Two Mershon Affiliates Named to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

April 17, 2017

Two Mershon Affiliates Named to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

(left) Janet Box-Steffensmeier, (right) Geoffrey Parker

Last week the American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced the election of 228 new members, including some of the world's most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists, as well as civic, business, and philanthropic leaders.

Among them were two Mershon faculty affiliates: Janet Box-Steffensmeier, Vernal Riffe Professor of Political Science and professor of sociology, and Geoffrey Parker, Andreas Dorpalen Professor of History.

"I am particularly thrilled by this honor because I'm one of three Ohio State University members in the Class of 2017 -- all of them from the College of Arts and Sciences," Parker said.

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the country's oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers, convening leaders from the academic, business, and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing — and opportunities available to — the nation and the world.

Members contribute to Academy publications and studies in science, engineering, and technology policy; global security and international affairs; the humanities, arts, and education; and American institutions and the public good.

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on October 7, 2017, in Cambridge, Mass.

Janet Box-Steffensmeier

Janet Box-Steffensmeier is Vernal Riffe Professor of Political Science, Distinguished University Scholar, and affiliated faculty member with Translational Data Analytics.

Box-Steffensmeier’s work focuses on political methodology and American politics. She is one of the top political methodologists working on event history, time series analysis and network modeling and is known for incorporating heterogeneity into analyses of political dynamics. Temporal change and dynamics are a driving theme throughout her substantive and methodological work. She has made lasting contributions to our understanding of the evolution of political behavior and political institutions through the development of new methods, data and theory. Her work has extensive support from the National Science Foundation.

Box-Steffensmeier was an inaugural fellow of the Society for Political Methodology. She has twice received the Gosnell Award for the best work in political methodology and the Emerging Scholar Award of the Elections, Public Opinion, and Voting Behavior Section of the American Political Science Association. She received the Political Methodology Career Achievement Award in 2013 and the Excellence in Mentoring Award in 2016 from the Political Methodology Society. In that same year, the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research honored her with the Warren E. Miller Award for Meritorious Service to the Social Sciences.

Box-Steffensmeier is the current vice president for APSA, and she previously served as the treasurer. She was also the president of the Political Methodology Society and Midwest Political Science Association. She has been an associate editor of both Political Analysis and American Journal of Political Science.

Box-Steffensmeier founded the Visions in Methodology conference, funded by NSF, to support women who study political methodology by providing opportunities for scholarly progress and professional mentoring. Ohio State hosted the first VIM meeting in 2008. The Box-Steffensmeier Graduate Student Award, given annually by the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research is named for her in recognition of her contributions in political methodology and her support of women in this field. In 2013, Box-Steffensmeier was recognized for Outstanding Professional Achievement for Scholarship and Mentorship by the Women’s Caucus for the Midwest Political Science Association.  

The Ohio State University recognized Box-Steffensmeier with the Distinguished Scholar Award in 2012 and Undergraduate Mentor Award in 2009. The Department of Political Science honored her in 2013 with a Distinguished Teaching Award.

Box-Steffensmeier graduated magna cum laude from Coe College and received her Ph.D. from the Department of Government, University of Texas, in 1993. She joined the faculty in the Department of Political Science in 1993. In 2013, she was appointed faculty representative to the Ohio State Board of Trustees. In 2014, she was appointed divisional dean for the social and behavioral sciences for the College of Arts and Sciences. She sits on the Mershon Center’s Oversight Committee.

Geoffrey Parker

Geoffrey Parker is Andreas Dorpalen Professor of European History, Distinguished University Professor, and affiliate of the Mershon Center for International Security Studies.

Parker, considered one of his generation’s most influential historians, is no stranger in the arena of the world’s top awards and honors, most notably the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Dr. A.H. Heineken Prize for History in 2012 (Nobel Prize equivalent for historians) and, in 2016, elected corresponding fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland’s National Academy of Science and Letters, created in 1783 by Royal Charter for “the advancement of learning and useful knowledge.” Additionally, he is a fellow of several other European Academies.  

A consummate and prolific scholar, Parker has authored, edited or co-edited 39 books and more than 100 articles and book chapters, focusing on the social, political and military history of Europe between 1500 and 1650, with special reference to Spain and its empire. He is the author of several seminal books in the area — notably The Military Revolution: Military Innovation and the Rise of the West, 1500-1800. Published by Cambridge University Press in 1988, it won two major book prizes.

In 2013, Yale University Press published Global Crisis: War, Climate, and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century, concerning the climatically induced crisis that created acute political, economic, intellectual and social upheaval all around the globe, causing the premature death of around one-third of the human population. The book was funded by two grants from the Mershon Center and inspired, in part, by the hope that it would help inform the current debate on the consequences for human society of sudden climatic change. In 2014, the Society for Military History awarded Global Crisis its “best book” prize, and the British Academy awarded it a medal that recognizes “a landmark academic achievement in any of the disciplines supported by the Academy, which has transformed understanding of a particular subject or field of study.” Yale will publish an abridged and updated edition in July 2017.

In 2014, Yale University Press published Imprudent King: A New Life of Philip II, which has received numerous accolades. It includes much previously unknown material from a cache of 3,000 documents written by or to Philip that Parker discovered and cataloged in the library of the Hispanic Society of America in New York City.

Additionally, he has delivered hundreds of lectures around the world and given countless television and radio interviews in North America and Europe. He was principal consultant to the 2015 BBC mini-series Armada: 12 Days to Save England and also appeared in each episode.

Parker teaches courses on the Reformation, European history and military history at both undergraduate and graduate levels, and he received an Ohio State Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award in 2006. He has directed several doctoral theses to completion.

Parker studied history at Christ’s College, Cambridge University, where he received a B.A., Ph.D., and Litt.D. He then taught at the Universities of Cambridge and St Andrews in Great Britain and Yale before joining Ohio State’s Department of History in 1997. He returned to St Andrews as a Carnegie Centennial Professor during the 2016 academic year. Currently, he is completing his biography of the Emperor Charles V (1500-58), a project for which the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded him a senior fellowship in 2014-15.

Academy membership

Members of the 2017 class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences include winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the Wolf Prize; MacArthur Fellows; Fields Medalists; Presidential Medal of Freedom and National Medal of Arts recipients; and Academy Award, Grammy Award, Emmy Award, and Tony Award winners.

Besides Box-Steffensmeier and Parker, the third Ohio State faculty member elected to the academy this year was Russell H. Fazio, Harold E. Burtt Professor of Psychology. These three bring the total membership from Ohio State in the academy to 18.

Social scientists in the new class include psychologist Michael Tomasello, a widely cited scholar of comparative studies of humans and great apes; economist Marc Melitz, who developed a new approach to the analysis of international trade; attorney William Lee, a leading thinker and lawyer in the field of intellectual property; and cultural anthropologist Caroline Brettell, whose research focuses on international migration, specifically the issues of gender and personal narrative in the study of the migrant experience.

In the humanities and arts, new members include: philosopher Jonathan Lear, known for his work on Aristotle's logical theory; historian Naomi Oreskes, who studies scientific debate and climate change; award-winning actress Carol Burnett; linguist John Rickford, who examines the history and structure of creole languages; Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage, who writes about the lives of women of African descent; and John Guy, curator of South and Southeast Asian art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Academy membership encompasses more than 4,600 fellows and 600 foreign honorary members, and reflects the full range of disciplines and professions: mathematics, the physical and biological sciences, medicine, the social sciences and humanities, business, government, public affairs, and the arts. Among the academy's fellows are more than 250 Nobel laureates and 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.