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New Regular and Visiting Faculty 2012-13

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Welcome to our new faculty colleagues.

Ramah McKay
Assistant Professor
Ph.D. 2010, Anthropology, Stanford University
Dissertation: "Post-Social Prescriptions: Medical Welfare in Mozambique"

Professor McKay's research centers on how global health interventions have transformed and built upon existing development priorities in a context marked by legacies of violent conflict and by long histories of labor migration. She drew upon fieldwork experiences in Mozambique to investigate how two medical welfare interventions diagnose, target and differentially address inter-related problems of poverty and disease. Although her dissertation focused on Mozambique, Professor McKay's research has expanded to examine how transnational medical responsibilities are reconfiguring the relationship between public and private responsibilities for social welfare. Professor McKay served as a post-doctoral fellow in medical anthropology at the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University. She will be teaching in the areas of socio-cultural and medical anthropology.

Chris Larson
Assistant Professor
M.F.A. 1992, Sculpture, Yale University School of Art

Professor Larson is a multimedia artist, whose work, while rooted in sculpture, also incorporates film, video, photography, performance, drawing, and painting to animate object-filled architectural spaces.

Professor Larson's large-scale sculptures, performances and video projects have been featured in over 50 solo and group exhibitions in the past 10 years. His work has been exhibited extensively in North America and Europe including solo exhibitions at The View Contemporary Art Space, Salenstein, Switzerland; Volta5, Basel, Switzerland; Rare Art Gallery, New York; and Art in General, New York and is included in the permanent collections of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Walker Art Center, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, and the Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg, Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, among others. His many honors and awards include fellowships from the Bush Foundation (2006, 1998), McKnight Foundation (2012, 2002), Minnesota State Arts Board, Jerome Foundation, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, and Forecast Public Art. Professor Larson is currently represented by Magnus Muller, Berlin.

Marisa Olson
Assistant Professor, 2012/13
C. Phil. 2006, Film & Digital Media/Rhetoric, University of California-Berkeley

Professor Olson is a theorist and multi-media artist whose work combines performance, video, drawing, and installation to address the cultural history of technology, the politics of participation in pop culture, and the aesthetics of failure.

Professor Olson's work has been presented by the Whitney Museum of American Art, Centre Pompidou-Paris, New Museum of Contemporary Art, 52nd International Biennale di Venezia, National Museum of Contemporary Art (Athens, Greece), Edith Russ-Haus fur Medienkunst, Nederlands Instituut voor Mediakunst/Montevideo, the British Film Institute, the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, and the Sundance Film Festival, among others. A contributing editor at Rhizome, Professor Olson's critical writing has also been published by Flash Art, Art Review, Afterimage, Planet, and Art on Paper.

Christine Schmid
Assistant Professor, 2012/13
Ph.D. 2005, English, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Dissertation: "Re-imagining 'America:' Strategies of Dissociation in late 20th-century German and Austrian film and video art"

Professor Schmid is a writer, teacher, editor, and critic. Trained as a literary critic, Professor Schmid's art writing is published nationally. In 2009, she was recognized by the Warhol Foundation for her publications, which includes articles in: Flash Art, Foam, ArtPulse, and Afterimage. Recently, Professor Schmid was named online critic at Artforum.

Not only writing for online and print journals, Professor Schmid has also contributed essays to exhibition catalogs at the University of Minnesota, College of Visual Arts, Bethel University, and the Plains Art Museum, among others. She was the recipient of Bush faculty development grants and a participant in the Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers program.

Mathew Zefeldt

Assistant Professor, 2012/13
M.F.A. 2011, Studio Art, University of California-Davis

Professor Zefeldt is a painter and sculptor. In his most recent work, large vividly colored oils and acrylics on canvas, Professor Zefeldt creates complex paintings that celebrate and critique the history of the medium.

In 2011, Professor Zefeldt was one of two students nationally to receive the Daedalus Foundation Master of Fine Art Fellowship. Since that time, he has had solo exhibitions at Michael Rosenthal Gallery, San Francisco, CA; Skinner Howard Contemporary Art, Sacramento, CA; and Eduardo Carrillo Gallery, Santa Cruz, CA. His work has been presented in numerous group exhibitions including Illges Gallery, Columbus, GA; Artifact Gallery, Davis, CA; Vermont Studio Center Gallery, Johnson, VT; RVCA Gallery, San Francisco, CA; and Caretakers Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

Minku Kim
Assistant Professor
Ph.D. 2011, Art History, University of California-Los Angeles
Dissertation: "The Genesis of Image Worship in China: Epigraphic Evidence for Early Buddhist Art in China"

Dr. Kim is an art historian specializing in medieval China, particularly in relation to Buddhism. His research, however, is not confined only to early imperial China, but also aims to encompass the pan-Buddhist world in its entirety. As a result, he is profoundly intrigued by the relationships and interplays within and among these cultures. His writing mainly deals with social issues of both non-Buddhist and Buddhist images in China between the Han and Tang periods (206 B.C.E. - 907 C.E.). Korea is also a prominent concern throughout his research. He was an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow of Scholars in the Humanities (2010-2012) at the Stanford Humanities Center.

Sungok Hong
Assistant Professor, 2012/13
Ph.D. 2005, South Asian Language and Literature, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Dissertation: "On Subject and Indirect Subject Constructions in Hindi"

Dr. Hong specializes in Hindi/Urdu syntax with an emphasis on the indirect subject construction and in modern Hindi/Urdu literature and its history. Her other research interests include linguistic typology, language pedagogy, second language acquisition, aspects of contrastive typology in language teaching, pragmatics in language learning/teaching, and culture in foreign language teaching/learning. Her book, Everyday Hindi, was published in June 2012. Her other book, koriyaayii lok-kathaaen, a translation of Korean folktales, was published in 2009. Dr. Hong served as one of the three members of the Academic Consortium Board Program Evaluation team for the CIEE-Hyderabad program in India. She has been a five-time recipient of the STARTALK grant which is a National Security Agency grant. She is a member of ACTFL, AAS, and ALT.

Michael Dueñes
Assistant Professor, 2012/13
Ph.D. expected 2012, Political Science, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Dissertation: "Communication Cadres, Leaders, and Co-Optation"

Professor Dueñes' research focuses on the relationship between how the state develops and practices democracy to how local Chicano and non-Chicano organizations develop and practice democracy. His dissertation focuses on how leaders rise to power and stay in power by controlling communication and information flows and how this creates an environment conducive for co-option to occur. His other research interests include American politics, Latino politics, social movements, and Latino student retention.

Geraldine Heng
Winton Chair in the Liberal Arts, 2012/13
Visiting Associate Professor
Ph.D. 1990, English, Cornell University
Dissertation: "Gender Magic: Desire, Romance, and the Feminine in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight"

Professor Heng specializes in medieval romance and the literatures of medieval England. Her other areas of interest include feminist, race, postcolonial, and cultural theories. Professor Heng joins us from the University of Texas at Austin where she has taught an extensive list of courses and has previously served as the Director of the Medieval Studies Program. Professor Heng has founded and co-directed the Global Middle Ages Projects (G-MAP), the Mappamundi Digital Initiatives, and the Scholarly Community for the Globalization of the Middle Ages (SCGMA).

Karina Ansolabehere
Visiting Associate Professor, 2012/13
Ph.D. 2003, Social Sciences with Specialization in Political Sciences, Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences-Campus Mexico (FLACSO-Mexico)

Professor Ansolabehere is a Visiting Associate Professor in the Human Rights Program and the Institute for Global Studies. Her current research projects include institutionalization and human rights in Latin America democracies, 1990-2010; the new criminal system in Mexico and torture prevention; and democracy, human rights, and constitutional courts. Her broader research and teaching interests include judicial politics, human rights, Latin American politics, and law and social transformation.

Brendan Watson
Assistant Professor
Ph.D. 2012, Mass Communication, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Dissertation: "Is Twitter a Counter Public?: Comparing Individual and Community Forces that Shaped Local Twitter and Newspaper Coverage of the BP Oil Spill."

Professor Watson's area of research is in digital media. His primary research uses demographic, public opinion, and content analysis data to understand the role of community structure in public opinion and media coverage-including social media coverage--of local public affairs issues. He plans to expand his sociologically oriented research to develop models of community information needs and analyze existing communication channels that are fulfilling these communication needs. He is a member of the American Association of Public Opinion Research, Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research, Society of Environmental Journalists, International Communication Association and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. He was a Roy H. Park Fellow at the University of North Carolina and has received research grants from Duke University and the University of Missouri.

Claire Halpert
Assistant Professor
Ph.D. 2012, Linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dissertation: "Agreement and argument licensing in Zulu"

Claire Halpert received a B.A. from Yale University and a Ph.D. from MIT. Her research focuses on the syntactic structure of Bantu languages and is based primarily on her original research on the Bantu language Zulu, spoken in South Africa. She has published on a variety of topics, including the interaction between grammatical case and agreement processes in grammar, the typological relationship between tense and aspect morphology and counterfactual conditionals, and the realization of assimilating nasal segments across Bantu languages. She has also maintained an active field research program and has taught linguistic field methods in a variety of settings, including at the African Linguistics Summer School in the Republic of Benin and at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College, in Durban, South Africa.

Mark Russell Smith
Assistant Professor
B. Mus. 1987, Orchestral Conducting, The Curtis Institute of Music
B. Mus. 1984, Violoncello Performance, The Juilliard School

Professor Smith continues his work at the School of Music as Director of Orchestras and Assistant Professor of Conducting. He first joined the faculty of the School of Music in 2007 as Artistic Director of Orchestral Studies, in a combined post with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra as Director of New Music Projects. In the winter and spring of 2012, Smith was the instigating artistic force behind the School of Music's Britten Peace Project, which combined musical and historical study with community engagement, culminating in critically acclaimed performances of Britten's War Requiem in Europe and America, collaborating with U of M and German music students, professional musicians and the Nobel Peace Prize Forum. He regularly conducts leading professional orchestras and opera companies, and is a much sought after clinician and conductor of top student orchestras, including the Symphony Orchestra of the Curtis Institute of Music. During the 2012/13 season, he will serve as Interim Artistic Adviser and Conductor of Symphony for the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies.

Matti Jutila
Government of Finland/David and Nancy Speer Visiting Professor in Finnish Studies, 2012/13 - 2013/14
Ph.D. 2011, Social Science, University of Helsinki
Dissertation: "Nationalism Circumscribed: Transnational Governance of Minority Rights in Post-Cold War Europe"

Dr. Jutila's main unifying theme of his research has been nationalism; how it affects contemporary world politics and the construction of political communities. His doctoral research investigated how transnational governance of the rights of national minorities has challenged nationalism externally by circumscribing the sovereignty of nation-states, and internally by challenging the idea of national homogeneity as the foundation of political communities. He has also analyzed securitization and desecuritization of national majority-minority relations, focusing especially on the role of historical narratives and myths in these processes. He serves also as the editor-in-chief of Kosmopolis: Finnish Journal of Peace Research and World Politics (quarterly refereed journal publishing articles in Finnish and Swedish).

James Hollyer
Assistant Professor
Ph.D. 2012, Political Science, New York University
Dissertation: "Patronage or Merit in Bureaucratic Recruitment"

Professor Hollyer will join the Department of Political Science, faculty beginning in January 2012. Currently, Professor Hollyer has a fellowship in The Leitner Program in International and Comparative Political Economy, the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University. Professor Hollyer works in the fields of comparative and international political economy, on such topics as bureaucratic politics, corruption, and the interaction between domestic politics and international relations. He employs formal models to develop predictions regarding political phenomena, and uses quantitative methods to test these predictions.

James Ron
Harold E. Stassen Chair of International Affairs
Associate Professor
Ph.D. 1999, Sociology, University of California-Berkeley

Professor Ron served as a visiting professor at Mexico's CIDE research institute for the 2011/12 academic year. Professor Ron's areas of expertise include international democratization and conflict, rights-based organizations, international access to medicine, human rights, and civil society in the Global South. His research has included statistical analyses of human rights reporting by Amnesty International and the Anglo-American international media; violence in Israel and Serbia; militias and oil in Africa; terrorism in Peru; and the organizational dynamics on international aid. Professor Ron has worked for the Associated Press in Jerusalem and for Human Rights Watch in Israel, Palestine, Turkey, Nigeria, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, and Albania. He has consulted for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva and the former Yugoslavia, for CARE in Africa, and for the International Diabetes Federation's Life for a Child Program in India and Mexico.

Chun Wang
Assistant Professor
Ph.D. 2012, Quantitative Psychology, University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign
Dissertation: "Semi-parametric Models for Responses and Response Times"

Dr. Wang's research interests are in the area of psychometrics and measurement, specifically on topics of computerized adaptive testing (CAT), equating and linking, cognitive diagnosis, and multilevel Item Response Theory (IRT) models. Currently, she is working on three topics, including developing optimal item selection algorithms in cognitive diagnostic CAT and multidimensional CAT; proposing semi-parametric models for jointly representing response accuracy and response times in computerized testing; and developing innovative psychometric models for measuring individual growth in longitudinal study. She has won two research awards--Nancy Hirschberg Award and Jeffrey Tanaka Award--from UIUC. One special aspect of her research path is hands-on experience through research internships and assistantships at leading testing organizations such as CTB/McGraw-Hill, ACT and Riverside Publishing. These experiences motivate her to identify, formulate, and solve research problems arising from real world applications in a theoretically sound way.

Alejandro Baer
Associate Professor
Director, Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies
Ph.D. 2003, Sociology, Complutense University-Madrid
Dissertation: "Video Testimony and the Shaping of Holocaust Public Memory"

Professor Baer conducts research on the representation of present and past mass violence in a global arena of interconnected memory cultures (particularly the cases of Spain, Argentina, and the Holocaust). Recent work involves a series of articles on how memories of the Holocaust condition ways in which the memory building process takes shape in contemporary Spain, and an assessment of theory and research methods for the study of contemporary Anti-Semitism. With Bernt Schnettler he is editing a special issue on "Visual Sociology" for the journal Soziale Welt.

Sophia Beal
Assistant Professor
Ph.D. 2010, Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, Brown University
Dissertation: "Brazil under Construction: Literature, Public Works, and Progress"

Professor Beal's research focuses on literary and cultural analysis within the Portuguese-speaking world, primarily analyzing questions related to public space, identity, and urban development. From 2010 to 2012, she was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at Tulane University in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, affiliated with the Program for African and African Diaspora Studies. She will contribute to the curriculum in the areas of Brazilian, Portuguese, and Lusophone-African cultural production. Her current book project studies the intersections between fiction and public works in Brazil in the 20th century.

Jaime Ginzburg
Visiting Associate Professor, Fall 2012
Post-doctoral studies, 2010, Universidade de Sao Paulo

Professor Ginzburg is dedicated to the study of violence and culture. As a member of Núcleo de Estudos da Violência at the University of São Paulo, he coordinates a research group on the representations of law and violence in texts written by journalists, judges, psychiatrists, and artists. Another research focus is "The narrator in Brazilian Literature" where the priority is to observe how many writers in Brazil, since 1960, go against tradition, turning social groups who were repressed and unable to express themselves throughout history, for economic, political, racial, religious, or sexual reasons, into relevant and expressive historical forces. He will contribute to the curriculum in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies in the areas of violence and democracy, along with Latin American Literature.

Elena Kuzina
Fulbright Visiting Scholar, 2012/13
M.A. 2003, Theater, St. Petersburg State Theatre Arts Academy, Russia
Dissertation: "The Playing (Ludo) Nature of Actor's Training"

Professor Kuzina's scholarly and practical interest has focused on such advanced techniques and trainings as Meyerhold's Biomechanics, Stanislavsky's Etude Method, Michail Chekhov's Technique of Acting, J. Grotowski and E. Barba Actor's Trainings, A Vasiljev's Verbal Training. She has taught acting in St. Petersburg Theatre Arts Academy, Alexandrinsky Theatre, Moscow School of Dramatic Art, and Grotowski's Institute in Wroclaw. She is author of 20 articles and the handbook "Grotowski's Training: From Physics to Organics" (2008).

Professor Kuzina's current project is "Actor's Training: From Exercises to the Character." The project will first teach workshops that will include trainings developed by such Russian theatre figures as Stanislavsky, Meyerhold, and M. Chekhov. The goal of workshops is to show three different approaches to the rehearsal process and role self-preparation. The second piece of the project is to acquaint students with contemporary training systems for actors and directors established in the United States.

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