Every academic year brings new teachers and scholars to the Amherst faculty. Some of these people are tenured or on the tenure track, planning to build decades-long careers at the College. But many are visiting faculty, here for only a year or two.
Whether given short-term professorships, affiliated with Sweden’s STINT foundation or hired through Amherst’s membership in the intercollegiate Consortium for Faculty Diversity, this year’s visiting faculty lend their expertise in subjects ranging from Chinese history to U.S. education, from drought-resistant plants to contemporary dance, and from microscopic molecules to distant planets.
Here are the visitors joining the Amherst faculty for 2017–18:
You may know Ray Suarez, the John J. McCloy ’16 Visiting Professor of American Studies, from his years as host of Inside Story on Al Jazeera America, chief national correspondent for the PBS NewsHour and host of NPR’s Talk of the Nation. He’s written three books—Latino Americans: The 500-Year Legacy That Shaped a Nation, The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America and The Old Neighborhood: What We Lost in the Great Suburban Migration, 1966–1999—and his many honors include a Public Policy Leadership Award from UCLA.
Journalist Masha Gessen was a guest speaker at Amherst in January. Now she’s the John J. McCloy ’16 Professor of American Institutions and International Diplomacy. Her 10th book, The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, will be published in October, and she is at work on a book tentatively titled How to Destroy a Democracy: Five Lessons in Imagining the Worst.
Before becoming a Karl Loewenstein Fellow and visiting professor of political science at Amherst, Dipankar Gupta taught sociology at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi for nearly three decades and held visiting positions at universities in Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States. He is a former co-editor of the journal Contributions to Indian Sociology, author or editor of 20 books and a regular columnist in the Times of India.
Lloyd Barba is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Religion whose research and teaching focuses on American religions, particularly Latino/a and African American religious traditions.
Marketus Presswood is a Dean’s Fellow and visiting lecturer in modern Chinese history. His research and teaching interests include race, class and gender in modern China, as well as black internationalism and Afro-Asian political and cultural relations.
As a visiting assistant professor of anthropology and Consortium for Faculty Diversity Scholar, Haile Eshe Cole examines race and experiences of birth and motherhood, including the effects of mass incarceration and maternal and infant health disparities.
Chipo Dendere is another Consortium for Faculty Diversity Scholar and a visiting assistant professor in political science. Her research is on democratization and migration broadly, with a regional interest in African politics. She writes about the impact of voter exit, migration and remittances on the survival of authoritarian regimes. Her new research is on the role of technology and social media in new democracies.
Dianne Pater, Consortium for Faculty Diversity Scholar and visiting assistant professor of biology, researches how plants respond to environmental stresses, such as drought conditions, and helps to develop tools that plant breeders and scientists can use to identify crops that perform well under these stresses.
While earning his Ph.D. from Wayne State University, Alberto Lopez worked on a novel synthesis for Daphniphyllum alkaloids. At Amherst he is a Consortium for Faculty Diversity Scholar and visiting instructor in the chemistry department.
Ashfaq Bengali, visiting professor of chemistry, focuses his research on the photochemistry of organometallic complexes, with a view toward investigating the chemistry of reactive intermediates in catalytic processes.
Stephen Cartier, also a visiting professor of chemistry, says he enjoys “exploring the fundamental principles that underlie observed physical chemical phenomena and working closely with students in the classroom and laboratory to elucidate these concepts.”
Martin Viklund has come to Amherst as a STINT Fellow, and is a professor in applied physics at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. His research includes ultrasound, acoustofluidics and microfluidics for life sciences, as well as tissue engineering.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Amy Coddington explores how American popular music relates to racial identity, particularly focusing on how the media influenced hip-hop’s racial politics in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Darryl Harper ’90, the Joseph E. and Grace W. Valentine Visiting Professor of Music, has recorded and performed internationally as a jazz clarinetist and composer. He has most recently served as chair of the Department of Music at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Sonya Clark ’89 received an honorary doctorate from Amherst in 2015 and is now a visiting artist-in-residence. Her work has been exhibited in more than 300 venues worldwide, and her many awards have included a Pollock-Krasner Fellowship, an Anonymous Was a Woman Award, a Rockefeller Foundation Residency, a United States Artists Fellowship and a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship.
Dante Brown, visiting assistant professor of theater and dance, has taught dance—focusing on composition and contemporary dance—at Wesleyan University, Bates College, Westchester Community College and Ohio State, among other institutions. He was recently an artist-in-residence at Appalachian State University and Emory University. He has performed professionally with David Dorfman Dance, Dance Exchange, INSPIRIT and the Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project.
Dominique C. Hill, visiting assistant professor of black studies, describes herself as “a body-lyricist, disrupter and ethnographer committed to socially just and artistic practices.” Her interdisciplinary scholarship emerges from her life work, which is dedicated to documenting and reimagining black life with a focus on black girls and women. She seeks to incite questions that foreground voices, bodies and knowledges of often disappeared and/or silenced populations.
Leah Gordon is the Lewis-Sebring Visiting Associate Professor in Education Studies and Visiting Associate Professor of History and American Studies. Her research brings together the history of American education and 20th-century U.S. history, with particular interests in intellectual history, social and educational policy, and ideas about race, class and inequality in modern America. Her first book, 2015’s From Power to Prejudice: The Rise of Racial Individualism in Midcentury America, received the Linda Eisenmann Prize from the History of Education Society. Her current book project, Imagining Opportunity: Education and Equality in Modern America, is a history of the idea that schools can equalize society.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics Eleanor Dillon studies job choice, entrepreneurship and the economics of education.
Arielle Knudsen is also a visiting assistant professor in the economics department. Her recent Ph.D. research addresses the consequences of protectionist international trade policies and the influence of institutional characteristics on patterns of trade.
Albert Y. Kim is a lecturer in statistics at Amherst. Originally from Montreal, he has worked as a data scientist in the AdWords division of Google, a visiting professor of statistics at Reed College and an assistant professor of statistics at Middlebury College. His interests include data science, machine learning, forest ecology and spatial epidemiology.
Kimberly Ward-Duong, Five College Astronomy Department Education and Research Fellow, is an observational astronomer. Her research focuses on binary stars, the early stages of planet formation, and the search to discover planets around nearby stars.