Kellogg Institute Faculty Fellow Roy Scranton has been named a 2024 Guggenheim Fellow. The Board of Trustees of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation announced their appointment of Scranton and the complete cohort of 188 Guggenheim Fellowships on Apr. 11.

Chosen through a rigorous application and peer review process from a pool of almost 3,000 applicants, the Class of 2024 Guggenheim Fellows was tapped on the basis of prior career achievement and exceptional promise. As established in 1925 by founder Senator Simon Guggenheim, each fellow receives a monetary stipend to pursue independent work at the highest level under “the freest possible conditions.”

His project, "Ethical Pessimism: Climate Change and the Limits of Narrative," argues that climate change not only exceeds our political, technological, and cultural capacities for addressing it, but transcends our ability to understand what's happening. The best response to this problem, he argues, is a form of virtue ethics he call "ethical pessimism." Pessimism, much more than optimism, offers the best way to navigate our precarious, uncertain, and dangerous future, he says.

"Being named a Guggenheim Fellow is a great honor, and a meaningful validation of the work I've been doing for the past ten years on the philosophy of climate change, on the culture of American militarism and empire, and in my fiction and essays. I'm grateful," Scranton says of the fellowship.

In all, 52 scholarly disciplines and artistic fields, 84 academic institutions, 38 US states and the District of Columbia, and four Canadian provinces are represented in the 2024 class, who range in age from 28 to 89. Many Fellows’ projects directly respond to timely issues such as democracy and politics, identity, disability activism, machine learning, incarceration, climate change and community. Since its founding in 1925, the Foundation has awarded over $400 million in fellowships to more than 19,000 fellows. 

Scranton is associate professor of English at the University of Notre Dame.  He is the founding director of the Notre Dame Environmental Humanities Initiative (EHUM) and current director of the Creative Writing Program.  Scranton’s work is primarily concerned with social narrative, human dignity, and the challenges posed to ethical life by conflict, inequality, and ecological crisis.