Humanities at Large

Fellows' Spotlight: Zachary Rosen

Submitted by Sonja Johnston on April 01 2020.
Portrait of Zachary Rosen
Zachary Rosen

Zachary Rosen is studying Philosophy and History. He holds the Dr. Jan Blumenstein Undergraduate Award in the Humanities as one of the JHI’s 2019-2020 Undergraduate Fellows. Zachary’s research investigates the political philosophy of climate crisis mitigation, focusing especially on the idea of permanent sovereignty over natural resources. His project looks to reconcile the legitimate interest in meaningful sovereignty with the pressing need to prevent climate crisis, which demands the careful conservation of certain crucial resources.

JHI: Why did you apply for a JHI Fellowship?

ZR: I wanted a challenge for my last year, and I also was looking for an opportunity to do some sustained, independent research. Compared to regular coursework, the JHI fellowship offered a chance to be directed by my own preferences and interests. I also suspected that I could find some really rich intersections between the ‘Strange Weather’ theme and the political philosophy that interests me.

JHI: What experiences were you hoping for?

ZR: I think that I was hoping to learn from interesting and knowledgeable people, and to get some experience seeing what academic research looks like firsthand. At the time I was weighing options for graduate school, and I think that the environment around the JHI can otherwise be hard to find as an undergraduate. I was also hoping for a nice lunch every Thursday!

JHI: How has being at the JHI added to your research?

ZR: I would say that being exposed to such a breadth of perspectives has added a lot to my research. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect in that regard; how could a project in anthropology or classics help me with my project in philosophy? But I think that there is a lot of value in seeing how people from other disciplines approach a problem, both because you can find blindspots in your own approach and because you might be inspired to make connections that you would never have found otherwise.

JHI: Any final general comments about your experience at the JHI so far?

ZR: My experience at the JHI has been a great way to end my time as an undergraduate. The opportunity to apply so much of what I’ve learned to single project, especially on such a timely and relevant theme, really did enhance my last year. It was a huge pleasure to work with such a thoughtful and talented group. I’d certainly encourage anyone to apply.