- Photograph by Kris Snibbe/Harvard News Office
Jones professor of American studies Lizabeth Cohen, interim dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (RIAS) since last July, has been appointed dean. President Drew Faust, who was RIAS’s founding dean before becoming Harvard president, made the announcement this morning. In the news release, Faust said:
Liz Cohen is a distinguished and imaginative scholar with a deep knowledge of Radcliffe and Harvard and a strong dedication to Radcliffe’s pursuit of new ideas and collaborations across the academic disciplines, the professions, and the creative arts. She is an experienced academic leader with a talent for nurturing creativity and spurring cooperative effort, and as interim dean she has already strengthened Radcliffe’s ties to people and programs across Harvard and beyond. Her wide span of intellectual interests, her spirited curiosity, and her incisive intelligence promise to serve the Institute well.
In my eight months as interim dean I have learned how much the Institute has to offer—advancing the research of Harvard faculty and students, providing intellectual invigoration to our interdisciplinary fellows, sustaining the world’s preeminent research library on the history of women, and pursuing programs to share this wealth of new knowledge with wider audiences close to home and increasingly around the world. I like to think of Radcliffe as Harvard’s front door—open and welcoming to all who seek intellectual nourishment and creative inspiration.
Cohen, a member of the faculty since 1997, is a scholar of twentieth-century American social and political history; her recent research has focused on the American built environment. As co-chair of a common-spaces initiative at Harvard, she has helped shape recent measures to make the campus more attractive and congenial for casual social interactions—through such measures as putting lawn seating out in Harvard Yard and making social spaces in the open area in front of the science center. Her book Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939, won the Bancroft Prize and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. She also wrote A Consumers’ Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America. She was herself a Radcliffe Fellow in the 2001-2002 academic year.