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UB Law School's Sullivan Wins Guggenheim Fellowship

Release Date: May 19, 2010

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Winnifred Sullivan, an expert on the intersection of religion and law, has been named a fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, associate professor of law at the University at Buffalo Law School, whose research on the intersection of religion and law has earned international recognition, has been named a fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation, one of the top academic honors available to researchers and academics of all disciplines.

Sullivan, director of UB's Law and Religion program, has been invited to be a member of the internationally respected Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where she will spend the 2010-11 academic year. Sullivan also has been awarded a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, making her the recipient of three of the most prestigious honors in American higher education.

Sullivan's previous work has been called "provocative, engaging, valuable" by one peer reviewer. Another called her work on the difficulty and ambiguity when law and religion meet "elegant, moving, uncompromising and profoundly important."

"Drawing on her expertise in law and religion, Sullivan argues that religious freedom in America is impossible," wrote one reviewer. "She succeeds in arguing that religious freedoms are not as free as one might think."

Sullivan's research focuses on the areas where religion and law shape one another in the modern period. In her latest book, "Prison Religion: Faith-based Reform and the Constitution," released in 2009 by Princeton University Press, Sullivan looks at "faith-based" prison programs in light of recent changes in constitutional law with respect to religion.

"We are living in an interesting time in which to study religion," Sullivan says. "After a long period in which it was largely assumed by scholars at secular universities that secularization was a necessary, inevitable and relatively uninteresting byproduct of modernity, religion has become newly salient, both as a political and social matter, and also as an intellectual matter."

At Princeton, Sullivan will be working on her new book, "Spiritual Governance: The New Religious Establishment," which will describe U.S. legal regulation of religion in the context of the private-public partnerships that establish chaplaincies.

The Guggenheim Fellowship grants provide support to exceptional scholars, scientists and artists, giving them the opportunity to work on projects with complete creative freedom anywhere in the world. This year, the foundation selected 180 fellows from a group of approximately 3,000 applicants from across North America.

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation was established in 1925 by former U.S. Sen. Simon Guggenheim and his wife in memory of their son. The foundation supports individuals in the fields of natural sciences, social sciences, humanities and creative arts.

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