Faculty Highlights - Academic Year 2018-2019
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Gregory Crane, professor, Department of Classical Studies, has been awarded a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The grant will fund an expansion of the Perseus Digital Library which will incorporate reading tools that help to enable the study of ancient texts.
The Nutrition Obesity Research Center at Harvard has awarded Adolfo Cuevas, assistant professor in the Department of Community Health, the Diversity Scholar Award at their annual symposium. Cuevas was honored for his work on stress and obesity.
Kris Manjapra, associate professor of history and chair of the Department of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora, has been awarded the 2019 Merck Tagore Award. The award honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to cultural exchange between India and Germany. It is awarded every two years and will be presented at a ceremony in Mumbai in October.
The Art of Curating: Paul J. Sachs and the Museum Course at Harvard (Getty Research Institute, 2018) a book by Professor of the History of Art and Architecture Andrew McClellan (with co-author Sally Anne Duncan) won the New England Society’s “Best Book in Art and Photography” award for 2019. The book examines the professionalization of art museum curators in the United States in the first half of the 20th century.
Sasha Fleary, Evans Family Assistant Professor, Department of Child Study and Human Development, has received a major grant from the National Institutes of Health. This grant will fund the development and pilot test of a digital obesity prevention intervention for adolescents. The major innovations of the study are the inclusion of health literacy, a potentially critical factor in adolescents’ obesogenic behaviors, and the use of an interactive digital platform for the intervention. The study's results will lay the groundwork for future large-scale clinical trials to test the effectiveness of the inclusion of health literacy in preventive health interventions for diverse groups of adolescents.
The Psychonomic Society has appointed Ayanna Thomas, professor, Department of Psychology, as the editor-in-chief of its journal Memory & Cognition. She will begin a four-year term in this position on January 1, 2020.
Professor of Psychology Ani Patel is the co-author of a new study in the journal Current Biology which focuses on a dancing parrot named Snowball and how his responses to music can teach us about how other species process music as well as human musicality. The study’s release has received a wide variety of media coverage including The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, and BBC News.
Anjuli Fahlberg, lecturer, Department of Sociology, has been awarded the American Sociological Association’s (ASA) 2019 Dissertation Award for her dissertation “Activism Under Fire: Violence, Poverty, and Collective Action in Rio de Janeiro.” Fahlberg’s study examines organized activism in situations of extreme poverty and violence and is based upon ethnographic research she conducted in the City of God, a favela in Rio de Janeiro.
Noe Montez, associate professor, Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, has been elected as a member of the governing council of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. Beginning in August 2019, he will serve as the new Vice President for Professional Development for the association.
Mingquan Wang, senior lecturer and language coordinator of the Chinese program in the Department of International Literary and Cultural Studies, co-chaired the 15th International Conference on Chinese Language Pedagogy, which was held June 28-30, 2019 in Beijing, China. The conference, sponsored by Beijing Normal University and Tufts University, featured 8 keynote speeches, over 160 presentations, and more than 200 participants from 15 countries and regions around the world. Wang was also recently elected to the board of directors of the U.S. Chinese Language Teachers Association for a three-year term, from April 2019 to April 2022.
Michael Reed, professor of biology, who specializes in avian ecology and conservation biology, has been appointed as an associate of the Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ) at Harvard University.
Freeden Blume Oeur
Associate Professor of Sociology Freeden Blume Oeur’s book Black Boys Apart: Racial Uplift and Respectability in All-Male Public Schools (University of Minnesota Press, 2018) has won two awards from the American Sociological Association. The book is the winner of the 2019 Pierre Bourdieu Book Award from the Section on Sociology of Education, and the co-winner of the 2019 Oliver Cromwell Cox Award from the Section on Racial and Ethnic Minorities.
Erin Kelly, professor of philosophy, gave a talk titled “Who Belongs in Prison?” at a TEDxCambridge event at the Opera House in Boston on May 3, 2019. The talk focused on morality and criminal conviction. Kelly is also the author of the recently published book The Limits of Blame: Rethinking Punishment and Responsibility (Harvard University Press, 2019).
Andrea Acevedo, assistant professor, Department of Community Health, has published an article in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs entitled “Disparities in criminal justice outcomes after beginning treatment for substance use disorders: The influence of race/ethnicity and place.”
Alecia McGregor, assistant professor, Department of Community Health, has recently published two journal articles: “Marginalized Yet Mobilized: Race, Sexuality, and the Role of ‘Political Hypervigilance’ in African American Political Participation in 2016” in Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race and “Examining Christian views toward the Affordable Care Act: The importance of race and denomination” in Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community.
Richard C. Eichenberg
Richard C. Eichenberg, associate professor of political science, has published a new book titled Gender, War, and World Order: A Study of Public Opinion (Cornell University Press, 2019). Using a large data set from public opinion surveys, Eichenberg examines the gender differences in attitudes towards national security and military force across issues, cultures, and time as well as the consequences of these differences.
Anthony Romero, professor of the practice, performance, School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, has been awarded a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University Fellowship for 2019-2020. Romero is among a group of 50 leading artists and scholars from a variety of disciplines who were selected for the fellowship from a highly competitive field of more than 1,000 applicants.
Madina Agénor, Gerald R. Gill Assistant Professor of Race, Culture, and Society, Department of Community Health, is an author on a new article published in the journal Pediatrics. The article titled, “School Restroom and Locker Room Restrictions and Sexual Assault Risk Among Transgender Youth,” examines the high prevalence of sexual assault victimization among transgender and nonbinary youth and finds that restrictive restroom and locker room policies are associated with higher risk for sexual assault among this population.
Karen Kosinski, lecturer in the Department of Community Health, has published an article in the journal Acta Tropica. Her article titled “Contextualizing Schistosoma haematobium transmission in Ghana: Assessment of diagnostic techniques and individual community water-related risk factors” focuses on research Kosinski and colleagues conducted on schistosomiasis infections in rural Ghana.
A paper by Kyle Emerick, James L. Paddock Assistant Professor in International Economics, Department of Economics, has been awarded the 2019 American Economics Journal: Economic Policy Best Paper Award. The paper titled “Adaption to Climate Change: Evidence from U.S. Agriculture,” examines the impacts of variation in temperature and precipitation due to climate change on U.S. agriculture.
Daniel McCusker, senior lecturer in the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, was chosen to participate along with a small group of performers from around the world, in an international tribute to Merce Cunningham on what would have been his 100th birthday. Night of 100 solos: A Centennial Event was held on April 17, 2019 in venues in London, New York City, and Los Angeles and featured 100 solos choreographed by Cunningham. McCusker, who is also an associate professor of dance at Boston Conservatory at Berklee, performed in the event held at UCLA.
Alex Vilenkin, Leonard and Jane Holmes Bernstein Professor in Evolutionary Science, Department of Physics and Astronomy, is featured in a new film, Before the Big Bang 9: A Multiverse from ‘Nothing’, part of a series which has featured Stephen Hawking and other leading cosmologists. The film is an hour long interview with Vilenkin about his research in which he explores what happened before the big bang, why there is a multiverse and how it might be tested.
Heather Nathans, Nathan and Alice Gantcher Professor of Judaic Studies and Chair of the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, has been accepted into a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute at the Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. The program is called “Privilege and Prejudice: Jewish History in the American South.”
Justin Hollander, professor of urban and environmental policy and planning, published the book A Research Agenda for Shrinking Cities (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018). The book focuses on how the topic of shrinking cities is being researched including the challenges and opportunities in this research area as well as in the field’s sub-domains. It is newly available in paperback.
Melinda Latour, Rumsey Family Assistant Professor in the Humanities and Arts, Department of Music has been awarded a 2019 American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowship. The award will support her project “The Voice of Virtue: Moral Song in Late Renaissance France, 1574-1652.” Latour was selected along with 81 other awardees from a pool of more than 1,100 applicants in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.
Misha Kilmer, William Walker Professor of Mathematics and chair of the Department of Mathematics, has been named as one of the 2019 Fellows of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). The designation recognizes members for their excellence in research as well as their contributions to the community. Kilmer is being recognized for “her fundamental contributions to numerical linear algebra and scientific computing, including ill-posed problems, tensor decompositions, and iterative methods.”
Adolfo Cuevas, assistant professor in the Department of Community Health, has published an article titled “Placing prostate cancer disparities within a psychosocial context: challenges and opportunities for future research” in the journal Cancer Causes and Control. The paper examines why Black men are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and highlights some of the ways in which psychological and social factors such as institutional and interpersonal discrimination may explain racial disparities in prostate cancer incidence.
Sergei Mirkin, the White Family Chair in Biology, has received a Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) totaling $2.6M from the National Institutes of Health. The grant will support research Mirkin’s lab is pursuing on the genome instability caused by DNA repeats, a problem that is tied to nearly forty hereditary neurological and neurogenerative disorders including fragile X syndrome, Huntington’s disease, myotonic dystrophy, Friedreich’s ataxia, and many others. Specifically, the lab focuses on unraveling molecular mechanisms that are responsible for repeat expansions using several unique experimental systems they have developed in yeast and mammalian cells. Understanding these mechanisms is potentially important for prognostic purposes and genetic counseling. It may also help in developing therapeutics for these currently untreatable diseases.
Richard Lerner, Bergstrom Professor of Applied Developmental Science, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development and director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development has received a two-year grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative DAF, an advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The grant will fund research to develop methods and measures for statistical analysis of multiple aspects of child development.
José Antonio Mazzotti
José Antonio Mazzotti, the King Felipe VI of Spain Professor of Spanish Culture and Civilization, Department of Romance Studies, has been awarded the José Lezama Lima poetry award by Casa de las Americas, a prestigious Cuban cultural institution, for his book El Zorro y la Luna (The Fox and the Moon). The prize is one of the most important literary awards in the Spanish speaking world. Mazzotti received the award in Havana, Cuba on January 31, where he was also presented with the Cuban edition of his book.
Laura Gee, assistant professor of economics, recently gave a TedxCambridge talk titled “Certainty Inspires Action.” Gee’s research is in behavioral economics and her talk focuses on how to encourage women’s participation in leadership and technology professions by enhancing certainty. She gives the example of a research study she conducted with LinkedIn which found that telling job seekers how many other people had applied to a job posting increased applications and could boost diversity.
Elizabeth Foster, associate professor, Department of History, has published a new book, African Catholic: Decolonization and the Transformation of the Church (Harvard University Press, 2019). The book explores Catholicism during the decolonization of French sub-Saharan Africa and how decolonization led to a fundamental reorientation of the Catholic Church.
Charles Sykes, professor of chemistry, and Marina Flytzani Stephanopoulos, Robert and Marcy Haber Professor in Energy and Sustainability in the School of Engineering, have been awarded this year's American Chemical Society Catalysis Lectureship. The prestigious award is for their work developing single-atom catalysts that could be significantly more efficient than those currently deployed in the production of goods such as fuel and plastics, the processing of food, and removing harmful gases in catalytic converters. The award will be presented at the American Chemical Society's national meeting in San Diego in August.
Kristin Skrabut, assistant professor, Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, has published an article in Current Anthropology. The article titled “Residency Counts and Housing Rights: Conflicting Enactments of Property in Lima’s Central Margins” examines how the Peruvian government’s attempts to count and categorize poor residents of Lima have contributed to urban sprawl, unsustainable growth, and conflict in the city. It draws on Skrabut’s two years of ethnographic fieldwork in an impoverished shantytown in Lima.
Julie Dobrow, senior lecturer, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development, has published a new book, After Emily: Two Remarkable Women and the Legacy of America’s Greatest Poet (W.W. Norton & Company, 2018). The book tells the previously untold story of two women who greatly influenced Emily Dickinson’s legacy. It has received praise from many reviewers including The Washington Post who called it “mesmerizing” and the Library Journal who hailed it as a “page-turner” in a starred review. The Massachusetts Center for the Book named it as a "Must Read" non-fiction book.
Professor of Economics Gilbert Metcalf has published a new book, Paying for Pollution: Why a Carbon Tax is Good for America (Oxford University Press, 2018). The book demonstrates why a carbon tax in the U.S. could effectively and fairly address climate change. Metcalf argues that the policy should be endorsed across the political spectrum. Metcalf discussed the book in a Resources for the Future event on March 6, 2019 in Washington, D.C., with economist Doug Holtz-Eakin moderated by Coral Davenport of the New York Times. He has also been asked by the U.S. government to serve as one of the U.S. contributing lead authors on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report.
Associate Professor of History Alisha Rankin was featured on the BBC Radio 4 show When Greeks Flew Kites on the episode titled “Poison: The Invisible Assassin.” The episode explores poison causing “fear, doubt, and intrigue” in different periods throughout history. Rankin's segment focuses on poison and antidotes in Renaissance Italy.
Justin Hollander, associate professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, has co-written an essay for Architectural Digest titled “Why Architecture Education Needs to Embrace Evidence-Based Design, Now.” The essay focuses on the importance of design education that is grounded in scientific research. Hollander argues for the need to put "people and biology and human functions at the center" of architectural education to create healthy, effective built environments.
Madina Agénor, Gerald R. Gill Assistant Professor of Race, Culture, and Society in the Department of Community Health, has been awarded a Mentored Research Scientist Development Award to Promote Diversity (K01) award from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health. This prestigious grant will fund Agénor's three-year project to study how state health policies and health care providers’ knowledge, attitudes, perceptions, and practices influence racial/ethnic and sexual orientation disparities in human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination among young women in the United States.
Laurence Senelick, Fletcher Professor of Oratory, Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, has won Historic New England’s 2018 Award for Collecting Works on Paper for his collection of theatrical images documenting the history of performance. Included in the collection are portraits, publicity material, souvenirs, pictures of theater building interiors and exteriors, trade cards, early photographs and more which have been used in reference books and are frequently consulted by researchers, museums, and theaters. Senelick was presented with the award at the Lyman Estate in Waltham, M.A. on November 19.
On October 23 and 26, 2018 Assistant Professor the History of Art and Architecture Jeremy Melius delivered the Tomás Harris Lectures in the Department of Art at University College London. The lecture series is designed to showcase the work of a young scholar who has distinguished himself or herself within the discipline and holds outstanding promise. Melius’ series of lectures, titled “Ruskin’s Histories,” explored the Victorian critic John Ruskin.
Ria Brodell, painting lecturer at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, is the author of the recently published book Butch Heroes (MIT Press, 2018). The book includes historical accounts of 28 people from the fifteenth through the twentieth centuries who didn’t conform to gender norms accompanied by depictions of their lives in portraits by Brodell. Publisher’s Weekly called the book “A serious—and seriously successful—queer history recovery project.”
Arthur H. Dadian and Ara T. Oztemel Professor of Armenian Art and chair of the Department of the History of Art and Architecture Christina Maranci has published a new book entitled The Art of Armenia: An Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2018). It is the first English-language introduction to Armenian art. She is also a main author of the catalogue for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new exhibition “Armenia!,” which explores Armenian art and culture over fourteen centuries.
Associate Professor of Philosophy Brian Epstein has been elected president of the International Social Ontology Society. Epstein’s election occurred as part of the society’s 11th biennial conference, which was held at Tufts. The conference brought together intellectual leaders who are studying the nature and properties of the social world across a variety of topics and disciplines. The event featured keynote speakers from MIT, University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, New York University, Yale University, and University of Miami.
Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning Julian Agyeman is one of two inaugural recipients of the Athena City Accolade Award presented by the Centre for the Future of Places at KTH, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. The award is given to scholars that have “enriched and advanced the field of interdisciplinary knowledge within urbanism studies and beyond.” Agyeman has received the award for “his outstanding contribution to the field of social justice and ecological sustainability, environmental policy and planning at Tufts University.”
Max and Herta Neubauer Chair and Professor of Economics Yannis Ioannides received his official appointment and delivered his inaugural lecture at the Academy of Athens in Athens, Greece on June 5, 2018. As a Greek citizen, but non-resident of Athens, this is the highest award that can be bestowed on him by the Academy of Athens. His lecture was titled “Cities Ancient, Medieval, Modern: An Economics Perspective,” and drew from Ioannides’ research on the structure of urban systems throughout the world.
Frank Lehman, assistant professor of music, published his first book Hollywood Harmony: Musical Wonder and the Sound of Cinema (Oxford University Press, 2018). The book examines the way that music in American cinema structures a filmgoer’s experience of both narrative and temporality. His article, “Film-as-Concert Music and the Formal Implications of ‘Cinematic’ Listening,” was also published in the journal Music Analysis.
Professor and Chair of the Drama and Dance Department Heather Nathans’ book Hideous Characters and Beautiful Pagans: Performing Jewish Identity on the Antebellum American Stage (University of Michigan Press, 2017) has been named as a finalist for the 2018 George Freedley Memorial Award from the Theatre Library Association. The award “honors English-language books of exceptional scholarship in the field of live theatre or performance published or distributed in the United States during 2017.” The book also recently received the John W. Frick Book Award from the American Theatre and Drama Society.
Professor and Department Chair of Biology Sergei Mirkin along with colleagues from his lab have published a new paper in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. The paper describes a unique experimental system that the group used to study repeat expansions in mammalian cells.
Associate Professor of Political Science Kelly Greenhill has published an article in Foreign Affairs magazine titled, "How Trump Manipulates the Migration Debate: The Use and Abuse of Extra-Factual Information." The article examines how Donald Trump's unverified and false statements in speeches, campaign rallies, and tweets impact public sentiment and the national debate about U.S. immigration policy.