SNF Agora Institute Welcomes New Visiting Fellows

The new fellows, including the first Dissident in Residence, will explore social media algorithms, political corruption, campus discourse, Black voter mobilization, and other topics.

The SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University announced today that it has selected 11 new visiting fellows from diverse sectors, backgrounds, and disciplines to join the institute during the 2022–2023 academic year.

The members of the new cohort will take up important questions about the role of social media algorithms in shaping politics for better or worse, the ways corruption undermines democratic systems, the tools for civil discourse on campus, evidence-based approaches to mobilizing Black women voters, and more. A select number of visiting fellows will teach undergraduate courses, while others will focus their time on advancing their own scholarship and practices.

As part of its 2022-2023 Visiting Fellows program, SNF Agora is partnering with the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University to offer a themed fellowship on “The Search for Truth in a Complex World: Civic and Ethical Dimensions.” The partnership will form a community of practice exploring how academics can respond to the intellectual, social, and political complexities of the university in the contemporary moment by “reinventing” the academic vocation around a simple question: What makes one argument better than another argument? 

Five of the new SNF Agora Visiting Fellows will be part of the larger community of practice, which will include IHS network scholars or academically trained nonprofit professionals. Visiting Fellow Christian Lundberg, associate professor of rhetorical studies at UNC Chapel Hill, will be co-facilitating the community of practice along with Andrew J. Perrin, SNF Agora Institute Professor of Sociology. The capstone of the series will be a public event in May 2023.

SNF Agora has also partnered with the Renew Democracy Initiative to launch a new Dissident in Residence program. Evan Mawarire, a Zimbabwean pastor and pro-democracy activist who has been imprisoned and tortured for demanding political reforms and an end to rampant corruption and poverty in that country, has been selected as the first Dissident in Residence; he will be leading a number of workshops and other programs for students during the next academic year.

Four SNF Agora Visiting Fellows selected in prior years will be at the institute as well. Two, Farida Nabourema and Beatriz Rey, will be coming to campus for the first time in fall 2022. Two others, Scott Warren and Sam Novey, will be continuing already ongoing work with the institute.

“We are delighted to be welcoming to the institute our second cohort of visiting fellows, who bring to Johns Hopkins a diverse set of perspectives and experiences as academics, journalists and writers, nonprofit leaders, and private sector professionals,” said Stephen Ruckman, deputy director of the SNF Agora Institute, a multi-disciplinary academic center and public forum that is dedicated to improving and expanding civic engagement and informed, inclusive dialogue as the cornerstone of global democracy. “Through teaching and research, these visiting fellows will collaborate with SNF Agora faculty, fellows, and students to expand the reach of research, teaching, and programming at the institute.”

The visiting fellows will be on campus at various points over the next academic year, with some spending the full year with the institute and others joining for portions of the fall or the spring. The cohort will participate in regular programming offered by the institute, while also holding their own symposia throughout the academic year.

The AY22-23 SNF Agora Visiting Fellows are:

Theodore Christov, SNF Agora-IHS Visiting Fellow

Theodore Christov is an associate professor of history and international affairs at George Washington University with an interest in political theory and intellectual history. Born and raised in Bulgaria, he was educated at Harvard and UCLA. He joined GW in 2011 after having taught political theory at Northwestern University. He is interested in how ideas shape and drive international politics, from the seventeenth century to the present. He studies the transformation from empires to states by tracing the “international turn” in the history of political thought. He is the author of Before Anarchy: Hobbes and His Critics in Modern International Thought (Cambridge University Press, 2016), which examines early modern European debates over the external relations of states, and how such debates have been de-historicized in contemporary international relations.

Ashley C.J. Daniels, SNF Agora Visiting Fellow

Ashley C.J. Daniels is a graduate of the Political Science Department at Howard University. She conducts research in the areas of Black politics, Black feminist and womanist theory, public opinion, and popular culture. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Bowie State University, followed by a master’s degree in public administration. Her writing has been featured in the Washington Post, the Washington and Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper, the ForHarriet blog, the PHILLIS Journal for Research on African American Women, and the National Review of Black Politics.

Camille Eiss, SNF Agora Visiting Fellow

Camille Eiss is chief of global partnerships and policy at the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), a cross-border reporting platform for a global network of investigative journalists that exposes crime and corruption, holding power to account. Prior to her time at OCCRP, Eiss served in the Obama administration as the inaugural senior adviser on anti-corruption to the assistant secretary of state for democracy, rights, and labor and as a senior policy adviser and strategic communications adviser on a range of humanitarian, international development, and governance issues at USAID. Eiss holds degrees in history, government, and the history of international relations from Georgetown University and the London School of Economics.

Marion Fourcade, SNF Agora Visiting Fellow

Marion Fourcade is a professor of sociology at the University of California Berkeley. A comparative sociologist, she is interested in variations in economic and political knowledge and practice across nations. Fourcade is the author of Economists and Societies, which explores the distinctive character of the discipline and profession of economics in three countries. Fourcade is also an associate fellow of the Max Planck-Sciences Po Center on Coping with Instability in Market Societies (Maxpo), an external scientific member of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, and a past president of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (2016).  She received her PhD from Harvard University and taught at New York University and Princeton University before joining the Berkeley Sociology Department in 2003.

Janine di Giovanni, SNF Agora-IHS Visiting Fellow

Janine di Giovanni is an award-winning writer and a human-rights and war-crimes educator and adviser.  She is currently director of Enabling Witnesses, Reckoning Project Ukraine, a USAID-sponsored transitional justice project she formerly ran in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen for the UN Democracy Fund. Before that, she was a senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, teaching human rights. She is a columnist at Foreign Policy and The National in Dubai and author of The Morning They Came For Us: Dispatches from Syria, which has been translated into 28 languages and was a finalist for the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Prize. She has authored eight other books on war and conflict. She is a board member of the Institute of War and Peace Reporting and the Association of Foreign Press Correspondents in the United States.

Sahil Handa, SNF Agora-IHS Visiting Fellow

Sahil Handa is a writer, researcher, and technologist. Born in North London to Indian parents, Handa received his bachelor’s degree in social studies and philosophy from Harvard University in 2017. He has written for National Review, Wall Street Journal, City Journal, Business Insider, and Foreign Policy magazine. In 2020, while on leave from Harvard, he worked closely alongside SNF Agora Senior Fellow Yascha Mounk to launch the political magazine Persuasion. He now acts as the publication’s contributing editor and as a columnist at the Mercatus Center, writing regularly about politics, identity, technology, and generational divides. He is also a contributor at Verses and a fellow at Interact.

Yvonne Lee, SNF Agora Visiting Fellow

Yvonne Lee works on the content policy team at Meta, which is responsible for writing and interpreting global policies governing what users can share on Facebook and Instagram. She conducts stakeholder engagement for its misinformation and algorithmic ranking policies, working with leading experts studying news, freedom of expression, and social media to inform the platform’s policies. Her work in tech first began at ASUS headquarters in Taipei, where she spearheaded digital marketing efforts in North America and Europe. She then went on to hold posts at Andreessen Horowitz, the Office of Representative Ro Khanna, and the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy. She graduated from Stanford University with her BA/MA, where she studied computational propaganda on social media platforms.

Christian Lundberg, SNF Agora Visiting Fellow and Co-Facilitator of the IHS-Themed Fellowship

Christian Lundberg is an associate professor in the Department of Communication at UNC-Chapel Hill, where he writes about and teaches courses on rhetoric and public culture. His interests include the theory and practice of public democratic life, including public speaking, debate, persuasive communication, and political rhetoric. His academic work includes multiple books and award-winning articles on rhetoric, speech, and persuasion, including The Essential Guide to Rhetoric; Public Speaking: Choices and Responsibility; and a book about the psychology of public persuasion called Lacan in Public: Psychoanalysis and the Science of Rhetoric (University of Alabama Press, 2012). He received his PhD in rhetoric from Northwestern University’s School of Communication in 2006, and his master of divinity from Emory University in 2000.

Evan Mawarire, SNF Agora-RDI Dissident in Residence

Evan Mawarire is the director for education at Renew Democracy Initiative, a nonprofit and non-partisan organization whose aim is to strengthen democracy in America and globally. He came to prominence as a democracy activist in Zimbabwe as a clergyman who founded #ThisFlag Citizen’s Movement that challenged the brutal dictatorship of Robert Mugabe. Through the use of social media and tech, the movement mobilized millions to participate in protests. For organizing protests and training citizens, Mawarire was imprisoned and tortured in 2016, 2017, and 2019 and charged with treason facing 80 years in prison. Mawarire has addressed audiences at the Atlantic Council, Yale, Harvard, the Oxford Union (UK), the Oslo Freedom Forum, and the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. Foreign Policy magazine named him among the 100 global thinkers of 2016.

Pamela Paresky, SNF Agora Visiting Fellow

Pamela Paresky focuses on helping people create meaningful lives and fulfilling relationships while contributing to and thriving in a pluralist, liberal democracy. Her project, Habits of a Free Mind: Psychology for Democracy and the Good Life, aims to develop a set of teachable practices and habits necessary for engaging across lines of difference without feeling traumatized and without dehumanizing others. She is a visiting senior research associate at the University of Chicago’s Institute on the Formation of Knowledge, a senior scholar at the Network Contagion Research Institute, and a 2021–2022 senior fellow at the Institute for Humane Studies. In addition to an interdisciplinary PhD in human development and psychology from the University of Chicago, Paresky holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. She is a frequent online contributor to Psychology Today, and her writing has been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, The American Mind, Sapir Journal, and a diverse array of other publications.

Clyde Ray, SNF Agora-IHS Visiting Fellow

Clyde Ray is an assistant professor and program director of politics and public service at Holy Cross College in South Bend, Indiana. He is the author of several books and articles on topics ranging from the American Constitution and political leadership to Jane Austen and comparative constitutional design. He is currently at work on a volume addressing the topic of liberal constitutional legitimacy in the twenty-first century. Ray holds a PhD from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, an MA from Villanova University, and a BS from Western Carolina University, all in political science. At Holy Cross, he has taught a range of courses, including American politics, issues in world politics, political philosophy, and political economy. As an SNF Agora-IHS Visiting Fellow, he is interested in non-electoral sources of democratic government, including free and open speech and inquiry.