Assistant professors Mana Kia (Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies) and Jennifer La’O (Department of Economics) were named recipients of the fall 2015 Provost’s Grants Program for Junior Faculty who Contribute to the Diversity Goals of the University. In 2015, Columbia University announced the commitment of an additional $33 million this year to continue the expansion of efforts to recruit faculty from underrepresented groups.
This competitive grants program is designed to contribute to the career success of junior faculty. Applications are reviewed by a committee of faculty from both the Morningside and Medical Center campuses. The program has supported 53 projects throughout Columbia since 2013.
Professor Kia is interested in early modern and modern connective social, cultural, and intellectual histories of West, Central and South Asia from the 17th to 19th centuries, with a particular focus on Indo-Persian literary culture and social histories. She is currently starting her second book, Love, Loyalty and Difference: Forms of Companionship Across Early Modern Iran and India, which examines the relationship between early modern ethics of love and loyalty in companionship and the production of Persian texts commonly used as source materials for the study of 18th-century India. With the support of the Provost’s office, she will be able to undertake archival research in Iran, India, and the United Kingdom.
Professor La’O is an expert in finance, applied theory, and macroeconomics and is presently a Faculty Research Fellow at the prestigious National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Her research project, Credit Risk and Interdealer Networks, explores how financial institutions interact in the corporate bond, syndicated loans, and credit default swap (CDS) markets during financial boom and bust cycles. With this funding, Professor La’O will analyze “big data” from a global repository of financial trade transactions to uncover whether these banking networks concentrate or distribute risk. Please join us in congratulating the recipients of these grants.