2021-22 New Faculty

 

Efrain Agosto

Croghan Bicentennial Professor in Biblical and Early Christian Studies

Efraín Agosto is the Croghan Bicentennial Visiting Professor in Biblical and Early Christian Studies during Academic Year 2021-22. He was Professor of New Testament Studies at New York Theological Seminary from 2011 to 2021 and, prior to that, Professor of New Testament and Director of the Programa de Ministerios Hispanos at Hartford Seminary (1995-2011). Efraín, a Puerto Rican born and raised in New York City, received his B.A. from Columbia University (1977), MDiv from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (1982) and PhD in New Testament Studies from Boston University (1996). Among his publications are Servant Leadership: Jesus and Paul (Chalice Press, 2005), Corintios (Fortress Press, 2008), and a co-edited volume with Jacqueline Hidalgo, Latinxs, the Bible and Migration (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). At Williams, Efrain will be teaching courses in Latinx Religions, Bible and Migration, Religion and Politics in Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Caribbean Diaspora, and a critical study of the New Testament letters of Paul. Efrain and spouse Olga, live in West Hartford, Connecticut, and they have two adult children.

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Febe Armanios

Bennett Boskey Distinguished Visiting Professor of History

I am a historian of the Middle East, with a specific interest in the comparative religious history of Christian and Muslim communities, and a strong emphasis on Egypt’s Coptic Christians. Both my research and teaching delve into Ottoman and modern history, probing topics such as food history, media studies, and gender relations. My most recent and third book project, titled Satellite Ministries: The Rise of Christian Television in the Middle East, explores the introduction of American-style televangelism to the region beginning in 1981 and traces these media’s evolution since that time. I have also been researching the comparative history of food practices among Christian communities in the Eastern Mediterranean, specifically among Greeks, Copts, Maronites, Armenians, Assyrians, and others. Since 2004, I have been teaching at Middlebury College, where I am Professor of History and also co-Director of the Axinn Center for the Humanities.

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Marina Barsky

Visiting Associate Professor of Computer Science

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Rohit Bhattacharya

Assistant Professor of Computer Science

I am a causal inference researcher walking the line between statistics and machine learning. I primarily work on developing principled methods for inferring causality from unstructured and messy data. I am also interested in the application of these methods toward improving the outcomes of patients undergoing cancer immunotherapy, and improving our understanding of cancer genomics in general. I did all of my studying (undergraduate and graduate) at Johns Hopkins University in the charming city of Baltimore; this means that Old Bay is my favourite seasoning and I am happy to put it on literally everything — seafood, ice cream, popcorn, you name it. I am very excited to be teaching causal inference and other computer science courses at Williams, and I look forward to collaborating with Williams students on the many open research problems in causal inference and computational oncogenomics.

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Lynnée D. Bonner

Sterling Brown ’22 Visiting Professor of Africana Studies

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Mariel Capanna

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Art

I am a visual artist whose unique area of experience on the level of craft is buon fresco—the ancient technique of wall-painting with alkaline-resistant earth and mineral pigments into freshly applied lime plaster. I received my MFA from Yale School of Art where I was granted the 2019 Robert Schoelkopf Memorial Travel Award to study and document colonial-era murals on lime-plaster walls in the Cusco Region of Peru, and I’ve been an Artist in Residence at Guapamacátaro Art and Ecology (Michoacán, Mexico), the Tacony LAB (Philadelphia, PA), and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (Madison, ME) where I continue to serve as a Fresco Shop Associate. My studio practice involves the concurrent development of oil paintings, collaborative exhibitions, and site-bound wallworks including my ongoing project Little Stone, Open Home—a perpetually changing fresco in a single-car garage in North Little Rock, AR. My teaching and research at Williams will be centered on the emphatically collaborative and place-based nature of fresco-painting materials and techniques, with a special focus on the environmental benefits and creative constraints and affordances of using locally sourced materials.

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Stephanie A. Cardenas

Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology

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Franny Choi

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

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Saroya Y. Corbett

Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow in Dance

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Marek Demianski

Visiting Professor of Astronomy

I was born and educated in Warsaw, Poland. After obtaining PhD degree in physics I started to work at the Institute of Theoretical Physics at the University of Warsaw. Initially my scientific interest concentrated on general relativity. I have found the most general solution of the Einstein equations describing a black hole. Later my interest drifted toward relativistic astrophysics. I was fascinated with radio pulsars and even performed radio observations myself sometimes helped by Williams students. Currently I am interested in cosmology and gravitational waves concentrating on the mysterious dark matter, dark energy and merging black holes. I like teaching at Williams. I am looking forward to seeing students in class again this fall.

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Matthew Gonzales

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in Latinx Literatures

Matthew Gonzales is a scholar of Latinx literary studies. In 2021, he received his PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley, along with a Designated Emphasis certificate from UC Berkeley’s Program in Critical Theory. His research focuses on the intersection between Latinx literature and culture and Latin American, African American, and Anglo American modernisms. His work highlights the impact of literary and artistic cultures on social transformation processes, demonstrating how avant-garde poets and artists from the geo-social peripheries are cultivating some of the most radical and egalitarian artistic visions of the future. Matthew received his B.A. in Comparative World Literature from CSU Long Beach, where he was Ronald E. McNair Program scholar, and an A.A. from Chaffey College. Prior to his life as a scholar, Matthew played in numerous Southern California-based hardcore-punk bands. He is currently working on turning his dissertation into a book tentatively titled Forma, lo performativo, acción poética: Poetic Art’s Critiques of—and Alternatives to—an Americas of Conquest.

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Allison Guess

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Africana Studies

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Ted Gup

George R. Goethals Distinguished Visiting Professor of Leadership Studies

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Katie Gutierrez

Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow in Economics

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Farid Hafez

Class of 1955 Visiting Professor of International Studies

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Noah Horn

Visiting Artist in Residence and Director of Choral Activities

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Richard H. Immerman

Stanley Kaplan Distinguished Visiting Professor of American Foreign Policy

A historian of US foreign relations and America’s Intelligence Community, particularly the Central Intelligence Agency, I am Professor and Edward Buthusiem Distinguished Faculty Fellow in History Emeritus and Emeritus Marvin Wachman Director of the Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy at Temple University. I held faculty positions at Temple and the University of Hawaii. I was the 40th president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) and recipient of several of its prizes. I also won research awards from Temple and the University of Hawaii.

I’ve published about 50 articles, book chapters, and essays, and written or edited a dozen or so books. Among these are The CIA and Guatemala, John Foster Dulles, Empire for Liberty, and The Hidden Hand. I also co-authored Waging Peace with Robert Bowie, Eisenhower’s Assistant Secretary of State for Policy Planning, and co-edited The Oxford Handbook of the Cold War and Understanding the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Over my career I have served as an Assistant Deputy Director of National Intelligence, held the Francis Deserio Chair in Strategic Intelligence at the US Army War College, and chaired the Historical Advisory Committee to the US Department of State. I still chair the American Historical Association’s Committee on Relations with the National Archives and Records Administration and ride my bicycle whenever time and weather permits.

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Anne Lafont

Robert Sterling Clark Visiting Professor of Art History

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Nicholas R. Mangialardi

Visiting Assistant Professor of Arabic Studies

Nicholas Mangialardi is a scholar of Arabic literature and music whose research focuses on modern Egypt. His work explores conceptions of modernity, heritage, and national identity through the lens of twentieth-century Arab music. His articles have appeared in the Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, UCLA’s Ethnomusicology Review, Smithsonian’s Folklife magazine, and ArabLit Quarterly. He has previously taught at Georgetown University and Macalester College. Nicholas received his PhD from Georgetown University in Arabic and Islamic Studies. He holds an MA in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from the Ohio State University and a BA in Linguistics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Brittany Meché

Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies

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Keston K. Perry

Assistant Professor of Africana Studies

Caribbean societies, especially racialized and marginalized groups face immense and myriad climate and economic challenges due to historical circumstances and marginal position in the world economic system. Caribbean peoples have endured and resisted oppressive systems, from enslavement, colonization, globalization that have continuing legacies and connect to contemporary climate crises that require interdisciplinary engagement. As a political economist, Dr. Perry is specialized in Afro-Caribbean economic thought, climate justice and finance in Caribbean, resource-wealthy and marginalized countries. Dr. Perry has been inspired by Caribbean scholars, including Lloyd Best, Sylvia Wynter, Norman Girvan, and Audre Lorde among others, and draws upon their wisdom and insights in his teaching, research and public scholarship.

Dr. Perry’s appreciation of Caribbean economic history and theory informs his scholarly and public writing that has focused to date on industrial policy, economic development, climate finance and policy, and global finance. Dr. Perry is developing new approaches and deepening analyses of current problems in his project ‘Climate Reparations, Justice and Reparative Ecologies in the Caribbean’. He utilizes subversive methods to unsettle ideological and colonialist premises of economic data and literature, as well as misapprehensions that offers a distinctive contribution to the Black Radical and Plantation Economy Traditions. This work advances political economic insights to build an emancipatory and reparative understanding of development problems arising from the climate crisis. He has taught at the University of the West of England, UK and the University of the West Indies and was a postdoctoral scholar at Climate Policy Lab, Fletcher School, Tufts University.

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Tim Pyper

Visiting Assistant Professor of Music

Tim Pyper is a musician whose interests center around performance practice and embodied learning. He received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Cornell University, where his research focused on the performance practice of English organ music in the early 20th century. As an organist, he has won numerous prestigious contests, including the national competition of the Royal Canadian College of Organists. He has also directed the music program at two preeminent North American parishes: The Cathedral Church of the Redeemer, Calgary (2010-2015) and the Church of the Holy Apostles, New York City (2017-present). A certified instructor of the Alexander Technique, he regularly gives workshops and seminars on optimal psycho-physical functioning for musicians.

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Neal J. Rappaport

Visiting Professor of Economics

Neal Rappaport is returning to Williams College after a four-year absence. During that time, he taught at Colorado College, the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, and in Asia. He is a former Chair of the Economics Department at the US Air Force Academy and is a retired Air Force Colonel with extensive overseas experience in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, as well as service at the Pentagon and at the President’s Council of Economic Advisers in Washington DC.

Neal earned his PhD in Economics from MIT while serving as an active-duty military officer and his research interests include productivity and technological change, the economics of national security, and financial economics. He also has an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Neal enjoys the outdoors and is excited about being back at Williams College.

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Phi H. Su

Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology

I’m interested in people on the move and the understandings and convictions they carry with them across borders. My forthcoming book, The Border Within: Vietnamese Migrants Transforming Ethnic Nationalism in Berlin, best captures my concern with how people rebuild their lives after war and border crossings. I’ve done a bit of border crossing myself: born in Vietnam, I grew up in California and have also studied, taught, and lived in Berlin and Abu Dhabi. As my partner, Will, and I work to rebuild home once again in Williamstown, I look forward to conversations with good folks about migration and mobility, inequality, intersectionality, and creative ways to hone a sociological imagination. You’ll catch me doing a lot of walking around campus and town. I also find joy in singing, playing badminton, and describing food with perhaps a little too much zeal. I use she/her pronouns.

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Tetsuya Takeno

Visiting Lecturer of Japanese

Tetsuya Takeno is a Japanese linguist and professional percussionist/drummer/composer. He earned his MA in East Asian Studies, Japanese Linguistics from the University of Arizona (2021) and a Ph.D. in music composition from the University of Minnesota Twin-Cities (2018). Before coming to Williams College, he has taught Japanese courses at the University of Arizona, the University of Minnesota Twin-Cities, and Youngstown State University. In 2020-21, he developed the asynchronous online elementary Japanese course at the University of Arizona. In addition to his language teaching, he has taught several music courses, including American Rock History I and II, in the post-secondary institution. His current research interests include Japanese Pedagogy and Sociolinguistics in the relation between music and language, specifically how the composer’s native tongue affects the musical output.

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Annie Tang

Visiting Lecturer of Statistics

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Omer Daglar Tanrikulu

Visiting Assistant Professor of Cognitive Science

After receiving an undergraduate degree in Engineering and an M.A. degree in Cognitive Science, I received my M.S. and Ph.D degree in Cognitive Psychology from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, where I focused on visual perception from a computational perspective. In particular, I worked on how our visual system interprets depth (or 3D layout of surfaces) from 2D images. Before joining Williams College, I worked as a researcher at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik for three years. In Iceland, I studied how the human visual system reacts to statistical properties of visual scenes when performing visual search tasks. The methodology I use for my research is called “psychophysics”. Besides vision, I am also interested in philosophy of cognitive science, particularly on the concept of “mental representation”. My most recent article focuses on the probabilistic nature of mental representations in visual processing. Outside of academia, I enjoy playing sports (any kind!). Every couple years I change the sport I focus on, and also try to learn a new one. However, for the last couple years, I have been heavily concentrating on tennis.

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Sayda G. Trujillo

Visiting Lecturer in Theatre

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Alena Williams

Assistant Professor of Art

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