Daniel Sharfstein named 2013 Guggenheim Fellow
Release Date: Apr 12, 2013
Daniel J. Sharfstein, professor of law, has been awarded a fellowship by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Sharfstein’s fellowship was awarded in the area of United States history.
The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has offered annual fellowships to artists, scholars and scientists in all fields since 1925. Sharfstein is one of 175 Guggenheim Fellows in the class of 2013. “Guggenheim Fellows are appointed on the basis of impressive achievement in the past and exception promise for future accomplishment,” the Foundation announced in the April 11 edition of The New York Times. Successful applicants were chosen from a group of almost 3,000 applicants.
Sharfstein co-directs Vanderbilt’s Social Justice Program and teaches courses in American legal history as well as Property. In 2012, he was honored with the student-selected Hall-Hartman Award for Outstanding Teaching for his seminar, The Legal History of Race in the United States. He joined Vanderbilt’s law faculty in 2007.
Sharfstein’s fellowship project, “Thunder in the Mountains: The Clash of Two American Legends, Oliver Otis Howard and Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce,” is a book-length exploration of post-Reconstruction America that focuses on the experiences of a Union general who headed the Freedman’s Bureau after the Civil War and later commanded army forces against Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest.
"A Guggenheim Fellowship is a singular honor, and I cannot think of anyone more deserving than my colleague, Dan Sharfstein," said Dean Chris Guthrie. "He is a creative scholar, a gifted writer, and an insightful and empathic person. Despite all of the accolades he has already received, he has only begun to scratch the surface of his potential. I am grateful to Guggenheim for supporting Dan's important work, and like everyone familiar with Dan's scholarship, I am anxiously awaiting Dan's next book."
Sharfstein's first book, The Invisible Line: Three American Families and the Secret Journey from Black to White (Penguin Press, 2011), won the 2012 J. Anthony Lukas Prize for nonfiction as well as the William Nelson Cromwell Book Prize, awarded by the American Society for Legal History. It was also the co-winner of the James Willard Hurst Prize, awarded by the Law and Society Association for outstanding scholarship in sociolegal history. For his research on civil rights and the color line in the American South, Sharfstein was awarded an Alphonse Fletcher Sr. fellowship and a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, and he was the inaugural recipient of the Raoul Berger Visiting Fellowship in Legal History at Harvard Law School.
Sharfstein also received Association of American Law Schools’ Scholarly Paper Prize for his article, “Atrocity, Entitlement and Personhood in Property,” (98 Virginia Law Review 635, 2012). His writing has appeared in the Yale Law Journal, Minnesota Law Review, New York Times, Slate, Washington Post, Economist, American Prospect and Legal Affairs.
A graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School, he clerked for Judges Dorothy W. Nelson of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and Rya W. Zobel of the Massachusetts District Court. He was also an associate at Strumwasser & Woocher, a public interest law firm in Santa Monica, California. Prior to law school, he worked as a journalist in West Africa and Southern California. Before joining Vanderbilt’s law faculty in fall 2007, he was a Samuel I. Golieb Fellow in Legal History at New York University School of Law.