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School of Arts and Sciences

New Faculty-Scholars Bring Experience and Knowledge to Tufts

Friday, September 26, 2014

Greg Thomas, Associate Professor of English; Heather Nathans, Department Chair of Drama and Dance; and Elizabeth Crone, Associate Professor of Biology

By Andrew Garsetti

As the start of the fall semester approaches, Tufts welcomes many outstanding new faculty to our academic community. Of the professors finalizing their syllabi, three come new to the university bearing the distinction of senior professors. Elizabeth Crone, Greg Thomas, and Heather S. Nathans arrive at Tufts this year as additions to the Biology, English, and Drama and Dance departments, respectively. They bring previous experience in the classroom, along with impressive academic research, to Tufts.

Elizabeth Crone, Associate Professor - Biology

Having taught at the University of Montana and the University of Calgary, Elizabeth Crone was most recently the senior ecologist at the Harvard Forest, the 3,000-acre forest in Petersham, Massachusetts that serves as Harvard University's ecological research center. In addition to designing courses within the biology department at Tufts, Crone will teach an introductory class on ecological models and data. She emphasizes her need to bridge the seemingly large gap between biology and math's disparate curriculum culture, which she attributes to each field's pedagogy.

Crone is currently involved in five different research projects that she says have a "linked theme" relating to interactions between plants and insects. According to Crone, some of these studies focus on the flora, while others concentrate on the animals that eat them.


Greg Thomas, Associate Professor - English

Greg Thomas comes to Tufts from Syracuse University. In addition to teaching two English courses this coming semester—an undergraduate course on the African American novel, and a graduate seminar entitled "Psycho-sexual Racism and Pan-African Revolt"—Thomas is engaged in several other writing projects, most notably his book on George Jackson, a revolutionary prisoner and author from the 1960s and '70s. There is much interest in the book, as Jackson has been "neglected by academia," says Thomas. His previous books include The Sexual Demon of Colonial Power: Pan-African Embodiment and Erotic Schemes of Empire; Hip-Hop Revolution in the Flesh: Power, Knowledge & Pleasure in Lil' Kim's Lyricism; and Word Hustle: Critical Essays and Reflections on the Work of Donald Goines, a collection co-edited with L.H. Stallings.

Thomas, who says he's "never been a scholar to remain trapped in a discipline," comments on being "struck by the range of majors and minors and interdisciplinary programs at Tufts." He has had limited exposure to the university in the past, though he fondly remembers the late Vévé Clark, a Tufts professor of African and Caribbean literature with whom he worked at the University of California, Berkeley. Of his prior endeavors, he takes well-deserved pride in being the founder and editor of ProudFlesh: New Afrikan Journal of Culture, Politics, & Consciousness.


Heather Nathans, Department Chair - Drama and Dance

Heather S. Nathans, the new chair of the Department of Drama and Dance, is also helming the "Introduction to Graduate Studies" drama course, a class she took almost twenty years ago at Tufts while earning her Ph.D. "It's a really nice opportunity to come full circle," says Nathans.

Nathans comes to Tufts from the University of Maryland, where she was prolific both in the classroom and out. She has written two books—Early American Theatre from the Revolution to Thomas Jefferson and Slavery and Sentiment On the American Stage, and has a third monograph in progress. She is also the Editor for the University of Iowa Press series, Studies in Theatre History and Culture, and the President of the American Society for Theatre Research. In addition to her scholarship, Nathans also works as a professional director. Most recently she directed the Restoration comedy, The Country Wife, with the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company in Maryland. As a director, in her scholarship, and in the classroom, Nathans prefers plays that are challenging and thought-provoking, observing, "I like pieces that don't have easy answers."