Al-Shalchi, Olla Najah
Welke, Barbara Young
Visiting Instructor in Religion
I am currently completing my doctoral degree at Duke University in the Department of Religious Studies with a concentration in Religion & Modernity. My background training is in Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Sociology. I am currently researching and writing my dissertation, which examines the tension between religious certainty and conviction on the one hand, and doubt and skepticism on the other hand, in the context of a secular society. My research focuses on Islam and Muslims in the United States, but I am deeply interested in issues of secularization, atheism, agnosticism, disillusionment with “organized religion”, the tension between individual “spirituality” and communal “religion”, secular ethics and humanism, and other related areas. I have previously done research and published on African-American Muslim groups, as well as social service activity and civic engagement in American mosques. I am very happily married to another Religious Studies scholar, with whom I spend endless hours discussing these issues. When I am not reading, writing, teaching, or debating with people on Facebook, I enjoy cooking (and eating), playing basketball, biking, and having long and deep conversations with friends.
Olla Najah Al-Shalchi
Visiting Lecturer In the Program in Comparative Literature
Olla Al-Shalchi received her bachelor’s degree in Arabic Language and Literature from the University of Texas and went on to complete her master’s degree in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language from the American University of Cairo. She is currently completing her doctoral degree in Instructional Design and Technology from Old Dominion University.
Olla Al-Shalchi has taught a variety of Arabic classes including first-, second- and third-year Arabic, Arabic Literature in Translation, Iraqi Arabic Dialect, and Arab Culture. Before joining Smith College, she taught at the American University of Cairo, Middlebury College, the College of William and Mary, and the George Washington University.
Olla Al-Shalchi’s research interests include language pedagogy, the use of technology in the classroom, material development, and the cognitive load effect on learners with varying knowledge backgrounds. She has published an article about effective online learning and has also published poetry. She served as the Treasurer for the Virginia Association of Teachers of Arabic from 2012-2013.
Visiting Assistant Professor in the Program in American Studies
My scholarship examines how contemporary capitalism and neoliberal culture manifest in personal life and as public emotions. In both research and teaching, my approach is distinctly interdisciplinary – drawing on an eclectic intellectual archive including Marxian political economy; affect theory and psychoanalysis; cultural, media, and performances studies; queer theory; and my home discipline of sociology. My goal in the classroom is to facilitate students’ own creative and critical thought as well as a fluency in current trends in the field of American Studies.
Keywords: neoliberalism, affect, political economy, cultural studies, labor, psychoanalysis, critical theory
Lecturer in Geosciences, Spring ’15
Prof. Alex Apotsos specializes in coastal oceanography, and has a strong interest in the practical integration of science into public policy. After serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, West Africa, Prof. Apotsos received his Ph.D. in Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering from the MIT / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program. Since then he has served as an environment and energy adviser to Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), and as a climate change adviser in the Bureau for Africa at the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Assistant Professor of Art
Prof. Michelle Apotsos specializes the arts of Africa with a focus on classical African architecture, Afro-Islamic art, and the effects of globalization / modernity on African visual culture. She completed her Ph.D. in Art History at Stanford University and recently served as a research associate at the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. Apotsos was also a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, West Africa (1999 – 2001) and maintains an active academic and personal interest in the region.
Assistant Professor of Physical Education and Head Men’s Basketball Coach
Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science
Milan Babík is a native of the Czech Republic and holds a D.Phil. in International Relations from Oxford University, where he wrote a dissertation on Woodrow Wilson and American liberal internationalism. His research interests include critical IR theory, U.S. foreign policy, and diplomatic history. His first book, Statecraft and Salvation, was published in August 2013. He comes to Williams after having previously taught at Colby College and Colgate University. In his spare time he enjoys hiking and playing pond hockey with his two small children, watching French New Wave cinema, building bicycles, and racing triathlon.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Patrick Barber specializes in inorganic chemistry with research interests in environmental and biological imaging using luminescent lanthanide ion complexes. His graduate work at the University of Nevada-Reno focused on the fundamental study of lanthanide ion complexes for LED and biological applications while his postdoctoral research at the University of Alabama focused on the utilization of ionic liquids for advanced biorenewable materials with applications in metal adsorption. His interests in teaching extend beyond the classroom and are directed towards discussing the cultural and global effects of scientific literacy and chemophobia, an irrational fear of chemicals. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife, listening to and performing music, cooking, eating, and being in nature with his two rescue dogs.
Visiting Assistant Professor of English
Christopher Beach’s research and teaching have been focused on American literature and film. His primary fields are 19th and 20th century American poetry, American film comedy, and the U. S. film industry. Since receiving his doctorate from Harvard University, professor Beach has published on a range of topics including the poetry of Walt Whitman, the sociocultural context of American poetry, the role of social class in film comedy, and the role of collaboration in American film production. His current book project, which will be published by the University of California Press, is on collaborations between film directors and cinematographers. His extracurricular interests include yoga, hiking, and travel.
Class of 1955 Visiting Professor of International Studies, Fall ’14
Allen Carlson is an Associate Professor in Cornell University’s Government Department. His work mainly focuses on issues related to Chinese politics and foreign policy and Asian security. In 2005 his Unifying China, Integrating with the World: Securing Chinese Sovereignty in the Reform Era was published by Stanford University Press. He has also written articles that appeared in the Journal of Contemporary China, Pacific Affairs, Asia Policy, and Nations and Nationalism. His most recent publications are the co-edited Contemporary Chinese Politics: New Sources, Methods and Field Strategies (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and New Frontiers in China’s Foreign Relations (Lexington, 2011). Professor Carlson is currently developing a research project that examines the emerging role of transnational public intellectuals in shaping debates within China about the country’s rise and its implications for the international system.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology
Ben Carone is an epigenomics scientist who specializes in the field of transgenerational inheritance, or the the passage of traits from one generation to the next independent of DNA sequence. He received his Ph.D. in Genetics and Genomics at the University of Connecticut and performed post-doctoral training at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. His current research focuses on developing strategies for epigenetic engineering in yeast, mouse and human cell lines. Outside of his professional work, he is an avid outdoor enthusiast and looking forward to completing the Josh Billings Runaground for the third year running.
Assistant Professor of Biology
Dawn Carone is a molecular biologist that uses state-of-the-art microscopy, molecular and genomics techniques to investigate human nuclear structure and the elements that contribute to maintaining regulatory control of the human genome. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut and completed her post-doctoral training at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Her work describing a role for a novel class of nuclear structural RNA has most recently been published and highlighted in the journal Cell. Aside from her research pursuits, she enjoys hiking, biking and snowboarding.
Assistant Professor of Physics
I am an atomic physicist, having grown to love the field during my own undergraduate research. I am interested in the physics and applications of simple atomic systems, which can be used to answer fundamental questions about how the world works as well as underpinning technologies that are part of our daily life, like the Global Positioning System. My research is in the application of trapped atomic ions to quantum information processing and precision measurements. I graduated from Williams in 2002 and then went to Harvard for my PhD, finishing in 2009, and a 3.5 year postdoc at the Georgia Tech Research Institute. I have spent the last year as an assistant professor at Harvey Mudd College where I have taught in courses on introductory mechanics, electricity & magnetism, and quantum mechanics as well as a laboratory class in optics. For the time being this information can also be found on my faculty page at Harvey Mudd, which is at physics.hmc.edu/faculty/doret/
My extracurricular interests are fairly varied – at Williams, for example, I played or sang in about a half-dozen different ensembles and was an avid fan of IM ultimate frisbee and broomball. My wife Lida (also Williams ’02) and I are also looking forward to returning to the hiking and other outdoor opportunities offered by the Purple Valley. We are both extremely fond of Williams, its community, and the Berkshires in general. We are also dog lovers; students should expect to see us with a four-footed companion in the years to come.
Visiting Professor of Leadership Studies, Fall ’14
Assistant Professor of Biology
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Middle Eastern History
Stacy Fahrenthold is a Mellon postdoctoral fellow in Middle Eastern History and a specialist on modern Syria and Lebanon. She is particularly interested in migration within and beyond the eastern Mediterranean, and on the ways that people who move (exiles, emigrants, nomads) interact with their places of origin. Her dissertation, completed at Northeastern University in 2014, argues that Syrian and Lebanese emigrants living in the Americas influenced the development of nationalist politics in the homeland during World War I. Her most recent publication, “Sound Minds in Sound Bodies: Transnational Philanthropy and Patriotic Masculinity in al-Nadi al-Homsi and Syrian Brazil,” can be viewed at the International Journal of Middle East Studies. Her broader research and teaching interests include Arabic printing culture, transnational politics and revolution, late Ottoman history, and World War I in the Middle East.
Visiting Lecturer in Art, Fall ’14
Kim Faler makes site-specific, material-based installations, photographs and drawings that toy with our understanding of everyday objects and architecture. She received her MFA in Sculpture from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2008, followed by a Fulbright scholarship to Brazil in 2009, with a focus on Contemporary Brazilian Installation Art. Since returning to the Berkshires, she has shown her work at Mass MoCA, as part of the “Invisible Cities” group exhibition, and was included in the 2012 Biennial at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park. Recently, she has shown with Plug Projects in Kansas City and Grizzly Grizzly in Philadelphia. She is represented by LaMontagne Gallery in Boston and her current portfolio can be seen at kimfarler.com
STINT – Research Scholar
I am a molecular biologist specializing in microbiology. I have been particularly interested in global regulatory mechanisms that allow gram negative bacteria to respond to changing environments, such as the stringent response. Recently, I’ve begun a collaboration to use my knowledge of these systems in exploring new approaches to the problem of antibiotic resistance. I received my PhD from the University of Michigan and then went ‘temporarily’ to Sweden for postdoctoral work at Uppsala University. Twenty years later I am still in Sweden and am an associate professor of Microbiology at the University of Gothenburg.
In addition to my scientific work, I have become more and more interested on how to improve scientific education particularly at the university level. As a STINT fellow at Williams I hope to be exposed to a different educational style and to use that information to improve our education at my home university. In my free time, my husband and I are quite the ‘geeks’ and enjoy science fiction, board and computer games, podcasts, and most recently I’ve begun quilting.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art, Spring ’15
I am a specialist in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European and American art, with a particular interest in the history of sculpture and the history of museums, display, and exhibition practices. I was fortunate to teach at Williams back in 2011-2012 and have spent the past two years teaching at Columbia University, where I received my Ph.D. in 2011. Over the course of my career, I have also worked and lectured at several museums and galleries, including the Yale University Art Gallery, the Gagosian Gallery, and the Museum of Modern Art, among others. My research has been generously funded by institutions such as Harvard University, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, the American Academy in Rome, The Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation and the Getty Foundation. Recent publications include articles in the Journal of Art Historiography and The Burlington Magazine, as well as forthcoming articles and essays in Word & Image and two edited volumes. I am also currently at work on a book manuscript entitled, “Sculpture and the Art of Looking: Antonio Canova in Context, 1750-1850.”
Visiting Assistant Professor of Africana Studies
Assistant Professor of Economics
Visiting Lecturer in Art
Maximilian Goldfarb is an artist whose practice extends into many media; often producing situations in atypical spaces. He is an instructor of courses in studio art, image construction, acoustic ecology and spatial design. Goldfarb has participated in exhibitions in venues recently including, SculptureCenter, NY; Stadsgalerij, NL; Western Front, BC; White Columns, NY; and the Neuberger Museum, NY, and has produced many transmission projects and radio programs for The Wave Farm. His project, Deep Cycle received support from the Harpo Foundation, and the Experimental Television Center. A recent fellow at the Macdowell Colony, he is the co-author of the book, Architectural Inventions, an archive of visionary drawings. Goldfarb received a Masters degree in Visual Studies from MIT, and is currently teaching his studio, Architectural Inventions at Bard College. more
Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Leo Goldmakher was born in Rome but grew up in the Boston area. He received his AB from Princeton in 2004 and his PhD from the University of Michigan in 2009 for his work on character sums, which (roughly speaking) measure irregularities in the distribution of prime numbers within the set of all integers. Before coming to Williams, Leo was an assistant professor for three years at the University of Toronto, where he had the good fortune to teach all sorts of fun courses ranging from cryptography to the history of math. He has also had informal stints at the New England Conservatory (for viola performance), the Royal Conservatory of Music (for opera performance), and Stanford University (as a visiting researcher). In addition to math, he enjoys reading, playing music, performing in operas and plays, and playing sports.
Artist-in-Residence in Chinese Music Performance
Wang Guowei is a master musician on the erhu (Chinese 2-string fiddle) and composer. He studied at the Shanghai Conservatory and was formerly soloist and concertmaster of the Shanghai Traditional Orchestra. He is Artistic Director of the NY-based ensemble Music From China since 1996 and has appeared with the group at colleges, universities and cultural institutions across the U.S. As solo artist, Wang Guowei has performed with the Shanghai Quartet, Amelia Piano Trio, Third Angle New Music Ensemble, Continuum, DaCamera of Houston, Princeton Symphony Orchestra, Virginia Symphony, Post Classical Symphony, and jazz artists Ornette Coleman, Butch Morris and Kenny Garrett. Wang Guowei is conductor of the Music From China Youth Orchestra and has taught erhu and Chinese orchestra at Wesleyan University, New York University, and currently Westminster Choir College at Rider University. He is recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Artist Fellowship, New York State Council on the Arts music commission grants, American Composers Forum Gerome Foundation commissioning award, and grants from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and Queens Council on the Arts. More
Lecturer In Chinese
Trained in Chinese literature, performance, and theatre at The Ohio State University, Man HE is interested in bringing Chinese drama and theatre to the expanding frontier of interdisciplinary scholarship on performance studies, visual culture, and political and intellectual history. Her dissertation, “Play-Makers and Nation Builders: Dramatists, Participatory Citizens, and Modern Chinese Drama, 1910s-1950s”, examines the role of drama (in textual, theatrical, and spectatorial aspects) in forming a politically active public in rural and metropolitan China, as well as domestic and diaspora communities. Ms. HE has taught classes in Chinese language (first-forth year), East Asian Humanities, Chinese literature, drama, and film. Striving to combine scholarly inquiry with artistic practice, Ms. HE is also involved in theatre productions. In November 2013 at OSU, she produced her first play, a revival of Hong Shen’s The Wedded Husband (1919).
Arthur Levitt, Jr. ’52 Artist-in-Residence in Art
Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Comparative Literature
Vivian L. Huang is delighted to contribute to the Williams College community as a Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow for 2014-2016 in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Comparative Literature. Vivian is a performance scholar who writes at the intersections of Asian American cultural studies, gender and sexuality studies, and comparative literature. Trained in performance studies at New York University, Vivian has taught undergraduate and graduate courses on race, gender, sexuality, and the arts at New York University and Hunter College, City University of New York. Previously, she trained in English and Theater & Performance Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. She is currently completing a book project on the strategic redeployment of inscrutability in contemporary Asian American performance art, photography, video art, and literature, studying artists including Yoko Ono, Monique Truong, Tina Takemoto, Laurel Nakadate, Tehching Hsieh, and Tseng Kwong Chi. Her interests include Asian Americanist critique, queer theory, psychoanalysis and affect studies, and critical theory.
Visiting Assistant Professor of French Language and Francophone Literature
Assistant Professor of American Studies
Visiting Professor of History, Spring ’15
A major in Russian and East European Studies as an undergraduate at Yale, Jeremy King received his PhD in History at Columbia University, and published his dissertation with Princeton University Press in 2002 as “Budweisers into Czechs and Germans: A Local History of Bohemian Politics, 1848-1948.” Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College, he has guest-taught at Williams and Amherst Colleges and at Masaryk University in the Czech Republic. He is now completing a book, “Who Is Who? Separate but Equal in Imperial Austria,” concerning constitutional experiments aimed at containing conflict among Germans, Czechs, Poles, Ukrainians, Italians, and other “nations” or “races” in imperial Austria before the First World War.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Julia Kowalski is a socio-cultural anthropologist specializing in the anthropology of gender and the study of kinship and family, with a focus on north India. Her current research, based in the city of Jaipur, examines how the new legal category “domestic violence” intersects with older methods of addressing household disorder such as family counseling. More broadly, she is interested in exploring how gender and kinship are reproduced and transformed through language, family practices, and the law, in South Asia and here in the United States.
Visiting Lecturer in Japanese
C3 Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in English
Seulghee Lee ‘07 is the C3 Program Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in English. He received his Ph.D. in English at UC Berkeley in 2014. His dissertation, “Other Lovings”: Abjection, Love Bonds, and the Queering of Race, explores the function of love in contemporary African-American and Asian-American literature. His research interests include queer theory, psychoanalysis, and the Frankfurt School, in addition to his fields of black and Asian American studies. At Berkeley, he taught courses on hip-hop culture and poetics, experimental writing, black visual art, and autobiography. He won Berkeley’s Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award in 2013. At Williams, he was a Mellon Mays fellow and a JA. He grew up in Chapel Hill, NC.
Assistant Professor of Athletics and Head Nordic Ski Coach
Assistant Professor of Physical Education and Head Alpine Ski Coach
Stanley Kaplan Visiting Professor of American Foreign Policy, Spring ’15
Visiting Lecturer in Theatre, Spring ’15
Artist-in-Residence in Winds and Director of the Wind Ensemble
An active conductor and clarinetist, Matthew M. Marsit has led ensembles and performed as a solo, chamber, and orchestral musician throughout the United States. In addition to his work at Williams College, Matthew is currently on the artistic staff and faculty of the Hopkins Center for the Performing Arts at Dartmouth College as Director of Bands, having previously held conducting positions with the Charles River Wind Ensemble, Cornell University, Drexel University, Plymouth State University, the Chestnut Hill Orchestra, the Bucks County Youth Ensembles and the Performing Arts Institute of Wyoming Seminary.
An advocate for the use of music as a vehicle for service, Matthew has led ensembles on service missions, collecting instruments for donation to schools, performing charity benefit concerts and offering workshops to benefit struggling arts programs. His creative and adventurous style of concert programming serves to promote the wind ensemble and its repertoire, while building audiences who appreciate and understand new music.
Matthew holds degrees from Temple University and the Boston Conservatory and has studied conducting with some of the world’s most prominent instructors including Mark Davis Scatterday of the Eastman School of the Music, Timothy Reynish of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, UK and Gianluigi Gelmeetti at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology
I explore the role of attention and action in human behavior. I am particularly interested in understanding how and when people can ignore irrelevant distractions to effectively focus on the task at hand. I use a variety of techniques to examine these issues including psychophysics, electroencephalography, eye tracking, and 3D reach-tracking.
I received my B.S. from the University of Michigan, my Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, and I’ve spent the past three years as a postdoctoral fellow at Brown University. When I’m not in the lab, I enjoy playing the drums, guitar, basketball, and spending time with my wife and daughter.
Croghan Bicentennial Visiting Professor of Religion, Fall ’14
For many years I have been interested in studying the New Testament and Early Christianity with the use of social anthropology and other social science methods. The main thematic focus over the last years have been the historical Jesus and gender studies, especially masculinity (Putting Jesus in His Place, 2003). Another area of interest is the cultural presuppositions for our interpretations, with a focus on how presentations of the historical Jesus were coloured by the rise of nationalism in 19th century Europe (Jesus and the Rise of Nationalism. A New Quest for the 19th century Jesus, 2012). Both areas raise the issue of hermeneutics and the use of the Bible in a multi-cultural and multireligious context.
I have all my degrees from the University of Oslo,Norway, but I did most of my PhD-work in the US, at Yale and Duke, ending up in Cambridge, UK. Since then I have continued to live as a travelling academic, spending most of my sabbaticals in the US, Canada and the UK.
Most important priority: a decent system of public transport, since I don’t have a driver’s license! That is probably the reason why mountain hiking is my favorite summer activity.
I have taught New Testament at the University of Oslo for many years, e.g. courses on Jesus and the gospels; Sexuality and gender in early Christianity; co-teaching Jesus and Mohammad and modern identities in a master programme with mostly African students. More
Artist in Residence in African Music Performance, Lecturer in Music, Director of Zambezi, Co-Director of Kusika
Tendai Muparutsa is an internationally known performer, music educator, ethnomusicologist and bandleader. He participates in a multitude of Zimbabwean and African music circles in North America, and collaborates with musicians and instructors from all over Africa. His work encompasses everything from performing with afro-pop groups to teaching at African music camps to directing mbira, marimba and dance ensembles. His high energy, humor and passion for sharing African music delight audiences and students alike. Tendai co-directs Kusika and the Zambezi Marimba Band
Tendai’s research has been diverse and his passions are many. He has explored, through both academic study and personal experience, the following: the music of Southern Africa; general music education with an emphasis on multicultural philosophy; popular music; jazz history; music and gender; African and African-American music collaborations in diasporas; and African choral music styles and how they interact with North American styles. His enthusiasm for cross-cultural music experiences results in many rich and exciting collaborative projects.
Muparutsa graduated with a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Zimbabwe in 2004, and graduated from the University of Idaho with a Masters in Music Education in 2008. He recently completed his Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology at the University of Alberta, Canada. While still in Zimbabwe, he taught at both elementary schools and at the university level. In North America, he has presented his research at major ethnomusicology and educational conferences such as ICTM and Washington Music Educators Conference.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Music
Dr. Eric Nathan, Visiting Assistant Professor in Music, is the recipient of the 2013-14 Frederic A. Juilliard/Walter Damrosch Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome. His musical compositions have been commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Tanglewood Music Center and for the Berlin Philharmonic’s Scharoun Ensemble. He received his D.M.A. from Cornell University and received his M.M. and B.A. from Indiana University and Yale College, respectively. Nathan is a composer and additionally performs as a conductor, trumpeter and pianist. For more information please visit his website.
Assistant Professor of Mathematics
I am a mathematician that specializes in harmonic analysis. My work has connections to many other mathematical fields, such as partial differential equations, geometric measure theory and combinatorics. I did my undergraduate work at the University of Iceland and received my M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University. Prior to coming to Williams I was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Rochester. See my website for more information about me and my research.
Assistant Professor of Economics
Greg Phelan is a macroeconomist and financial theorist whose research focuses on the interactions among financial intermediation, leverage, and aggregate conditions. His recent work emphasizes how banks’ leverage contributes to macroeconomic and financial instability. He earned his graduate and undergraduate degrees from Yale University and has experience working as a proprietary trader. He enjoys spending lots of time with his wife and son, swimming, running, cooking, playing guitar, reading. His favorite books are Lord of the Rings and anything by Tim Keller. More
C3 Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Africana Studies
I am fascinated with Black techniques: For me these include social media such as Instagram and Twitter, but also tools such as beepers, the cotton gin, Elijah McCoy’s oil-drip cup, Madame C.J. Walker’s “process,” the Charlie Parker mouthpiece, the Ishango bone, the GHARR-1 nuclear reactor in Ghana, and shiny new tech spaces such as the ImpactHub in Oakland, Calif.
I am a scholar of information technology and African Diaspora Studies, and a recent doctoral graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. As a lecturer and tech developer, I have overseen the design and implementation of more than 50 social apps — programs and tools that seek to bridge digital divides in the areas of race relations, nationality identity, and community development. My dissertation looks at the transnational flows of technology and identity for social actors from Ghana, West Africa.
At Williams College, I will be teaching courses on digital diaspora, online cultural production in Africa and the U.S., historic relationships between Blacks and technology, and the art and practice of New Media. In my courses, we will explore ideas attempting to explain the Information Society and make things that empower us in it. A few of my favorite inventions are the Technics 1200 turntables, Evernote, and water purification.
I tweet at @raroyston + @uncleregis. You can see some of my work at raroyston.com
Visiting Assistant Professor of French Language and Francophone Cultures
Fulbright Visiting Assistant Professor of American Studies, Fall ’14
Silvia Schultermandl is an assistant professor of American Studies at the University of Graz, where she teaches courses in American literature and culture studies. She has published widely on ethnic American literature, transnational feminism, and 9/11. Together with Erin Kenny (Drury University), she is the series editor of LIT Verlag’s book series Contributions to Transnational Feminism. She is currently at work on a monograph on the aesthetics of transnationalism in American literature from the Revolution to 9/11. More
Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology
Grant Shoffstall is a social theorist and historical sociologist of science and technological innovation, with a special interest in how post-World War II technoscientific developments in computation and the life sciences have transformed knowledge of health and illness, life and death, while facilitating biomedical interventions aimed at managing, optimizing, and enhancing the vitality of individuals, groups, and populations. Grant did his doctoral studies in the Department of Sociology and the Program in Science and Technology Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was also affiliated with the interdisciplinary Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. Before coming to Williams College, he was a visiting faculty member in the Department of Sociology at Illinois Wesleyan University. More
Visiting Lecturer in Physical Education and Head Swimming Coach, Fall ’14
Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Studies and Anthropology / Sociology
LaShandra Sullivan (Ph.D., University of Chicago 2013) researches the expansion of agribusiness in Brazil and resulting land disputes with social movements. Her dissertation, titled “‘The Space to Be Ourselves’: Ethnicity, Agribusiness, and Land Conflict in Brazil,” is an ethnography of roadside squatter camps of indigenous and non-indigenous land protesters in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. Sullivan analyzes the emergence of these camps with rural economic development—specifically mass displacement of rural inhabitants, casualization of labor, deforestation, and reorganization of politics in recent decades. Her current research also focuses on Afro-Brazilian and indigenous social movements in São Paulo.
Sterling Brown ’22 Distinguished Visiting Professor of Africana Studies
Visiting Assistant Professor of English
Christopher Taylor received his PhD from the University of Texas-Austin where he completed his dissertation, “Unknowing the Middle Ages: How Middle English Poetics Rewrote Literary History.” He has published on the Prester John legend, the mystical poetics of early Surrealism, and on typological thought in medieval drama. His teaching and research interests include Middle English poetry, medieval sexuality, and the relationship between theology and mathematics in the Middle Ages.
Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow in Anthropology and Environmental Studies
Natalie B. Vena is a JD/PhD candidate in Northwestern University’s School of Law and Department of Anthropology. She graduated from Williams College and received her MPhil in social anthropology from the University of Cambridge. Vena currently studies natural resources preservation in the Chicago region. She uses ethnographic and archival methods to understand the ways in which certain conceptions of nature become instantiated in law, science, and subsequently, landscapes. Outside of her graduate work, Vena enjoys hiking, visiting art museums, and watching basketball.
Barbara Young Welke
W. Ford Schumann Visiting Professor in Democratic Studies, Fall ’14
I am a Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Professor of History and Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota where I have taught since 1998. I love teaching and at Minnesota teach courses at every level from freshmen seminars through graduate and law seminars with a focus on American legal and constitutional history. I earned my J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School (1983) and practiced law for several years in Chicago before returning to school to pursue a Ph.D. in History at the University of Chicago (1995). My research has centered on law and the conditions of freedom in everyday life beginning with my first book Recasting American Liberty: Gender, Race, Law, and the Railroad Revolution, 1865-1920 (2001). My second book Law and the Borders of Belonging in the Long Nineteenth Century United States (2010) focused on citizenship and legal personhood from the Revolutionary Era through the 1920s. My current research centers on law, risk, and rights in the 20th century mass consumption economy. I am very much looking forward to the opportunity to work with Williams’ students in Fall 2014.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies
Mason B. Williams is a historian of 20th century political and social history. His first book, City of Ambition: FDR, La Guardia, and the Making of Modern New York, was published in 2013 by W.W. Norton and Company. He is now working on an account of how urban communities in the 1970s and 1980s responded both to rising crime rates and to the emergence of hyperpolicing and a carceral state. A native West Virginian, Mason received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and his doctorate from Columbia University.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Religion
Visiting Assistant Professor Computer Science
Brent Yorgey’s research interests lie broadly within the intersection of programming languages and discrete mathematics, with particular interests in functional programming languages, domain-specific languages, category theory, and combinatorics. He also has a strong interest in visual communication, and leads the development of an open-source vector graphics platform. He is proud to be an Eph, class of 2004, and attended the University of Pennsylvania for his PhD. In his spare time he enjoys playing bridge, reading ancient Greek and Hebrew, and playing classical piano. More