Zehra Hashmi, 2019-20 A. Bartlett Giamatti Graduate Fellow at the Institute for the Humanities, has been named a 2020 Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellow by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. The 23 exceptional scholars in this year’s class are each exploring topics of religion and ethics in their dissertation research.

Each 2020 Newcombe Fellow receives a 12-month award of $27,500 to support the final year of dissertation writing. The Newcombe Fellowship is the largest and most prestigious award for PhD candidates in the humanities and social sciences addressing questions of ethical and religious values in interesting, original, or significant ways.

Fellows in this year’s class are completing their dissertations at some of the nation’s top institutions. Working in such departments as religion, philosophy, history, and anthropology, fellows are writing on topics like the politics of African American mourning; anti-gender activism in Mexico; religion, race, and mobility in the American South; and the relationship between Buddhist traditions of saving animals’ lives and modern-day China.

Heshmi's project is titled "Identifying Kin: Biometric Belonging and Databased Governance from Colonial South Asia to Postcolonial Pakistan." 

Funded by the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation, the fellowship was created in 1981 and has supported nearly 1,300 doctoral candidates. Funding at the dissertation stage remains a vital time to support young scholars. Newcombe Fellows have gone on to be noted faculty at domestic and foreign institutions, leaders in their fields of study, Pulitzer Prize winners, and more. The 2019 class of MacArthur Fellows, for example, included three Newcombe Fellows from the late 1980s.

The Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship is a crucial part of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation’s portfolio in higher education, helping promising scholars generate momentum, strengthening fields of study, and preparing new generations of academic and intellectual leaders.  For more information on the Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship,  visit http://woodrow.org/fellowships/newcombe/.