PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — The Carnegie Corporation of New York has awarded Brown faculty member Prerna Singh one of 31 2018 Andrew Carnegie fellowships for a project titled "The Control of Contagion: States, Societies and Infectious Disease Across China and India."
Singh, an associate professor of political science and international and public affairs, and a faculty fellow at Brown's Watson Institute, will compare the differences in the success rates of interventions against disease across and within China and India.
The Andrew Carnegie fellowships are informally known as the "brainy awards," and each fellow receives up to $200,000 toward the funding of significant research and writing in the social sciences and humanities. Proposals are selected, according to the Carnegie Corporation, based on high-caliber scholarship that applies fresh perspectives to some of the most pressing issues of our times, shows potential for meaningful impact on a field of study and has the capacity for dissemination to a broad audience.
In her project, Singh will undertake a comparative historical analysis of why some countries respond more effectively to public health crises than others, looking in particular at the responses of the Chinese and Indian states to infectious diseases. This builds on prior research into variations in institutions of social welfare and development outcomes. Her award-winning book, "How Solidarity Works for Welfare: Subnationalism and Social Development in India," explored why some places develop more inclusive welfare regimes and deliver better social outcomes than others, and argued that the power of collective identity can spur nations to prioritize social welfare.
In total, the Carnegie Corporation awarded $6.2 million in support to the 31 winners, whose research proposals focus on a broad variety of complex political, economic, technological, humanistic and sociological matters.
"We were reassured by the immense talent and breadth of experience reflected in the proposals from this year's nominees for the Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program," said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York and president emeritus of Brown University. "The response to the fellows program gives me great hope for the future of the study of the humanities and the social sciences as a way for this country to learn from the past, understand the present, and devise paths to progress and peace."
Singh also landed recent honors from the American Academy in Berlin as a 2018-19 Berlin Prize Fellow. Her semester-long fellowship will be spent in residence at the academy's Hans Arnhold Center in Berlin-Wannsee, Germany. Singh will explore why polities with similar epidemiological, socioeconomic and demographic conditions have been characterized by strikingly different levels of effectiveness in countering equivalently severe challenges posed by a disease.
Watson Institute Director Edward Steinfeld said the two awards to Singh illustrate the impact and relevance of the research that she and other scholars at Brown conduct.
"Both prizes speak to the excellence of Prerna's research and to its engagement with the most pressing social issues of our time," Steinfeld said. "What a wonderful celebration of an individual scholar and the broader academic community of which she is an indispensable part."