Harriet Fertik, assistant professor of classics, has been awarded a research fellowship for postdoctoral researchers from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. She will spend the academic year 2017-2018 at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.
The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables highly-qualified scientists and scholars from abroad who are just embarking on their academic careers and who completed their doctorates less than four years ago to spend extended periods of research in Germany.
During her fellowship, Fertik will work on a new book project, “Outside the Ideal Community: Spaces for Education and Politics in Greco-Roman Antiquity and the Works of W. E. B. Du Bois.” She will investigate education in political communities that do not value the equal participation of its citizens in public discourse and action.
“While much work at the intersection of political and educational philosophy in classical studies focuses on the formation of the ideal community and how to educate its members,” says Fertik, “I investigate how, where and why education takes place when these ideals cannot be realized. I will use W. E. B. Du Bois’ discussions of classical training for African Americans to frame my study of education and politics in the ancient world.”
While recent scholarship has paid greater attention to the influence of Du Bois’ classical training in his thinking about politics, education and race, says Fertik, no one has yet examined the potential of Du Bois’ work to shed light on key issues in classical antiquity.
Humboldt-Universität has an active program in African-American studies, and Du Bois himself was a doctoral student there in the late 19th century.
“The Humboldt fellowship will give me the time necessary to make significant progress in researching and writing this book,” says Fertik.
Fertik has also received a faculty fellowship from the UNH Center for the Humanities to support this project.