March 31, 2010

A leading authority on U.S. military power and a renowned physicist are among the intellectual luminaries who will arrive at AmherstCollege in the coming academic year to teach courses that will allow students to benefit from their unparalleled expertise.


Andrew Bacevich, the new John J.
McCloy ’16 Professor of American
Institutions and International Diplomacy

Andrew Bacevich, a West Point graduate, Vietnam War veteran and professor of international relations at Boston University, will teach a fall course titled “Ideas and American Foreign Policy” as the John J. McCloy ’16 Professor of American Institutions and International Diplomacy.

A leading public intellectual and self-described “Catholic conservative,” Bacevich, who has lectured at Amherst in the past, has been “a persistent, vocal critic of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, calling the conflict a catastrophic failure. In March 2007, he described George W. Bush’s endorsement of such “preventive wars” as “immoral, illicit, and imprudent.” His son died fighting in the Iraq war in May 2007.

The history course Bacevich will be teaching will examine the ideas that have shaped United States foreign policy in the past and that continue to influence debates over foreign policy and geopolitics today.

“Members of the history department who have taught books by Professor Bacevich and have heard him speak at Amherst are very pleased that our students will have this opportunity to take a semester-long course with such a prominent author and teacher,” said Kevin Sweeney, professor and chair of Amherst’s history department.

Meanwhile, Fulvio Melia, distinguished professor in the physics, astronomy and applied mathematics departments at the University of Arizona, will visit Amherst as a John Woodruff Simpson Lecturer to teach a new course in fall 2010 called “High Energy Astrophysics.”

Melia is both an internationally-known theoretical astrophysicist and an accomplished author, having published both technical and non-technical books on physics and astronomy, including Cracking the Einstein Code: Relativity and the Birth of Black Hole Physics, which won the 2009 PROSE Award from the Association of American Publishers.

Professor George Greenstein of the astronomy department says he is “thrilled to have such a distinguished scientist as a colleague.”