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The Writing Seminars



Steven M. Teles

Steven M. Teles (steles2@jhu.edu), associate professor of political science, came from the University of Maryland, where he was an associate professor of public policy, and from Yale Law School, where he was a visiting lecturer. His areas of specialty include social policy, law and public policy, and political analysis. “I’m slightly out of the mainstream of regular American political science. I don’t do game theory or highly quantitative work,” Teles says. “I’m interested in the role of ideas. I do qualitative work in archives. Hopkins has got to be one of the best, if not the best, departments outside the mainstream of ordinary political sciences. It’s extraordinarily exciting to work with so many people I respect whose work dovetails with the work I do.”

Teles earned his PhD from the University of Virginia and completed postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard University’s Center for American Political Studies and Princeton University. He is the author and co-author of several books including The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement (Princeton University Press, 2008), in which he charts the success of the conservative legal establishment. His research for the book included accessing the private archives of the Olin Foundation, the Federalist Society, and other organizations. “I was interested in things other people weren’t—where does the organization of a movement come from and what are their challenges?” he says. He is currently at work on a number of projects, including a book on political analysis and policy design. Teles’ non-academic interests include skiing and discovering the best ethnic restaurants in the area.


New Hires by Department

 

Biology

zapullaDavid Zappulla (zappulla@jhu.edu) is an assistant professor in the Biology Department whose research focuses on understanding the functions and coordination of telomerase ribonucleoprotein enzyme complex subunits and how telomerase activity at the ends of chromosomes is regulated. One thing that excites him about his research is the involvement the enzyme he studies has with cancer. “Telomerase is expressed in about 90 percent of human cancers,” says Zappulla. “It’s exciting for me to work on RNA and RNA protein complexes. But it’s also exciting that my lab studies an enzyme central to cancer cell proliferation.”

Zappulla comes to Hopkins from a postdoctoral position at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute associate and worked in the laboratory of Nobel laureate Thomas Cech. His interest in studying RNA began while he was in graduate school at Stony Brook University, where he earned a PhD in molecular and cellular biology. “As I was finishing graduate school I saw much of the gene regulation field tending toward RNA, and I also found myself thinking about it more and more. It was a field that was really exploding,” he says. At Hopkins, Zappulla says he’s interested in finding out more about how telomeres and telomerase are implicated in aging. He’s looking forward to working with colleagues here and teaching and mentoring undergraduates and graduate students. When he’s not working in the lab, Zappulla enjoys playing golf and ultimate Frisbee. And after six years in Colorado, he says he’s also eager to enjoy Baltimore’s fresh seafood.


Cognitive Science

wilsoAssociate professor Colin Wilson (wilson@cogsci.jhu.edu) joins the Department of Cognitive Science from UCLA, where he has been part of the linguistics faculty since 2000. Wilson earned his PhD at Hopkins with a dissertation titled “Targeted Constraints: An approach to contextual neutralization in Optimality Theory.” Wilson has a BA in Linguistics from the University of Colorado. His research interests include phonological theory, experimental phonology, psycholinguistics, and computational and mathematical modeling.


Economics

duffeeGregory Duffee (duffee@jhu.edu) joins the Economics Department as the inaugural Carl Christ Professor, part of the new Center for Financial Economics. Duffee, who comes to Hopkins from an associate professorship at the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley, earned a PhD in economics from Harvard University. He spent a decade as an economist in the research and statistics division of the Federal Reserve Board and his research interests include term structure of interest rates, stock return dynamics and credit risk. Duffee’s work on empirical asset pricing is some of the most widely cited in the world.

eraslanProfessor Hülya Eraslan (eraslan@jhu.edu) joins the Economics Department from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Eraslan is one of the leading young senior scholars in political economy. Her research agenda is both theoretical and empirical and focuses on political economy and corporate finance, especially bankruptcy. “Most people are a lot more specialized,” Eraslan says. “If they work on empirical corporate finance, they don't work on theoretical corporate finance or empirical political economy.” A common theme of her research is her interest in group decision making through bargaining and voting.

Her classes at Hopkins will reflect her interdisciplinary interests. “I will teach a Corporate Restructuring course I developed at Wharton that had been highly popular that combines law, game theory, and finance,” she says. Eraslan will also teach graduate courses in microeconomics and game theory. She earned her PhD from the University of Minnesota and since 2005 she has been a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. At Hopkins she will contribute to the department’s research groups in applied microeconomics, theory, and the Center for Financial Economics. “The Hopkins Economics Department is unique because it has first rate faculty and is relatively small,” she says. “Its smaller size offers many advantages compared to larger departments: an extremely collegial atmosphere, a lot of interaction among faculty regardless of their fields of interests, and opportunities to work closely with PhD students. The department is also going through exciting times with the launch of the Center for Financial Economics, and it is thrilling to be part of it.”

jeanneFormerly a researcher for the International Monetary Fund, Professor Olivier Jeanne is one of the leading international macroeconomists of his generation. He has made major contributions on the topics of exchange rate volatility and fixed exchange rates during speculative attacks. Jeanne earned a PhD from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and his dissertation explored theoretical interpretations of the 1992-93 French franc crisis. He received an MS in economics from the London School of Economics and also studied at the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees in Paris and the École Polytechnique in Palaiseau, France. Jeanne has taught at Princeton University and the University of California at Berkeley.

wrightProfessor Jonathan Wright (wrightj@jhu.edu) comes to Hopkins’ Economics Department after nearly a decade as an economist for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. A time-series econometrician, Wright is a leading scholar at the nexus of macroeconomics and finance and has taught at such institutions as the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Virginia. He earned his PhD in economics at Harvard University, received an MS in econometrics and mathematical economics at the London School of Economics and a BA in Economics from Trinity College Dublin.


English

hickmanJared Hickman (jhickman@jhu.edu), assistant professor of English, earned a PhD in English from Harvard University and a BA in English and environmental studies from Bowdoin College. His dissertation explored the relationship among racial difference, theological heresy, and political radicalism under the metaphysical regime of Atlantic slavery and racism. His areas of interest include American literature, the intellectual and cultural history of Atlantic antislavery, religion and radical politics, and critical race studies.

Assistant professor Lisa O’Connell joins the English Department following a postdoctoral fellowship at Hopkins. She earned a PhD from Brown University with a dissertation on the 18th century transformation of British nuptial culture. O’Connell specializes in 18th century British literature, and her research interests include the rise of the novel, the history of sexuality, and the development of settler colonial cultures. She received an MA in English from Melbourne University and a BA in English and art history from the University of Melbourne. O’Connell will begin teaching at Hopkins in January.

nealonChristopher Nealon (nealon@jhu.edu) is an associate professor of English who comes to Hopkins from the University of California at Berkeley. His research and teaching interests include American literature, aesthetic theory, and the history of sexuality. Nealon doesn’t just study poetry, he writes it himself. Doing so, he says, gives him valuable insight to the poets he writes about and the poems he crafts. “Writing poetry makes me a better reader of poetry,” says Nealon, who is in the midst of completing his second book of poetry, Plummet, inspired by American poet Hart Crane’s use of the word “plummet” in his work. “And writing about poetry makes me a better poet. Having to pay careful attention to what other poets do is a very good exercise in being aware of their sources and talents.”

Nealon earned his PhD from Cornell University and last year was a Fellow at the Society for The Humanities at Cornell. He is the author of Foundlings: Lesbian and Gay Historical Emotion before Stonewall (Duke University Press, 2001) and is completing a book about poetry in the 20th century called The Matter of Capital, which explores the idea of capitalism in the work of 19th and 20th century poets.


German and Romance Languages and Literature

Elisabeth Strowick (strowick@jhu.edu) is a new associate professor in the Department of German and Romance Languages and Literatures who specializes in the study of modern German literature and thought, literary theory, and the poetics of knowledge. Strowick earned her PhD from the University of Hamburg and her Habilitation at the University of Basel. She comes to Hopkins from the University of Zurich, where she headed a research center focused on the philosophy and history of knowledge. She will be teaching a course on German realism this fall.


 

History

shepardAssociate professor Todd Shepard (tshep75@jhu.edu) comes to Hopkins from Temple University, where he has taught since 2005. Shepard’s research and teaching interests include 20th century France, modern imperialism, and sexuality. Earlier this year, he won the Council of European Studies’ 2008 Book Prize for the best first book in European Studies. The book, The Invention of Decolonization: The Algerian War and the Remaking of France (Cornell University Press, 2006), is a history of the close of the Algerian War and the difficult re-negotiation of French state structures and national identity that resulted. Shepard earned his PhD in modern European history from Rutgers and spent last year in Paris as a fellow-in-residence at Columbia University’s Institute for Scholars at Reid Hall.

connolyNathan Connolly(nconnol2@jhu.edu) , a new assistant professor in History and an affiliate of the Center for Africana Studies, earned his PhD from the University of Michigan with a dissertation titled “By Eminent Domain: Race and Capital in the Building of an American South Florida.” Connolly’s research and teaching interests include the historical role of land in the making of racial categories, the intersection of Jim Crow segregation and capitalism, and American liberalism and conservatism as reflections of black class politics. He holds an MA in social science from the University of Chicago and a BA from St. Thomas University. Connolly is teaching two courses this fall: Jim Crow in America and American Land in Black History.


History of Science and Technology

Assistant professor Maria Portuondo (mportuondo@jhu.edu) joins the faculty of the History of Science Department from the University of Florida by way of Hopkins, where she earned her PhD in 2005. Portuondo calls her return to Hopkins a dream come true. “Hopkins is a place where I grew tremendously intellectually,” she says. “Being able to get back into this environment is just very special.” She specializes in the study of the early modern Spanish and Latin American history of science. “What’s so exciting about the field is that even though there’s been some important core work in the area done by Spanish and Latin American historians, there are still a lot of areas that need to be researched in terms of original source documents,” she says.

Her first book, Secret Science: Spanish Cosmography and the New World (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming in 2009), examines how Spanish colonizers used cosmography, a humanistic science that became modern geography, to explain the lands they discovered and why Spanish maps of these places were so sparse. “It wasn’t that Spaniards weren’t making maps,” Portuondo says. “They had maps, but the government treated them as state secrets so people couldn’t get their hands on them.” Portuondo earned a BS in electrical engineering from the University of Miami and worked for 10 years as an electrical engineer before she began her studies in the history of science. She lives in Homeland and enjoys gardening and renovating her 60-year-old brick colonial home.


Humanities Center

stahlNeta Stahl (nstahl@jhu.edu) comes to the Humanities Center as an assistant professor from the University of Chicago. She has prior teaching experience at Yale University and earned her PhD in comparative literature at Tel Aviv University. Her dissertation, “The Homecoming of the Other: The Representation of Jesus in Twentieth Century Hebrew Literature,” won the prestigious Koret publication prize for first book in Jewish Studies and was published in Hebrew last year. An expanded English edition of the book is in preparation. She is currently working on the translation of the poetry of Uri Zvi Greenberg with the intention of publishing the first complete volume of translation of his work. Stahl and her husband, Philosophy’s Yitzhak Melamed, will contribute significantly to the Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Jewish Studies Program.


 

Mathematics

kimAssistant professor Soomin Kim (skim@math.jhu.edu) joins the Mathematics Department from Purdue University. Kim earned her PhD in mathematics from Rice University and her dissertation focused on limits of minimal surfaces with increasing genus. She received her BS in mathematics education from Korea University. Her research interests include minimal surfaces and geometric analysis.

wangChengbo Wang (cwang@math.jhu.edu) comes to Hopkins from a postdoctoral fellowship at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. Wang earned a PhD in mathematics from Zhejiang University; his dissertation explored “Strichartz Estimates and Well-Posed Problems for Nonlinear Wave Equations.” He holds a BS in applied mathematics from Zhejiang University, and his research interests include partial differential equations, wave and dispersive equations, and harmonic analysis.


Near Eastern Studies

Paul Delnero (pdelner1@jhu.edu) joins the Near Eastern Studies Department as an assistant professor after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Hopkins. Delnero earned a PhD in Near Eastern languages and civilizations from the University of Pennsylvania with a dissertation titled “Variation in Sumerian Literary Compositions: A Case Study Based on the Decad.” Delnero holds a BA in philosophy and psychology from Purdue University and has studied Sumerian and Akkadian at the University of Leipzig, Hebrew at Hebrew University, and Russian at Smolensk State University of Pedagogy. He will teach a course on the history of ancient Mesopotamia in the fall.


Philosophy

melamedA specialist in the field of early modern philosophy, assistant professor Yitzhak Melamed (ymelame1@jhu.edu) joins the Philosophy Department from the University of Chicago. He received his PhD from Yale University and his MA in history and philosophy of science from Tel Aviv University. The main focus of Melamed’s current work is Spinoza’s metaphysics, although he is also interested in German idealism and some aspects of contemporary analytic metaphysics. His dissertation explored “The Metaphysics of Substance and the Metaphysics of Thought in Spinoza.”


Physics and Astronomy

A new associate professor in Physics and Astronomy, Kirill Melnikov joins Hopkins from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Melnikov, whose research focuses on particle physics phenomenology, received his PhD in physics from the University of Mainz and an MS and BS from Novosibirsk State University in Russia. He has been a research associate at the Institute for Theoretical Particle Physics at the University of Karlsruhe and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, and he was awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship in 2005.


Political Science

Assistant professor Samuel Chambers (samchambers@jhu.edu ) joins the Hopkins faculty from Swansea University. Chambers received a PhD from the University of Minnesota, an MA from Vanderbilt University, and a BA from Pomona College. His research focuses on the intersection of culture and politics, the theory and practice of gender and sexuality, and debates over language and history as they affect theories of democracy and concepts of the political. He published two books in 2008: The Queer Politics of Television and Judith Butler and Political Theory: Troubling Politics, which he co-wrote with Terrell Carver. Chambers has taught previously at St. Mary’s College, the University of Redlands, and Pennsylvania State University. This fall, he is teaching Political Theory of Gender and Sexuality and Finding Democracy.

telesSteven M. Teles (steles2@jhu.edu), associate professor of political science, comes from the University of Maryland, where he was an associate professor of public policy, and from Yale Law School, where he was a visiting lecturer. His areas of specialty include social policy, law and public policy, and political analysis. “I’m slightly out of the mainstream of regular American political science. I don’t do game theory or highly quantitative work,” Teles says. “I’m interested in the role of ideas. I do qualitative work in archives. Hopkins has got to be one of the best, if not the best, departments outside the mainstream of ordinary political sciences. It’s extraordinarily exciting to work with so many people I respect whose work dovetails with the work I do.”

Teles earned his PhD from the University of Virginia and completed postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard University’s Center for American Political Studies and Princeton University. He is the author and co-author of several books including The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement (Princeton University Press, 2008), in which he charts the success of the conservative legal establishment. His research for the book included accessing the private archives of the Olin Foundation, the Federalist Society, and other organizations. “I was interested in things other people weren’t—where does the organization of a movement come from and what are their challenges?” he says. He is currently at work on a number of projects, including a book on political analysis and policy design. Teles’ non-academic interests include skiing and discovering the best ethnic restaurants in the area.


Psychological and Brain Sciences

flombaumAssistant professor Jonathan Flombaum (flombaum@jhu.edu) comes to Hopkins’ Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences from Yale University, where he earned his PhD earlier this year. Flombaum’s research explores visual perception and cognition. He is interested in understanding why we are aware of some of the processing that our brains do, but at the same time unaware of—and even unable to access—so much of what our brains are doing. “We know a lot about the processing that goes into vision, but not as much about how the outputs of this processing become conscious,” Flombaum says. “So there are real opportunities to ask big-picture, almost philosophical questions experimentally.”

He completed pre-doctoral fellowships from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation and holds an AB in psychology and biology from Harvard University. Flombaum says he came to Hopkins for the colleagues and the students. “My department is just amazing; there are people who are my colleagues now whose papers I’ve been reading and admiring since college,” he says. “There are lots of opportunities to collaborate on projects in my department, and also outside of it. And I am excited to be on a campus where so many of the undergraduates are doing science and working in labs, but at the same time, involved in lots of other things as well. I care about how the phenomena that we study in the lab operate when we’re out in the real world. And this seems like a great campus for keeping that perspective in mind.”