Abigail Modaff

Abigail Modaff

Democracy Doctoral Fellow, AY 2018-2019
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Abigail Modaff is a Democracy Doctoral Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. She is a PhD candidate in History at Harvard, where she focuses on American cultural, intellectual, and literary history at the turn of the twentieth century. Her dissertation, To Meet Life Face to Face: Communication and Social Reform from Haymarket to the Harlem Renaissance, studies the relationship between social movements, communication, and Romantic aesthetics in Boston, Chicago, and New York, 1880-1930. The major theme of her work is how people have historically attempted to use communication to heal social divides. What does deliberation need to look like in order to truly include everyone? Can communication help stem extremism and destroy inequality, and can it force people to recognize one another’s humanity? Or is it simply an excuse for maintaining a status quo that all sides find increasingly untenable? Abigail received her MPhil with Distinction in Political Thought and Intellectual History from Cambridge University in 2013 and her A. B. summa cum laude in Social Studies from Harvard University in 2012. At Harvard, she serves as a freshman proctor in Stoughton and has also served as a non-resident tutor in Adams House. She is originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Democratic Governance Program Fellows