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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., April 23, 2019—Joseph Moore, a junior at Williams College, has been awarded a Beinecke Scholarship in support of his graduate education. The scholarship grants $4,000 immediately prior to entering graduate school and an additional $30,000 during graduate school. He is one of 20 students in the U.S. to receive the award this year.
Moore, a comparative literature major from Stroudsburg, Pa., plans to pursue a Ph.D. in comparative literature, studying the political dimensions of English, Spanish, and French language literatures of the 20th century in a comparative context.
“Specifically, I’m interested in the international character of a lot of this writing,” Moore says. “I think what this writing has the capacity to do, if read well and attentively, is indicate ways in which struggles for justice and equality can transcend the national contexts they emerge in; how we might think of ourselves and our political commitments beyond the limits of the nation state.”
Moore first began to study literature at age 16 while a student at Northampton Community College in Tannersville, Pa. He became interested in the relationship between politically engaged art and the real circumstances of oppression and material deprivation out of which they emerge.
“Thankfully, when I came to Williams, I got to read a lot of things that dealt precisely with those issues,” say Moore, who aspires to become a professor. “I found an enormous body of theory and literature willing to seriously wrestle with their own roles in the world. I feel especially grateful to Professor Amal Eqeiq in Arabic and Professor Christian Thorne in English.”
At Williams, in addition to studying literature, Moore has developed his foreign language skills and was a teaching assistant with the religion department. Fluent in French and Spanish, he studied at the Alliance Française Bordeaux-Aquitaine in Bordeaux, France, during the summer of his sophomore year and at the Middlebury Spanish School in Middlebury, Vt., in the summer of 2017. Among his other awards are the Robert G. Wilmers Jr. 1990 Memorial Student Language Study Abroad Fellowship, the Roche Student Research Fellowship, and the William C. Schmidt Class of ’43 Scholarship.
“One of the things I would be most excited to do as an educator is to sincerely make the case to my students, especially those that feel alienated from the study of literature in the first place, that books can be more than entertainment,” Moore says. “I hope graduate school helps me become the sort of scholar I’ve been incredibly lucky to be taught by in college: thoughtful, politically engaged and beyond all else cognizant of the fact that what we know is most powerful when we can share it broadly and meaningfully with the disadvantaged.”
Established in 1971 by the Sperry and Hutchinson Company to honor Edwin, Frederick, and Walter Beinecke, the Beinecke scholarship program seeks to encourage highly motivated students to pursue opportunities available to them and to be courageous in the selection of a graduate course of study in the arts, humanities, or social sciences. Each year, approximately 100 colleges and universities are invited to nominate a student for a Beinecke Scholarship. Moore’s award follows a Beinecke given to Chelsea Thomeer ’17 in 2016, Jeffrey Wang ’16 in 2015, and to Sam O’Donnell ’15 in 2014.
Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s 2,000 students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. Students’ educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions on U.S. applicants are made regardless of a student’s financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.