Professor Jonathan Jacobs, Winner of the Isaac Manasseh Meyer Fellowship and Franklin Research Grant, Shifts His Focus While Staying Home

Professor Jonathan Jacobs, Winner of the Isaac Manasseh Meyer Fellowship and Franklin Research Grant, Shifts His Focus While Staying Home

Professor Jonathan Jacobs, Winner of the Isaac Manasseh Meyer Fellowship and Franklin Research Grant, Shifts His Focus While Staying Home

Jonathan Jacobs, Ph.D., Chair and Professor of the Department of Philosophy, can empathize with students and faculty feeling disappointed about the sudden change to the spring semester. Like everyone, his plans have also been drastically altered by the current Covid-19 situation, which created a sudden shift to his future academic research plans. “I was recently awarded a Franklin Research Grant by the American Philosophical Society to support a period of study and collaborative research in Australia and the United Kingdom,” he says, “but both are now postponed. So, I’m shifting my focus. I’ll be practicing social distancing, working from home, and using this time to research and gather information for my new book.”

“I was recently awarded a Franklin Research Grant by the American Philosophical Society to support a period of study and collaborative research in Australia and the United Kingdom, but both are now postponed. So, I’m shifting my focus. I’ll be practicing social distancing, working from home, and using this time to research and gather information for my new book.” —Jonathan Jacobs

The grant is the latest in a series of accolades that would have sent Jacobs abroad to conduct collaborative research. In early March, he was awarded the Isaac Manasseh Meyer Fellowship (IMMF) from the faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the National University of Singapore (NUS). “It’s the first time their Department of Philosophy has hosted one of these fellowships, so it’s an incredible honor,” he says. The fellowship, originally expected to take place over several weeks this summer, will see Jacobs attend seminars, deliver lectures, and conduct collaborative research with NUS faculty. “The research,” explains Jacobs, “will focus on the relationship between criminal justice and distributive and political justice.”

Prior to starting the IMMF fellowship, Jacobs was set to visit the Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security at the Charles Sturt University in Canberra, where he planned to present papers on the relationship between the rule of law and law enforcement. “The papers are part of my study on different conceptions of that relationship in the United States, U.K., Canada and Australia,” he explains.

While the current circumstances have put many of Jacobs’s plans on hold, he’s choosing to focus on the positives. He’s got a new book coming out later this year. “In July, my most recent book The Liberal State and Criminal Sanction: Seeking Justice and Civility will be published by Oxford University Press.” And, he’ll continue to work on his next book which will be published by Routledge. “It’s on different approaches to criminal sanctions in liberal democracies that share important political and jurisprudential traditions,” says Jacobs, turning his attention to the now. “It’s certainly a strange time, but my family and I are fine, and my two oldest sons, who are in graduate school, are staying safe in their apartments while keeping their studies going.” As he continues to do his research from home, Jacobs hopes that other faculty members and students find innovative ways to continue their important work for a fairer society and more just future.