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Washington, DC – The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) has awarded the 2021 Gustave O. Arlt Award in the Humanities to Dr. Tae-Yeoun Keum, assistant professor of political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The awards ceremony was held during the CGS 61st Annual Meeting in New Orleans.
Bestowed annually, the Arlt Award recognizes a young scholar-teacher who has written a book deemed to have made an outstanding contribution to scholarship in the humanities. Dr. Keum becomes the award’s 51st recipient for her book, Plato and the Mythic Tradition in Political Thought (Belknap Press of Harvard UP, 2020). She received her PhD in political theory from Harvard University in 2017.
In Plato and the Mythic Tradition in Political Thought, Dr. Keum considers the work of Plato, particularly his philosophical myths and their role in shaping modern political thought. She traces Plato’s impact on texts from the early modern era through the twentieth century, demonstrating how his classical mythmaking has influenced political theory across many centuries. While some philosophers viewed Plato’s myths as trivial work from the “inventor of rational philosophy,” Keum contends that mythic tradition “helps us rethink some of the default assumptions we tend to make about what philosophy is, and what it ought to look like.”
“We are honored to present Dr. Keum with this year’s prestigious Arlt Award. Her brilliant work reminds us that rethinking the traditional boundaries of knowledge enhances voices on the margin and reiterates the importance of diversity of thought. Through an analysis of Plato’s classical myths and their treatment by philosophers across many literary periods, Keum elevates the role and importance of myths in modern political discourse and argues they are integral to human understanding,” said Dr. Suzanne Ortega, president of the Council of Graduate Schools.
“Dr. Keum’s receipt of the 2021 Gustave O. Arlt Award in the Humanities recognizes not only her impressive achievement, but also the centrality of humanistic approaches to understanding politics. Reaching across disciplinary boundaries, Dr. Keum’s work suggests that even the most rationalistic of systems draws upon the power of symbols and mythic representations. It is truly a tour de force,” said Leila Rupp, interim Anne and Michael Towbes Graduate Dean, University of California, Santa Barbara.
Created in 1971, the Arlt Award honors the first president of CGS, Gustave O. Arlt. The winner must have earned a doctorate within the past seven years, and currently be teaching at a North American university. Nominations are made by CGS member institutions and are reviewed by a panel of scholars in the field of competition, which rotates annually among seven disciplines within the humanities. This year’s field was Linguistics and Philosophy. The winner receives a $1,000 honorarium and travel to the awards ceremony.
The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is an organization of approximately 500 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada engaged in graduate education, research, and the preparation of candidates for advanced degrees. The organization’s mission is to improve and advance graduate education, which it accomplishes through advocacy in the federal policy arena, research, and the development and dissemination of best practices.