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Jack Knight, Rey Chow Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

The new class to be inducted at a ceremony Oct. 8 in Cambridge, Mass. 

Duke University faculty members Jack Knight and Rey Chow have been elected members of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

Knight is the Frederic Cleaveland Professor of Law and Political Science and chair of the political science department, and Chow is the Anne Firor Scott Professor and director of the Program in Literature. They join 213 new members, including scholars, scientists, writers, artists and civic, business and philanthropic leaders. 

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony Oct. 8 in Cambridge, Mass. 

Knight is a political scientist and legal theorist whose scholarly work focuses on modern social and political theory, law and legal theory, and political economy. He holds a joint appointment with Duke Law School and Duke’s Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, where he teaches in the Politics, Philosophy and Economics Program. 

In addition to studying the motivations and decisions of judges, Knight has examined the effects of extensive prior judicial experience as a prerequisite for service on the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as various aspects of how courts make decisions. 

“It was a very pleasant surprise to learn that I had been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,” Knight said. “It is an honor to join the ranks of such a distinguished group of scholars, artists and civic leaders." 

Knight is the author of several books, including “The Choices Justices Make” (with Lee Epstein) (Congressional Quarterly Press, 1997), which won the American Political Science Association’s C. Herman Prichett Award for the best book published on law and courts. 

"I congratulate Jack Knight on his election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,” said Dean David F. Levi of Duke Law School. “Through his groundbreaking work in law and political science, including his distinguished scholarship on judicial decision-making and the rule of law worldwide as well as his leadership as co-director of Duke’s Center for Judicial Studies, he has advanced understanding of our society and how it is governed. He is a thinker, scholar, and teacher of the highest caliber, and thus very deserving of this honor." 

Chow's research comprises theoretical, interdisciplinary and textual analyses. Her research focuses on issues of modernity, sexuality and ethnicity in literature and film, particularly in East Asia, Western Europe and North America. 

Her book, “Primitive Passions: Visuality, Sexuality, Ethnography, and Contemporary Chinese Cinema” (Columbia University Press, 1995) earned the James Russell Lowell Prize by the Modern Language Association. 

Before coming to Duke, Chow was the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Brown University, where she held appointments in the Departments of Comparative Literature, English, and Modern Culture and Media. 

“This news came as a complete surprise, and I am greatly humbled,” Chow said. “Being the current director of the Program in Literature, where several of my colleagues are already  AAAS fellows, I am truly pleased to see that the work we do in the literary humanities -- be it in the form of critical theory, media studies, creative writing, transnational film studies or other specializations -- continues to receive major professional recognition such as this distinction. This honor is a gift to all of us, the scholarly community at Duke!” 

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the country’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers, convening leaders from the academic, business and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing -- and opportunities available to -- the nation and the world.

Members contribute to academy publications and studies of science, engineering, and technology policy; global security and international affairs; the humanities, arts and education; American institutions and the public good. 

The list of the 236th class of new members is located at