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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University January 18, 2005 | Vol. 34 No. 18
Humanities Prof Honored by Mellon Foundation

$1.5 million grant to Fried will support programs that enhance research, teaching

By Amy Cowles

Michael Fried, professor of the humanities and history at Johns Hopkins, is one of four scholars to receive the fourth annual Distinguished Achievement Award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The foundation awarded a $1.5 million grant to Fried, who is the James R. Herbert Boone Professor of Humanities and Professor of the History of Art.

The awards honor scholars who have made significant contributions to humanistic inquiry and will provide the recipients and their institutions with resources to deepen and extend humanistic scholarship. The awards are for three years, with funds being granted to, and overseen by, the recipients' institutions.

In contrast to other notable academic award programs that benefit the individual scholar exclusively, the Distinguished Achievement Awards are designed to recognize the interdependence of scholars and their institutions. Accordingly, while this grant program honors the achievements of individuals, the grants themselves support specific institutional programs of activities that will enhance both research and teaching.

"I'm extremely pleased about this award," Fried said. "It will have a huge impact on my life, and it's great for the university."

Fried's plans include jointly leading a semester-long seminar with Stanley Cavell, professor emeritus of philosophy at Harvard University, in fall 2006. Among his other still-evolving plans is one to bring renowned art historians to the Johns Hopkins Homewood campus during the 2005-2006 academic year.

Fried's contributions to humanistic scholarship extend well beyond his groundbreaking work on 18th- and 19th-century European art and his championing of 20th-century American art. Through his art historical monographs, the numerous exhibitions he has organized and his important discussions of the theory of representation, Fried's ideas have significantly influenced the critical practices of his own field as well as those of other disciplines, including English, Romance languages, history and philosophy. His work combines historical rigor and discipline at the highest level with sophisticated philosophical and psychological analysis. In addition, Fried has produced notable works of literary criticism and has published several volumes of poetry. As chairman of Johns Hopkins' Humanities Center, he has found inventive means of strengthening humanistic teaching and scholarship at the university. He is known for the care with which he trains the doctoral students under his supervision, as well as for his energetic teaching of undergraduates.

Chosen from such fields as classics, history, history of art, musicology, philosophy, religious studies and all areas of literary studies, the recipients of the awards were selected through an intensive process of nomination and review. Final selections were made by a panel of distinguished scholars, including Jerome B. Schneewind, professor emeritus of philosophy at Johns Hopkins.


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