September 13, 2010

In addition to 491 new first-year and transfer students, 31 new faculty members have joined the Amherst College community this fall. What follows are brief snapshots of each professor.

Andrew J. Bacevich, John J. McCloy ’16 Professor of American Institutions and International Diplomacy (History), earned a B.S. from the United States Military Academy, West Point, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University. His areas of specialization include American diplomatic and military history, U. S. foreign policy, and security studies.

M. Elena Aldea Agudo, Lecturer in Spanish, received a B.A. from the Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain, and an M.A. from the University of Kentucky. She is currently completing her Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky on Spanish Fascist novels and movies from the early 1940s.

Ronald Bashford, Assistant Professor of Theater and Dance, earned a A.B. from Amherst and an M.F.A. from the Professional Theatre Training Program at the University of Delaware. His artistic work concerns the process of play direction and mixed-genre performance creation, ensemble creativity, and acting and vocal technique for the stage.

Ashley Carter, Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics, holds a B.S. and B.S.E. from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado. Her studies focus on optics and biophysics and their natural intersection, microscope design.

Jonathan Chow, Karl Loewenstein Fellow in Political Science, received a B.A. from Williams College and an M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, where he is now a Ph.D. candidate. He conducts research on international relations, East Asian regional politics, and the relationship between religion and international politics.

Alicia Christoff, Five College Fellow in English, earned a B.A. and M.A. from New York University and is currently completing doctoral work in the English department at Princeton University. She studies Victorian literature and culture, comparative nineteenth-century fiction, literary theory, and psychoanalysis.

Evgeny Dengub, Lecturer in Russian, graduated from Khabarovsk State Pedagogical University in Russia, with a degree in English and French as foreign languages; he is currently a Ph.D. candidate in second-language acquisition and Russian at Bryn Mawr College. His research interests include second-language acquisition, language pedagogy, and heritage-language education.

John Drabinski, Visiting Associate Professor of Black Studies, holds an A.B. in English and philosophy from Seattle University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from University of Memphis. He is a philosopher, writing on the Francophone world and the Americas widely conceived, with particular focus on contemporary Afro-Caribbean philosophy and cultural theory.

M. Kathryn Edwards, Visiting Assistant Professor of History, received a B.A. from McMaster University, an M.A. from Concordia University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, all in Canada. Her work concerns modern France, and she is particularly interested in historical memory, as well as the histories of colonialism and immigration.

Amity Gaige, Visiting Writer, holds a B.A. in English from Brown University and an M.F.A. in fiction writing from the University of Iowa. She is the author of two novels, as well as various short stories and essays.

Ethan Graf, Assistant Professor of Biology (Neuroscience), earned a B.A. from Kalamazoo College and a Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. His research focuses on synapse development and function using the Drosophila larval neuromuscular junction as a model system.

Werner Gundersheimer, Croxton Lecturer in History, earned an A.B. from Amherst College and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.  His major field is Europe: 1300-1600, with special emphasis on Italian and French intellectual, social, and urban history.

James Hebda, Postdoctoral Fellow in Chemistry, received a B.S. from Bridgewater State College and a Ph.D. from Yale University. He studies the relationship between the sequence, structure, and assembly of protein and macromolecular systems.

David Jones, Assistant Professor of Geology, holds a B.A. from Carleton College and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He uses the geochemistry and stratigraphy of sedimentary rocks to study the evolution of Earth’s ancient surface.

Cindy Kan, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, earned a B.A. from Barnard College and a Ph.D. from Stanford University. Her work concerns the development of new synthetic methods and their application in the synthesis of biologically significant natural products.

Urban Kjulin, STINT Fellow in Economics, holds a master’s degree from Lund University and a doctoral degree from the University of Gothenburg, both in Sweden. His research areas are time use, the public sector, and welfare.

Fulvio Melia, John Woodruff Simpson Lecturer in Astronomy, received a B.Sc. and M.Sc. from Melbourne University in Australia, an M.A. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and a Ph.D. from MIT. His work includes the study of physical processes near black holes and the structure of the cosmic space-time.

Saaid Mendoza, Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology, holds a B.A. in psychology from Rice University and a Ph.D. in social psychology from New York University. In his research, he examines the operation of intergroup biases in social behavior and investigates the role of self-regulation within this context. 

Djordje Milicevic, Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics, graduated with a Dipl.Mat. from the University of Belgrade, Serbia, and a Ph.D. from Princeton University. His work is in number theory and analysis, particularly concerning L-functions and connections to spectral geometry.

Ingrid Nelson, Assistant Professor of English, received a B.S. from the College of William and Mary, an M.A from the University of Colorado, and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. Her research focuses on medieval English literature, with an emphasis on poetry and poetics.

Manuela Lavinas Picq, Karl Loewenstein Fellow in Political Science, has a B.A. and M.A. from Université Pierre Mendès France and a Ph.D. from the University of Miami. Her work focuses on the tensions between gender and ethnicity in Latin America, ethnopolitics, and the uses of international norms by indigenous peoples at the local level.

Andrew Poe, Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science, earned a B.A. from St. John’s College, an M.A. from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego. His research interests include contemporary democratic theory, political emotions, nationalism and its alternatives, and the history of modern European political thought.

*Ramón Rivera Moret, Visiting Artist-in-Residence in Art and the History of Art, received a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and an M.A. from the University of Iowa. His film and video work combine documentary material with experimental narrative strategies.

Jason Robinson, Assistant Professor of Music, holds B.A. from Sonoma State University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego. He studies musicology/ethnomusicology; jazz and popular music history, theory and performance; and African-American and African-Diasporic popular and experimental music.

Jessica Salvatore, Andrew W. Mellon Five College Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychology, holds a B.A. from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D. from Princeton University. She studies self and identity, with a particular focus on socially stigmatizing collective identities.

Nina Scott, Visiting Professor of Spanish, earned a B.A. from Wellesley College and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. She has focused her work on Spanish drama of the sixteenth and seventeenth century and on women writers, in particular Mexican poet Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz.

Ralph A. Thaxton, Jr., Croxton Lecturer in Political Science, earned  a B.A. and M.A. from Florida State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.  His research focuses on comparative politics in East Asia, in particular on comparative revolutions and comparative democratic movements.

Krupa Shandilya, Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, received a B.A. from St. Xavier’s College in India, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University. Her work focuses on postcolonial fiction and film, as well as transnational feminism.

Teresa Shawcross, Five College Assistant Professor of History, holds a B.A from the University of Oxford and Wadham College, a Maîtrise from the Université de Paris III: Sorbonne Nouvelle in France, and an M.Phil, and D.Phil from the University of Oxford and Exeter College. Her research and teaching interests lie in the field of Medieval European and Mediterranean history, with recent publications focusing on the Crusades and on the Byzantine Empire.

Christopher van den Berg, Assistant Professor of Classics, received a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. from Yale University. He specializes in the Greco-Roman tradition of literary and philosophical dialogue and its European afterlife.

Ekaterina Vavova, Robert E. Keiter 1957 Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Philosophy, earned a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her main area of interest is epistemology; her recent work focuses on questions of rational humility.

*Starts January 2011