For immediate release January 15, 2018

The Phi Beta Kappa Society Announces Winner of 2017-2018 Romanell-Phi Beta Kappa Professorship

WASHINGTON, DC – The Phi Beta Kappa Society is pleased to announce that Dr. Marianne Janack of Hamilton College, has been awarded the 2017-2018 Romanell-Phi Beta Kappa Professorship. Dr. Janack was nominated for this award by the Phi Beta Kappa Epsilon Chapter of New York at Hamilton College.

The Romanell-Phi Beta Kappa Professorship was established in 1983 by Phi Beta Kappa member Patrick Romanell and his wife Edna. Patrick graduated from Brooklyn College and was the H.Y. Benedict Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas, El Paso. The Professorship is awarded annually to scholars in the field of philosophy, without restriction to any one school of philosophical thought and carries with it a stipend of $7,500. The recipient gives a series of three special lectures during the year of the professorship at the nominating Phi Beta Kappa chapter sheltering institution. These lectures are open to the general public as well as to the academic community. 

Dr. Janack, the John Stewart Kennedy Professor of Philosophy at Hamilton, received her doctorate from Syracuse University and teaches courses in philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, feminist philosophy and philosophy and literature. She won both the College's Hatch Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Richardson Award for Innovation in Teaching. She received a major National Science Foundation grant in 2008-09 to support her work on What We Mean by Experience, published by Stanford University Press in 2012. Dr. Janack is also the editor of Feminist Interpretations of Richard Rorty. She is working on a book about David Foster Wallace, teaching and philosophy, based on a course she co-taught with students in spring 2014.

She was awarded the Romanell Professorship for her proposed lecture series on the alleged uselessness of philosophy, its literary possibilities and its shifting history. She plans to explore the following in her lecture series titled Metaphilosophical Investigations:

Lecture 1: The charges against philosophy: abstraction; a lack of attention to the concrete details of life, or practice; uselessness
Lecture 2: Philosophy as Literature/ Literature as Philosophy: The cases of Simone de Beauvoir, Wittgenstein, and David Foster Wallace.
Lecture 3: Loneliness, Escape, Entertainment, and Writing: Why do we read? Why do we write?

As a colleague expressed, “Marianne Janack is, quite simply, a teacher of distinction and genius. Throughout her distinguished career, she has often been the reason why students come to love philosophy, find themselves there, and venture boldly into a now beckoning world.”

Nominations for the 2018 Romanell-Phi Beta Kappa Professorship can be sent to and will be accepted until June 15, 2018. You can find the nomination form here.


About The Phi Beta Kappa Society

Founded on Dec. 5, 1776, The Phi Beta Kappa Society is the nation's most prestigious academic honor society. It has chapters at 286 colleges and universities in the United States, 50 alumni associations, and more than half a million members worldwide. Noteworthy members include 17 U.S. Presidents, 40 U.S. Supreme Court Justices and more than 140 Nobel Laureates. The mission of The Phi Beta Kappa Society is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, foster freedom of thought, and recognize academic excellence. For more information, visit