The School of Arts and Sciences is pleased to welcome seven ACLS New Faculty Fellows to campus this fall. They join eleven other post-doctoral fellows who pursuing scholarly work and teaching through centers and departments in the Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences across the School.
The ACLS New Faculty Fellows program allows recent Ph.D.s in the humanities to take up two-year positions at universities and colleges across the United States where their particular research and teaching expertise augment departmental offerings. This program is an initiative of ACLS to address the dire situation of newly minted Ph.D.s in the humanities and related social sciences who are now confronting an increasingly “jobless market.” The generous support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation makes this program possible.
The mission of the American Council of Learned Societies is "the advancement of humanistic studies in all fields of learning in the humanities and the social sciences and the maintenance and strengthening of relations among the national societies devoted to such studies." ACLS, a private, nonprofit federation of seventy national scholarly organizations, is the preeminent representative of American scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences.
ACLS New Faculty Fellows
Karen Bishop joins the Departments of Spanish and Portuguese and Comparative Literature after two years of teaching at Harvard as a Lecturer for the Committee on Degrees in History and Literature, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She earned her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara where she completed her dissertation: "Mapping Disappearance: Epistemologies of Exile and Emplacement in Modern Argentine Narrative.” Her research interests include 20th century Latin American literature; poetry and poetics; 20th century North American; 19th and 20th century French and Francophone literature; poetry and poetics; postcolonial and subaltern studies; translation theory; exile studies; cartography; and urban studies and architectural theory.
Jefferson Decker joins the Departments of American Studies and Political Science. He is revising his Columbia dissertation, now called, “The Other Rights Revolution: Conservative Lawyers and the Remaking of American Government.” He explores broad questions about conservatism and policy-oriented litigation in the United States by tracing the careers of the men and women who founded the first non-profit, “public-interest” law firms of the right, in the 1970s. Foundation lawyers used litigation and policy advocacy to protect private property, open public lands to commercial enterprise, and “de-fund” their ideological opponents. They also provided the Reagan administration with a pool of experienced litigators who would help develop legal policy in the 1980s -- changing U.S. law by asserting individual economic rights and enforcing constitutional limits on the power of the state.
Jamie Pietruska joins the History Department with a Ph.D. from MIT. Her book Looking Forward: Forecasting and the Making of Modern America, investigates debates over ways of knowing nature, knowing the market, and knowing the future and the past reverberated throughout late 19th-century American society. How did practices and perceptions of prediction change as institutions and individuals struggled to make sense of new scientific and cultural understandings of the future? Her book will be our first cultural history of the popular and scientific preoccupation with forecasting in the United States between the Civil War and World War I. Her sources vary from crop estimates, weather forecasts, and commodity price forecasts to Edward Bellamy’s best-selling utopian novel Looking Backward and the predictions of stage Spiritualists and fortune-tellers who inhabited a world that gave way to the persistent unpredictability of the statistical modes of the 20th century.
Mike Sampson joins the Department of Classics and comes to us from the University of Michigan where he earned a Ph.D. in classical studies, completing his dissertation, “Themis in Sophocles.” He works on Greek tragedy, archaic and classical Greek poetry and religion, Senecan tragedy, composition, and literary papyrology. His first publication will be on latter topic—a recently submitted manuscript, “New Literary Papyri from the Michigan Collection: Mythographic Lyric and a Catalogue of Poetic First Lines.”
Kyla Schuyler joins the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. She earned a Ph.D. in Literature at the University of California, San Diego, writing a dissertation that now has the working title “Sentimental Science and the Rise of Eugenics in the Nineteenth-Century United States.” Kyla also works on feminism and science and technology studies; comparative studies of race and ethnicity and American studies in transnational context; nineteenth-century U.S. literature, ethnic literatures and cultures of the United States; and women’s literature and culture, and the publications of 19th-century scientists. These varied interests have led to publications on plastic surgery, Moby Dick, and Michael Moore.
Andrew Urban joins the Departments of American Studies and History with a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and teaching experience at Emory. His dissertation, “An Intimate World: Race, Migration, and Chinese and Irish Domestic Servants in the United States, 1850-1920,” examines the ironies and contradictions in cultural attitudes toward domestic service. His evidence suggests that many Americans came to believe that Chinese men were naturally suited to work as domestic servants. Better still, they did not need to be treated as equals or given the benefits of full social and legal citizenship. However, the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, left middle-class Americans strapped for servants and ready to argue that the shortage threatened the domestic life of the nation as a whole. Contentious debates caused white laborers (and Irish immigrants in particular) to defend their right to be hired exclusively as servants, even as they recognized that servants were cast as degraded laborers.
Matt Walker joins the Department of Philosophy. He earned a Ph.D. at Yale. His dissertation “Living by Contemplation: Theôria, Self-Maintenance, and Flourishing in Aristotle’s Ethics” examines Aristotle’s views on the place of contemplation in the human good against the background of Aristotle’s biological naturalism; challenging the popular view that Aristotle thinks that contemplative wisdom is intrinsically valuable, but ultimately useless, he finds the contemplation of the eternal and divine benefits human beings by guiding and regulating their lower-level psychic functions as part of an overall system of self-maintaining activity. He brings his expertise in 19th- and 20th-century European philosophy, philosophy of law, philosophy of religion, and philosophy and film to Rutgers.
Margarita Huayhua is an anthropologist who comes to us from the University of Michigan where she held NSF and Ford Foundation fellowships. She works on the Quechua speakers of the Peruvian highlands, on the patterns of racial discrimination that have persisted despite public discourses of shared citizenship and legal equality. She is interested in the ways face-to-face behavior creates and maintains social hierarchy. She has also published on bilingual education and the place of Quechua speakers in Peru. She is a Rutgers Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Anthropology.
Shatema Threadcraft, who began her undergraduate education at Harvard as a biologist, is now a Fellow in the Department of Political Science. She earned her Ph.D. from Yale, completing a dissertation on “Intimate Justice: The Black Female Body and the Body Politic.” Her research focuses on political philosophy, contemporary theory, African American political thought. She became a Visiting Research Associate, at the University of the Witwatersrand, School of Social Sciences, Faculty of the Humanities, Political Studies, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2009-2012, after having taught there as an Instructor of Gender and Human Rights with the Faculty of the International Human Rights Exchange, a joint program of Bard College and the University of the Witwatersrand.
Robert Chase specializes in African American history, working-class culture, racial politics, sexual violence and masculinity, social movements, and civil rights. Robert received his Ph.D. in history at the University of Maryland and is completing his manuscript, “Civil Rights on the Cell Block: Race, Reform, and Violence in Texas Prisons and the Nation, 1945-1990.” The book explores the roots of twentieth-century prison growth, inmate society and the relationship between keeper and kept, and the legal struggle between inmates and the state over race, prisoner rights, sexual violence, and questions of citizenship.
Sandy Russell Jones earned a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, where she completed her dissertation, “God’s law or state’s law? Authority and Islamic family law reform in Bahrain.” She works on women in Islam, Islamic Law, Shi’i Islam, Middle East Studies and the Sociology of Religion. She had a Fulbright IIE Program for U.S. Students Dissertation Research Grant (2004-2005) in Bahrain and has published several articles on family law in Bahrain.
Ibram Rogers finished his first book, “Diversity Demanded: A Narrative History of the Black Campus Movement, 1965-1972,” about the nationwide struggle in the late 1960s and early 1970s waged by African American students and their white student allies to diversify and make relevant higher education. He earned a Ph.D. from Temple University and is currently Assistant Professor of African American History at SUNY Oneonta with appointments in History, and Africana and Latino Studies. His research interests include twentieth century African American history, African American social movements, black power studies, black campus movement, history of African American intellectual thought, comparative slavery, and the history of Africana studies disciplinary development.
Abosede Ajibike George is Assistant Professor of History and Africana Studies at Barnard College, Columbia University. She earned her Ph.D. in African History from Stanford, where she completed her dissertation on “Gender and Juvenile Justice: Girl Hawkers in Lagos 1925-1950.” Returning to Rutgers, where she majored in history and political science as an undergraduate, her research interests include urban history, youth history, women’s studies, popular culture, sexuality, African cultural and intellectual production, and the history of development work in Africa and in a comparative perspective.
Laura Brown earned a Ph.D. in Linguistic Anthropology from the University of Michigan, where she completed her dissertation, “Tipping Scales with Tongues: Conversation, Commerce, and Obligation on the Edge of Thanjavur, India.” Her book explores the ways conversations in small grocery shops work to assort commercial and linguistic value, assign responsibility to, and anchor definitions of subjects and objects. She explores how are responsibilities for debts recorded and assigned in the conversations and written records of the small grocery shops of South India. She also has a long-term interest in the ways in which innovations in digital typography are changing the ownership and interpretation of South Asian scripts.
Loren Goldman earned a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in August, completing a dissertation entitled “The Sources of Political Hope: Will, World and Democracy.” His work investigates the grounds for the assumption of social progress in modern political thought. He works on Kant, Bloch, Peirce & James, and John Dewey, specializing in German Idealism, Marx and Western Marxism, and American Pragmatism and is particularly interested in the underlying and often tacit teleological orientation of much political theory.
Claudia Brazzale is an AAUW International Fellow and Global Scholar at the IRW with a Ph.D. in culture and performance from UCLA. She is completing a book manuscript based on her dissertation, “Family Firms and the Making of Cosmopolitanism: The Effacement of Gender in the Global Capitalism of the Italian Nordest.” Her research explores the ways globalization and its promises of modernity have seduced the entrepreneurial culture of northeastern Italy. The study examines the gender relations structuring the small family firms behind the recent local economic boom and exposes the ways in which paternalistic authority is inscribed in new postmodern ways. Her work draws on postcolonial feminist studies, fashion, consumer culture, globalization, and theories of the body’s role in the production of culture and knowledge.
Zachary Christman is a geographer specializing in changes in the landscape imparted by both natural and anthropogenic causes. He completed a Ph.D. in May at the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University with a dissertation focused on challenges to the use of satellite imagery for monitoring land change in central Mexico. He came to Rutgers in January to participate in the ongoing research effort of a project entitled, "Environmental Disturbances in the Greater Yucatan" (EDGY), which investigates the social and ecological impacts and responses following Hurricane Dean, which struck the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula in August 2007.
Department of English
Shirley Moody earned a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and is a postdoctoral fellow in the English department. An assistant professor of English at Penn State University, she specializes in African American literature, critical race studies, and folklore studies. She recently edited a special section for African American Review on scholar and activist Anna Julia Cooper. She is currently at work on her first book, “Conjuring the Color Line: Folklore, Fiction and Race in the Jim Crow Era.” It explores the various ways in which folklore was used to both construct and contest the system of racial difference that solidified at the end of the nineteenth century.