Congratulations to political science assistant professor Robert Nichols, who has been awarded a two-year (2013-2015) Humboldt Faculty Fellowship. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is an academic institute set up by the government of the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Foreign Office and the Ministry of Education and Research. It provides a number of internationally competitive fellowships and academic awards.
The Humboldt Fellowship provides Professor Nichols with two years of funded research, tenable at two institutions. His primary institution is the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, where he will join the Department of Philosophy. There, he will be working principally with Dr. Rahel Jaeggi, a professor of practical philosophy and prominent Critical Theory scholar. His secondary institutional affiliation is with the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge, where he will be collaborating with several scholars who work on imperialism in the history of political theory.
Professor Nichols’ project aims to bring the tradition of German Critical Theory to bear upon problems pertaining to colonialism and historic injustice in the Anglo-American world. In particular, it involves a critical reexamination of the concept of ‘dispossession’ in Marxist theory as a possible vehicle for reconstituting the relationship between Critical Theory and decolonizing theory and praxis. Work through the Humboldt Fellowship comprises one portion of his ongoing research agenda involving a study of the relationship between political philosophy and the experience of settler colonialism in the late-modern and contemporary Anglo-American world. The overarching goal is to develop a suitably reconstructed Critical Theory of dispossession, appropriate for confronting contemporary problems related to colonialism, indigenous rights and landlessness.
Professor Nichols’ current project is an extension of the work undertaken as a 2012 Fulbright Scholar at Columbia University in the City of New York. He is the co-editor of two new books, including Isaiah Berlin and the Politics of Freedom: Berlin’s ‘Two Concepts of Liberty’ 50 years Later
, which he co-edited with Bruce Baum (Routledge 2012), and a forthcoming book, Freedom and Democracy in an Imperial Context: Dialogues with James Tully
, which he co-edited with Jakeet Singh (Routledge 2013).