The British Academy welcomes 86 new Fellows from across the humanities and social sciences

24 Jul 2020

The British Academy today welcomes 86 new Fellows to its world-leading Fellowship, in recognition of their outstanding contributions to subjects within the humanities and social sciences. The 86 academics elected include 52 new UK-based Fellows, 30 overseas academics joining our Corresponding Fellowship and four new Honorary Fellows. 

The newly elected Fellows represent a diverse range of specialisms, including forensic anthropology (Professor Dame Sue Black), biostatistics (Professor Andrew Pickles), postcolonial and decolonial studies (Professor Gurminder Bhambra), EU Law (Professor Catherine Barnard), the history and politics of the Middle East (Professor Khaled Fahmy) and Viking studies (Professor Judith Jesch). Of those elected this year to the UK Fellowship, 46% are women (around 25% of all UK professors are women) and their average age is 61 (the average age of the active UK Fellowship is 69).

Our new Fellows of the British Academy join a community of over 1,400 leading minds that make up the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences. Current Fellows include the classicist Professor Dame Mary Beard, the historian Professor Sir Simon Schama and philosopher Professor Baroness Onora O’Neill, while current honorary Fellows include Dame Joan Bakewell, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Baroness Brenda Hale. 

The four new honorary Fellows are:

Gary Younge

An award-winning author, broadcaster and academic, Gary Younge is a former columnist at the Guardian and has now been appointed Professor of Sociology at Manchester University. He is also the Alfred Knobler Fellow for Type Media in America.

Bridget Kendall
Briget Kendall is a broadcaster and writer with a particular interest in Russia, international diplomacy and security and promotion of language learning.

Mary Robinson
The first woman President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson is also Chair of The Elders and a passionate, forceful advocate for gender equality, women’s participation in peace-building and human dignity.

Robin Jackson
Originally a classicist, with a particular (if eclectic) interest in Greek philosophy, Robin Jackson has held various roles in HE policy and funding, particularly research, focusing on promotion of humanities and social sciences. 

Among this year’s new Fellows:

Social scientist Gurminder K Bhambra is Professor of Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies at the University of Sussex and editor of the online magazine Discover Society and Global Social Theory.

David Adger is Professor of Linguistics at Queen Mary University of London. His latest book Language Unlimited uses examples from neuroscience, the animal kingdom and Harry Potter, among others, to explain humans' astonishing capacity for language.

Catherine Barnard is Professor of European Union Law and Employment Law at the University of Cambridge and is a leading researcher working on the issues around the Brexit negotiations.

Forensic anthropologist Sue Black is Pro-Vice Chancellor Engagement at Lancaster University and President of the Royal Anthropological Institute. She leads on a project with the University of Dundee for a 'hand-recognition technique that identifies child sexual abusers'.

Historian Khaled Fahmy is Professor of Modern Arabic Studies at the University of Cambridge and is an expert on the history of law, medicine, the army and the police in 19th-century Egypt.

Judith Jesch is an expert in Viking Studies, based at the University of Nottingham. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the Society of Antiquaries, and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Madawi Al-Rasheed is Visiting Professor at the LSE Middle East Centre, conducting research on mutations among Saudi Islamists after the 2011 Arab uprisings.

Corresponding Fellow Sheila Jasanoff is Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies at Harvard Kennedy School. Her work explores the role of science and technology in the law, politics, and policy of modern democracies.

Professor Sir David Cannadine, President of the British Academy, said:

"I would like to extend a warm welcome and hearty congratulations to the individuals who have this week joined the British Academy Fellowship. This is a time to reflect on the many invaluable contributions these academics have made to their disciplines. It is also a time for celebration, and I hope that, social distancing measures notwithstanding, each of our new Fellows is able to do so in ways great or small."

Full list of new UK, Corresponding and Honorary Fellows

UK Fellows

Corresponding Fellows (meaning those based overseas)

Honorary Fellows

  • Robin Jackson CBE, Former Chief Executive of the British Academy
  • Bridget Kendall MBE, Journalist, Diplomatic Correspondent, University of Cambridge
  • Mary Robinson, Adjunct Professor of Climate Justice and Former President of the Republic of Ireland, Trinity College Dublin
  • Gary Younge FAcSS, Professor of Sociology, University of Manchester

Contact the press office

For further information contact the Press Office on press@thebritishacademy.ac.uk  / 020 7969 5273 / 07500 010 432.

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