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Distributed November 10, 2004
Contact Mark Nickel

Eighteen Brown Faculty Members Appointed to Named Professorships

Brown celebrates the appointment of 18 faculty to named chairs and welcomes 16 senior scholars to the faculty ranks. Faculty honored with named chairs include David M. Berson, Barrymore A. Bogues, Sheila Bonde, Stuart Burrows, Alfred E. Buxton, Thalia Field, Karen Fischer, Aaron Friedman, Timothy Harris, Jennifer Hughes, Rachel Morello-Frosch, Rene Nuenlist, Daniel J. Smith, David Sobel, Richard Stratt, Hui Wang, John Edgar Wideman, and George Yap.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Brown University today celebrated the appointment of 18 faculty members to named and endowed chairs and honored 16 senior scholars who joined the Brown faculty at the beginning of the current academic year.

The recognition dinner, hosted by Rajiv Vohra, dean of the faculty at Brown, was held at the University’s Faculty Club. Honored guests included nine junior faculty who have been newly appointed to endowed assistant professorships; nine faculty who have been appointed to endowed or named professorships; and 16 senior faculty members who are beginning their first full year of service.

Faculty newly named to professorships include:


David M. Berson

Sidney A. Fox and Dorothea Doctors Fox Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Professor of Neuroscience

Established in 1982 by the estate of Sidney A. Fox, a 1919 graduate and honorary degree recipient (D.M.S., 1975) and Dorothea Doctors Fox to support a professor in ophthalmology and visual science.

David Berson received his A.B. in psychology from Brown University in 1975 and his Ph.D. in neuroanatomy from MIT in 1980. His study of the retina and ganglion cells found that the visual system of the brain is highly parallel in its architecture. His work reveals that there are more than a dozen distinct types of ganglion cells in any mammalian retina. He and his students are working to understand the meaning of this parallel organization through in vitro electrophysiological and anatomical studies. His work has been funded by the National Eye Institute of the NIH and the NSF. Publications from his work have established him as one of the leading figures in structural/functional taxonomy of retinal ganglion cells.


Barrymore A. Bogues

Royce Family Professor in Teaching Excellence
Professor of Africana Studies

The Royce Family Professorships were established in March 2004 by a gift from Brown alumnus and trustee Charles M. Royce. The professorships are intended to recognize, reward and encourage innovation and excellence in teaching among the Brown University faculty.

Anthony Bogues is the current chair of the Africana Studies Department. His major research and writing interests are intellectual and cultural history, radical political thought and critical theory as well as Caribbean and African politics. He is the author of Caliban’s Freedom: The Early Political Thought of C.L.R. James (1997); Black Heretics and Black Prophets: Radical Political Intellectuals (2003) and the forthcoming Empire of Liberty: Power, Imperial Freedom and Desire. He is also the editor of two volumes on Caribbean intellectual history and has published numerous essays and articles on the history of criticism and critical theory, political thought, political philosophy and intellectual and cultural history. Bogues is an associate director of the Center for Caribbean Thought, University of the West Indies, Mona; an associate editor of the journal Small Axe and an advisory editor for the journal boundary 2. He teaches courses on Africana political philosophy, cultural politics and intellectual history.


Sheila Bonde

Royce Family Professor in Teaching Excellence
Professor of the History of Art and Architecture

The Royce Family Professorships were established in March 2004 by a gift from Brown alumnus and trustee Charles M. Royce. The professorships are intended to recognize, reward and encourage innovation and excellence in teaching among the Brown University faculty.

Sheila Bonde received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1982. In 2002 she was awarded a Harriet W. Sheridan Award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching and Learning in recognition of her mentoring of junior faculty colleagues and graduate students to be good teachers as well as good scholars. Her embrace and dissemination of digital research and teaching tools has benefited an international community of colleagues and students, specifically with the instructional Web site she helped develop for her archaeological investigations at S. Jean des Vignes in Soisson, France. This excavation is the longest-running continuous project of its kind in that country. Bonde has received support from the French and U.S. government agencies. Recently, she was awarded National Endowment for the Humanities funding for her ongoing work on this project.

Stuart Burrows

Robert Gale Noyes Assistant Professor in the Humanities
Assistant Professor of English

Established by Harry C. Kirkpatrick, a 1942 Brown graduate, the Noyes chair provides support for a distinguished assistant professor in the humanities. The chair honors the memory of Robert Gale Noyes, a faculty member in the Department of English from 1938 to 1961.

Stuart Burrows received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2001, and joined the Department of English at Brown University that year. In 2000, Burrows published an article in The Henry James Review titled “The Golden Fruit: Innocence and Imperialism in The Gold Bowl” for which that publication awarded him its Leon Edel Essay Prize. Since then Burrows has published another article in The Henry James Review, and his article about the Zora Neale Thurston novel, titled “You heard her, you ain’t blind’: Seeing What’s Said in Their Eyes Were Watching God,” appeared in NOVEL in 2001. He is currently working on a book titled Developing Modernism: Photography and American Fiction. Burrows teaches courses on nineteenth and twentieth century fiction. He was the recipient of the English Department’s Bronson Fellowship in 2002.


Alfred E. Buxton

Ruth and Paul Levinger Professor of Cardiology
Professor of Medicine

Established in 1995 by the estate of Ruth and Paul Levinger, a Brown trustee and honorary degree recipient (LL.D. 1969), the Levinger chair supports a professor at Brown Medical School and Miriam Hospital in cardiology.

Alfred Buxton, professor of medicine at Brown Medical School and Director of Arrhythmia Services and the Electrophysiology Laboratory at Rhode Island Hospital, is a nationally and internationally recognized academic cardiologist. He received an A.B. in biology from the University of Rochester and an M.D. awarded by the University of Pennsylvania. He completed residency in internal medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to his Brown University appointment in 1999, Buxton held academic appointments at the University of Pennsylvania, Emory University, and Temple University, and hospital appointments at teaching institutions associated with those academic facilities. Additionally, Buxton served in the U.S. military for the Bureau of Epidemiology, Centers for Disease Control. He has authored or co-authored more than 300 publications. He was principle investigator of the NIH-funded MUSTT Study and conducts ongoing research investigating new applications for implantable defibrillators and pacemakers in the treatment of heart failure, prevention of sudden cardiac death and ventricular tachycardia.

Thalia Field

Joukowsky Family Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor of English

The Joukowsky Family Professorship was established in March 1995 through a gift from Martha Sharp Joukowsky, professor emerita of Old World archaeology and art, and Artemis A. W. Joukowsky, chancellor emeritus, to support an assistant professor in any discipline.

Thalia Field received her A.B. magna cum laude from Brown University, and her M.F.A. from Brown in 1995 in English, after studying at the National Theater Institute, Reed College and the Lycée Dessaignes, Blois, France. Before joining the faculty at Brown, she taught at Bard College, Naropa University and the Perserverance Writing and Performance Project in Juneau, Alaska. In 2000 she published Point and Line with New Directions Publishing Corp., and now has two works in press, Incarnate: Story Material and ULULU (Shrapnel Scenes). Her multimedia performances incorporating visual imagery and dance, plays, poetry and essays are brilliantly innovative and she has received national recognition in the literary arts community. Field is working with language in new ways, creating new meanings and exploring the process of fictional creation. Her contributions as a writer of performance art have seen increasing success, with productions in New York, Boston and Philadelphia. She serves on the editorial board of Chain, a literary journal and Play: A Journal of Plays, and has been invited by the Pratt Institute to be a guest speaker at its seminar on performance studies.


Karen Fischer

Royce Family Professor in Teaching Excellence
Professor of Geological Sciences

The Royce Family Professorships were established in March 2004 by a gift from Brown alumnus and trustee Charles M. Royce. The professorships are intended to recognize, reward and encourage innovation and excellence in teaching among the Brown University faculty.

Karen Fischer received her Ph.D. in geophysics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1989. She joined the Brown faculty in 1990 and has become recognized as an effective and caring teacher of students at all levels, from introductory freshman seminars to advanced graduate courses. She has been a strong supporter of the Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) program at Brown. Fischer maintains a respected research program in seismology and the study of the structure and dynamics of the earth’s lithosphere and mantle, and has received significant funding from the National Science Foundation. Her work has been published in Science, Nature, and the top geophysical journals.


Aaron Friedman

Sylvia Kay Hassenfeld Professor of Pediatrics

The Hassenfeld chair was established in 1999 by Alan Kay Hassenfeld, Brown trustee emeritus and board chairman of Hasbro Inc., to honor his mother, Sylvia Kay Hassenfeld.

Aaron Friedman has been appointed pediatrician-in-chief of Hasbro Children’s Hospital, the pediatric division of Rhode Island Hospital, and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Brown Medical School. He received a B.S. from Cornell University and his M.D. from SUNY Upstate Medical University, in Syracuse, N.Y. He completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison as well as a fellowship in nephrology. Friedman, formerly chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin and medical director for the University of Wisconsin Children’s Hospital, is a board certified pediatric nephrologist. He has earned a number of honors and teaching awards from Duke University and the University of Wisconsin where he served on the faculty.

Timothy Harris

The Munro-Goodwin-Wilkinson Professor in European History
Professor of History

The Munro-Goodwin-Wilkinson chair was established by a bequest from Wilfred H. Munro, a Brown professor and member of the class of 1870, to support a professor in European history.

Timothy Harris took his Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 1985 and joined the Brown History Department the following year. During his career, Harris has produced a body of scholarship that has made him an internationally recognized scholar working on the history of England in the late seventeenth century and early eighteenth century. His London Crowds in the Reign of Charles II: Politics and Propaganda from the Restoration to the Exclusion Crisis appeared from Cambridge University Press in 1987, and his second major monograph, Politics under the Later Stuarts: Party Conflict in a Divided Society 1660-1715, was published by Longman, a prominent non-university press, in 1993. More recently, he has broadened his interests to include research on Scotland and Ireland, while retaining his focus on the Restoration and revolutionary movements.


Jennifer Hughes

Manning Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor of Biology

This Manning Assistant Professorship is one of three established by Martha Sharp Joukowsky, professor emerita of Old World archaeology and art, and Artemis A. W. Joukowsky, chancellor emeritus, in honor of James Manning, Brown’s first president. It may be awarded to an assistant professor in any discipline.

Jennifer Hughes came to Brown in 2000 as an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology after completing her postdoctoral research at Stanford University under Brendan Bohannan. Her prior educational experience includes a B.Sc. (ecology, behavior, and evolution with a minor in chemistry) degree from the University of California–San Diego (1995) and her Ph.D. (biological sciences) from Stanford University (1999). Since coming to Brown, Hughes has been granted a Solomon Faculty Research Award, an Ittleson Faculty Fellow award, a Woodrow Wilson Faculty Development Fellowship Foundation and an NSF Biological Oceanography Grant. Most recently, she was awarded a very prestigious NSF Young Investigator Award given to the most promising young faculty members in the country. Since her arrival at Brown, Hughes has also published eight papers and has given numerous invited talks at universities across the country. Hughes is on her way to becoming one of the leading conservation biologists in America.


Rachel Morello-Frosch

Robert and Nancy Carney Assistant Professor of Community Health and Environmental Studies
Assistant Professor of Community Health and Environmental Studies

The Carney Assistant Professorship was established by Nancy and Robert J. Carney, Class of 1961, to support an assistant professor in the humanities and social sciences.

Rachel Morello-Frosch established a diverse educational background at the University of California–Berkeley. She earned her B.A. in developmental studies, graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1988. She went on to receive her M.P.H. in epidemiology/biostatistics from the School of Public Health there in 1993, and her Ph.D. in environmental health sciences in 1998. She completed an NSF post-doctoral fellowship and a U.C. President’s postdoctoral fellowship, and taught at San Francisco State’s College of Health and Human Services before joining the faculty at Brown. Morello-Frosch has published a group of articles in refereed journals on environmental justice, pollution and public health. Her funding sources include NSF and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and she was the recipient of an EPA Science and Technology Achievement Award. A popular lecturer, Morello-Frosch teaches a course in environmental health and policy as well as a course in environmental studies titled, “The Science and Political Economy of Environmental Health and Social Justice.” She assists in the Master of Public Health Program.

Rene Nuenlist

William A. Dyer, Jr. Assistant Professor of the Humanities
Assistant Professor of Classics

The Dyer Assistant Professorship was established by William A. Dyer Jr., a 1924 graduate and honorary degree recipient (LL.D. 1984), for the support of an exemplary assistant professor in the humanities, with preference toward the fields of archaeology, Egyptology, and ancient studies.

Rene Nuenlist received his M.A. in classics and German studies and a Ph.D. in classics from the University of Basel, Switzerland, in 1996. He is a versatile scholar whose specialties include Homeric studies, literary theory (including narratology and the history of irony), papyrology, and the “scholia,” those ancient literary commentaries that were the beginnings of professional humanistic studies. Nuenlist has published a well-received book on ancient literary imagery and co-authored a comprehensive German-language commentary on the first book of the Iliad, along with a number of articles about literary papyrus fragments and philological studies. He has received funding for research from the Humboldt Foundation, Oxford University and the Swiss National Foundation. He teaches courses in a wide variety of specialized subjects in classics, and has designed and taught several classes based on his own interests. Fluent in German, Dutch and English, he has been invited to present at conferences in Greece and Italy while on his junior sabbatical leave this spring in Cologne, and to lecture in his native Switzerland.


Daniel J. Smith

Stanley J. Bernstein Assistant Professor in the Social Sciences
Assistant Professor of Anthropology

The Bernstein Assistant Professorship was established by Stanley J. Bernstein, a 1965 graduate, to support a political scientist, economist, historian, sociologist or other social scientist whose teaching and research focuses on some aspect of international affairs.

Daniel Smith received his B.A. from Harvard University, an M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins, and a Ph.D. in 1999 in anthropology from Emory University, where he was part of the nationally acclaimed doctoral program in medical anthropology. He joined the faculty at Brown in anthropology following two years as a Mellon Foundation postdoctoral fellow at the Population Studies Training Center. He has done intensive research on the Igbo, but he has quickly widened his area of research within Nigeria to include his interdisciplinary training and interest in anthropology, population and health. He is focusing on the social and cultural contexts of HIV risk, but he has also published prominently on the role of violence and corruption in Nigerian society, publishing in top peer-reviewed journals. He has received funding from NIH and NSF for studies of HIV and rural-urban migration as well as migration, kinship and reproduction.


David Sobel

Stephen Robert Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences

Established by Brown Chancellor Stephen Robert, a 1962 graduate, the Robert Assistant Professorship supports an assistant professor and a graduate fellow in a department of the University’s choice.

David Sobel received his B.A. in psychology and computer science from Swarthmore College, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California–Berkeley in 1997 and 2001 respectively. Sobel interweaves two strands of research on topics of great currency in the field: causal reason in children and the development of a “theory of mind” (the ability to understand and reason about the mental states of others). His work has resulted in an important set of findings, unifying apparently disparate fields of study and offering a coherent account of children’s understanding across physical and psychology domains. His work, funded by NIMH, is published in the top developmental journal, Child Development, and other highly respected publications such as Cognitive Science and Developmental Psychology. He teaches courses in cognitive science and cognitive development.


Richard Stratt

The Newport Rogers Professor in Chemistry
Professor of Chemistry

The Newport Rogers chair, established by bequest of William Sanford Rogers of Newport, R.I., supports a professor in chemistry.

Richard Stratt earned his Sc.B. in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1975 and his Ph.D. from the University of California–Berkeley in 1979. He came to Brown in 1981, served as chair of the Department of Chemistry from 1996 to 1999, and was made the Kravis University Professor at Brown for 1999-2000. An expert in liquid dynamics and their modeling, Stratt has received numerous honors: a Fulbright Scholar for 1991-02, a fellow of the American Physical Society in 1997, and chair of the Division of Physical Chemistry of the American Chemical Society for 2001-02. Stratt’s work has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and by an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Grant. He teaches a variety of courses in the Department of Chemistry, including a course in the quantum theory of chemical systems and one in statistical mechanics.


Hui Wang

Manning Assistant Professor of Applied Mathematics
Assistant Professor of Applied Mathematics

This Manning Assistant Professorship is one of three established by Martha Sharp Joukowsky, professor emerita of Old World archaeology and art, and Artemis A. W. Joukowsky, chancellor emeritus, in honor of James Manning, Brown’s first president. It may be awarded to an assistant professor in any discipline.

Hui Wang received his M.S. and B.E. degrees from Tsinghua University in Beijing, and his Ph.D. from the Department of Statistics at Columbia University in 2000. He works in the area of applied stochastic processes, with special emphasis on problems of optimization and optimal control. This area combines deep and intricate mathematical constructions with fundamental applications. In his first year at Brown, Wang received funding from the Division of Mathematical Sciences at NSF. He has just completed a junior sabbatic leave at the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications, and was invited to participate in the Program on Probability and Statistics in Complex Systems there. Wang has already given a number of invited lectures and published numerous articles in his field.


John Edgar Wideman

Asa Messer Professor
Professor of Africana Studies and English

The Corporation of Brown University established the Messer chair to honor Asa Messer, third president of Brown University (1802–1826), by supporting a distinguished senior faculty member in any discipline.

Wideman is a former Rhodes Scholar and Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He is the author of 20 novels, more than 50 short stories and numerous essays on literary theory and criticism. He is a two-time winner of the Pen-Faulkner Award (the only person to have won the award twice) for his books Philadelphia Fire (1990) and Sent for You Yesterday (1983); the American Book Award for Fiction; the Rea Award for Short Stories; and the MacArthur Award. He was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle award for Brothers and Keepers (1984). Wideman will be teaching courses in the Africana studies curriculum as well as in the Program in Creative Writing.


George Yap

Manning Assistant Professor
Assistant Professor of Medical Science

This Manning Assistant Professorship is one of three established by the estate of Richard Salomon, a 1932 graduate and former chancellor (1979 to 1988), in honor of James Manning, Brown’s first president. It may be awarded to an assistant professor in any discipline.

George Yap received his B.S. in biology cum laude (1987) and his M.S. in microbiology (1989) from The University of the Philippines. He received his Ph.D. in experimental medicine in 1994 from McGill University in Montreal, and did postdoctoral work at the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, where he subsequently held a research fellow appointment. Yap’s work involves defining the cellular and molecular pathways required for a successful immune response against intracellular pathogens. He joined the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology in September 2000. Yap is an author on more than 25 refereed journal publications. He is the course director for “Principles of Immunology” (BIO53), a major course in the department’s undergraduate curriculum.


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