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University of Virginia UVA Arts & Sciences Default

New Academic Year Brings New Faculty to Arts & Sciences

Sep 26, 2016 |

The College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences is welcoming 67 new faculty members this academic year. Those appointments include two Kapnick Distinguished Writers-in-Residence (Lydia Davis and Junot Díaz) visiting the University of Virginia and several faculty members who joined Arts & Sciences last semester.

A complete list of our new colleagues, with short biographies, is included below.


Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies

Marlene Daut
Associate Professor of African Diaspora Studies
Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies/American Studies

Specializing in early and 19th-century American and Caribbean literary and culture studies, Marlene Daut examines the relationship among slavery, revolution, and literary/intellectual history in the Americas. Her first book, Tropics of Haiti: Race and the Literary History of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1789-1865 (Liverpool University Press, 2015) explores what she calls the “transatlantic print culture of the Haitian Revolution” throughout the 19th century. Her second book, Baron de Vastey and the Origins of Black Atlantic Humanism (forthcoming, Palgrave Macmillan) will be the first book-length exploration of the 19th-century Haitian author and politician.

Several other projects are centered on creating more access to Haitian archives and on encouraging more conversation about the relationship between Haitian studies and the digital humanities. This spring, she co-founded, along with Julia Gaffield, a new H-Net network called H-Haiti; she also runs a website: Her work has been supported with grants from the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment in the Humanities, and the National Humanities Center (Research Triangle Park).

Daut earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in English at the University of Notre Dame. She completed her B.A. in English and French at Loyola Marymount University. Previously, Daut was an associate professor of English and Cultural Studies at Claremont Graduate University, where she served as Director of the Graduate Certificate Program in Africana Studies.

Daut looks forward to teaching multilingual literature and history courses in French and Haitian Kreyol. One of her long-term goals is to institute a study-abroad program to Haiti and potentially to other areas of the Caribbean as well.

Talitha LeFlouria
Associate Professor
Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies

Specializing in the study of African-American women and convict labor in the post-Civil War South, Talitha LeFlouria is the author of Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South (UNC Press, 2015). The book won the 2016 Darlene Clark Hine Award from the Organization of American Historians and the 2016 Philip Taft Labor History Award from the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations & Labor and Working-Class History Association. Chained in Silence also earned her the 2016 Malcolm Bell, Jr. and Muriel Barrow Bell Award from the Georgia Historical Society, the 2015 Berkshire Conference of Women Historians' (First) Book Prize, the 2015 Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Prize from the Association of Black Women Historians, and the 2015 Ida B. Wells Tribute Award from the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

LeFlouria was appointed to the board of directors for Historians Against Slavery last year. Before her faculty appointment, LeFlouria was a postdoctoral fellow in the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies (2015-16). LeFlouria received her Ph.D. in history from Howard University and taught at Florida Atlantic University (2009-2015) previously.

LeFlouria is working on a second book project, Doctoring Captivity: Prison Physicians and Incarcerated Patients in the post-Civil War South. LeFlouria is teaching two new courses this year: “Black Women and Work” and “Slavery Since Emancipation.”

Kwame Edwin Otu
Assistant Professor
Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies

As a pre-doctoral fellow in the Carter G. Woodson Institute last academic year, Kwame Otu coordinated the African Studies Colloquium Series at the University of Virginia. His research transects issues of sexual citizenship, gender, human rights NGOs, and neoliberal racial formations in postcolonial Africa, traversing the anthropology of Africa, race, gender and sexuality, queer of color theorizing, critical human rights studies, revolutionary forms of blackness and black aesthetics, and Afrofuturist practice.

The study of race in postcolonial Africa is central to Otu’s work, as are critical inquiries about race in the African diaspora. Otu completed his Ph.D. in cultural anthropology at Syracuse University (2016). In addition to his academic work, Otu has collaborated with Akosua Adoma Owusu, the award-winning Ghanaian-American filmmaker, to produce the film, Reluctantly Queer. It premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year and was featured as part of the New Director New Films series held under the auspices of the Film Society Lincoln Center and MoMA.

Otu is working on a book project, which is an ethnographic investigation of how self-identified effeminate men (sassoi) navigate homophobia and the increased visibility of LGBT human rights politics in postcolonial Ghana, titled, Amphibious Subjects: Sassoi and the Contested Politics of Queer Self-Making in Neoliberal Ghana

American Studies

Kasey Keeler
Lecturer/Postdoctoral Fellow
American Studies

A Native American Studies postdoctoral fellow, Kasey Keeler analyzes suburbs as historically Indian places. Her research focuses on a demographic analysis of U.S. Census data, historical archives, and an auto-ethnography based on her experiences as a suburban Indian to challenge common narratives of suburbia and to underscore the participation of American Indians in the process of suburbanization.

Keeler is transforming her dissertation into a book project examining the suburbs of Minnesota’s Twin Cities – Minneapolis and St. Paul. Examining the last decades of the 19th century and the start of World War I,  as well as the policies that shaped suburbia and Indian Country after World War II, her research reveals how the federal Indian policies of Relocation and Termination prevented American Indian suburbanization and homeownership, challenging traditional narratives of suburbia.

Keeler received her Ph.D. in American studies from the University of Minnesota (2016) and earned her B.A. in political science at the University of Wisconsin (2005). She has received fellowships from the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Advanced Study and the American Indian Studies Department, as well as from the Newberry Library in Chicago. While a graduate student she also held a dissertation doctoral fellowship and participated in the Newberry Library’s Consortium in American Indian Studies summer institute.

As she works on her book, Keeler will teach Native American Studies courses on federal Indian policy, literature, urban Indians, and popular culture.


Mark Sicoli
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology

Working in the field of linguistic anthropology, Mark Sicoli studies language through ethnography with speakers of Native American languages and uses computational methods in historical linguistics for understanding human prehistory. His research has mainly focused on indigenous languages of Oaxaca, Mexico.

Sicoli’s current book project, Saying and Doing in Lachixío, documents how a Zapotec language functions in the collaborative activities of everyday life in a mountain village.

Sicoli is a former National Endowment for the Humanities fellow and has been awarded grants from the National Science Foundation to develop digital language archives and for the production of the documentary film “Whistles in the Mist,” which won an Emmy award for its representation of Chinantec whistled speech. His work has been published in Language, PLOS ONE, Open Linguistics, Language and Speech, Language in Society, and Pragmatics and Society.

Sicoli received his Ph.D. in anthropology and linguistics from the University of Michigan (2007) and his M.A. in linguistics from the University of Pittsburgh (1999). He has worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and has served as an assistant professor at both the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Georgetown University, where he served as director of sociolinguistics.  

Sicoli’s anthropology classes will support UVA’s interdepartmental programs in linguistics and cognitive science. This year, he is teaching courses on multimodal interaction, language contact, language in human evolution, and a fourth-year seminar on regional systems.


Alan O. Bergland
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology

An evolutionary biologist, Alan O. Bergland studies the genetic basis of rapid and cyclic adaptation in the wild. His research uses genomic tools to understand the evolutionary dynamics of microevolution and adaptation, to determine the ecological causes and consequences of rapid adaptation, and to resolve the molecular genetic basis and physiological determinants of life-history traits that contribute to rapid adaptation. The National Institutes of Health recently awarded him a grant to study the genetics and physiology of adaptation in fruit flies and water fleas to variation in selection pressures associated with seasons and predation, respectively.

The long-term vision of Bergland’s research is to understand the extent, molecular mechanisms, and ecological causes and consequences of rapid and cyclic adaptive evolution in the wild. Systematically addressing these questions across a range of taxa, Bergland’s work uses modern tools to address old and fundamental questions and makes an intellectual commitment to work at the interface of evolution, ecology, and genetics. In so doing, his research will provide insight into the forces that maintain fitness related genetic variation in the wild.

Bergland received B.S. degrees in biology and philosophy from the University of Oregon. He received his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Brown University, where he was an Oliver Cromwell Gorton Arnold Fellow. His post-doctoral was conducted in the Biology Department at Stanford and was supported by a NIH post-doctoral fellowship.

Jennifer Guler
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology

This academic year marks Jennifer Guler’s return to the University of Virginia. In 2013, she served as a research assistant professor within the Department of Biology, leveraging her expertise in biochemistry/genetics to further investigate the mechanisms of resistance initiation and metabolic adaptation in Plasmodium falciparum, a protozoan parasite responsible for malaria. Through continued partnership with researchers at field settings, Guler applies lab-based predictions to inform our knowledge of general parasite adaptation and its effect on disease severity.

During her studies, Guler gained expertise in a range of molecular, biochemical, and cell biological techniques in the field of parasitology. As a graduate student at Johns Hopkins Medical Institute, she characterized mitochondrial metabolic pathways of Trypanosoma brucei that are currently being investigated as potential drug target for the treatment of African sleeping sickness. To expand her knowledge of parasites and to learn about their impact in the real world, she then traveled to Africa to investigate malaria transmission.

In continuation of her interest in more translational research, Ms. Guler performed her postdoctoral studies at the University of Washington and investigated how the malaria parasite (Plasmodium falciparum) initiates genetic change and survives drug exposure and other various evolutionary pressures. During this time, she also helped set up studies in field stations across India to test her laboratory-based hypotheses on genomic plasticity with parasites isolated directly from patients.

Jessamyn Manson
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology

Studying the ecology and evolution of plant-pollinator interactions, Jessamyn Manson investigates how the quantity and quality of flower rewards affect the preference, performance, diversity and abundance of native bees in natural and agricultural ecosystems. While studying endemic, invasive and crop plants in Georgia, Colorado, Virginia and western Canada, Manson also conducts intensive laboratory experiments on the health and behavior of bumble bees. Her work has been published in a range of scientific journals, including Ecology Letters, Functional Ecology and Journal of Ecology

Manson received her Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Toronto (2009) and her undergraduate degree in conservation biology from the University of British Columbia (2003).  After a post-doctoral position at Dartmouth College, she became an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Canada. During her time in Alberta, Manson received research funding from the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, as well as support from conservation groups, NGOs and industry sources.  She also received recognition for excellence in teaching. 

As she joins the University of Virginia, Manson plans to continue researching the pollination of native plants in the southeastern United States at the Department of Biology’s Mountain Lake Biological Station, where she has been conducting research since 2013.  This coming spring, she also will teach Introduction to Biology for nearly 800 first-year students.



Charles Machan
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry

A former postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, San Diego, Charles Machan is researching ways to develop new inorganic complexes and materials which incorporate co-catalytic moieties, non-covalent secondary sphere interactions, and substrate relays as catalysts. These efforts represent an opportunity to address the problems posed by diminishing petrochemical reserves, increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, and the shift to renewable energy.

His postdoctoral work has been published in Inorganic Chemistry and the Journal of the American Chemical Society, among others. His current teaching interests are in the applications of group theory to the spectroscopy of molecular inorganic and organometallic coordination compounds.

Machan completed his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry at Northwestern University (2012), where he served as president of the Alpha Gamma Chapter of Phi Lambda Upsilon, a chemistry honors fraternity. He also received Northwestern’s Edmund W. Gelewitz Award for Outstanding Senior Graduate Student. As an undergraduate student, he majored in chemistry and German at Washington University in St. Louis, where he also played football for four years as a defensive tackle.


Sen Zhang
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry

Before joining the University of Virginia, Sen Zhang was a NatureNet Science Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, conducting research with a Nature Conservancy-funded program that aims to connect academic scholarship and conservation practice in order to mitigate and adapt to climate change. His postdoctoral research there involved the development of heterostructured nanomaterials for energy and fuel conversion. Zhang has worked in both chemistry and materials science and engineering departments, and he has 29 publications in the Journal of the American Chemical Society and other top-tier chemistry and materials science journals.

Zhang received his Ph. D. in Chemistry from Brown University in 2013 and his B.S. in polymer chemistry from the University of Science and Technology of China (2008).

His research at UVA will be focused on new nanomaterials, especially those that can be applied to catalytic processes related to alternative energy. His expertise in nanomaterials will provide a complement to the expertise at UVA and prompt opportunities for collaborations with colleagues in the Department of Chemistry as well as in other departments. Expanding the Department of Chemistry’s faculty expertise in nanomaterials synthesis and characterization, Zhang will teach new courses in those areas of study.



Andrej Petrovic
Department of Classics

An expert in Greek epigraphy, religion, and literature, Andrej Petrovic has long been interested in Greek inscriptional poetry, a booming field that has in recent years introduced what he calls “some truly spectacular new texts” that have redefined many of our earlier assumptions about Greek literature.

His first book, Kommentar zu den Simonideischen Versinschriften (Brill, 2007) explores the early history and material contexts of Greek inscriptional poetry, a topic he also pursued as co-editor of Archaic and Classical Greek Epigram (Cambridge University Press, 2010), and in his forthcoming The Materiality of Text (Brill Academic Publishers, 2016). He is particularly interested in normative aspects of Greek religion and in the so-called “sacred laws,” predominantly inscriptional texts which detail rules of various Greek rituals, from sacrifices to festivals, and in the cults and narratives concerning bound or otherwise impeded divinities.

Petrovic and his Classics colleague and wife Ivana Petrovic recently completed a study of early Greek Religion concepts titled Inner Purity and Pollution in Greek Religion, Vol. I (Oxford University Press, 2016). They are now investigating these same ideas in various intercultural dialogues and interactions within the wider Mediterranean context – Egyptian, Jewish, and Christian –of the Hellenistic and Imperial period. He is preparing an edition of Hellenistic verse-inscriptions from Attica and Delphi.

Before joining UVA, he taught at Munich, Heidelberg and Durham universities. Petrovic received his Ph.D. from Heidelberg University (Germany). He was a Sasakawa Peace Foundation Fellow (1999), a Residential Fellow at Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies (2009-10), and a Senior Humboldt Research Fellow at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (2015-16).

Ivana Petrovic
Hugh H. Obear Professor
Department of Classics

A specialist in Ancient Greek literature, religion and cultural history, Ivana Petrovic also researches South-Slavic oral traditional poetry. In her publications on Hellenistic poetry, Petrovic challenges the long-established view that Alexandrian poetry was aimed primarily at literary cognoscenti and scholars. Instead, she argues that it addressed a much broader audience, and that it considered issues of wide societal relevance such as religion, ethnicity, power and the ideology of empire.

Her first book, Von den Toren des Hades zu den Hallen des Olymp (Brill Academic Publishers, 2007) discusses the reception of contemporary religion in Hellenistic poetry. Petrovic has co-edited volumes for Cambridge University Press (Archaic and Classical Greek Epigram, 2010), Franz Steiner Verlag (Triplici invectus triumpho, 2008), Oxford University Press (Ancient Greek Literary Epigram, forthcoming) and Brill (The Materiality of Texts, forthcoming). Together with her Classics colleague and husband Andrej Petrovic, Ivana Petrovic recently completed a study of early Greek Religion concepts titled Inner Purity and Pollution in Greek Religion, Vol. I (Oxford University Press, 2016). Petrovic is working also on unrelated project on the commentary on Callimachus’ Hymn to Artemis, for the Cambridge Classical Texts and Commentaries series.  

She completed her Ph.D. in Greek literature from Giessen University (2004) and earned her Diploma in Classics, First Class Honours, from Belgrade University (1998). Petrovic was a Fellow of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (1999) and a Residential Fellow at the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies (2009-10).

College of Arts & Sciences

Elizabeth Ozment
Assistant Professor/Assistant Dean
College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

As an Association Dean, Elizabeth Ozment advises Arts & Sciences students from the Hereford Residential College, Kellogg House, and Kent Residency Hall. Her research interests include cultural memory, performance repetition, public history, and environmental sound. She is particularly interested in the reiteration of musical performances to mark landscapes and influence historical memory.

Ozment’s most recent ethnographic work about musical memorialscapes in the southern United States explores the values that communities assign to history through selective music preservation, and is forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Musical Repatriation (scheduled for publication in 2017). She has served on the Society for Ethnomusicology Council, as media review editor for the Society for American Music Bulletin, and as secretary of the Society for Ethnomusicology gender and sexualities taskforce.

Ozment holds a Ph.D. in musicology/ethnomusicology from the University of Georgia (2014) and a master’s degree in clarinet performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She also holds graduate certificates in women’s studies, and interdisciplinary university teaching. She completed her bachelor’s degree in music education at James Madison University (2005). Before coming to UVA, Ozment taught in the School of Liberal Arts at Georgia Gwinnett College, in the School of Music and Institute for Women’s Studies at The University of Georgia, as a Frederick Douglass Teaching Scholar at West Chester University, and as an instructor for the National Institute for History and Democracy's pre-collegiate program at The College of William & Mary. An active clarinetist and avid supporter of the arts, Ozment is delighted to have returned to her home state.


Katelyn Hale Wood
Assistant Professor of Theatre History
Department of Drama

Katelyn Hale Wood is a performance studies scholar and theatre historian whose research engages the intersections of critical race and queer theory, gender studies, and 20th/21st century comedic performance. Her first book project, tentatively titled Modalities of Freedom: Black Feminist Comedic Performance in 20th and 21st Century USA, argues how the work of Black feminist stand-up comedians have played vital roles in queer, feminist, and anti-racist community building. Her work has been published in Theatre Topics, QED: A Journal in GLTBQ Worldmaking, and Departures in Critical Qualitative Research, and has also been supported by the American Society for Theatre Research and the National Center for Institutional Diversity. 

Wood received her Ph.D. in Theatre History and Criticism with an emphasis in African American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin (2014). Prior to joining the Arts & Sciences faculty, she taught in the Theatre History and Theory program at Miami University. Alongside her scholarship, Wood is also a dramaturge. 

At UVA, Wood will be teaching courses in theatre history, as well as interdisciplinary topics, such as race and performance in the Americas, queer and feminist performance in the U.S., and comedy as protest.


East Asian Languages, Literatures & Cultures

Jack W. Chen
Associate Professor of Chinese Literature
Department of East Asian Languages, Literatures & Cultures

Researching the literary and intellectual traditions of medieval China, Jack Chen has examined, among other topics, the history of information management in traditional China, gossip and cats.  He employs computational methods for literary analysis, and his ongoing work in the digital humanities involves two projects: one relating to a set of computational tools for the analysis of digitized East Asian language textual corpora; the other is examining the literary history of information management in China from the dawn of literacy to the contemporary period.  

In addition to publishing articles in Early Medieval China, the Journal of Asian Studies and other publications, Chen has published a monograph titled The Poetics of Sovereignty: On Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty (Harvard University Asia Center, 2010) and co-edited a volume titled Idle Talk: Gossip and Anecdote in Traditional China (University of California Press, 2013). He is currently writing a book on anecdotes and the representation of social networks in early medieval China.  

Chen received his Ph.D. in comparative literature from Harvard University (2002), his M.A. in comparative literature from the University of Michigan (1996), and his B.A. in literature from Yale University (1994). Before arriving at UVA, he taught previously at Wellesley College and at UCLA.  

Chen will teach courses in literary Chinese and surveys of East Asian intellectual and cultural history, as well as seminars in classical Chinese literature. 

Yupeng Kou
Lecturer of Chinese
Department of East Asian Languages, Literatures & Cultures

Before joining the University of Virginia’s Chinese program, Yupeng Kou served as both head instructor and teaching assistant for the University of Iowa’s Chinese language courses in its Chinese Program and Confucius Institute. He has more than seven years of experience of Chinese language instruction, and he has participated in the teaching of online business/law courses in the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa.

Kou’s research interests include Chinese pedagogy and second language acquisition, and the proficiency testing and assessment of Chinese as a second language. Kou is the 2015 recipient of the University of Iowa Graduate College’s dissertation research scholarship, and the 2012 recipient of the Chinese Language Teachers Association’s Walton Presentation Prize.

He earned his Ph.D. in second language acquisition from the University of Iowa (2016). Kou also received his master’s degree in Asian civilizations from the University of Iowa (2011), and completed his bachelor’s degree in teaching Chinese for foreigners at Nankai University (2009). He has made multiple presentations on Chinese linguistics, pedagogy, and proficiency assessment at national and regional conferences, including events organized by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and the International Symposium on Chinese Applied Linguistics. In 2013, he was officially certified as a tester for the ACTFL Chinese Oral Proficiency Interview.

This fall, Kou will teach courses on Elementary Chinese I and Readings in Modern Chinese. He also will serve as the Chinese language faculty representative for UVA’s Shea House, a residential community offering total language immersion.



Eric Chyn
Assistant Professor
Department of Economics

An applied microeconomist who studies the effects of social programs, Eric Chyn has conducted research on housing assistance and has found there are substantial benefits to relocating children from low-income public housing using housing vouchers. In related research, he also studies how the relocation of residents from public housing affects children living in areas where former public housing residents resettled.

Chyn completed his Ph.D. in economics earlier this year from the University of Michigan, where he was a Population Studies Trainee and received fellowship funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Other awards and grants earned during his graduate career in Ann Arbor, Mich. include the Department of Economics’ 2016 Parker Prize, a Rackham Centennial Fellowship, a Regent’s Fellowship, and a grant from Innovations for Poverty Action.

Chyn’s dissertation research on housing assistance and its effects on children has received media coverage from The New York TimesSlate, The American Prospect and Mother Jones. Chyn received his M.A. in economics from the University of Michigan (2012) and earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and public administration from Baylor University (2006).

At UVA, Chyn will be teaching a doctoral level course in labor economics in the spring.

Jonathan Colmer
Assistant Professor
Department of Economics

Researching environmental and development economics, Jonathan Colmer explores the relationship between economic and natural systems, seeking to understand how environmental change affects economic behavior as well as how economic behavior affects the environment. In 2013, he received the European Economic Association’s Young Economist Award (FEEM Award), presented annually to three economists under the age of 30. His recent work examines how uncertainty about future income realizations in village economies affects welfare and human capital investments in Ethiopia, and explores the degree to which the movement of agricultural workers across sectors can attenuate the economic consequences of weather-driven changes in agricultural productivity in India.

Colmer completed his Ph.D. from the London School of Economics in 2016. He earned his MSc. in Economics, graduating with distinction, from the University of Exeter (2011). He also completed his undergraduate degree, with honors, from the University of Exeter (2010).

His current research projects explore firm behavior in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS), the effectiveness of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and the economics of marine conservation. Colmer will teach “Introduction to Econometrics” this fall and a graduate course on Public Economics in the spring.

Kerem Coşar
Associate Professor
Department of Economics

Researching the trade costs and labor market adjustments in global markets, Kerem Coşar is interested in how borders and space affect the organization of economic activity. His recent work includes papers published in Macroeconomic DynamicsAmerican Economic Review and the Journal of Development Economics. His research projects have been supported by grants from the University of Chicago’s Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society and the National Science Foundation.

Coşar was an assistant professor of economics at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business (2010-2015) and at the Stockholm School of Economics (2015-16) before joining the Arts & Sciences faculty. He is a research affiliate of the Center for Economic Policy Research, and of the CESifo Institute, based in Germany. In the last five years, Coşar has made conference presentations at the NOITS Nordic International Trade Seminars, the Danish International Economics Workshop, the CESifo Area Conference on Global Economy, the Rocky Mountain Empirical Trade Conference and other U.S. and international meetings.

Coşar completed his Ph.D. in economics from Penn State (2010). He earned his M.A. in economics in Istanbul’s Bogazici University (2004), where he also earned his undergraduate degree in management (2002).

This fall, he is teaching an upper-level course on international trade.

Carter Doyle
Department of Economics

As the newly appointed Blue Ridge Distinguished Teaching Fellow and Lecturer of Economics, Carter Doyle will teach 500-to-800 students each semester in Principles of Macroeconomics, Principles of Microeconomics, and Money and Banking. Doyle is not entirely new to the University of Virginia.  Since arriving two years ago, he has taught more than 3,000 UVA students.  In 2015, students chose Doyle as a featured lecturer in the University’s annual “Look Hoos Talking” event.  He was also invited by students to give a lecture in the Spring 2016 UVA Unforgettable Lectures course.

Before coming to UVA, Doyle was the Head Economist at Ivory Capital, a Long/Short hedge fund that has appeared on the Bloomberg Markets’ Top 100 Performing Large Hedge Funds list. He has also worked in the banking sector as an economist with SunTrust Banks, where he predicted the 2008-09 recession in early 2007. 

Carter Doyle earned his Ph.D., M.S. and bachelor’s degree, all in economics, at Florida State University. Doyle has previously taught at Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Florida State University, and Florida A&M University. His research interests include economic pedagogy, public pensions, economic forecasting, and investments. 

Marc Santugini
Department of Economics

After teaching economics for eight years at HEC Montréal, Marc Santugini returns to the University of Virginia, where he earned his Ph.D. in economics in 2007. Santugini served as a visiting professor in the Department of Economics last year and is joining the faculty this term as a lecturer, teaching courses on the principles of microeconomics and other topics in economic theory.

In addition to teaching introductory courses, Santugini has taught a wide variety of courses both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including industrial organization and intermediate microeconomics. His primary field of research is microeconomic theory with a focus on behavior under risk and uncertainty. His work has been published in the Journal of Economic TheoryJournal of Economic Dynamics and ControlJournal of Risk and UncertaintyEconomic Theory, and other journals. 

Before receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 2007, Santugini completed his M.A. in economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2001) and earned his B.A. in economics and international studies from La Salle University (1999).

Sandip Sukhtankar
Associate Professor
Department of Economics

An economist whose work focuses on the developing world, Sandip Sukhtankar maintains a particular interest in corruption, governance, and the delivery of public benefits and services. One of his recent studies compares how alternative approaches in India, such as the direct provision of food versus the provision of cash cards, succeed in getting material support past corrupt intermediaries to deliver nutrition to the poor.

Sukhtankar’s recent work has been funded by National Science Foundation, the Omidyar Network, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. His research has been published in the American Economic Review, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics and other leading economic journals. His 2014 paper with Paul Niehaus, “Corruption Dynamics: The Golden Goose Effect,” won the American Economic Association’s Best Paper award.

Sukhtankar comes to the University of Virginia from Dartmouth College, where he was an Assistant Professor from 2009 to 2016. He is also an affiliate of the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development and the Jameel Poverty Action Lab. He previously worked at the Brookings Institution and the Center for Global Development and was a visiting fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University (2009), and a bachelor’s degree, with highest honors, from Swarthmore College (2000). 

At UVA, Sukhtankar will teach undergraduate and graduate courses in development economics. 

Jae Won Lee
Assistant Professor
Department of Economics

An economist specializing in macroeconomics and international economics, Jae Won Lee researches monetary and fiscal policy and their implications for the business cycle. Specifically, he studies the interactions between monetary and fiscal policy, the macroeconomic implications of sectoral heterogeneity in price rigidity, and the design of monetary policy under financial market frictions, among other topics. His work has been published in leading academic journals, such as the Journal of Monetary EconomicsJournal of International EconomicsReview of Economics and StatisticsReview of Economic DynamicsJournal of Money, Credit and BankingJournal of Economic Dynamics and Control, and American Economic Review (Papers and Proceedings.)

Lee received his Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University (2008), where he also earned a master’s degree in economics (2006).  He completed his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison (2003). Before coming to the University of Virginia, Lee was a faculty member at Rutgers University (2008-13) and Seoul National University (2013-2016), where he taught macroeconomics at various levels of instruction.

At UVA, Lee will continue teaching macroeconomics to undergraduate and graduate students.


Steph Ceraso
Assistant Professor
Department of English

Joining the Department of English’s Writing Program, Steph Ceraso is planning to develop innovative new composition courses that focus on digital production. Her research and teaching interests include multimodal composition, sound studies, pedagogy, digital rhetoric, disability studies, sensory rhetorics, gender and women's studies, music and pop culture.

A former lecturer at Georgetown University (2013-14) and assistant professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (2014-16), Ceraso has published scholarship in College EnglishComposition StudiesCurrents in Electronic Literacy, and other journals. Her 2014 article on sonic pedagogy, “(Re)Educating the Senses,” won the 2015 Richard Ohmann Award, a national award recognizing her refereed article in College English for making a significant contribution to the field of English studies. Ceraso is working on her first book, which proposes an expansive approach to teaching with sound in the writing classroom.

She earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Pittsburgh (2013), an M.A. in English literature from the University of Vermont (2006) and her B.A. in English literature from Washington & Jefferson College, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude (2004).

This fall, Ceraso is teaching "Writing with Sound," a class in which students will create an original, three-episode podcast series.

Debjani Ganguly
Professor/IHGC Director
Department of English/Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures

An internationally acclaimed scholar of world literature, Debjani Ganguly works in the fields of postcolonial studies and the South Asian Studies. Her recent research interests have included the links between globalism, information technology, ethnic violence and humanitarian connectivity through the genre of the novel, which led to her latest book, This Thing Called the World: The Contemporary Novel as Global Form (Duke University Press, 2016).

Ganguly also is the author of Caste, Colonialism and Countermodernity (2005) and the editor of Edward Said: The Legacy of a Public Intellectual (2007) and Rethinking Gandhi and Nonviolent Relationality: Global Perspectives (2007). Ganguly is a co-editor of the Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry and the General Editor of a newly commissioned edition of The Cambridge History of World Literature.

Ganguly received her Ph.D. in English literature and postcolonial studies from Australian National University (2002).  She has held visiting fellowships at the University of Chicago, the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2015, Ganguly was on the seminar faculty of the Harvard Institute for World Literature, and she will be teaching at the Institute again in 2017. She is a Life Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge, a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and a member of the international advisory boards of the Harvard Institute for World Literature, the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes, the International Comparative Literature Association, and the Duke-Bologna-UVA Academy in Global Humanities and Critical Theory.

Before her appointment as director of UVA’s Institute of Humanities and Global Cultures, Ganguly was director of the Humanities Research Centre and Associate Professor of Literature at the Australian National University, Canberra (2007-14).  

Lisa Goff
Assistant Professor, Director of Institute for Public History
Department of English/American Studies

An interdisciplinary scholar, Lisa Goff investigates American cultural landscapes in the 19th and 20th centuries. Her first book, Shantytown, USA: Forgotten Landscapes of the Working Poor, was published in 2016 by Harvard University Press. The book argues that shantytowns constitute an alternative vision of American urban space between 1820 and 1940, and that conflicts over shantytowns as places and symbols of working-poor culture were an essential element in the formation of 20th-century class difference in the United States.

In collaboration with the UVA Library Scholars' Lab, she recently launched a new digital history project, Take Back the Archive, dedicated to the history of sexual violence at UVA. Goff was a member of the University’s general faculty from 2012 to 2016, serving the Department of English and as part of the American Studies program’s core faculty. She also taught classes on women and media for the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures. Since 2014, she has served as the director of UVA’s Institute for Public History.

She received her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia and her B.A. from the College of William & Mary. She also holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Goff teaches classes in cultural landscape, public history, theories and methods of American Studies, the history of journalism, and gender and social media. 

John T. Casteen, IV
Department of English

A poet and essayist whose work addresses culture, visual experience, ethics, and history, John T. Casteen is the author of two books of poems, Free Union and For the Mountain Laurel, both from the University of Georgia Press’ VQR Poetry Series. His recent work includes “The Imaginary City,” an interdisciplinary project in essay, poems, and photographs from China, and “Memory: Viajar,” an essay-film in progress from Peru.

His poems have appeared in Fence, The Paris Review, The Southern Review, Ploughshares, and other literary magazines, and have been anthologized in Monticello in Mind: Fifty Contemporary Poets on Jefferson, Best American Poetry, and The Rumpus Poetry Anthology.  In addition, he has contributed to, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Washington Post, The Morning News, and VQR.  Nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize, Casteen has been awarded the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges’ Mednick Fellowship, New York University’s Visiting Artist Faculty in Residence, and a Faculty Fellowship Residency at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts.

Casteen holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia (A&S ‘93) and an MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.  He has taught previously at James Madison University, on Semester at Sea, and at Sweet Briar College, where he founded a national conference for undergraduate students of creative writing. This fall, he will teach the courses “Writing About Culture and Society” and “Communicating with the Public.”

Mary Kuhn
Assistant Professor of Environmental Humanities
Department of English

Studying the relationship between literature and global botanical culture, Mary Kuhn is a scholar of 19th-century American literature and science. She is interested in the scientific, aesthetic, and social practices that cohered around plant life, and she is currently working on a book about 19th-century literary authors who engaged botany and horticulture as a basis for political critique.

Kuhn previously held a Mellon postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a lectureship in the History and Literature concentration at Harvard University. She has a Ph.D. in English from Boston University (2014), and a bachelor’s degree in English from Yale University (2005).

At the University of Virginia, Kuhn will teach interdisciplinary courses that draw connections between various literary traditions, environmental history, the history of science, and STS. This fall, she is teaching a course titled “Plants and Empire” that is cross-listed in the Department of English and the Environmental Thought and Practice program.

Carmen Lamas
Assistant Professor
Department of English/American Studies

Researching the literary works of 19th-century Latina/o writers who lived in and traveled between the United States, the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa and Europe, Carmen Lamas explores topics that create a unique bridge between the Department of English and the American Studies Program.

Before coming to the University of Virginia, Lamas was the Director of the Hispanic Institute at La Salle University. She has also held academic appointments at Amherst College and Columbia University. She received her Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. in English from Georgetown University.

Her articles have been published in Revista Hispánica Moderna, Latin American Research Review and Latino Studies. She has articles forthcoming in Oxford University Press Bibliographies, The Cambridge Companion to Latina/o American History and The Latino Nineteenth Century. Her current book project is titled The Latino Continuum: Rethinking American and Latin American Studies. She is a co-founder of the Latina/o Studies Association, an international academic organization that brings together scholars, activists and community leaders to address Latino concerns.

This fall, Lamas is teaching a new course in English and American Studies titled “Latina/o Fiction and Film” that addresses the diverse and converging experiences of different Latino groups in the United States. In the spring, she will teach a graduate course on Latino literatures and histories, as well as an undergraduate course on race and ethnicity in Latino literature.

Cory Shaman
Department of English

Cory Shaman’s research, teaching, and publications focus on the material histories and representations of environmental injustice, often in the context of post-natural conceptions of the environment. His work takes specific form in examining the growing archive of film and literature related to Hurricane Katrina, and much of his most recent scholarship has explored the ethics of food systems in the American South from a critical vegan perspective.

Shaman’s specific interest in how non-human interests are excluded or obscured in decision-making processes arises from a desire to imagine legitimately just and sustainable arrangements that more fully and seriously account for the lives that historically have been most discounted.

Shaman earned his Ph.D. in English, with concentrations in environmental and regional U.S. literature, from the University of Mississippi (2007).

At the University of Virginia, Shaman will teach introductory courses on critical inquiry, within the Academic and Professional Writing Program, along with associated upper-level undergraduate writing intensive classes.

Kate Stephenson
Department of English

An alumna who received both of her graduate degrees from the University of Virginia, Kate Stephenson returns to UVA to teach in the Department of English’s Writing Program. Her academic research focuses primarily on composition and pedagogy, but she has also published articles and presented papers on Sylvia Plath, modern poetry, children’s literature, and online education.

Before joining the Writing Program, Stephenson was an editor for the Core Knowledge Foundation (2014-15) and a lecturer in the Composition and Humanities Departments of Kaplan University (2003-2016). In 2012, Kaplan’s College of General Education presented her its Outstanding Faculty Award. She also worked as a lecturer in the English Department of Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas (2002-03).

She worked one term as a lecturer in UVA’s Department of English after completing her Ph.D. in English literature (2001).  She also completed her M.A. in English literature at UVA (1997) and graduated Summa Cum Laude, with Phi Beta Kappa honors from Duke University, where she completed her B.A. in English literature and German language and literature.

This fall, Stephenson will teach "Writing and Critical Inquiry: Writing about Photography" and "Travel Writing." She is currently designing an advanced writing course that focuses on community engagement and literacy, and in the spring, she looks forward to leading a one-credit pilot course exploring the relationship between writing, community engagement, and leadership.

Lydia Davis
Kapnick Distinguished Writer-in-Residence
Department of English

A renowned writer and translator revered in literary circles for her extremely brief and inventive short stories, Lydia Davis is the University of Virginia’s third Kapnick Distinguished Writer-in-Residence. The program was created to bring writers of international stature to the University to teach and engage with students and the literary community. The Kapnick Foundation Distinguished Writer-in-Residence Endowment was inspired by UVA’s first writer-in-residence, William Faulkner, who came to the College to consult, lecture and write in 1957 and 1958.

The author of one novel and seven story collections, Davis teaches at the State University of New York at Albany. She will lead master classes and meet with MFA and undergraduate prose writers in the Department of English’s Creative Writing Program during her time at UVA (Oct. 31 through Nov. 20, 2016) while making several class visits in programs across Grounds. She also will give public readings of her work and talks during her residency.

The French-American Foundation appointed Davis its first annual Translator Laureate for this year. Davis won the 2013 Man Booker International Prize, a biennial award which celebrates "achievement in fiction on the world stage." In addition to her 2003 MacArthur fellowship, Davis is the recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Award of Merit Medal. The French government named her both a Chevalier and an Officer of the Order of the Arts and Letters for her fiction and her translations of modern writers, including Maurice Blanchot, Michel Leiris and Marcel Proust. Her 2014 collection, Can’t and Won’t, was a national bestseller. The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis, published in 2009, won the Paris Review’s Hadada Award. Her collection, Varieties of Disturbance: Stories, was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award.

Junot Díaz
Kapnick Distinguished Writer-in-Residence
Department of English

Author of “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, Junot Díaz is the University of Virginia’s fourth Kapnick Distinguished Writer-in-Residence. The Kapnick Foundation Distinguished Writer-in-Residence Endowment was inspired by UVA’s first writer-in-residence, William Faulkner, who came to the College to consult, lecture and write for the spring semesters of 1957 and 1958. The program was created to bring writers of international stature to the University to teach and engage with students and the literary community.

During his residency at UVA (Jan. 23 to Feb. 11), Díaz will leading master classes and meet with MFA and undergraduate prose writers in the Department of English’s Creative Writing Program. As with fellow Kapnick writer Lydia Davis, Díaz will make several class visits in programs across Grounds and will deliver readings of his work and public talks during his residency.

Díaz was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. His other works include the critically acclaimed short-story collections Drown and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, a PEN/Malamud Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the PEN/O. Henry Award. A graduate of Rutgers College, Díaz is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Environmental Sciences

Xi Yang
Assistant Professor
Department of Environmental Sciences

An ecologist who studies how climate change influences forests, Xi Yang uses satellite remote sensing and other spectroscopic methods to research the climatic controls on vegetation photosynthesis and related plant functioning, the feedbacks of vegetation to the climate, and the impact of climate change on vegetation phenology.

Yang completed his Ph.D. in 2014 at Brown University, where he was the recipient of two named fellowships (Stanley-Watson; Hartnett) and was the co-principal investigator of the Institute at Brown for Environment & Society (IBES) Small Grants. During his graduate studies, Yang designed a novel field spectroscopic system that measures the solar-induced fluorescence – a tiny amount of light emitted from leaves during photosynthesis that can tell us how much is photosynthesis. He uses advanced computation approaches, such as data assimilation, to bridge the gap between observations and models to improve our predictions of carbon, water and energy fluxes, and Yang plans to use this new technique to better understand how forests are impacted by the changing climate.

Yang’s work has been published in the Journal of Geophysical Research and other journals. This academic year, he will be teaching Remote Sensing Application courses.  


Maya Boutaghou
Assistant Professor of Francophone Cultures of the Global South
Department of French

An Algerian French scholar who researches Arabic and French culture, politics, and history in North Africa, Maya Boutaghou is part of the inaugural cohort of Global South Fellows in the College’s Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures. She specializes in the literature and culture of the broad francophone world, from the 19th- to the 21st centuries.

Boutaghou explored poetical and textual perspectives on postcolonial literatures and cultural identity construction in 19th century Australia, Bengal, Egypt and Mexico in her book Occidentalismes: Romans historiques postcoloniaux et identités nationales au dix-neuvième siècle (Paris, Honoré Champion, 2016). Boutaghou is working on her second book, which focuses on the postcolonial contexts of plurilingual women writers in Egypt, Bengal, Mauritius, and Algeria.

Her work has been published in Expressions MaghrébinesFrench Studies, International Journal of Francophone Studies, Dalhousie French Studies, and Comparative Literary Studies. In 2014, she guest-edited a special issue of l’Esprit créateur on the Algerian war of independence and its legacy and is editing a forthcoming book, Fictions et représentations de la guerre algérienne d’indépendance (Garnier, 2016).

Boutaghou taught at Florida International University the last six years. She received her Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Limoges and served as a Mellon postdoctoral fellow at UCLA’s Center for Cultures in Transnational Perspective (2008-10).

This fall, Boutaghou is teaching a graduate course on an archipelagic approach to postcolonial theory. In the spring she will teach an advanced undergraduate course called “Visions of the Mediterranean” as well as an Introduction to French Studies seminar.


Germanic Languages & Literatures

Paul Dobryden
Assistant Professor
Department of Germanic Languages & Literatures

Aiming to bring together insights from recent work in media studies and the environmental humanities, Paul Dobryden researches the intersections of media technologies and environmental design, with a focus on German cinema of the silent period. His current book manuscript explores the role of architecture and environmental design in the production, exhibition, and aesthetics of cinema in Germany from 1900 to 1930.

His work has been published in the journals Film & History and Studies in European Cinema, as well as anthologies including The New History of German Cinema (Camden House, 2012) and A Companion to Fritz Lang (Wiley Blackwell, 2015). He also co-edited and contributed to the book Hans Richters ‘Rhythmus 21’: Schlüsselfilm der Moderne, on Richter’s seminal avant-garde film.

Dobryden completed his Ph.D. in German studies at the University of California, Berkeley (2014). Research for his dissertation was supported by grants from the Berkeley Institute for European Studies, the German Academic Exchange Service, and the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies at the Free University of Berlin. He earned his B.A. in German and comparative literature from the University of Michigan (2004).

Before coming to UVA, Dobryden held the position of Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of German Studies at Cornell University. This fall, he will teach a course on German silent cinema, as well as a course that practices strategies for close and critical reading in the German language.

Corcoran Department of History

Fahad Ahmad Bishara
Assistant Professor
Corcoran Department of History

Joining the Arts & Sciences faculty after three years as an assistant professor at the College of William & Mary, Fahad Bishara explores the legal and economic history of the Indian Ocean and of the Islamic world more broadly. His current book, A Sea of Debt: Law and Economic Life in the Western Indian Ocean, 1780-1940 (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press) is a legal history of economic life in the Western Indian Ocean, told through the story of the Arab and Indian settlement and commercialization of East Africa during the 19th  century.

Bishara holds a Ph.D. in history from Duke University (2012) and an M.A. from the University of Exeter (2012). He earned his B.A. from the University of Southern California (2004). Prior to arriving at UVA, he was a Prize Fellow in Economics, History, and Politics at Harvard University, where he continues as a research associate at the Center for History and Economics. He has held fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center.

His current project explores the history of the dhow trade between the Persian Gulf, India and East Africa during the late 19th- and early 20th centuries. Bishara will offer courses in legal history, the history of global capitalism, microhistory, Indian Ocean history and the history of the Islamic world. He also hopes to contribute to the College’s Global South Initiative.

Justene G. Hill
Assistant Professor
Corcoran Department of History

A scholar of African-American history who specializes in the history of slavery in the United States, Justene Hill is working on a book manuscript tentatively titled, Black Markets: The Slaves’ Economy and Plantation Capitalism in South Carolina.  The book interrogates the relationship between slave economies and plantation capitalism in South Carolina between the American Revolution and the Civil War.  Hill argues that enslaved peoples’ dedication to their own trading activities benefitted slaveholders’ investments in plantation profits more than it benefited slaves themselves.

She received her Ph.D. in history in 2015 from Princeton University, where she researched the legal culture and business practices of slave economies in South Carolina. She received the Consortium Dissertation Fellowship at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and the Princeton University Writing Program’s Quin Morton Teaching Fellowship.  She completed her M.A. in history from Princeton (2010), an M.A. in African New World Studies from Florida International University (2008), and a B.A. in Spanish from Swarthmore College (2004). Her work has been supported by Princeton’s Center for African American Studies, Program in American Studies, and the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies.

She will offer lecture courses and seminars on early African-American history and American slavery. This fall, she is teaching two courses: “African-American History to 1865” and “American Slavery and the Law.” 

Kyrill Kunakhovich
Assistant Professor
Corcoran Department of History

A historian of modern Europe, Kyrill Kunakhovich studies the politics of culture in the 20th  century. His research on central and eastern Europe considers how different regimes use arts and culture for their ends, and how artworks shape people’s beliefs and identities. His work has appeared in the German Studies ReviewEast European Politics and Societies, and several edited volumes.

Kunakhovich is completing a book manuscript titled Culture for the People: Art and Politics in Communist Poland and East Germany. Focusing on two cities, Kraków in Poland and Leipzig in the GDR, the book examines art's role in communist politics as well as communism's impact on the arts. Kunakhovich shows how communist officials gave rise to a distinctive Soviet Bloc culture whose traces endure to this day. His next project, a transnational history of the variety show, will explore the rise of mass politics in early twentieth-century Europe.

Kunakhovich received his M.A. and Ph.D. in history from Princeton University (2009, 2013). Before joining the Corcoran Department of History, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University, and a Mellon Faculty Fellow in Global Studies at the College of William & Mary.

A Charlottesville native, Kunakhovich will teach courses on cultural history, nationalism, the Cold War, and modern Europe at UVA.


Julie Bergner
Associate Professor
Department of Mathematics

Supported by a National Science Foundation CAREER grant, Julie Bergner focuses her research in the area of homotopy theory, in which mathematical objects are considered up to deformation. Much of her work has been concerned with having a good framework for looking at algebraic and categorical structures from this perspective. In her current projects, Bergner is using these ideas to make connections between fields as diverse as topology, representation theory, mathematical physics and algebraic geometry.

Bergner was a research visitor at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) in Berkeley, Calif. in spring 2014. She also has been a research fellow at the Hausdorff Research Institute for Mathematics and the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics (both in Bonn, Germany), as well as at the Centre de Recerca Matemàtica in Barcelona, Spain. Bergner’s publications include a recent paper in Geometry and Topology, and one paper and several more in progress arising from the Women in Topology collaborative research workshops.

Bergner completed her M.S. and Ph.D. at the University of Notre Dame (2002, 2005) and her undergraduate degree at Gonzaga University (2000). She held appointments as an assistant professor and associate professor at the University of California, Riverside (2008-16) and was a postdoctoral instructor at Kansas State University (2005-08).

Francesco Di Plinio
Assistant Professor
Department of Mathematics

The recipient of a National Science Foundation grant, Francesco Di Plinio concentrates his research in the areas of harmonic analysis and partial differential equations. In the former area, he focuses on singular integrals with modulation invariance with application, in particular, to pointwise convergence of Fourier series.  His research in partial differential equations involves elliptic regularity in non-smooth domains and its application to fluid mechanics, and the asymptotic behavior of dynamical systems arising from thermoviscoelasticity.

Di Plinio has authored or co-authored 15 published research articles, the most recent of which appeared in Journal d'Analyse Mathematique (with Yumeng Ou), Journal of the London Mathematical Society (with Andrei Lerner) and Transactions of the American Mathematical Society (with Christoph Thiele). He was a Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Rome, Tor Vergata and, for the last two academic years, a Tamarkin Assistant Professor at Brown University.

Di Plinio obtained his Ph.D. in pure mathematics from Indiana University (2012). His undergraduate studies were completed at Politecnico Di Milano. 

At the University of Virginia, he plans to help strengthen and expand the Mathematical Analysis research group, interacting with graduate and undergraduate students, as well as fellow researchers, through regular coursework and learning, research-focused seminars.

Juraj Földes
Assistant Professor
Department of Mathematics

Juraj Földes applies mathematical analysis to problems related to chemical reactions, composite materials, the evolution of biological systems, and fluid flows. Specifically, he investigates the long-term qualitative properties of differential equations modeling turbulence in geophysical and astrophysical fluids, the evolution of colonies of bacteria, and the formation of spatial patterns and phase transitions in materials.

His work has been published in the Journal of Differential EquationJournal of Functional Analysis, and Calculus of Variation and Differential Equations. His academic honors include collaborative grants from the Mittag-Leffler Institute in Sweden, the Oberwohlfach Research Institute for Mathematics in Germany, and the Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery in Canada.

After graduating with honors from the Comenius University in Slovakia, Földes earned his Ph.D. degree from the University of Minnesota (2009). He was a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University as a postdoctoral fellow before taking a National Science Foundation-funded postdoctoral position at the Institute Mathematics and its Application. Földes also held an MIS postdoctoral position at the Université libre de Bruxelles.

Földes is teaching a functional analysis course this fall and will teach a differential equations course in the spring.

Sara Maloni
Assistant Professor 
Department of Mathematics

Sara Maloni was a Tamarkin Assistant Professorship at Brown University for three years. She also spent a semester at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley as a Huneke Endowed Postdoctoral Fellow. Before this, Maloni was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Paris-Sud 11 and at the University of Toulouse. She has been awarded a National Science Foundation award (2015-18), and an AMS Simons Travel Grant (2014-16).

Maloni’s research lies at the intersection of geometry and low-dimensional topology. More precisely, she studies deformation spaces of geometric structures on (low-dimensional) manifolds through their geometric, topological and dynamical properties. Her published work includes papers in Groups, Geometry and Topology and Algebraic Geometry and Topology.

At UVA, Maloni will teach Calculus I (fall) and Survey of Algebra (spring). In addition, she will organize the Math Club, and hopes to help starting a new AWM Student Chapter. In the fall, she will co-organize two conferences: an AMS Sectional Meeting in Bowdoin College and the Virginia Topology Conference at Ova.

Maloni received her Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Warwick (UK) in 2013. She also received her M.S. and B.S. in mathematics from the University of Genova (Italy) in 2008 and 2006.

Axel Saenz Rodriguez
Mary Ann Pitts Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Mathematics

Axel Saenz Rodriguez' researches integrability, working with probabilistic models with simple interactions and the Wentzel-Kramers-Brillouin (WKB) method to approximate solutions of Painlevé equations. His research explores the interaction of geometry, representation theory, and probability.

His recent joint work includes “The Completeness of the Bethe Ansatz for the Periodic ASEP” and “Painlevé Equations, Topological Type Property and Reconstruction by the Topological Recursion.” Earlier this year, Saenz Rodriguez delivered talks and presentations at the XXXV Workshop on Geometric Methods in Physics at the University of Biaystok in Poland, the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the 34th annual Western States Mathematical Physics Meeting at the California Institute of Technology.

His academic honors include the GAAN Fellowship (2012-13), a Graduate Research Mentorship Fellowship (2014-15) at the University of California, Davis, and a Dissertation Year Fellowship (2015-16) at UC Davis. Saenz Rodriguez also was a graduate fellow this year at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.

Axel Saenz Rodriguez earned his Ph.D. in mathematics from UC Davis (2016) and his bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics from Columbia University (2011).

Ramanujan Santharoubane
Whyburn Lecturer
Department of Mathematics

Researching quantum topology and low-dimensional topology, Ramanujan Santharoubane is interested in representations of mapping class groups arising from topological quantum field theories.

His Ph.D. work at Institut de Mathématiques de Jussieu – Paris, completed in 2015, concerned the so called AMU conjecture for quantum representations of mapping class groups. Santharoubane has presented his work in conferences in Paris, the University of Barcelona, the University of Michigan and Bonn, Germany. In his recent work with Assistant Professor Thomas Koberda, a colleague in the Department of Mathematics, Santharoubane built representations of surface groups from topological quantum field theories. This led them to establish deep connections between quantum topology and low dimensional topology. Their work has been published in Inventiones Mathematicae. Santharouban’s work also has been published in the Journal of Knot Theories and its Ramifications.

Santharoubane earned a master’s degree in mathematics and his bachelor’s degree at the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Paris (2011). He completed a second master’s degree in mathematics at the Université Paris Diderot.

He is teaching Calculus III this fall. His research will focus on the AMU conjecture and problems related to skein theory.

Media Studies


Wyatt Andrews
Professor of Practice
Media Studies

After a 41-year career as an award-winning television news correspondent, including 34 years with CBS News, Wyatt Andrews joined the Media Studies faculty this spring as a Professor of Practice. He is the first faculty member within the Department of Media Studies to hold that title, which is a University appointment reserved for distinguished professionals who have been recognized internationally or nationally for contributions to their field.

Andrews shared in the Columbia/DuPont Silver Baton Award presented to “CBS Evening News” in 2014 for its coverage of the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. He also won three Emmys during his CBS career for his coverage of the 1984 assassination of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the 1986 Reagan-Gorbachev summit in Reykjavik, Iceland and the 2003 Washington, D.C. sniper case. More recently, Andrews specialized in covering health care and veterans affairs for CBS News.

Andrews believes our students, as future leaders, should have a strong analytic background in what scholars now call “news literacy.” His lecture class, “The News Media,” deconstructs how the news is covered, the trends shaping the digital news revolution and the necessity, articulated by Thomas Jefferson, of having a strong watchdog press. Andrews is also teaching a fall-spring sequence of practical multimedia reporting classes, with “Basic Reporting” scheduled each fall, and “Advanced Reporting” in the spring.

Kevin Driscoll
Assistant Professor
Department of Media Studies

Researching popular culture, political communication, and networked personal computing, Kevin Driscoll focuses special attention to folklore and infrastructure. Some of his previous work explored everyday and emerging uses of social media such as live-tweeting, joking about politics, and spreading rumors. His dissertation traced the pre-history of social media through the dial-up bulletin board systems of the 1980s and 1990s.

He recently completed a technical and cultural history of the French Minitel system, in collaboration with Julien Mailland from Indiana University. He is currently working on a book about the on a book about the technical culture of dial-up bulletin board systems (BBSs), tentatively titled The Modem World: A Prehistory of Social Media. His work has been published in Information & Culture, the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media and other journals.

Driscoll joined the Department of Media Studies faculty this fall after working as a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft Research New England. He holds a Ph.D., from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California and an M.S. in comparative media studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Previously, he taught K-12 mathematics and computer science at Prospect Hill Academy Charter School in Cambridge, MA.

This fall, Kevin will be teaching courses on the social history of the internet and the role of social media in the U.S. general election.

Camilla Fojas
Associate Professor
Department of Media Studies

Researching the media portrayals and reception of Hispanic Americans in comparison to Asian Americans, Camilla Fojas explores transnational cultural and media studies in a comparative imperial context. She is the author of three books: Cosmopolitanism in the Americas (Purdue University Press, 2005), Border Bandits: Hollywood on the Southern Frontier (University of Texas Press, 2008), and Islands of Empire: Pop Culture and U.S. Power (University of Texas Press, 2015). Her next book, Zombies, Migrants, and Queers: Race and Crisis Capitalism in Pop Culture (University of Illinois Press)is scheduled for publication next year.

Fojas’ recent co-edited collections include Transnational Crossroads: Remapping the Americas and the Pacific (University of Nebraska Press, 2012) and an anthology on race and Hawai‘i (University of Hawai‘i Press, forthcoming). Her articles have appeared in AztlánCinema JournalSymplōke, the Journal of Asian American Studies, the Journal of Popular Film and Television, and Comparative American Studies.

Fojas previously served as the Vincent de Paul Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at DePaul University. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in comparative literature from New York University. She earned her B.A. in literature and philosophy, graduating with highest honors, from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Fojas is working on a new project about surveillance and security in the Americas and American Pacific tentatively titled “Cultures of Surveillance: U.S. Imperial Networks across the Americas and the Pacific.” This fall, she is teaching a Media Studies course called “Borderlands and Pop Culture.”

Lana Swartz
Assistant Professor
Department of Media Studies

Much of Lana Swartz's research is concerned with the history, present political economy, and future of money and other media technologies. She has published on such varied topics as the early history of credit cards, the crypto-currency bitcoin, and mobile wallets. Swartz co-edited the collection Paid: Tales of Dongles, Checks, and Other Money Stuff, which is scheduled to be published by MIT Press in February 2017. She is also writing a book on money as communication, both in terms of information transmission and as a vector of relations, memory, and culture. The book’s topics include the history of public and private visions of payment in the United States, bitcoin, frequent flyer miles and other "alternative" currencies, and transactional data and privacy.

Before joining the Department of Media Studies, Swartz was a post-doctoral researcher in the Social Media Collective at Microsoft Research New England (2015-16). She earned her Ph.D. in communication from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, where she was the Wallis Annenberg Chair in Communication, Technology, and Society Fellow. She completed her master’s in comparative media studies from the Massachusetts institute of Technology.

This fall, Swartz is teaching two courses, “Money and its Media” and “Social Media and Society.”


Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures

Tessa Farmer
Assistant Professor

Department of Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures/Global Studies

As a cultural anthropologist, Tessa Farmer focuses on water and wastewater issues in urban spaces in the Middle East. Her research explores the ways in which lower-income residents of Cairo, Egypt work to obtain sources of potable water and to deal with the ramifications of sewage in their urban ecology.

Farmer has a forthcoming article on water pricing in the Middle East Law and Governance Journal. She is also co-guest editing, with Jessica Barnes, a special issue on the Environment in the Middle East in the International Journal of Middle East Studies.

Farmer completed her Ph.D. (2014) and M.A. (2007) in social and cultural anthropology at the University of Texas Austin. She earned her a bachelor’s degree in anthropology at the University of Rochester (2001). Farmer comes to UVA from Whittier College, where she was an assistant professor of anthropology and environmental studies (2014-2016).

This year, Farmer is teaching the courses “Water Worlds, Water Wars: An Element in Social Context,” “Introduction to the Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East,” “Examining Sustainability in Place: The Environment in the Middle East and South Asia,” and “Global Development, Theories and Cases Studies, Part Two.”

Bilal Humeidan
Department of Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures

After examining students’ perceptions of the use of Arabic language in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) classrooms in the United States in his dissertation research, Bilal Humeidan has extended his research on foreign-language instruction to post-program proficiency, intercultural and communicative competence through study abroad programs, heritage learners of Arabic, and the teaching of languages through literary texts.

Humeidan taught Arabic as a Foreign Language at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he earned an M.A. and his Ph.D. in African languages and literature, with a focus on second-language acquisition. Humeidan’s first M.A. was a joint degree from Wake Forest University and the Jordan University of Science and Technology in Applied Linguistics. He earned his B.A. in English for Applied Purposes from the Jordan University of Science and Technology. Over the last 10 years, Humeidan taught Arabic as a foreign language at Wake Forest University, Allegheny College, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Samhita Sunya
Assistant Professor
epartment of Middle Eastern & South Asian Languages & Cultures

With research interests spanning world film history, Asian cinema, the intersections of audio-visual media and literature, and sound studies, Samhita Sunya also brings a curatorial background in the administration of film series and festivals. She co-chairs the Middle East Caucus of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and comes to UVA from the American University of Beirut, where she was an Assistant Professor of Visual Culture.

The two years she taught in in Lebanon complemented her earlier residence at the National Film Archive of India, enabling her to further probe postwar co-production and circulation histories of Hindi films and songs across the Middle East. She is working on a book titled, Sirens of Modernity: Postwar Cartographies of World Cinema Via Hindi Film/Songs, which historicizes the emergence of “world cinema” as a category in the politics of the Cold War, and the manner in which Hindi films and songs negotiated this category. 

Sunya received her Ph.D. in postcolonial literature and film studies from Rice University (2014). While at Rice, she co-founded the “Rice University Between Decisions: From Co-Education to Integration” Omeka Online Digital Collection, supported by the Humanities Research Center and Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality.

Sunya will teach survey courses as well as specialized seminars in Middle Eastern and South Asian film histories. She plans to also develop courses exploring methodologies of film programming, sound studies, and film festival studies.

McIntire Department of Music

Rachel Duncan
McIntire Department of Music

An accomplished trumpet player, Rachel Duncan has performed professionally with orchestras in the United States and Scotland. A native of Plymouth, Minnesota, was awarded a full tuition scholarship in 2003 to study at the Curtis Institute of Music. After earning her bachelor’s of music degree at the conservatory, she moved to Chicago to study at Northwestern University, where she earned a master’s of music degree. Soon after, she was awarded a position with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago (2011-2013). 
Duncan has performed as guest principal trumpet with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and recorded two commercially released recordings for the Dutton Epoch Records label. She has performed as guest principal trumpet of the Charleston Symphony, the Peoria Symphony and the Dubuque Symphony and has performed with the trumpet sections of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Richmond Symphony, the Illinois Symphony, Symphony in C, and The New World Symphony.
Devoted to chamber music, Duncan is a founding member of the brass ensemble, New Chicago Brass. She has also performed alongside Yo-Yo Ma and members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and performed with MusicNOW, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s new music ensemble. Duncan is married to jazz trumpeter/composer, Greg Duncan. In addition to teaching aspiring trumpet players in the College, she will serve as the Principal Trumpet of the Charlottesville Symphony.

Shawn Earle
Lecturer in Clarinet
McIntire Department of Music

Canadian clarinetist Shawn Earle performs regularly as a soloist and has been a chamber musician with the Albemarle Ensemble, the Cascadia Reed Quintet, the Vancouver Clarinet Trio, Trio Dolce, and a guest artist with the NOVO Ensemble. He also has performed with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Okanagan Symphony, Victoria Symphony, Vancouver Island Symphony, and Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra. In addition to teaching aspiring clarinet players in the College, Earle is also the principal clarinetist of the Charlottesville Symphony.

Earle completed his Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of British Columbia in 2015. In his research, Earle examines contemporary Canadian clarinet music, while also enjoying traditional repertoire. He also holds a master’s degree from the University of Victoria, a bachelor of education from the University of Toronto, and a bachelor of music from Acadia University. Earle has been an artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre and was an artist-in-residence at Bundanon Trust in Australia earlier this summer.

Committed to music education, Earle has been a high school band director, a faculty member at the University of Victoria and has delivered numerous master classes. He has served as a clarinet instructor at the El Sistema-inspired Saint James Music Academy and maintains a private studio.

Among his numerous accolades for performance and research, Earle has received grants from the British Columbia Arts Council, Canada Council, and the Nova Scotia Talent Trust Award.

Corcoran Department of Philosophy


Ian McCready-Flora
Assistant Professor
Corcoran Department of Philosophy

Ian McCready-Flora writes on Ancient Greek philosophy, especially Plato and Aristotle. He focuses on what they have to say about how what's inside our minds does, and should, interact with what's outside them. Ian's work has appeared in Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy and Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.

He is completing a book manuscript investigating Aristotle's conception of rationality, which supposedly sets humans apart from the other animals. McCready-Flora’s current article projects include a look at Plato’s psychology of emotion and how affect interacts with and differs from sensation, as well as Aristotle’s views about how spoken language pertains to cognitive rationality.

He comes to the University of Virginia from Saint Louis University, where he was an assistant professor of philosophy. Before that, he did postdoctoral work at the Columbia University Society of Fellows in the Humanities. He was a Rackham pre-doctoral fellow and a Wirt and Mary Cornwell Fellow at the University of Michigan, where he completed his Ph.D. McCready-Flora received a Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities and was a Phillip Evans Scholar at Swarthmore College, where he completed his B.A., graduating with highest honors.

McCready-Flora has an abiding love for all philosophical problems and looks forward to teaching graduate students about Plato and Aristotle while helping undergraduates develop their love of wisdom.


Rita Koganzon
Lecturer and Associate Director of Constitutionalism & Democracy program
Department of Politics

A political theorist who researches the politics of childhood, education, and the family in historical and contemporary political thought, Rita Koganzon is especially interested in the problem of justifying adult authority and children’s subordination in the liberal state. Her work aims to recover the ways that earlier writers have addressed the problem of childhood through historical and textual analysis of educational, legal, literary, and political thought. Koganzon’s dissertation charted the relationship between sovereign authority in the state and paternal authority in the family in early modern political thought, and her research has been published in the American Political Science ReviewThe Review of Politics, and the History of Education Quarterly.

Koganzon received her Ph.D. from Harvard in 2016, and her B.A. from the University of Chicago in 2007. She will be teaching two courses in UVA’s Program on Constitutionalism and Democracy: The American Political Tradition, and American Political Economy. She also will help to administer the program.

Gabrielle Kruks-Wisner
Assistant Professor
Department of Politics

Researching citizen-state relations, local governance, and social welfare in developing countries, with a regional focus on India, Gabrielle Kruks-Wisner has worked and conducted researched in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa on issues related to economic and social rights, service delivery, disaster risk reduction, environmental sustainability, and local politics. Her recently completed book manuscript, Active Citizenship: Claim-Making and the Pursuit of Social Welfare in Rural India, drew on her fieldwork in isolated rural villages in India and examines when and how poor rural citizens are brought into engagement on the regime in that nation.  She also has worked in Mozambique.

Before arriving at UVA, she was an assistant professor in Boston College’s Political Science Department and an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. Kruks-Wisner earned her Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2013) a master’s in international development & regional planning at MIT (2006). She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology and anthropology at Swarthmore College.

Kruks-Wisner’s research has been supported by the Fulbright Program, the National Science Foundation, and the Boren Fellowship. She looks forward to teaching in the Department of Politics and the Global Studies program, where she will develop courses on local politics, citizenship practice, and development.

Anne Meng
Assistant Professor
Department of Politics

Anne Meng’s research in comparative politics focuses on how political institutions emerge and develop in dictatorships. She is particularly interested in understanding how authoritarian leaders choose to build or exploit their own ruling parties in order to stay in power. Meng uses game theory and statistical methods in her work and maintains a regional focus on Sub-Saharan Africa.

Meng was a Jacob K. Javits Fellow (2010-2013), and her work has been published in Studies in Comparative International Development. Meng completed her Ph.D. in May 2016 at the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied the origins and development of autocratic ruling parties, with a particular focus on African one-party regimes from 1960-2005. 

Meng also holds an M.A. in Economics (2014), an M.A. in Political Science (2010), and a B.A. in Political Science (2009), all from UC Berkeley. At UVA, she will teach undergraduate and graduate courses on authoritarian regimes, political Violence and revolution, and comparative political institutions.

Religious Studies

Jessica Andruss
Assistant Professor
Department of Religious Studies

Studying medieval Jewish and Islamic intellectual history, Jessica Andruss focuses on Jewish literature and biblical exegesis written in Arabic, and their connections to both rabbinic and Islamic thought. Her research encompasses the linguistic, literary, historical, and religious dimensions of cultural exchange between Judaism and Islam in the Middle Ages.

In her book-length project, a study of a 10th-century Arabic commentary on the biblical book of Lamentations, Andruss explores the intersections between Jewish and Islamic modes of interpretation, homily, and historical thought.

Andruss earned her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2015. She has master’s degrees in Near Eastern languages and cultures from The Ohio State University, and in religious studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. At UVA, Andruss will teach courses in Jewish thought and literature, Jewish-Muslim relations, and the history of Jerusalem.

Michael Allen
Assistant Professor
Department of Religious Studies

Researching religion, philosophy, and ecology in South Asia, Michael Allen draws on both Sanskrit and vernacular sources as he studies Advaita Vedanta, with wider interests in other Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions. He is currently working on a project examining the relationship between theory and practice in classical Indian philosophy, with an eye to applying the insights of Indian philosophers to contemporary environmental concerns. In his work, Allen poses the question, how does one bridge the gap between merely theoretical knowledge and a deeper, transformative knowledge?

Allen is participating in a three-year international research project on the history of Vedanta, with funding from the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. His work has been published in the Journal of Hindu Studies, the International Journal of Hindu Studies, the Journal of Vaishnava Studies, and Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy.

Allen received his Ph.D. in the study of religion from Harvard University (2013). Before coming to the University of Virginia, he was a preceptor in the Harvard College Writing Program (2012-14) and an Assistant Professor of Religion at Hampden-Sydney College (2014-16). Allen will be a Mellon Fellow at UVA’s Institute for the Humanities and Global Cultures, working on the environmental humanities and teaching courses on classical Hinduism, Hindu-Buddhist debates, and Hinduism and ecology.

Natasha Heller
Associate Professor
Department of Religious Studies

Natasha Heller studies Chinese Buddhism in the context of cultural and intellectual history. Her research includes both the pre-modern period (10th  through 14th century) and the contemporary era. Heller's study of an eminent monk of the Yuan dynasty, Illusory Abiding: The Cultural Construction of the Chan Monk Zhongfeng Mingben, was published by the Harvard University Asia Center (2014).  The monograph examines Mingben’s use of poetry, calligraphy, and gong’an commentary in the context of his distinctive Chan (Zen) teachings.

Heller’s current book project concerns picture books published by Buddhist organizations in Taiwan, and how such children’s fiction not only teaches young people about the Buddhist tradition, but also addresses how to relate to clergy, family members, and society. Her work has been published in journals such as History of Religions, the Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, and Material Religion.

She is the book review editor for the Journal of Chinese Religions and serves on the board of the Society for the Study of Chinese Religions and on the editorial board of the Journal of Chinese Buddhist Studies.

Heller received her M.A. in Buddhist studies from the University of Michigan, and her Ph.D. in East Asian languages and civilizations from Harvard University. Before coming to UVA, she was an associate professor at UCLA in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures.  Beginning in January, she will teach courses on Chinese religions and Buddhism and plans to develop new courses on Asian religions.



Jennifer Bair
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology

A sociologist who works at the intersection of international political economy and comparative development, Jennifer Bair studies how the globalization of production affects firms, workers, and communities in developing countries. Bair’s dissertation fieldwork in Mexico was supported by the Social Science Research Council, and she subsequently conducted research in the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Nicaragua. More recently, Bair’s research has taken her to Bangladesh, where she is studying a collaborative effort by global retailers, the Bangladesh government, and international institutions to improve the health and safety of garment workers, following the Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013.

She is the editor of four books, including Frontiers of Commodity Chains Research. Her research has been published in numerous journals, including World DevelopmentSocial Problems, and Signs.  She has spoken at the United Nations, the European Parliament, the International Labor Office, and the Collège de France about global supply chains, development, and labor conditions in factories around the world.

Bair received her bachelor’s degree in international studies from Johns Hopkins University, where she also earned a minor’s in women’s studies. After receiving her Ph.D. in sociology from Duke University, she worked as an assistant professor of sociology at Yale University, where she served as the director of undergraduate studies for Yale’s Program in Ethics, Politics & Economics. She then moved to the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she was promoted to associate professor of sociology.

This fall, Bair will serve as the associate chair of the College’s Department of Sociology. She will also teach undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of gender and development, globalization, and economic sociology.

Rose Buckelew
Department of Sociology

A sociologist who researches race and ethnicity, Rose Buckelew is interested in mental health inequalities and justice. She completed her Ph.D. in sociology from Duke University (2015). Her dissertation, titled “Betting on Black and White: Race and the Making of Problem Gambling,” examined the assumed race neutrality of gambling addiction and diagnosis. By tracing the history of gambling policy and North Carolina’s adoption of a lottery program, her research reveals how racialized understandings of behavior shaped the construction and maintenance of diagnostic disparities. Buckelew’s work was awarded an NSF Dissertation Improvement Grant.

Buckelew’s research interests are reflected in her teaching agenda. The previous two years, she taught undergraduate courses on race, mental health, and millennials at the College of William & Mary. This year, Buckelew is teaching courses on race and deviance, aiming to engage students in debate and critique of contemporary politics.

Isaac Ariail Reed
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology

Isaac Ariail Reed’s research began with studies of the Salem Witch Trials and hermeneutic sociology. He works in social theory, historical sociology and cultural sociology, and his research has expanded into work on interpretation and explanation in the human sciences, and the sociology of power and transitions to modernity. He is the author of Interpretation and Social Knowledge: On the Use of Theory in the Human Sciences, and several journal articles and book chapters, including “Power: Relational, Discursive and Performative Dimensions.” Reed is also the co-editor of three books, including the forthcoming Social Theory Now.

His current research project on power and sovereignty at the edge of empire in early modern North America was supported by a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies, during which time he was a fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. In 2015, he received the Lewis Coser Award for Theoretical Agenda Setting in Sociology.

Reed received his B.A. in mathematics and sociology & anthropology from Swarthmore College and his Ph.D. from Yale University, where he received the Marvin B. Sussman Prize for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation in Sociology. Before coming to the University of Virginia, he was an assistant and then associate professor of sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. This year, he is teaching courses on culture, power, the sociology of knowledge, and contemporary social theory. 


Anne Garland Mahler
Assistant Professor
Department of Spanish, Italian & Portuguese

Broadly interested in race and social movements in the American hemisphere, Anne Garland Mahler specializes in Latin American cultural studies, comparative postcolonial theory, and Cold War politics. Her manuscript, The Color of Resistance: Race and Solidarity from the Tricontinental to the Global South, is under contract with Duke University Press. A second project, a co-edited volume with Joshua Lund titled Men with Guns: Cultures of Paramilitarism in the Modern Americas, was awarded a 2015 Ford-LASA Special Project Grant. Her work has been published in Latin American Research Review, the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, Small Axe: A Caribbean Platform for Criticism, and U.S. Latino/a Writing.

In addition to serving as an assistant professor of Latin American Studies, Mahler is an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in UVA’s Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures. Mahler serves on the founding executive committee of the Modern Language Association's Global South Forum.

She received her Ph.D. in Spanish and Portuguese at Emory University (2013) and her B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh. Before joining the Arts & Sciences faculty, Mahler taught Latin American cultural studies at the University of Arizona


Jeffrey Woo
Department of Statistics

Most of Jeffrey Woo’s work involves finding ways to analyze data that have been perturbed to reduce the risk of disclosure. His research has been in the field of statistical disclosure control, with particular attention to how it affects national statistical agencies. He also has worked on risk-utility trade-off for perturbed data; in other words, Woo tries to find the right balance between data privacy and data utility. He was a U.S. Census Bureau Dissertation Fellow, and his work has been published in Privacy in Statistical Databases and other journals.

Woo received his Ph.D. in statistics from Pennsylvania State University (2013), and his B.S. in statistics and mathematics from the University of Michigan (2007). The last three years, Woo was a postdoctoral lecturer in the Department of Statistics at the University of Virginia.

Woo looks forward to continuing his work and developing new courses in disclosure control.

Women, Gender & Sexuality Program

Corinne T. Field
Assistant Professor
Women, Gender & Sexuality Program

The author of The Struggle for Equal Adulthood: Gender, Race, Age, and the Fight for Citizenship in Antebellum America (University of North Carolina Press, 2014), Corinne T. Field researches the intersections of gender, race, and age in the 19th-century United States and the history of feminism. Her current research investigates the history of generational conflict within Anglo-American feminism from the 1870s to the 1930s, focusing in particular on the deep connections between age prejudice and racial prejudice in arguments for women's empowerment.

She has been a fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, the Schlesinger Library and the Huntington Library. Field is the co-editor of Age in America: Colonial Era to the Present (New York University Press, 2015) and is a co-founder of the History of Black Girlhood Network.

Field received her Ph.D. in American history from Columbia University and her B.A. from Stanford University. She has been adjunct and general faculty at the University of Virginia since 2008, teaching in the Corcoran Department of History and serving as Director of Undergraduate Programs for Women, Gender & Sexuality.

Field is co-organizing the Global History of Black Girlhood Conference to be held at UVA next year, March 17-28, 2017.




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