2018–2019 Welcome Message from Director Michèle Lamont

August 24, 2018

Image of Michele LamontWelcome to the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. Our community of scholars researches complex international, transnational, global, and comparative topics at the frontier of the social sciences. We aim to focus on the most important questions facing societies across the globe. This is why with this new academic year, we are launching three new Weatherhead Research Clusters focused on international security, the reconfiguration of regions in a multipolar world, and religion in public life in Africa and the African diaspora. These complement our existing clusters on global populism/challenges to democracy, global transformations, and comparative inequality and inclusion. We will continue to support three ongoing Weatherhead Initiatives, which concern gender inequality, climate engineering, and Afro-Latin American studies.

This will be the second year of the Weatherhead Scholars Program, which launched last year. This program offers twenty-one visiting faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and experienced practitioners the prospect of spending up to one academic year at Harvard. Scholars have the opportunity to get involved in the new research clusters and engage with the Center community.

Our Center is committed to facilitating research that permeates throughout the Harvard intellectual community. Our affiliates include 238 Harvard Faculty Associates and over 150 graduate and undergraduate students, visiting scholars, fellows, and postdoctoral researchers. They are spread across nine of Harvard’s thirteen schools, and are brought together under a pluralistic theoretical and methodological umbrella.

Our community meets on a biweekly basis in our Weatherhead Forum, which is open to our residential community and often streamed on Facebook. Each talk highlights a different program, project, or research group, and feeds ongoing substantive exchanges and a robust intellectual community.

Numerous other ongoing programs, projects, and conferences complete the range of research activities underway at the Weatherhead Center. We support over thirty regular seminars organized by many intellectual partners on a wide range of topics.

For sixty years, the Weatherhead Center has shaped the agenda of the social sciences in the United States and the world. This is made evident for instance by the fact that fourteen of the past winners of the top book award of the American Political Science Association, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award, have been Center affiliates—including the 2018 winner, Conservative Parties and the Birth of Democracy by Daniel Ziblatt (Government Department). The Center will continue to shape the future of scholarship, just has it has in the past.

I hope you will enjoy joining the activities of the Weatherhead Center this coming 2018–2019 academic year. I warmly invite you to get involved in all our events and activities, and to explore our publications—including our Epicenter blog. Stay tuned by following us on Twitter and Facebook.


Michèle Lamont
Director, Weatherhead Center
Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies
Professor of Sociology and of African and African American Studies

Photo credit: Dave Nelson