Peter Benson joins the department of Anthropology in Arts & Sciences as Assistant Professor. He was previously a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Program in Agrarian Studies at Yale University. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Harvard University and his B.A. in Anthropology from Vanderbilt University. His research interests include medical anthropology, public health, political economy, tobacco, agriculture, transnational migration and social theory, especially intersections between phenomenology, existentialism, and cultural anthropology.
David Freidel joins the Department of Anthropology as Professor. He studies the emergence and fluorescence of government institutions among the ancient lowland Maya of southeastern Mexico and Central America. Currently he is directing long-term research at the royal city of El Perú, ancient Waka’, in northwestern Petén, Guatemala. His interests in this regard include material symbol-systems and religion, monumental architecture, political economy, dynastic history and warfare. At a broader level he is interested in the agency of divine rulers in the evolution of civilization in southeastern Mesoamerica.
Carolyn Sargent joins the department of Anthropology as Professor with a joint appointment in Women, Sexuality and Gender Studies. Professor Sargent's research and teaching are primarily situated in the domain of gender and health, with a particular focus on reproduction, medical decision making, and the management of women’s health in low-income populations. She has worked in West Africa (Benin, Mali), in Jamaica, and for the last seven years in France on reproduction and representations of family among migrants from the Senegal River Valley now residing in Paris. Most recently, her writing has focused on how colonial and postcolonial relations between France and its former West African colonies in the context of the global economy have shaped the policies and politics of state institutions responsible for managing immigrant populations. She is interested in how women—as migrants, wives and mothers—routinely negotiate these structures of inequality. Theoretically, she is interested in questions of agency, structure and resistance. She also explores how Islam shapes the discourse of migrant men, especially those housed in worker hostels, provokes debates on women’s autonomy in Europe and influences women’s reproductive decisions and marital relations.
Art History & Archaeology
John Klein joins the Department of Art History and Archaeology as Associate Professor after teaching at University of Missouri-Columbia since 1992. He brings several areas of expertise to the department's offerings in modern and contemporary art, criticism and theory, through his courses in modern sculpture, Dada and Surrealism, the history and theory of the art museum, modern decoration and decorative arts, and portraiture from antiquity to the present. He is an internationally known specialist in the art of Henri Matisse, Fauvism, and modern portraiture. In addition to his book Matisse Portraits (Yale 2001), he has published many articles and book chapters on the artist, most recently on the intersection of portraiture and decoration in Matisse's work for an exhibition in Stuttgart and Hamburg. Subjects of other recent articles include painting in series from Impressionism to Pop Art, the Fauve portraits of Kees Van Dongen, and masking strategies in modern portraiture. Klein's current book project is Matisse's Late Decorations and the Essential Quality of Art, a comprehensive analysis of the concept of decoration in Matisse's art, including his lesser-known work in ceramics, stained glass, tapestry, and decorative objects.
Asian & Near Eastern Languages & Literatures
Ji-Eun Lee joins the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures as assistant professor. She received a Ph.D from Harvard University in Korean literature and culture with a dissertation on women’s reading in the later 19th and early 20th century. Before joining Washington University, Professor Lee worked and taught at the University of Minnesota, University of British Columbia, Dartmouth College, and University of Toronto. Her research interests include construction of gender in modern and contemporary Korean literature and film, "space” in literature, and print culture and readership in the 19th and 20th century.
Mohamed-Salah Omri joined Washington University in January 2008 as Associate Professor of Arabic Language & Literature. A Washington University PhD graduate in Comparative Literature in 2001, he was Senior Lecturer in Arabic and Director of the Centre for Mediterranean Studies at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom for 10 years. His key research interests include modern and pre-modern Arabic literature; Francophone literature of the Maghreb; Comparative Literature; Arab cinema; literature and history; Tunisia. He has published or edited several books and has lectured on Francophone North Africa, Arab diaspora, political cartoons, classical Arabic literature, Mediterranean culture and tourism.
Yehuda Ben-Shahar joins the Biology Department in Arts & Sciences as Assistant Professor. Professor Ben-Shahar received his B.S. in Life Sciences from Tel-Aviv University in Tel-Aviv, Israel. He earned a Masters Degree and Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of Illinois-Champaign/Urbana and had several years of postdoctoral experience as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellow at the University of Iowa College of Medicine. His research uses both Drosophila and honey bees to investigate the genetic architecture that underlies specific behaviors, such as feeding and mating. He is also interested the evolution of behavior. His research combines behavioral, genetic, genomic, biochemical, and molecular techniques.
Bruce Carlson joins the Biology Department in Arts & Sciences as Assistant Professor. He received his B.S. in Biology and B.S. in Marine Sciences with honors from the University of Miami. He earned his Ph.D. in Neurobiology and Behavior from Cornell University and completed his postdoctoral training in the Department of Biology at the University of Virginia. Dr. Carlson’s research combines electrophysiology, neuroanatomy, computational modeling, and behavioral analysis to study information processing by sensory systems. His work uses the electrosensory systems of weakly electric fish from Africa and South America, for which it is possible to establish direct links between the physiology of individual neurons and quantitative characteristics of natural behaviors.
Ram Dixit joins the Biology Department in Arts & Sciences as Assistant Professor. Professor Dixit received his B.S from State University of New York (Stony Brook) and his Ph.D. in Plant Molecular Biology from Cornell University. He held sequential postdoctoral appointments at Penn State University and University of Pennsylvania, where he explored microtubule organization and dynamics and motor function. Professor Dixit’s research uses in vivo and single molecule in vitro imaging techniques to understand the molecular mechanisms used in the dynamic assembly and reorganization of the cytoskeletal machinery in plant cells during morphogenesis.
Joseph Jez joins the Biology Department in Arts & Sciences as Assistant Professor with a shared appointment at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. Dr. Jez received his BS in Biochemistry with honors from Penn State University. He received his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from the University of Pennsylvania, and completed postdoctoral training at the Structural Biology Laboratory at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California. Professor Jez has been an Assistant Member and Principal Investigator at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center for several years prior to this joint appointment. His current research employs a combination of x-ray crystallography, enzymology, molecular biology, proteomics, and cell biology to understand the molecular foundations of heavy metal detoxification in plants and to explore new metabolic pathways in nematodes that are of possible pharmaceutical interest.
Liviu Mirica joins the Department of Chemistry in Arts & Sciences as Assistant Professor. He received his B.S. from Caltech and his Ph.D. from Stanford University. For the past three years, he has been an NIH postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Mirica’s research interests center around the role of metal ions in chemistry and biology and include renewable energy catalysis, biomimetic oxidation catalysis, metalloenzyme-catalyzed histone demethylation, and metal-mediated amyloid peptide aggregation in Alzheimer’s disease.
Ryan Platte joins the Department of Classics in Arts & Sciences as Assistant Professor, having received his PhD from the University of Washington. His field is ancient Greek and Latin language and literature, particularly Homer and archaic Greek poetics, Greek and Latin linguistics, Sanskrit, and Roman invective.
Earth and Planetary Sciences
Frédéric Moynier joined the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences in Arts & Sciences in January 2008 as Assistant Professor. He received his B.S (in 2001) and Ph.D. (in 2006) both from the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France. He also earned an M.S. from the Université Joseph Fourier, Grenoble in 2002. Professor Moynier measures the isotopic compositions of terrestrial, lunar and meteoritic materials to understand 1) the chronology of the first million years of the Solar System and of planetary differentiation, 2) the physical and chemical processes which have modified these materials, and 3) the nucleosynthesis and the stellar environments at the birth of our Solar System. To reach these goals, he uses high precision mass spectrometry associated with chemical purifications in ultra-clean chemistry lab.
Pamela Jakiela joins the Department of Economics in Arts & Sciences as Assistant Professor after completing her PhD at the University of California at Berkeley. Much of her work explores the intersection between international development and psychology, focusing on sharing norms, cultural values, ethnic networks, risk-taking, and entrepreneurship. She conducts regular field work in Kenya, where she recently completed a study of the emergence of individualist, effort-oriented values. Professor Jakiela also conducts lab experimental studies in the United States; her recent work in this area explores the importance of contextual cues in sharing decisions.
Raul Santaeulalia-Llopis joins the Department of Economics in Arts and Sciences as Assistant Professor. He received his B.A. from the Universitat de Valencia, his M.Sc. from University College London and his Ph.D. from University of Pennsylvania. He is using Quantitative Macroeconomics Theory to explore: the interaction between economic development, family structure and skill acquisition - and, for example, diseases such as AIDS that affect all of the above; the role of individual heterogeneity on development and aggregate fluctuations; and the identification of income uncertainty using durables and irreversible decisions.
Juan Pantano joins the Department of Economics in Arts and Sciences as Assistant Professor. Professor Pantano received his Ph.D. in Economics from UCLA in 2008. His research spans several areas of applied microeconomics, including issues in labor economics, economics of the family, economics of crime, health economics, development economics, urban economics and empirical industrial organization. Professor Pantano’s work combines sound economic theory with cutting edge empirical strategies. His recent research analyzes the consequences of alternative policies to handle criminal record and the impact of contraceptive technology changes on the quality of birth cohorts. Professor Pantano is also working on the estimation of game-theoretic models of parent-child interactions and on the economics of time use. He will be teaching undergraduate courses in law & economics and econometrics, as well as an advanced Ph.D. course on microeconometric estimation of structural models.
Rodolfo Manuelli joins the Department of Economics in Arts & Sciences as Professor. After completing his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota, he had appointments at Northwestern University, Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin. He has served as editor and co-editor of several journals. His research areas include economic growth, development and macroeconomics.
Yongseok Shin joins the Department of Economics in Arts & Sciences as Assistant Professor. After completing his Ph.D. at Stanford in 2004, he joined the University of Wisconsin-Madison as an Assistant Professor. Professor Shin's area of research is macroeconomics and economic development. In his research on economic development, he quantitatively analyzes the role of financial markets in resource allocation and in promoting economic growth. His research emphasizes the importance of microeconomic foundations in understanding macroeconomic phenomena.
Korina M. Jocson joins the Department of Education in Arts & Sciences as Assistant Professor. Her research and teaching interests include literacy, youth development, ethnic studies, and cultural studies in education. In particular, she examines the changing nature of literacies and new media technologies in relation to learning, teaching, and communication across contexts. Professor Jocson has collaborated with university programs, schools, and community-based organizations to promote literacy development among youth from diverse backgrounds. Along with publications in scholarly journals and edited volumes, she is the author of a forthcoming book entitled Youth Poets: Empowering Literacies In and Out of Schools (Peter Lang). Professor Jocson received her Ph.D. in Education in the area of language, literacy, and culture at the University of California, Berkeley, and completed her postdoctoral work at Stanford University’s School of Education.
Julia A. Walker joins the Department of English in Arts & Sciences as Associate Professor with a joint appointment in the Performing Arts Department. She lists among her primary research and teaching interests modern drama, modernism, theatre history, and performance theory. The author of Modernism and Expressionism in the American Theatre: Bodies, Voices, Words (Cambridge, 2005), she has published articles in Theatre Journal, the Journal of American Drama and Theatre, Nineteenth Century Theatre, the Yale Journal of Criticism, and several edited collections. Her second book, Modernity & Performance, examines acting styles in relation to cultural changes associated with the historical period of modernity. As Professor Walker demonstrates, new acting styles did not emerge simply to achieve the goal of a realist aesthetic, but to help audiences adapt to a changing world by modeling new habits of being.
Julia Driver joins the Department of Philosophy in Arts & Sciences as Professor, coming from Dartmouth College, where she had been on the faculty since 1999, serving as Department Chair from 2002-2004. Professor Driver received her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins in 1990. She specializes in ethics with particular interests in normative ethical theory and moral psychology, and she is the author of two books: Uneasy Virtue (Cambridge University Press 2001) and Ethics: The Fundamentals (Blackwell 2006). She is completing a third book on Consequentialism. Co-editor of The Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, she received an NEH Fellowship in 2004 and the Lawrence S. Rockefeller Fellowship at Princeton University’s Center for Human Values in 1992.
Frederick Eberhardt joins the Department of Philosophy in Arts & Sciences as Assistant Professor with an affiliation in the Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology Program. Professor Eberhardt received his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in 2007 and has since that time been a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences and the Department of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. His research is on causal reasoning, and he has published a number of articles on problems in statistics, probability, and the work of Hans Reichenbach. At Berkeley, his research has involved experiments investigating how humans learn causal relations.
Roy Sorensen joins the Department of Philosophy in Arts & Sciences as Professor and has interests in the philosophy of language, epistemology, and metaphysics, on which he has published a large number of articles. He is the author of six books, for which he is well-known: Blindspots (Oxford 1988), Thought Experiments (Oxford 1992), Pseudo-Problems (Routledge, 1993), Vagueness and Contradiction (Oxford 2001), A Brief History of Paradox (Oxford 2003), and Seeing Dark Things (Oxford 2007). He is also on the editorial board of The American Philosophical Quarterly. Dr. Sorensen was previously Professor of Philosophy at Dartmouth College and, prior to that, at New York University, where he served as Department Chair from 1991-94.
Alex Seidel joined the Department of Physics in Arts & Sciences as Assistant Professor in January 2008. He received his Ph.D. from MIT in 2003 and has held postdoctoral positions at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (2003-2006) and at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (2006-2007). Professor Seidel’s research interests focus on topological and general non-perturbative aspects of strongly correlated matter, in particular quasi-one-dimensional conductors, quantum magnets, and fractional quantum Hall systems. His recent development of a new framework to study and discuss fundamental properties of quantum Hall states has led to the first derivation of non-abelian statistics through adiabatic transport of quasi-particles using only the associated trial wavefunctions as an input, independent of the assumed effective field theories.
Francesc Ferrer joined the Department of Physics in Arts & Sciences as Assistant Professor. He received his Ph.D. from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in 2001 and has been a Marie Curie Fellow (2001-2003) and Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellow (2003-2004) at the Univeristy of Oxford. Most recently, he held a postdoctoral position at Case Western Reserve University (2005–2008). Dr. Ferrer’s interests focus at the interface of astroparticle physics and theoretical cosmology, studying the composition and evolution of the universe and the implications of cosmological findings on models of particle physics. Dr. Ferrer is a member of the Pierre Auger Observatory, where he is working on the mystery of the origin of ultra-high energy cosmic rays, the most energetic and rare of particles in the universe.
Margit Tavits joins the Department of Political Science in Arts & Sciences as Assistant Professor. Her main research areas include comparative European politics, electoral competition, party politics, and political institutions. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh and served as post-doctoral fellow at the University of Oxford. Professor Tavits' publications include Presidents with Prime Ministers (Oxford University Press, 2009), which considers whether and when presidents in parliamentary systems become influential. Her work has also appeared in various leading journals of political science. Her current research focuses on the development of party organizations and representational linkages in post-communist Europe.
Ryan T. Moore joins the Department of Political Science in Arts & Sciences as Assistant Professor. He earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Government and Social Policy in 2008 and his A.M. from Harvard in Statistics in 2006. His primary research interests center around American social policy and statistical political methodology. Substantively, he is interested in the intersection of direct democracy, federalism, and the politics of old age pensions and health care. Methodologically, he develops and implements methods for political experiments, ecological data, missing data, and causal inference.
Dawn Brancati joins the Department of Political Science as an Assistant Professor. Her research interests include intrastate conflict and comparative elections. Professor Brancati received her Ph.D. from Columbia University and completed post-doctoral fellowships at Princeton and Harvard University prior to coming to Washington University in St. Louis.
Robert F. Krueger joined the Department of Psychology in Arts & Sciences as Professor. Professor Krueger is a clinical and personality psychologist interested in understanding the origins of individual differences in personality and psychopathology. His research often employs behavior genetic designs and multivariate quantitative models. Major research goals involve developing comprehensive, empirically-based models of personality and psychopathology applicable in both clinical and research settings. A related research interest involves modeling the ways in which genetic and environmental forces intertwine in the development of human individual differences. Professor Krueger earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin.
Lori Markson joined the Department of Psychology in Arts & Sciences as Assistant Professor. Professor Markson earned her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona and studies cognitive development in infants and young children, with a focus on conceptual and social-cognitive development. She is interested in how children learn the meanings of words, pragmatics and theory of mind, and the development of social cognition in early childhood.
Romance Languages & Literatures
Claire Solomon joins the department of Romance Languages and Literatures in Arts & Sciences as Assistant Professor of Spanish. She received her Ph.D. in Latin American literature from Yale University and her A.B. in Spanish and Comparative Literature from Oberlin College. She previously held a lectureship at the University of Michigan. Her research interests include the relationship of literature and theory, early 20th century traveling Yiddish Theater companies, literary prostitutes of the Southern Cone, and close reading.