Three UVA Professors Named to America’s Top Academic Society

Alan Taylor, Pulitzer-Prize winning historian; Jahan Ramazani, Professor of English; John Monahan, psychologist and law professor

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences on Wednesday announced the election of 213 new members this year, including three faculty members from the University of Virginia: School of Law professor and psychologist John Monahan; Jahan Ramazani, Professor of English; and Pulitzer-Prize winning historian Alan Taylor.

The academy includes some of the world’s most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers and artists, as well as civic, business and philanthropic leaders. The 236th class of members also includes Irish novelist and Columbia University professor Colm Tóibín, La Opinión Publisher and CEO Monica Lozano, jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter, former Botswanan President Festus Mogae and autism author and spokesperson Temple Grandin.

Monahan, Ramazani and Taylor join 33 other UVA scholars elected to the academy, including President Teresa A. Sullivan, who was inducted last year.

“I congratulate my colleagues on their election to the academy,” Sullivan said. “Although they work in different disciplines, they share a commitment to teaching and to exceptional scholarship. By electing them this year, the academy is rightly recognizing the significance of their achievements.”

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.

The new group will be inducted Oct. 8 at a ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Monahan, a psychologist, teaches and writes about how courts use behavioral science evidence, violence risk assessment, criminology and mental health law. Courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have frequently cited his work, and he has been called “the leading thinker on the issue” of violence risk assessment.

Monahan, John S. Shannon Distinguished Professor of Law and Joel B. Piassick Research Professor of Law, is the author or editor of 17 books and more than 250 articles and chapters. His book, “Social Science in Law,” co-authored with Laurens Walker, continues to be a standard textbook, is now in its eighth edition and has been translated into Chinese.

His latest research, as co-author of a Harvard Medical School-led study funded by the Department of Defense and published last fall, focused on predicting which soldiers might commit violent crimes using the “big data” drawn from military records of all 975,057 soldiers who served during a six-year period from 2009 to 2015.

Monahan is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and serves on the National Research Council. He was the founding president of the American Psychological Association’s Division of Psychology and Law.

Ramazani, Edgar F. Shannon Professor of English and University Professor, studies transnational modern and contemporary poetry. Among his five books, the most recent are “Poetry and Its Others: News, Prayers, Song, and the Dialogue of Genres,” “A Transnational Poetics” and “The Hybrid Muse: Postcolonial Poetry in English.”

He has co-edited two editions of the 20th-century volume in the “Norton Anthology of English Literature,” one edition of the “Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry” and was an associate editor of the 2012 “Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics.”

Over his 25 years at UVA, he chaired the Faculty Senate in 1997-98 and has chaired the English department.

Ramazani received the 2011 Thomas Jefferson Award recognizing excellence in scholarship. His father, R.K. Ramazani, professor emeritus of government and foreign affairs, received the same award in 1994. They are the first father and son to have each won the award, the University’s highest honor. 

A Rhodes Scholar and Guggenheim Fellow, Ramazani holds master’s degrees from Yale and Oxford universities and a Ph.D. from Yale. An Echols Scholar as an undergraduate at UVA, he received his B.A. in English literature in 1981. He returned to the Grounds to join the faculty in 1988.

Taylor, one of the nation’s premier experts in Colonial America and the early U.S. republic, arrived at UVA in March 2014 and a month later received a Pulitzer Prize for his book, “The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832.” 

“The Internal Enemy” tells the story of about 3,000 enslaved Africans from the Chesapeake region who escaped slavery by fleeing to the British and helping them against the United States during the War of 1812, said Taylor, who taught at the University of California, Davis for about 20 years before joining UVA’s faculty.

Taylor, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Professor in the Corcoran Department of History in the College of Arts & Sciences, won his first Pulitzer in 1996 for his book, “William Cooper’s Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early Republic.” He also received a Bancroft Prize for that book.

He is highly regarded as a historian who has reshaped how fellow historians and the general public look at this early American period. History department chair Paul Halliday said Taylor has also broken ground in situating early America as part of a global story, especially around the Atlantic Ocean. 

Media Contact

Anne E. Bromley

University News Associate Office of University Communications