Spencer Weinreich Awarded Jacobus Fellowship

Written by
Denise Valenti, Office of Communications
Feb. 16, 2022

Spencer Weinreich (history of science) is one of three winners of the 2021-22 Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellowship, Princeton University’s top honor for graduate students. The other awardees are Erin Kado-Fong (astrophysical sciences) and Zachary Teed (computer science).

The fellowships support the students’ final year of study at Princeton and are awarded to one Ph.D. student in each of the four divisions (humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and engineering) whose work has exhibited the highest scholarly excellence.

Spencer Weinreich, a doctoral student in history of science who came to Princeton in 2017, earned his bachelor’s degree in history at Yale University and an M.Phil. in theology from the University of Oxford. He has been named a junior fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows for 2022-25.

His dissertation, “Slow Tampering: A History of Solitary Confinement,” explores solitary confinement from the 13th to the 19th century, offering sweeping perspective and demonstrating the origins of solitary confinement in monastic solitude and Christianity as an idealistic way to reform the individual.

“We live in an age of mass incarceration, and we live in a country that is imprisoning more of its people for longer than, for as far as we know, any society in history,” Weinreich said. “We’re not going to understand how we built this massive carceral structure and, hopefully, how we might get rid of it, unless we understand how it got there, why we think these systems work, and what it is we think they’re supposed to be doing, and then what it is that they actually do,”

Read more at News at Princeton.

Photo credit: Mark Czajkowski