history of Jewish interpretation), as well as Jewish mysticism and modern Jewish thought. He is currently completing a book that incorporates modern critical and traditional Jewish interpretations of the Song of Songs. Among his many honors, Fishbane has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Lifetime Achievement Award in Textual Studies from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture.


Edward Laumann is one of the nation’s leading scholars on social network theory. His research interests include the sociology of human sexuality, the spread of sexually transmitted infections via sexual networks, subjective well-being, quality of life, global health status in later life, interorganizational relationships and the legal profession. Since joining UChicago in 1973, Laumann has acted as the editor of the American Journal of Sociology, chair of the Department of Sociology, dean of the Division of Social Sciences, Provost of the University of Chicago, and is currently the director of the Ogburn Stouffer Center for Population and Social Organization. 


Thomas Ginsburg specializes on comparative and international law from an interdisciplinary perspective. He currently co-directs the Comparative Constitutions Project. He joined the UChicago faculty in 2008 after serving as on the faculty of the University of Illinois College of Law. Before entering law teaching, he served as a legal adviser at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, The Hague, Netherlands, and he regularly consults with numerous international development agencies and foreign governments on legal and constitutional reform.


Jonathan Pritchard uses computationally intensive approaches to understand the nature and extent of genetic variation within and between human populations. His team develops statistical methods for genetic analysis, extracting subtle signals from large and complex data sets to better understand the genomes of humans and other organisms. One central focus of his lab is on learning how genetic diversity drives variation in gene regulation within and between species. Recent projects include mapping the genetics of complex traits, unraveling the history and structure of human populations, and computational modeling of the controls of gene expression. Pritchard also shares programs and software packages developed in his lab that help other researchers use genetic data to understand population structure.


David M. Rubenstein, JD’73, has had a distinguished career in law, politics and as a major philanthropist for the arts, libraries and higher education. After serving in the Carter administration, he became cofounder and co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, one of the world's largest private equity firms. In September 2010, his $10 million gift funded 60 full-tuition scholarships to the University of Chicago Law School. A member of the University's Board of Trustees since 2007, Rubenstein is active in numerous philanthropic causes and currently serves as chairman of the board of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

Founded in 1780, the Academy is one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies. It is also a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to Academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, energy and global security, social policy and American institutions, and the humanities, arts and education.

The 2013 class will be inducted at an Oct. 12 ceremony in Cambridge, Mass.