2024 Honorees

Richard Clapp, D.Sc.

Richard W. Clapp, MPH, DSc

An epidemiologist with more than forty years experience in public health practice, teaching and consulting, Richard (Dick) Clapp is a both an Emeritus Professor of Environmental Health at Boston University School of Public Health and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He has been part of the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production staff since 2004. His research projects at UMass Lowell focus on analyzing data related to environmental and occupational causes of cancer and other diseases. He guest lectures in courses at Boston University School of Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health and UMass Lowell. In 2018, he received an "Alumni Award of Merit" from Harvard School of Public Health (watch award video here).

Dr. Clapp served as Director of the Massachusetts Cancer Registry from 1980-1989 and is a former Co-Chair of Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility. He has published more than eighty articles, reviews and book chapters and edited a book entitled "From Critical Science to Solutions." He received an award for “Science for the Benefit of Environmental Health” in 2006 from the Toxics Action Center and the "Research Integrity Award" in 2008 from the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology. He frequently speaks to community groups and participates in advisory committees to government agencies and academic institutions.

Elaine Scarry

Elaine Scarry, PhD

Elaine Scarry teaches at Harvard University where she is the Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value. Her work has two central subjects, the nature of physical injury and the nature of human creation. The Body in Pain brings the subjects of injuring and creating together: it shows that the willful infliction of pain and injury is the opposite of creation, since it apes and inverts the ordinary work of the imagination. On Beauty and Being Just shows that beauty and justice are alike in having "injury" or "injustice" as the thing that is their opposite and that they together work to diminish.  Her book – Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing between Democracy and Doom – shows that nuclear weapons and governance (particularly democratic governance) are mutually exclusive; it specifies the constitutional tools available for dismantling the country’s nuclear architecture.

Elaine Scarry was elected to the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has received honorary degrees from Northwestern University in the United States and Uppsala University in Sweden, as well as the Truman Capote Award for literary criticism, and most recently, the Zabel Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2005, Prospect Magazine and Foreign Policy named her one of the top 100 leading intellectuals.

Robert Jay Lifton, MD<br>Lifetime Achievement Award

Robert Jay Lifton, MD

A pioneer in the field of psychohistory, Dr. Robert Jay Lifton has written over twenty books and edited eight others, including many seminal works in the field such as the National Book Award–winning Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima, The Los Angelos Times Book Prize–winning The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide, and the National Book Award–nominated Home from the War: Learning from Vietnam Veterans.

Other books by Dr. Lifton include Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of “Brainwashing” in China; The Protean Self: Human Resilience in an Age of Fragmentation; Witness to an Extreme Century: A Memoir; and more recently, The Climate Swerve: Reflections on Mind, Hope, and Survival and Losing Reality: On Cults, Cultism, and the Mindset of Political and Religious Zealotry.

He is a founding member of the Nobel Prize–winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, and has also been a strong voice in opposing American wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

He has been a research psychiatrist and teacher at the Washington School of Psychiatry, Yale University, Harvard University, the City University of New York, and Columbia University.

Together with his mentor, Erik Erikson, he convened the Wellfleet Psychohistory Group in 1966, and organized and hosted its annual meetings at his home on Cape Cod for 50 years until 2015. Over the years participants have included Charles Strozier, Kai Erikson, Peter Brooks, Raul Hilberg, Stuart Hampshire, Norman Mailer, Daniel Ellsberg, Howard Zinn, Jonathan Schell, Norman Birnbaum, Judith Herman, Harvey Cox, Ashis Nandy, James Carroll, and Margret Brenman, among many others.

Lifton was married to the writer and adoption reformer Betty Jean Lifton from 1952 until her death in 2010. He has two children, Kenneth Lifton and Natasha Lifton, and four grandchildren.

Born on May 16, 1926, in Brooklyn, New York, Lifton enrolled at Cornell University at the age of 16 and graduated from New York Medical College in 1948. He interned at the Jewish Hospital of Brooklyn in 1948-49, and had his psychiatric residency at the Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn from 1949-51. From 1951 to 1953 Lifton served as an Air Force Psychiatrist in Massachusetts, Japan, and Korea.

Lifton’s avocation is that of creating humorous bird cartoons, and has published two volumes, Birds and Psychobirds.

He lives in Wellfleet, Massachusetts and New York City. His partner is Nancy L. Rosenblum, Senator Joseph Clark Professor of Ethics in Politics and Government emerita at Harvard University.