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Social Science Faculty Named Harvard University Fellow

Sarah Reckhow

The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University named Sarah Reckhow, associate professor of political science, a Radcliffe Institute fellow.

Reckhow joins more than 50 women and men from 11 countries in the 2018–2019 Radcliffe fellowship class as they pursue work across the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences. Radcliffe fellows spend one year working and living at Harvard, where they pursue individual research projects.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Professor Reckhow, who has distinguished herself in the areas of urban politics, politics of philanthropy and education policy,” said Charles Ostrom, chair of political science in the College of Social Science. “During her fellowship year, she will be able to merge each of three research interests into a fascinating study of philanthropy and education in an urban context.”

At the Radcliffe Institute, Reckhow will focus her research on urban politics and policy, and the role of nonprofits and philanthropy in the political process. Her individual research project is a book titled, “Governing without Government.” In it, Reckhow will examine the intersection of two trends in United States politics: the weakening of local governments due to public sector austerity and the rising importance of resources from private sector philanthropy and nonprofit initiatives. Her book will track the consequences of these changes, including the impacts on civic engagement.

Reckhow’s inspiration comes from work done at MSU, including research with Davia Downey on Detroit and Flint, funded by IPPSR, and co-leading the InnovateGov Detroit summer service learning program.

“We placed 50 MSU students in public service internships in Detroit,” said Reckhow. “I learned a great deal from the experience about the capacity challenges of local government in Michigan and the significant role of nonprofits.

While in residence, fellows at the Radcliffe Institute present lectures and exhibitions to the public, participate in cross-disciplinary study groups and work closely with undergraduate Harvard students who serve as research partners.

“We’re delighted with this new group of exceptionally talented fellows,” said Radcliffe Institute Dean Lizabeth Cohen. “We are excited to see what the coming year holds, as they each embrace the unique intellectual and creative freedom that a Radcliffe fellowship offers.”

The Radcliffe Institute has awarded more than 900 fellowships since its founding in 1999.

  • Madeline Kelly and Sarah Reckhow via MSU Today

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