Announcing the Edmond J. Safra Graduate Fellows in Ethics for the 2017-18 Academic Year

May 17, 2017

Cambridge, MA - The Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University is excited to announce our Graduate Fellows in Ethics for the 2017-18 academic year.

Edmond J. Safra Graduate Fellows in Ethics

Jacob Abolafia is a PhD candidate in Political Theory. His research interests and publications span the history of political philosophy from antiquity through late modernity. In his dissertation, a comparative study of the origins of penal incarceration in fourth century Athens and 18th century England, he tries to disentangle the history of incarceration from the history of industrialization, focusing on the way democracy, moral theory, and religion inform the possibilities of punishment in society. At Harvard, Abolafia has taught the history of political thought from Plato to Weber, and coordinated the European Philosophy Workshop and the Political Theory Colloquium. He holds a BA in Philosophy from Yale and MPhils in Political Thought and Intellection History and Classics from Cambridge, where he was a Paul Mellon Fellow at Clare College from 2010-2013.

Diana Acosta-Navas is a PhD candidate in Philosophy, who works on issues in the intersection of political philosophy and philosophy of language. Her dissertation comprises three essays that explore (1) the relation between power and speech, and (2) how citizens’ capability to use speech in different ways affects their standing and power as members of society. The first paper is a critical reflection on the concept of “silencing,” as found in recent philosophical debates. The other two analyze the way in which specific institutions empower vulnerable members of society by enabling them to perform actions with their speech. One is focused on the institution of truth commissions; the other, on affirmative consent policies. At Harvard, Diana taught a tutorial titled “Silencing Speech.” She has also worked as a teaching fellow for undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics, logic, African American studies. She holds a BA in Philosophy from Los Andes University, and an MA from the National University of Colombia.

Noel Dominguez is a PhD candidate in Philosophy. His research focuses on relational normativity, moral responsibility, and joint action. In his dissertation, Dominguez examines our moral responsibility in cases of “marginal agency” – are we responsible for unintentional actions like forgetting or those caused by implicit racial biases? He defends a relational account of moral responsibility according to which we can be blamed for our actions to the extent that they violate others’ autonomy and argues that this “normative” approach to moral responsibility can better explain what we find objectionable about blameworthy instances of marginal agency than accounts focusing on the offending agent’s attitudes can. At Harvard, Dominguez has taught courses in Free Will and the Philosophy of Race, and has served as a teaching fellow for undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics, metaethics, and political philosophy. He holds a BA in Philosophy and Political Science from Bard College at Simon’s Rock.

Jonathan Gould is a PhD candidate in Harvard’s Department of Government and a member of Harvard’s coordinated JD/PhD program. His research sits at the intersection of political theory, public law, and political science, with a focus on governmental institutions in the United States. His dissertation, Political Representation and Public Law, examines the mechanisms of legislative representation. In particular, it evaluates the oft-overlooked legal and procedural rules that structure how representatives interact with each other and with the citizenry. Gould received a JD from Harvard Law School, where he served as President of the Harvard Law Review. He has designed and taught an interdisciplinary seminar on public law at Harvard College and has served as a teaching assistant at Harvard Law School. He has worked as a law clerk for the Honorable Judge David Barron on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and he has spent summers at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and at the Public Citizen Litigation Group. Gould is a graduate of Harvard College, where he received an AB in Social Studies.

Sam Klug is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History studying the history of the United States in a global context. His primary interests are in intellectual history, African American history, and international history. His research examines how the global process of decolonization shaped ideas about racial formation, economic development, and citizenship in the postwar United States. He is particularly interested in how policymakers and social scientists, as well as civil rights and Black Power activists and intellectuals, used political languages drawn from international development and anticolonial movements to rethink questions of racial inequality, political economy, and democratic governance in the U.S. between the Second World War and the middle of the 1970s. At Harvard, Klug has served as a teaching fellow for courses on the civil rights movement and American social thought, as well as the sophomore tutorial in history. His research has been supported by the Charles Warren Center for American History and the Rockefeller Archive Center. He holds a BA in History from Columbia University and an AM from Harvard.

Charlotte Lloyd is a PhD candidate in Sociology with a secondary field in Computational Science and Engineering. She has recently returned from several semesters of fieldwork in Sydney for her dissertation investigating how more than 700 organizations have come to voluntarily participate in Australian reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through the national “Reconciliation Action Plan” program. In general, her mixed methods research, including new computational methods for social science, focuses on how symbolic and cultural boundaries are related to structural inequality within organizations and communities. Charlotte attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Morehead-Cain Scholar and graduated in 2011 with honors in Comparative Literature and Political Science.

Florian Ostmann is a MPP candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School and holds a PhD in Political Philosophy from University College London. He is interested in questions at the intersection between political philosophy and economic policy, and in ethical questions concerning the behavior of individual agents in the market sphere. In his PhD thesis, Ostmann developed an account of fairness with respect to the distribution of economic gains between corporate actors in international supply chains. During his time as an Edmond J. Safra Graduate Fellow, he intends to expand his work by examining moral demands related to the distributive implications of consumer choices and to the distribution of economic gains within firms. In doing so, he plans to give particular attention to the implications of a growing ‘platform economy’ and the prospect of increasing job automation. In addition to his work on economic issues, Ostmann also has a strong interest in bioethics. He holds a BA in Philosophy and Social Sciences from Humboldt University Berlin, a MA in Legal and Political Theory from University College London, and has been a visiting student at Yale and the Australian National University.

Marianne Potvin (Eugene P. Beard Fellow) a PhD candidate in Architecture and Urban Planning. Her primary interests lie at the intersection of humanitarian aid and the creation of inclusive and just cities. Her dissertation will consider the challenges to humanitarian legitimacy that arise when aid actors go from protecting individual lives to increasingly engaging with urban politics and urban systems. She is also broadly interested in the rise of digital volunteerism and the professionalization of the humanitarian field. At Harvard, Marianne has taught a graduate course on the spaces of conflict, and served as a teaching fellow for undergraduate courses on climate change, environmental policy and forced migration. Her research has been supported by the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs where she is a graduate associate. Previously, Marianne led field teams in Iraq, Afghanistan and Darfur, for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and other NGOs in support of refugees, displaced populations and other victims of armed conflict. She holds a MArch from the University of Montreal and a MDes from Harvard Graduate School of Design.

The Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, established in 1986, is one of Harvard University's interfaculty initiatives under the auspices of the Provost's Office. It encourages teaching and research about ethical issues in public life and the professions, and helps meet the growing need for teachers and scholars who address questions of moral choice in practical ethics and in areas such as architecture, business, education, government, journalism, law, medicine, public health and public policy. In addition to the fellowships, the Center sponsors a public lecture series on applied and professional ethics and other events throughout the year.