2020-21 New Faculty

 

Cecilia Aldarondo

Assistant Professor of Art

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Hossein Ayazi

Visiting Assistant Professor of American Studies

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Anthony Carrasquillo

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

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Victor A. Cazares

Assistant Professor of Psychology

I am a behavioral neuroscientist generally interested in human mental health and well-being. I take a highly interdisciplinary approach in my laboratory research, which is focused on understanding how maladaptive behaviors (e.g., persistent fear or poor decision making) arise and can develop into psychiatric disorders. I am particularly interested in how biological factors interact with one’s environment and experiences to shape these processes. The ultimate goal is to discover new ways to promote the transition from maladaptive to adaptive behaviors thereby attenuating the negative impacts of psychiatric diseases.

My identity as a first-generation college graduate and a first-generation Mexican-American motivates both my research and my teaching. Diverse groups are more effective at stimulating innovation and I am a devoted advocate for increasing diversity and equity in STEM fields. I encourage students to engage with me in any setting ( in classes, in the laboratory, or over lunch) to explore topics of diversity, equity, and innovation in STEM.

In my downtime, I enjoy hikes with my dog, Cholula; watching and playing basketball; and tending to my bonsai trees.

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Arturo Chang

Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow in Political Science

Arturo Chang is a PhD Candidate in Political Science at Northwestern University and a Franke Fellow with the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities. Arturo’s research interests concern the study of revolutions, insurgency, popular movements, post-colonial thought, republicanism, and nation-building. His dissertation, entitled “Imagining America: International Commiseration and National Revolution in the Modern Post-Colony,” traces the emergence of Pan-American discourse and its influence on popular insurgency movements during the Age of Revolutions (c. 1775-1830). His project analyzes cases in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and the United States to demonstrate that Pan-American discourse aided popular actors in subverting colonial power and reforming structural inequalities in post-independence contexts. Arturo holds an M.A. from Northwestern University and a B.A. from DePaul University. Arturo was born in Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico and grew up in Chicago, IL.

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Kelly I. Chung

Visiting Assistant Professor of of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Kelly Chung’s research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of performance studies, feminist and queer theory, critical ethnic studies, Asian American studies, and Marxist criticism. From 2018-2020, she was the Dean’s postdoctoral fellow in Asian American Studies, housed in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Dartmouth College. She received her Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University. She is currently working on her first book manuscript, which explores black and women of color feminist performances that complicate the ways we dominantly understand feminist action and labor resistance. Her writing appears or is forthcoming in Women & Performance: a feminist journal, ASAP/Journal, and Text & Performance Quarterly. She’s a true Virgo from Los Angeles.

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Molly Q. Feldman

Visiting Assistant Professor of Computer Science

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Allison L. Gill

Assistant Professor of Biology

I am an ecosystem ecologist. My research investigates how interactions between plants, microorganisms, and the environment influence carbon and nutrient cycling in forests, grasslands, and wetlands. I am particularly interested in thinking about how these processes help us understand how ecosystems respond to global change. I grew up in Nebraska and studied biology and chemistry at Mount Holyoke. I did graduate work at Boston University and was most recently a Grand Challenges in Biology Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Minnesota. At Williams, my research will focus on understanding how nitrogen fertilization influences the activity of plants and decomposer microbes, as well as the cycling and stabilization of carbon in forest soils. I look forward to collaborating with Williams students – please reach out to chat if you are interested! In my free time, I enjoy hiking, biking, reading, and growing veggies – often with my lab mix, Koko.

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Kerry-Ann Green

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Kerry-Ann Green earned her PhD from the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica conducting research with Professor Tara Dasgupta. After graduate studies, she taught chemistry at the introductory and advanced levels for 3 years at her alma mater. She went on to do postdoctoral research work under the direction of Jessica Hoover at West Virginia University. At Williams her research interests are directed towards the design and synthesis of new catalyst systems based on transition metals and their application in developing and improving catalytic processes. The focus lies in the activation of traditionally inert substrates in cross-coupling reactions and the elucidation of underlying mechanistic principles. Research in her lab will facilitate the development of student researchers in organic and organometallic synthesis and characterization techniques.

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Farid Hafez

Class of 1955 Visiting Professor of International Studies

I am a social scientist who focuses on politics, religion and racism with a special interest in Islam and Muslims. My research, teaching, and writing involve community collaborations around the globe. My latest book (in German) was an introduction to Islamophobia (2019) and a co-edited book (English) on Islamophobia in Muslim Majority Societies (2019, Routledge). Since 2010, I have been the editor of the Islamophobia Studies Yearbook and since 2015, I have been editing the European Islamophobia Report, a collaborative project with around 40 scholars, where we cover more than 30 countries in Europe. Before coming to Williams I was at the Political Science Department at the University of Salzburg in Austria. Since 2017, I have been a non-resident senior scholar at Georgetown University’s The Bridge Initiative. Previously, I also served as Fulbright Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley. I completed a Ph.D. in Political Science at Vienna University (Austria).

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Pamela Jakiela

Associate Professor of Economics

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Kelsey M. Jones

Distinguished Visiting Professor of Education

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Joan Kee

Robert Sterling Clark Visiting Professor of Art History

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Olia Kim

Assistant Professor of Russian

I specialize in 20th- and 21st-century Russian and Eurasian film, literature and culture. My research interests include Russo-Soviet ethno-national cinemas, socialist modernity, and the imperial legacy in Russia and Eurasia. In my research and teaching, I aim to examine these issues in both local and global contexts, hoping that such understanding on the one hand would allow us to overcome the legacy of the Cold War dichotomies and on the other hand would open possibilities for comparative analysis of Russian and Eurasian culture with other parts of the world. From a theoretical perspective, my research focuses on the intersection of aesthetics, politics, and history in visual arts and on spatial history in cinema and literature.

Before coming to Williams, I studied and taught in three different cities (Tashkent, Seoul, Pittsburgh) and in three different languages (Russian, Korean, English). I earned my PhD in Film & Media Studies and Slavic Languages & Literatures from the University of Pittsburgh, where I also taught Russian literature, film, culture, and language.

In my spare time, I like learning Ebru paper marbling, cooking various ethnic cuisines (Uzbek, Korean, and Russian are among the favorites), and learning foreign languages (currently French and Uzbek).

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Morgan V. King

Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics

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Margaux L. Kristjansson

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Native American and Indigenous Studies in the American Studies Program

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Scott MacDonald

Croghan Bicentennial Professor in Biblical and Early Christian Studies

My research interests include medieval philosophy (especially Augustine and Aquinas), philosophical theology, and issues in moral psychology and the philosophy of action (especially those concerned with free will, moral responsibility, and practical reasoning). I am currently working on projects on Augustine’s Confessions and De trinitate. I have been Professor of Philosophy and Norma K. Regan Professor in Christian Studies at Cornell University since 1995.

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Carlos Macias Prieto

Assistant Professor of Spanish

Carlos Macías Prieto received his Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at UC Berkeley in 2020. Prior to his graduate studies at Berkeley, Carlos completed a master’s degree in American Studies from Purdue University. In his dissertation, “Seventeenth Century Nahua Poetics: Domingo Chimalpahin and the Cemanahuac Archive,” Carlos examines the writings of don Domingo de San Antón Muñón Chimalpahin Quauhtlehuanitzin, a Nahua intellectual who produced a large body of written texts in Nahuatl and Spanish in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Carlos’ study reframes Chimalpahin’s work as an indigenous intellectual project which safeguards the history of Cemanahuac—today’s central Mexico—and preserves for future generations of Nahuas and their descendants the possibility to reclaim their language, history, government institutions, and land. Carlos’s research interests include: Spanish American Literature and Historiography; Nahua intellectuals of the 16th and 17th Centuries; colonial and contemporary Nahuatl; Mexican Studies; Postcolonial Studies; and Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x Literature. During his time at UC Berkeley Carlos taught Spanish Language courses (including Spanish for Heritage Learners), Introduction to the Analysis of Literature in Spanish and Chicana/o/x Literature as well as advanced courses in Colonial Latin American Literature. Carlos was born and partially raised in Nochistlán, Zacatecas, México, and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Kaoruko Minamoto

Visiting Lecturer of Japanese

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Emily R. Mitchell-Eaton

Visiting Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies

As a feminist geographer interested in mobility and migration, I explore how racial meanings, laws and policies, military infrastructures, and emotions travel through space and over time. My work to date has focused particularly on migration between the Pacific Islands and the U.S. South, studying how empires create diasporas that stretch to unexpected places. My more recent work engages feminist theories and methods to map geographies of death, birth, care, and disability. One new project, Dying in Diaspora, traces circuits of grief and toxicity as experienced by people in diasporas. A second project, Geographies of Postpartum Care/Work in the Neoliberal U.S Academy, asks how postpartum rights in higher education can be struggled over, and won, using the frameworks of workers’ rights, reproductive justice, and disability justice.

I graduated with a Ph.D. in Geography, with a graduate certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies, from Syracuse University in 2016. I also have an MPA from Syracuse University and a BA in Latin American Studies and Portuguese & Brazilian Studies from Smith College. Before coming to Williams, I held visiting positions at UC Santa Cruz, Trinity College, and, most recently, Bennington College.

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Carolyn Mraz

Visiting Lecturer in Theatre

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Meg Onli

Visiting Lecturer in the Program of Graduate Art History

Meg Onli is the Andrea B. Laporte Associate Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania. She has curated the exhibitions Speech/Acts (2017) and Colored People Time (2019). Onli is the recipient of a 2012 Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant; a 2014 Graham Foundation Grant; a 2019 Transformation Award from the Leeway Foundation; and is currently a Warhol Foundation Curatorial Fellow. In the summer of 2020, she founded the initiative, Art for Philadelphia, which raised over $100,000 for community-led abolitionist organizations. Currently, she is working on the solo exhibition Jessica Vaughn: Our Primary Focus is to be Successful (2021); co-curating, with Erin Christovale, a retrospective of Ulysses Jenkins work, Ulysses Jenkins: Mass of Images (2021); and is a Visiting Professor at Williams College.

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Amnon G. Ortoll-Bloch

Postdoctoral Fellow in Chemistry

Amnon Ortoll-Bloch is a materials chemist interested in crystal growth from solution. He studied chemistry at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City, where he completed a senior thesis on biomaterials for bone tissue regeneration. Amnon received his Ph.D. in materials chemistry from Cornell University, where he worked with Prof. Lara Estroff on the crystallization pathways of hybrid lead halide perovskites, a family of novel solar cell materials. At Williams, his research focuses on the binding of small organic molecules to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, and mercury. This research will help develop polymers for environmental remediation. Amnon enjoys hiking and being outdoors, especially near bodies of water. He also loves music and film.

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Owen Ozier

Associate Professor of Economics

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Jan Padios

Associate Professor of American Studies

I am a professor of American studies and Asian American studies, although my research and teaching put me in conversation with scholars of critical ethnic studies more broadly, as well as critical media studies, cultural anthropology, and the sociology of work and labor. My first academic book – A Nation on the Line – is an ethnographic study of customer service call center outsourcing in the Philippines. It was published by Duke University Press in 2018 and won the Association for Asian American Studies’s Outstanding Achievement in Social Science award in 2020. I am also a creative writer. I work in multiple genres (including images), and my work has been published in Indiana Review and Construction literary magazine. I spend a lot of time reading and thinking about race, labor, gender and sexuality, capitalism, colonialism, immigration, and, more recently, settler colonialism and mass incarceration. I tend to ask how things – even what I love, such as poetry or drawing or yoga or jazz – are implicated within structures of power, exclusion, or marginalization. More and more, I am concerned with the links between imagination, creation, and freedom from oppression. I graduated with a BA in Architecture from Columbia University, an MA and PhD in American Studies from NYU, and will complete an MFA from Randolph College in 2021. I use she/her pronouns.

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Marek S. Probosz

Visiting Lecturer in Theatre

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Ahmed Ragab

Richmond Visiting Professor

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Sarah Rara

Assistant Professor of Art

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Kenny Rivero

Visiting Assistant Professor of Art

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Henrik Ronellenfitsch

Assistant Professor of Physics

I am a computational physicist with particular interests in complex systems, biology, and networks. I grew up in the Saarland region of Germany and obtained my Bachelors and Masters degrees from ETH Zürich with a Masters thesis in mathematical physics. Driven by changing research interests, I joined the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization as a doctoral student and received my doctoral degree from the University of Göttingen for work in biological physics. After a short post-doc at the University of Pennsylvania, I moved on to MIT as an Instructor in Applied Mathematics, where I taught and continued research in complex systems, active matter, and mechanical metamaterials.

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Eddy Sandoval

Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow in Latina/o Studies

Eddy Sandoval is currently a PhD Candidate in Geography at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he is completing his dissertation entitled “Landscapes of Violence: Local Politics of Immigration and Economic Development in Suburbia.” The project explores the implications of industry-led growth on the mobility and livelihoods of migrants to US Midwestern suburbia. Eddy’s research interests include: transnational Latinx migrations and racial formations across borders, legality and citizenship status, place-making practices, and theories of power and difference. His work on undocumented queer and trans Latinx migrants in Seattle and immigration politics generally has appeared in Gender, Place & Culture and Society & Space, respectively. Eddy holds a B.A. from Dartmouth College and an M.A. from the University of Washington, Seattle. In his spare time, Eddy can be found hiking, baking, traveling, and playing board and video games.

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Ned G. Schaumberg

Assistant Professor at Williams-Mystic

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Jeremy C. Simon

Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology

Jeremy Simon has a PhD in Psychology from Brandeis University, where he taught Research Methods and the Psychology of Prejudice. Jeremy’s primary aim is to better understand humanity’s worst behaviors, and to help transmit that understanding in hopes of preventing them. Specifically, his work focuses on intergroup bias and how it is affected by social identities and contexts. People do not always recognize the mental or emotional complexity of those around them, and this dehumanization has been tied to some of the worst atrocities in human history. Jeremy’s recent research explored dehumanization in one-on-one interactions, finding that minor differences in the people we meet can produce not only differences in how human we perceive them to be, but differences in how we treat them and how we process them neurally. Jeremy has used a variety of methods in his work, included electroencephalography (EEG) and a variety of explicit and implicit psychological measures. If you are interested in doing research with him, please reach out! More information on his publications and on-going projects can be found at jeremycsimon.xyz. In his free time, Jeremy does other things.

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Tyran K. Steward

Assistant Professor of History

I am a historian of African-American and Modern U.S. History, with a particular interest in political, labor, and social history as well as popular culture and sport. My first book, The Benching of Willis Ward: The Making of a Black Conservative in the Jim Crow North (forthcoming), is the first scholarly examination of Willis Ward, an African-American football pioneer at the University of Michigan and the teammate of future U.S. President Gerald Ford. I use Ward’s benching in 1934 to trace the development of black conservatism and northern Jim Crow in their emergences in sport and in their fundamental relationship to the workings of formal politics and racial liberalism. I enjoy collaborating with students and teaching courses that emphasize questions of belonging, hierarchy, identity, political reimagining, and social retrenchment as they converge around the analytical categories of class, gender, and race. Prior to coming to Williams, I was a postdoctoral fellow at Carleton College and taught previously at the University of Michigan. I completed a Ph.D. in History at Ohio State University and a B.A. at Morehouse College. When I am not in the classroom, I enjoy spending time with my partner, Tamanika, and our two daughters.

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Omer Daglar Tanrikulu

Visiting Assistant Professor of Cognitive Science

After receiving his undergraduate degree in Engineering and M.A. degree in Cognitive Science, Dr. Tanrikulu received his M.S. and Ph.D degree in Cognitive Psychology from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, where he focused on visual perception from a computational perspective. Particularly, he worked on how our visual system interprets depth (or 3D layout of surfaces) from 2D images. Before joining Williams College, he worked as a researcher at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik for two years. In Iceland, he studied how the human visual system reacts to statistical properties of visual scenes when performing visual search tasks. The methodology he uses for his research is called “psychophysics”. Besides vision, he is also interested in philosophy of cognitive science, particularly on the concept of “mental representation”. His most recent article focuses on the probabilistic nature of mental representations in visual processing. Outside of academia, he enjoys playing any kind of sport. Every couple years he changes the sport he focuses on, and also tries to learn a new one. Most recently, he has been concentrating on tennis and beach volleyball, and has also started learning floorball.

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Benjamin Twagira

Assistant Professor of History

I am a historian of Africa, and my primary research interest is African social history with a special emphasis on modern East Africa and 20th century urban Africa. My current research projects explore the intersections between postcolonial military rule, gender issues, and health and healing in urban East Africa. My current book project is a social history of militarized Kampala, the capital of Uganda, between 1966 and 1986. My research related to this project recently appeared in the journal Gender & History: “‘The Men Have Come’: Gender and Militarisation in Kampala, 1966-86” Gender & History vol. 28 no. 3 (2016). In 2018, I completed my Ph.D. in history at Boston University. Following graduation I lived for three years in Atlanta, where I was a member of the history department at Agnes Scott College and previously held a postdoctoral fellowship with the Institute of African Studies at Emory University. When I am not working on research or teaching, I enjoy hiking and bird watching.

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Vincent van der Vinne

Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology

Research interests

Because of the rotation of the Earth around its axis, the environment of all organisms on Earth changes dramatically each and every day. Organisms have evolved internal timing systems that enable them to anticipate these daily environmental changes to maximize fitness by optimizing daily rhythms in physiology and behavior. In mammals, this internal clock (circadian) system consists of molecular transcription-translation feedback loops in every cell that control all aspects of a cell’s physiology. Synchrony between cells in different parts of the body is maintained by the master clock located in the Suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) of the hypothalamus.

My research aims to elucidate the costs and benefits associated with the circadian regulation of physiology and behavior. For this, I try to understand how specific characteristics of our circadian timing system impacted fitness during evolution and how health and wellbeing is affected by living in the modern 24/7 societies that disrupt our endogenous clock systems.

To assess these questions, my lab assesses the physiology and behavior of mice with genetically altered characteristics of specific clocks in the body in response to changes of the rhythmic environment. By doing so, we try to identify the specific aspects of circadian disruption that are responsible for the adverse consequences of circadian disruption in our modern society and understand why the circadian system evolved the way it did.

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Carolyn J. Wargula

Visiting Assistant Professor of Art

Carolyn Wargula specializes in Japanese Buddhist art primarily of the 12th-16th centuries with a focus on the intersections and conceptualizations of gender and the body. Her research interests include the history of materials & materialities; the production, function, and meaning of objects; gendered devotional practices; and affective and embodied responses to art and ritual. Her dissertation and forthcoming book manuscript explore the materiality and function of Buddhist hair embroideries to shed light on women’s participation in Buddhist ritual spaces and Japanese religious history. Dr. Wargula spent over a decade living abroad in Japan before completing her M.A. and Ph.D. in the History of Art & Architecture Department at the University of Pittsburgh. With support from the Japan Foundation, she conducted field research at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies and the Medieval Japanese Studies Institute in Kyoto. In her free time, she enjoys running and cooking.

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Elizabeth Iams Wellman

Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science

I received my PhD in Political Science from Yale University and most recently was at Princeton University as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice. I also hold a research affiliation with the African Centre for Migration and Society at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. My research is at the intersection of international migration and electoral politics, addressing issues of transnational political mobilization, voter suppression, and contentious elections, with a focus on citizens from the Global South. I center questions of rights, access, and inclusion in both my research and teaching, including courses in the Politics of Migration and Democratic Erosion. From 2001 to 2008 I was an Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker and strategic advocacy coordinator, working on films about social and political issues in the US and around the world (you can learn more about my research and films on my website). Outside of the classroom I enjoy hiking, wakeboarding, and dancing in the kitchen with my partner David and children Teddy (7) and Lindi (3).

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Stephanie J. Williams

Arthur Levitt, Jr. ’52 Artist-in-Residence

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Ricardo A. Wilson II

Assistant Professor of English

Ricardo Wilson is a critical scholar and creative writer. His teaching and research focus on twentieth and twenty-first-century African-American and American literature and culture, hemispheric studies of blackness, and the evacuation of language around issues of race. Ricardo’s first book, The Nigrescent Beyond: Mexico, the United States and the Psychic Vanishing of Blackness, is forthcoming from Northwestern University Press (July). His writing can also be found in 3:AM Magazine (forthcoming), Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire, Callaloo, CR: The New Centennial Review, and Stirring: A Literary Collection.

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John D. Wiltshire-Gordon

Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics

I am a mathematician interested in representation theory, algebraic topology, and computer algebra. I also like to help students start their own research projects, so if that sounds appealing, send me an email!

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Liya Zalaltdinova

Visiting Lecturer in Russian

Liya Zalaltdinova earned her Ph.D. degree with a concentration in Second Language Acquisition from the State University of New York at Albany (SUNY). Her research interests focus on Second Language Acquisition and pragmatic competence.

Before joining Williams College, Liya taught English courses at the Kazan National Research Technical University in Russia, and Russian at Oberlin College (as a Fulbright TA) and at the University of Pittsburgh. During her five years at SUNY, Liya developed and taught both undergraduate and graduate content and language teaching methods courses for the TESOL program.

Liya is а passionate quilter and she has been a member of the Union of Arts of Tatarstan and of Russia between 2007 and 2011.

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Sofia E. Zepeda

Assistant Professor at Williams-Mystic

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Charles U. Zug

Visiting Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies

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