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In the Spotlight: New Members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Diversity and depth of expertise characterize Dartmouth's newest scholars

In a series of profiles beginning with this issue, Vox of Dartmouth will spotlight members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences who have recently joined the community. "We've been able to attract some of the best and most exciting scholars in their fields," says Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Biological Sciences Carol Folt. "They bring both depth of research and uncommon commitment to teaching, enhancing the Dartmouth experience both for students and for their colleagues." Folt says that it is this combination of scholarship and research that enables the College to provide one of the finest liberal arts educations in the nation. "Dartmouth promotes an environment where scholars can bring leading edge research into the classroom, providing an unparalleled educational experience and fueling opportunities for collaboration across disciplines," she adds.

Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina
Professor of English

Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina
Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina (Photo courtesy of Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina)

Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina joined the Dartmouth faculty in 2005. A graduate of Marlboro College, with an M.A. in English literature from Simmons College and a Ph.D. in English and comparative literature from Stanford University, she is a noted literary figure, whose research and writing span several areas of expertise, including 19th- and early 20th-century British studies, race in 18th-century Britain, African American studies and literature, and biography. Her 1995 book, Black London: Life Before Emancipation, was named a "notable book of the year" by the New York Times. It remains a seminal work of primary research that has had profound influence on the development of the field of 18th-century British race studies.

She is also the author of Carrington: A Life (1989), about the Bloomsbury figure Dora Carrington, whose life was made into a film starring Emma Thompson; Black Victorians/Black Victoriana, (2003); and Frances Hodgson Burnett: The Unexpected Life of the Author of 'The Secret Garden' (2004). Her Norton Critical Edition of The Secret Garden was recently published and will be followed by a Norton annotated edition. She is currently completing The Search for Bijah and Lucy: Love Beyond Slavery in Old New England, the story of two former slaves who became landowners and public figures. It will be the lead book for Harper Collins' Amistad imprint.

In December 2005, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Carol Folt announced that Gerzina would become the new chair of the English department. When she assumes that position in July 2006, she will become the first African American woman ever to chair an English department in the Ivy League.

The recipient of two grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Gerzina has been the Fulbright Distinguished Scholar to Great Britain. She is an honorary fellow at the University of Exeter in Devon. Before joining the Dartmouth faculty, she taught at Vassar College for 14 years. While a professor of English there, she also served as associate dean of the faculty, director of teaching development, and director of Africana studies. Earlier, she was a fellow of the Humanities Council, Princeton University, and worked with Toni Morrison there on her course, American Africanism. Gerzina was also a professor of English at Barnard College, Columbia University, where she was director of Africana studies, and at the State University of New York at Albany.

Gerzina hosts the nationally syndicated radio program, "The Book Show," which features interviews with authors on their recent books. Guests have included Toni Morrison, David McCullough, Anna Quindlen, A.S. Byatt, Michael Eric Dyson, Salman Rushdie, Tracy Chevalier, Zadie Smith, and Michael Cunningham, among many others. Gerzina herself has appeared frequently as a radio guest in both England and America, as well as in several British television documentaries. The most recent, on Olaudah Equiano, aired last year and she is the lead interview for a BBC radio program on Frances Hodgson Burnett that will air in April in England. An American version is in preparation.

John A. Hall
Professor of Sociology

John A. Hall
John A. Hall (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

The former dean of the Faculty of Arts at McGill University, John A. Hall's career spans continents and disciplines. A sociologist by training, he received his undergraduate degree from Oxford University, where he was a Stapledon Scholar at Exeter College. He later pursued graduate work at Pennsylvania State University and received his Ph.D. from the London School of Economics for his dissertation, "The Crisis of the Edwardian Intelligentsia, 1900-20." A world-renowned expert on modern social history, sociological processes, and the work of philosopher and sociologist Ernest Gellner, Hall held faculty posts at Southampton University, the London School of Economics, and Harvard University prior to his appointment as a professor of sociology at McGill in 1991.

From 2001 until 2005, he held a James McGill Professorship there, a position established by the university's board of governors to recognize and reward McGill's most distinguished faculty members. In 1995, he was co-director of the Centre for the Study of Nationalism at Central European University in Prague and, from 1999 to 2002, he was a research professor in sociology at Queen's University in Belfast.

His numerous research grants, awards, and honors reflect his diverse interests and include a British Council grant for research in Hungary, a Milton Fund grant for research on defense costs and economic decline, a Leverhulme Fellowship for research on American hegemony, and a fellowship at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences. The author or editor of over 20 books on subjects ranging from modern European politics and the rise of capitalism to the sociology of literature and the anatomy of power, Hall is also currently completing three books on sociological theory and a biography of Ernest Gellner.

His reviews and commentaries are sought after by such publications as the Journal of Social Policy, Government and Opposition, the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Sociological Review, the American Journal of Sociology, and the European History Quarterly, among others.

Hall has been a visiting professor at Frankfurt University, the University of California at San Diego, Griffith University (Australia), Copenhagen University, and the Central European University in Prague. In addition to his honors and awards for outstanding scholarship, Hall received the H. Noel Fieldhouse Award for Excellence in Teaching while at McGill. He serves on the editorial board of Government and Opposition and has held editorial or advisory board memberships for the American Sociological Review and the British Journal of Sociology.

Christopher Snyder
Professor of Economics

Christopher Snyder
Christopher Snyder (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

An expert in the fields of industrial organization, microeconomics, and law and economics, Christopher Snyder comes to Dartmouth from a distinguished career at George Washington University, where he taught from 1994 until 2005. During his time at George Washington, he also held visiting professorships at the University of Chicago, MIT, and the Australian National University.

A 1989 graduate of Fordham University, he went from there to MIT, where he received his Ph.D. in economics in 1994.

His articles have been widely published in scholarly journals. His research seeks to distill elegant representations of complex economic situations and to analyze them with mathematical tools such as game theory. While some of his research focuses on abstract methodological issues, much of it is ultimately aimed at answering questions of practical interest to public policy and corporate strategy. In recent years he has devoted significant attention to the economics of the pharmaceutical industry, with a special focus on the underlying economic processes driving the production of vaccines. He has also written on the business viability of so-called "open access" journals-peer-reviewed scholarly publications that are available online at greatly reduced cost to libraries and individuals, subsidized by higher fees charged to submitting authors. The focus of his scholarly work underscores his belief that an understanding of how companies compete in real-world markets is crucial for the design of effective government regulation and antitrust policies.

Snyder is the co-author, with Walter Nicholson, of the forthcoming textbook Intermediate Microeconomics and its Application (2006).

At George Washington University, Snyder was co-director of the University Research Program in Industry Economics and Policy, and was a research affiliate at the Institute for Public Policy. He founded the International Industrial Organization Conference, which in its fourth year received over 600 submissions and involved over 300 attendees. Currently, he is associate editor of the Review of Industrial Organization and the International Journal of Industrial Organization, and is president of the Industrial Organization Society.


Txetxu Aguado
Assistant Professor of Spanish and Portuguese

Txetxu Aguado
Txetxu Aguado (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Txetxu Aguado joined the Dartmouth faculty in 2005. He is a native of Spain who began his career at the University of Cincinnati after finishing his Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Aguado defines his focus as cultural studies. In his writings, he analyzes the configuration of literary space as a tool for social criticism. To do so, he draws upon various methodologies, including post-structuralism, critical theory, and the theory of the novel. These elements are present in his work on the pre- and post-Civil War Spanish social novels. In his 2004 book, La tarea politica; narrativa y ética en la Espa–a posmoderna (The Purpose of Politics: Narrative and Ethics in Postmodern Spain), he examines the representation of postmodern subjectivities. Aguado explores how authors rethink and reformulate relations between society and its individual citizens, as well as the relation between postmodernity and modernity, civil society and its citizenry, and historical memory and memory in narration.

Now working on a second book that examines the changes experienced by Spanish society during the transition to democracy, he will explore the differing notions of utopia presented in that period. Using examples from recent literature, film, and virtual reality, his work will examine how technology forms political space, thus shaping memory into what he describes as a "space of hope."

Alex H. Barnett
Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Alex H. Barnett
Alex H. Barnett (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Alex Barnett received his Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University in 2000, after having graduated from Cambridge University in 1994. Since that time, he has held a postdoctoral fellowship in the department of radiology at Harvard Medical School and was an instructor at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University.

Barnett's research focuses on "quantum chaos," that is, the behavior of high-frequency waves in systems where the reflection of rays is chaotic. He also works in medical imaging, in particular the application of diffuse optical methods to imaging human brain activity. "In both of these areas," Barnett says, "huge advances can be made by developing more efficient and more accurate computational algorithms in order to solve the underlying physical differential equations." He is also interested in numerical analysis, the diffuse imaging problem, and Bayesian statistical inversion methods.

His research has appeared in scholarly publications, both in print and online, and he is a frequent speaker at seminars and conferences.

Jennifer Fluri
Assistant Professor of Geography and of Women's and Gender Studies

Jennifer Fluri
Jennifer Fluri (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Jennifer Fluri completed her Ph.D. in 2005 at Pennsylvania State University where she received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award in the Women's Studies Program. Her dissertation work on feminist geopolitics in Afghanistan has made her a frequent speaker on the subject, and her scholarship will be featured in forthcoming articles. Fluri's earlier research on gender and etiquette in white supremacist movements has also been widely published.

Her current research enlarges on the themes in her dissertation on Afghan refugees, feminist resistance, and the women-led political organization, The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA). Currently, she is working on a project on gender and leadership in Afghanistan through examining the spatial impact on, and the extent of, women's participation in aspects of everyday life within the nation's emerging political structure. She is drawn to areas where gender intersects with politics, religion, power, economics, and ethnicity, particularly in South Asia and the Middle East.

Amy Gladfelter
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

Amy Gladfelter
Amy Gladfelter (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Amy Gladfelter's research involves molecular genetics and cell biology. At Duke University, where she earned her Ph.D. in 2001, she studied cell polarity and division in yeast. She extended this work as a postdoctoral research scientist at the Biozentrum at the University of Basel, Switzerland where she explored how the cell division machinery functions in a fungus distantly related to yeast using comparative genomics and reverse genetics.

Gladfelter's work here at Dartmouth focuses on single cells that have many nuclei, which are common in pathogenic fungi, cancer cells, and developing embryos. How these large cells coordinate growth with accurate nuclear division remains a mystery, yet is critical for understanding how tumors develop and fungal pathogens proliferate. Her research explores how cell cycle controls have evolved to function within this unique cell architecture. For these studies, she uses a multinucleated filamentous fungus called Ashbya gossypii and the closely related budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisae, as model systems.

Working as a member of a team that uses time-lapse microscopy to study protein and nuclear dynamics in living cells, combined with genetic, comparative genomic, and biochemical methods in the lab, she hopes to learn how cell shape and size have influenced the evolution and function of conserved cell cycle networks.

Antonio Gomez Lopez-Quinones
Assistant Professor of Spanish and Portuguese

Antonio Gomez Lopez-Quinones
Antonio Gomez Lopez-Quinones (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Antonio Gomez Lopez-Quinones holds two Ph.D.s in Spanish and Hispanic literature, one from the Universidad de Granada in 2004 and one from the University of Colorado in 2005, where he worked under José del Pino, who joined the Dartmouth faculty last year as a professor of Spanish and Portuguese. Gomez is the author of Borges y el Nazismo: Sur (1937-1946) (2004), a study of the Argentinian writer's reaction against the influence of German Naziism in Argentina's culture and political elites before and during the Second World War.

Gomez is currently working on two projects. The first is a book-length manuscript on the representation of the Spanish Civil War in contemporary Spanish cinematography and literature, La Guerra Persistente, (The Persistent War), which will be issued in 2006 by the German publishing house Vervuert/Iberoamericana. The second is a series of articles on documentary depiction of Latin American emigrants in Europe. His work on the Spanish Civil War comes at a time when that conflict has become the center of an intense cultural boom. His forthcoming book is an outgrowth of his dissertation, and will explain why and how young Spanish writers and filmmakers are reinterpreting the war sixty years after its end.

Robyn Millan
Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy

Robyn Millan
Robyn Millan (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

After receiving her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, Robyn Millan conducted postdoctoral research at the Space Sciences Laboratory there and also here at Dartmouth. She joined the faculty in 2002 as a research assistant professor and became an assistant professor in 2005.

Her work involves the use of scientific balloon experiments to study the Earth's Van Allen radiation belts. Understanding this region of the near-earth environment is crucial to societies that depend on spacecraft for navigation, communications, and weather forecasting. Many of the world's satellites travel through the radiation belts, where they can be damaged by highly energetic particles.

Millan's work with the Dartmouth Balloon Group involves studying the loss processes of energetic electrons from the outer radiation belts as a vital part of understanding radiation belt dynamics. "We observe the bremsstrahlung X-rays produced as the electrons are scattered out of the radiation belts and collide with neutrals in the Earth's atmosphere," she explains. "Since the X-rays don't penetrate to the ground, we use high altitude (120,000 feet) balloons to carry our instruments. This allows us to study the loss rate, electron energy distribution, and spatial and temporal variations of the electron loss processes."

Millan is also working with WISP student, Lindsay Dana '08, to study X-rays produced in association with lightning, and with Thayer School Lecturer David Murr, to characterize small, commercially available magnetometers that might be used for future space physics research.

Soo Y. Sunny Park
Assistant Professor of Studio Art

Soo Y. Sunny Park
Soo Y. Sunny Park (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Soo Y. Sunny Park received her M.F.A. degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., in 2000. Her focus there was on sculpture, a field she entered while still an undergraduate at the Columbus College of Art and Design. Since then, she has had six solo exhibitions and numerous group shows with commissioned works in various sites in Missouri, Florida, and Ohio. She came to Dartmouth in 2005 after four years at Washington University in St. Louis.

Her art investigates natural sciences and experimentation in large-scale sculpture and installation. The resulting work is often interactive and site-specific. By pairing manufactured products with natural materials, she creates a dialogue between logical and lyrical shapes. Through these mediated forms, she introduces the element of ephemeral time, or the cycle of nature that is temporal but steady. "My work," she says, "deals with this notion of cycle, how two opposing sides become one in both physical and psychological territory. The ideas gained from my empirical approach and the impermanence of my physical objects allow continuous change in form but permanence in discovery."

Paul Whalen
Assistant Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Paul Whalen
Paul Whalen (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

After receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Vermont in 1993, Paul Whalen pursued postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts General Hospital and at Harvard Medical School, adapting his work to include the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Whalen uses fMRI to study how the human brain processes emotional information. Specifically, he studies how the brain responds to the facial expressions of others. His work has elucidated how areas of the prefrontal cortex attempt to regulate reactivity of lower areas of the brain, such as the amygdala, in response to facial expressions that signal the presence of a potential threat. His studies have implications for how we understand normal fluctuating anxiety levels and conditions such as anxiety disorders.

Jonathan Zinman
Assistant Professor of Economics

Jonathan Zinman
Jonathan Zinman (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

Jonathan Zinman received his Ph.D. in 2002 from MIT. His dissertation examined the effects of liquidity on behavior as seen through the regulation and deregulation of credit markets. He spent three years as an economist in the research and statistics group at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York before joining the Dartmouth faculty in 2005.

Zinman studies consumer and entrepreneurial choice, particularly with respect to financial decisions. His research focuses on testing economic theories of how firms and consumers interact in markets, and on testing the merits of incorporating specific features of psychology into economic models. His methodological interests include developing randomized-control field experiments to test economic theories in firms and markets on an industrial scale, and on refining survey methodologies. He also works with microfinance practitioners to develop marketing and risk assessment strategies designed to expand access to financial services, and tests whether these initiatives are effective in fighting poverty and promoting growth.

By LAUREL STAVIS AND JANE CARROLL

Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.

Last Updated: 12/17/08