Emily Erikson named new Fox Fellowship director

Sociology professor Emily Erikson has been selected as the next director of the Fox International Fellowship — a graduate student exchange program between Yale and 20 universities worldwide that aims to promote international collaboration and scholarly exchanges — according to an announcement by Director of the MacMillan Center Ian Shapiro last week.

Erikson will succeed Benjamin Cashore, who has held the position for the past five years, on July 1. The fellowship, which was founded in 1988, focuses on enhancing the potential of its fellows in a policy-oriented, historically informed and socially impactive way, according to its website, and primarily accepts students enrolled in the graduate programs in the social sciences and similar disciplines in the professional schools.

“I am so thrilled,” Erikson said. “I love the project and its goal to build and expand global cooperation and the program consists of such an exceptional group of people.”

According to Executive Director of the MacMillan Center George Joseph, Erikson was chosen for two main reasons: her dynamic scholarly contributions and her strong reputation of working well with students.

Erikson conducts research in the fields of social networks, comparative historical sociology, organizations, theory and economic sociology, focusing on the role of social networks in historical and cultural change.

Erikson said that she is currently “shadowing” Cashore to get a sense of how the job is done. She said that currently, she is mostly involved in the admissions process for the program.

“I am excited about the ways in which the fellowship can develop even further,” Erikson said. “I have a social networks background, and the fellowship is developing a connection of the most wonderful scholars around the world. To maintain and grow this global network of scholars will be exciting.”

She added that Cashore did “an amazing job” at the helm of the program, expanding it from 13 to 20 partner institutions. The program recently added Argentina to its list of participating countries.

Julia Muravnik, the assistant director of the fellowship, said that Cashore enhanced the experiences of the fellows by increasing support for their research, providing training on creating impactive policies and public speaking and cooperating with Yale Global Online to promote more discussion on contemporary issues.

“The amount of time that he spent advising students on their research and connecting them with resources on campus was amazing,” Muravnik said.

Cahore reflected on his own term as director as “one of the most personally enriching experiences” for him. He described it as a happy “irony” that while he initially expected his directorship to be a way for him to contribute to Yale and society, it actually “gave back” to him. Cahore said that he was “greatly inspired” by the fellows’ pursuit of projects that were both rigorous and important to the world. He added that he was leaving the position with “significant hope for the next generation.”

He stressed the growing relevance of the fellowship in the context of “a data-driven world,” adding that the fellowship is a great example of “the importance of generating knowledge among different disciplines and methods.”

The Fox International Fellowship was established by Joseph Carrère Fox ’38 to foster intellectual exchange between Yale University and Moscow State University during the Cold War.