Susan Clayton, Whitmore-Williams Professor of Psychology at The College of Wooster, was awarded one of 30 fellowships by the French Institutes for Advanced Study for their international mobility program that supports social science and humanities researchers. The 10-month residency in Paris will take place during the 2021-22 academic year. “I will be joining about 16 other fellows in a shared office space where we will work independently but talk with each other about our work and benefit from the opportunity to share ideas,” Clayton said. Residencies were available in four different French cities and the application process was peer reviewed and highly selective.
At the College, Clayton teaches courses in environmental psychology and sustainability with an emphasis on social justice, topics that mirror her proposed fellowship research. “My project will explore the ways in which people in France make connections between environmental degradation and conservation and social issues such as poverty, racism, and public health,” she said. Clayton will use focus groups, specifically including people from marginalized backgrounds, and will work alongside a French ecologist colleague that shares an interest in “understanding how people think about the natural world and how those perceptions of nature are constructed.”
During this unique opportunity, Clayton hopes to further her understanding in her research area of expertise and potentially bring back new knowledge to share with students. “Our overall goal is not only to understand people’s attitudes but to encourage people to care more about environment conservation,” she said.