Thursday, April 28, 2016
Last week, the Carnegie Corporation announced this year's 33 Carnegie Fellows, winners of the so-called "Brainy Awards." The good news, as these awards reveal, is that many of the best brains in the country are focusing their work on issues that take human rights seriously here at home. Leading the way is Margaret Burnham, professor at Northeastern University School of Law and founder of the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project. A long-time civil rights advocate, Burnham has spent recent years developing research methods to uncover racially-motivated cold cases -- murders, lynchings, and other tragic crimes -- from the mid-twentieth century US. Having identified the cases and underlying facts, she and Northeastern Law students work with families and communities to bring some element of restorative justice. With her award, Burnham will create a digital archive to preserve information about these cases and individuals into the future.
Other awardees include Josh Dubler, a professor of religion at the University of Rochester who asks, "why not prison abolition?" Thomas Weiss, a professor at the CUNY Graduate Center, will develop ideas to make the United Nations more effective. Jains Hainmueller, a political science professor at Stanford, will conduct a quasi-experimental study on what works to promote refugee integration in the US and Europe. Also on the issue of human rights at home, but from a different orientation, Duke Law Professor Curtis Bradley, a long-time critic of judicial references to foreign law, will conduct a project on democratic accountability and foreign comparative law.
All in all, a brainy bunch, whose work makes clear that implementing human rights in the US remains a vital cause.