Two Faculty, Three Trustees Elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Historian Thavolia Glymph and cell biologist Cagla Eroglu

Thavolia Glymph, Peabody Family Distinguished Professor of History, has uncovered little-known histories that have reshaped our understanding of American life in the period around the Civil War. With particular attention to the lives of Black women, Glymph’s research has put Black lives at the forefront of historical narratives in the antebellum period and through the Civil War and Reconstruction. She is currently president of the American Historical Association.

“The questions of freedom and home have been central to my work as a scholar,” Glymph said. In her book “Out of the House of Bondage,” (2003) Glymph explores the transformation of the plantation following the Civil War, finding that the violence between Black and white women in the pre-war plantation household shaped the kind of home and labor Black women dreamed of, and fought for, during the Civil War and after emancipation.

Likewise her 2020 book, “The Women’s Fight,” highlighted the central role women of all races played for both sides of the Civil War, far away from the battle lines and the interest of conventional histories. The book, which won eight awards and distinctions, highlighted the fault lines that showed across gender, race and region.

Cagla Eroglu, the Chancellor's Distinguished Professor of Cell Biology and Neurobiology, investigates the cellular and molecular underpinnings of how synaptic connections between neurons are established and remodeled in the mammalian brain by the bidirectional signaling between neurons and cells called astrocytes.

Eroglu, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and vice chair of research in the Department of Cell Biology, has shown that astrocytes, previously thought to be inert support cells, help construct an intricate web of neural circuitry, and that astrocyte dysfunction has been connected to devastating diseases like autism, schizophrenia and epilepsy.

In 2023, four Duke faculty members were elected to the Academy: Abdullah Antepli, Kenneth Dodge and Margaret Sullivan of the Sanford School of Public Policy and Amy S. Gladfelter, a cell biologist in the School of Medicine.

The Academy was founded in 1790 to honor excellence and to convene leaders from every field of human endeavor to examine new ideas, and address issues of importance to the nation and the world.

The new class joins Academy members elected before them, including Benjamin Franklin (elected 1781) and Alexander Hamilton (1791) in the 18th century; Ralph Waldo Emerson (1864), Maria Mitchell (1848), and Charles Darwin (1874) in the 19th; Albert Einstein (1924), Robert Frost (1931), Margaret Mead (1948), Milton Friedman (1959), Martin Luther King, Jr. (1966), and Jacques Derrida (1985). Duke President Vincent Price was elected in 2020.