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Four Emory faculty named to American Academy of Arts and Sciences
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Elaine Justice
profile photos of Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Jacqueline Irvine, Susan Margulies and Walter Melion

Emory faculty members elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences include (top row, L-R) Jacqueline Irvine, Susan Margulies, (bottom row, L-R) Walter Melion and Rosemarie Garland-Thomson.

Four Emory University faculty members have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies and a leading center for independent policy research. A total of 13 Emory faculty have been elected to the academy in the past three years.

Elected this year are:

  • Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, professor emerita of English and Bioethics
  • Jacqueline Irvine, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Urban Education Emerita
  • Susan Margulies, assistant director of the National Science Foundation leading the Directorate of Engineering, and professor and former chair of the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Emory and Georgia Tech
  • Walter Melion, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Art History

“Emory faculty continually expand their influence and innovation across the arts, humanities and sciences,” says Ravi Bellamkonda, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Emory. “We celebrate and promote faculty eminence daily, but seeing these individuals receive these well-earned national honors is particularly gratifying.”

The Emory professors are among 270 members newly-elected members of the American Academy, which was founded in 1780 by John Adams, John Hancock and others who believed the new republic should honor exceptionally accomplished individuals and engage them in advancing the public good. The academy’s commitment to honoring excellence remains essentially the same more than 240 years later, with honorees from increasingly diverse fields and with work focused on the arts, democracy, education, global affairs and science. 

“With the election of these members, the academy is honoring excellence, innovation and leadership and recognizing a broad array of stellar accomplishments,” says David W. Oxtoby, academy president. “We hope every new member celebrates this achievement and joins our work advancing the common good.” 

Garland-Thomson is a bioethicist, author, educator, humanities scholar and thought leader in disability justice and culture. Her work has developed the field of critical disability studies in the health humanities to address issues of disability access, inclusion and identity to a broad range of institutions and communities.

In 2016, Garland-Thomson’s op-ed, “Becoming Disabled,” was the inaugural article in the ongoing weekly series in The New York Times. She recently co-edited the series into a collection titled, “About Us: Essays from the Disability Series.”

Garland-Thomson is the author of “Staring: How We Look,” “Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature,” and “Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body.” She is the author of dozens of both academic and popular articles for publications ranging from The Atlantic to the American Journal of Bioethics, and has given a wide range of interviews and public talks about issues related to disability and bioethics, education, history and culture.

Irvine is a widely recognized authority on multicultural education and urban teacher education, particularly the education of African American students.

She is the author of “Black Students and School Failure,” which received the 1991 Outstanding Book Award from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and the Academic Book of the Year award from the American Association of College and University Research Librarians.

Her other books include “Growing Up African American in Catholic Schools,” “Critical Knowledge for Diverse Students,” “Culturally Responsive Lesson Planning for Elementary and Middle Grades,” “In Search of Wholeness: African American Teachers and Their Culturally Specific Pedagogy,” and “Educating Teachers for Diversity: Seeing with the Cultural Eye.” 

At Emory’s Commencement in 2000, Irvine received the Thomas Jefferson Award, the highest honor given to a faculty member for service and research. In 2005, Irvine was presented with the Social Justice in Education Award by the American Educational Research Association for her efforts to advance social justice through education research. And, in 2010 she received the Howard University Alumni Award for Distinguished Postgraduate Achievement.

Margulies joined the NSF as the assistant director for the Directorate for Engineering in August 2021, after leading the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory.

She is internationally recognized for pioneering studies spanning the micro-to-macro scales and across species to identify mechanisms underlying brain injuries in children and adolescents and lung injuries associated with mechanical ventilation, leading to improved injury prevention, diagnosis and treatments. She has launched numerous training and mentorship programs for students and faculty, created institute-wide initiatives to enhance diversity and inclusion, and led innovative projects in engineering education.

Margulies’ transdisciplinary scholarly impact has been recognized by her election as fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Biomedical Engineering Society, and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and as a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine.

Melion has achieved prominence in a wide range of subfields related to the study of early modern European art. He has published extensively on Dutch and Flemish art and art theory of the 16th and 17thcenturies, on Jesuit image-theory, on the relation between theology and aesthetics in the early modern period, and on the artist Hendrick Goltzius.

In addition to monographs on Jerónimo Nadal's Adnotationes et meditationes in Evangelia and on scriptural illustration in the 16th-century Low Countries, his books include “Shaping the Netherlandish Canon: Karel van Mander's `Schilder-Boeck',” “The Meditative Art: Studies in the Northern Devotional Print, 1550-1625,” and “Karel van Mander and his Foundation of the Noble, Free Art of Painting.”

He has co-authored two exhibition catalogues, written more than 100 articles, and served as editor or co-editor of more than 25 volumes. He is also editor of two book series: Brill’s “Studies on Art, Art History, and Intellectual History” and “Lund Humphries’ Northern Lights.” Melion was elected foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010, member of the Print Council of America in 2013, and was Chaire Francqui at the Université Catholique de Louvain in 2014-15.

Melion was awarded the 2016 Distinguished Scholar Award of the American Catholic Historical Association, the 2019 Baker Award of the Michael C. Carlos Museum and has been Scholar in Residence at The Newberry Library since 2017. He is president emeritus of the Sixteenth Century Society and current president of the Historians of Netherlandish Art. His digital, open-access edition of the exhibition catalogue “Through a Glass, Darkly: Allegory and Faith in Netherlandish Prints from Lucas van Leyden to Rembrandt” is forthcoming presently. He is now writing a monograph on 16th- and 17th-century Netherlandish manuscript prayerbooks organized around printed images, to be finished at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts in 2023-2024.

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