News Story

New College Faculty for 2020-2021

Georgetown College is pleased to welcome 24 new full-time faculty members with primary appointments in 16 College departments and programs. This cohort will help enrich the student experience through their varied and nuanced areas of study. 

“Our outstanding new faculty members span the disciplines of the arts and sciences, bringing with them excellence in research and teaching, a remarkable diversity of perspectives and great intellectual energy,”  says Christopher Celenza, dean of Georgetown College. “I am delighted to welcome them to Georgetown College.”

Contributing to a Community of Top-Notch Teachers 

The faculty will also continue their research projects at Georgetown that address a variety of topics that range from the examination of systems and network security to writing the first cultural history of Black Chicago’s mid-twentieth century apartments. Several of these new faculty members have interests that are interdisciplinary and require interdepartmental collaboration.  

Nicoletta Pireddu, inaugural director of the Georgetown Humanities Initiative, says that she is thrilled to work with incoming Department of English and Department of Medicine professor Lakshmi Krishnan, a historian of medicine and medical humanities scholar, on the intersection of medicine and the humanities.

“An enlightened, creative and generous colleague, with excellent credentials in medicine and literary studies, Professor Krishnan is instrumental to the vision of the Georgetown Humanities Initiative,” says Pireddu.  “Through her pioneering scholarship and pedagogy and her strong community engagement, Professor Krishnan will help students, faculty, and administrators inside and outside Georgetown to appreciate the crucial role of humanities tools in the medical profession–emphasis on critical reading and analytical skills and the ability to master complex narratives, different cultural productions and multiple interpretive methodologies.”

Krishnan says that she is honored to join the Georgetown faculty and stresses that now more than ever, this work is of critical importance “as we remake and reimagine our current and post-pandemic world.”

“Though we are living through a profoundly unsettling time, I have personally been energized by the global movements fighting systemic racism, health disparities, and socioeconomic injustice,” she says. “We know that pandemics unerringly expose social inequalities, and the intersection of this outbreak and our healthcare system has powerfully revealed all the areas ripe for intervention. The humanities and social sciences have already offered critical insights to the biomedical, and I hope and believe our initiative can contribute in profound ways. I look forward to how the Medical Humanities initiative can support, contribute, and innovate in creating a more equitable, just campus and world.”

She is eager to lead the Medical Humanities Initiative, work closely with colleagues at the Medical Center and College and Pireddu and the Humanities Initiative. 

These new professors are some of the leading experts in their fields. Dayo Gore, an incoming professor in the Department of African American Studies, has authored and edited several books on the intersections of Black women’s intellectual history, 20th-century US political and cultural activism, African American and African Diasporic politics and gender and sexuality studies. 

“Dayo Gore is a preeminent scholar of Black women’s and Black movement histories,” says Soyica Diggs Colbert, vice dean of faculty and Idol Family Professor of the College of Arts and Sciences. “She has conducted original archival research that transforms our understanding of the Civil Rights Movement. Her new book on Black women’s transnational travels and activism will evidence how Black women formed international movement networks in the mid- and late-twentieth century, which serve as a precursor to contemporary organizations that struggle for justice.”

Many of these professors are eager to conduct their research on campus with the help of undergraduate and graduate students’ participation. 

21st Century Postdoctoral Fellows Program Launches

The College is excited to continue its postdoctoral fellowship that brings exceptional early-career scholars from historically underrepresented groups in their fields to teach and pursue research in their area of interest.

This year, Louise Djapgne will serve as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemistry under Timothy Warren

Tenure-Line Faculty

Rodrigo Adem is an assistant professor in Arabic and Islamic Studies (AIS). As an intellectual historian of the premodern Middle East, his research encompasses early Islamic thought and is dedicated to an intimate engagement with the textual sources of “classical Islam.” He is working on a book that will analyze the intellectual and social history processes underlying the broader development of Islamic thought from the 8th to the 13th century. As a social historian, Rodrigo also is interested in the urban development of medieval Syrian cities (Damascus in particular) to understand their distinctive features as archives of literary and material culture, sites for the formation of regional, ethnic, and religious identities, and centers for standardization of knowledge production and dissemination of norms and tastes. He received his MA and Ph.D. from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at The University of Chicago.

Mike Amezcua is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History. He teaches, researches, and writes about the Latinx past in the United States and the Americas. Mike is currently at work on a book about Mexican immigrants, Mexican Americans, and the politics and struggles over white flight neighborhoods in postwar Chicago (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming 2021, as part of the series, Historical Studies of Urban America). His writing has appeared in the Journal of American History, the Journal of Social History, The Sixties, as well other scholarly and public venues. Through his spatial humanities lab initiative, Raza Landscapes (, Mike is working on several archival recovery projects with under-archived communities to document and preserve Latinx metropolitan histories through community-based archiving, oral history, and platform-building for the production and dissemination of historical knowledge. He received his Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University.

Chantal Berman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Government. Her research interests include social movements and mobilization; the political economy of development; democratization; repression and political violence; Middle East politics; survey methods; and qualitative and field methods. Chantel is working on a book entitled Protest, Social Policy, and Political Regimes in the Middle East. Her work has been published in Mediterranean Politics, Middle East Law and Governance, and Refuge. She received her Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University.

Esther Braselmann is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry. The overarching theme of her research involves the adaptation of cross-disciplinary approaches for insights into biochemical processes in live cells. Her doctoral work focused on understanding how proteins fold in the complex cellular environment, using a bacterial virulence protein as a model. In her postdoctoral work at the University of Colorado, Boulder she spearheaded the development of a new platform called Riboglow. This platform uses fluorescence microscopy to illuminate cellular processes on the single-cell and single-molecule levels for insights into the underlying biology. This is particularly useful for understanding intracellular bacterial infections, such as infections with the foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. Esther is from Germany originally. Her Ph.D. in Biochemistry is from the University of Notre Dame. 

Annalisa Butticci is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. Her research interests include the anthropology and sociology of religion, historical anthropology, World Christianities, African religions, and African diasporas. Her book African Pentecostals in Catholic Europe: The Politics of Presence in the Twenty-First Century (Harvard University Press, 2016) received an honorable mention by the 2017 Clifford Geertz Prize committee for its contribution to the anthropological study of religion. Annalisa has published in academic journals and edited volumes edited a photographic catalog “Na God. Aesthetics of African Charismatic Power,” curated several photographic and multimedia exhibitions, and co-directed the film/documentary “Enlarging the Kingdom. African Pentecostals in Italy.”  She previously was a senior research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. Annalisa received her Ph.D. from the Catholic University of Milan, Italy.

Irina Denischenko is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Her work focuses on 20th-century literature, art, critical theory, and women’s history in Central and Eastern Europe, especially Russia, Czechia, and Hungary.  Irina has published articles on Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of cognition and Czech avant-garde photopoetry, as well as a number of book reviews and translations. She is currently completing her book manuscript on Vladimir Mayakovsky and the politics of aesthetic form, which examines the lyric’s capacity for democratic representation alongside theories of the novel and feminist-posthumanist thought. Irina also is currently co-editing a collection of critical articles on Dada in Central and Eastern Europe and a volume of new Bakhtin translations. She holds a Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Alexander Golovnev is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science. His research interests lie broadly in computational complexity, algorithms, learning theory, cryptography, and pseudorandomness, with a focus on proving lower bounds for various computational models. Alexander received his Ph.D. from New York University. He then was a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University and a Research Scientist at Yahoo Research, and a Rabin postdoc at Harvard University. Alexander also was one of the creators of Coursera’s five-course specialization on discrete math. 

Dayo Gore is an Associate Professor in the Department of African American Studies. Her research interests include Black Women’s Intellectual History; U.S. Political and Cultural Activism; African Diasporic Politics; and Women, Gender and Sexuality studies. She wrote Radicalism at the Crossroads: African American Women Activists in the Cold War (2011), and co-edited Want to Start A Revolution: Radical Women in the Black Freedom Struggle (2009). Dayo’s current focus is African American women’s transnational travels and activism in the long Twentieth Century (Princeton University Press, forthcoming book). She previously served as the Chair of the Ethnic Studies Department and Founding Director of the Black Studies Project, a research center, and was a core faculty member in the Critical Gender Studies Program, at the University of California-San Diego. Dayo received her Ph.D. in History from New York University.

Bradley A. Gorski is an assistant professor in the Department of Slavic Languages. His research focuses on post-Soviet Russia, specifically, the effects of capitalist markets and international circulation on contemporary Russian literature and culture. He is currently finishing a manuscript tentatively titled Cultural Capitalism: Literature and Success after Socialism. Bradley’s previous publications, including invited articles for Russian Literature and two volumes of edited or co-edited work, have touched on topics such as late-Soviet subcultures, Russian neo-medievalism, and Vladimir Sharov’s poetics of truth. His Ph.D. in Russian Literature is from Columbia University.

John Greco holds Robert L. McDevitt, K.S.G., K.C.H.S., and Catherine H. McDevitt L.C.H.S Chair in Philosophy at Georgetown University. His publications include The Transmission of Knowledge (CUP 2020); Achieving Knowledge: A Virtue-theoretic Account of Epistemic Normativity (CUP 2010) and Putting Skeptics in Their Place: The Nature of Skeptical Arguments and Their Role in Philosophical Inquiry (CUP 2000). He is the editor of the American Philosophical Quarterly from 2013 through 2020.

Justin Haynes is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Classics. His research interests include Latin literature of all periods, ancient & medieval literary criticism, and Latin textual criticism & paleography. His primary interest is the history of medieval Latin poetry and its relationship to the classical Latin poetry from which it drew inspiration. Justin’s Ph.D. dissertation analyzed the differences (and similarities) between ancient, medieval, and modern interpretations of the Aeneid by showing how twelfth-century Latin epicists read Virgil through the lens of ancient and medieval commentary. He recently completed a monograph entitled The Medieval Classic: Twelfth-Century Epic and the Virgilian Commentary Tradition (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). His current book projects include a monograph on the influence of a twelfth-century Latin epic on Petrarch’s Africa and several collaborative translation and editing projects.  Justin received his Ph.D. from the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto.

Philip J. Ivanhoe is a Professor, the Chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC), and an Affiliate Faculty member in the Department of Theology. He specializes in the history of East Asian philosophy and religion and its potential for contemporary ethics, with particular attention to Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism. The most recent of his seven books is Three Streams: Confucian Reflections on Learning and the Moral Heart-Mind in China, Korea, and Japan (Oxford, 2016). Philip has contributed to and co-edited a collection of essays exploring the ongoing dialogue between Confucianism and Catholicism. He serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Confucian Philosophy and Culture. Prior to joining the Georgetown Faculty Philip was a Visiting Distinguished Chair Professor of Philosophy in the College of Confucian Studies and Eastern Philosophy at Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea.  He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in Religious Studies.

Louise Laage is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics. Her research interest is Econometrics (i.e., statistics for economics). She completed a one-year postdoctoral research position at the Toulouse School of Economics in France before coming to Georgetown. Her Ph.D. in Economics was earned at Yale University.

Lakshmi Krishnan MD, Ph.D. is a historian of medicine, medical humanities scholar, and physician. A first-generation immigrant born in Bombay, India, she also grew up in the United Kingdom before settling in the States. She joined the Georgetown Medicine Faculty in 2020 and is jointly affiliated with the Department of English as well as the Georgetown Humanities Initiative. Her research focuses on diagnosis and clinical reasoning. 

More broadly, she is engaged with the relationship between medicine and the humanities writ large. Her areas of interest include health equity and the history of health disparities, the intellectual history of medicine, 19th-century and early 20th-century literature and medicine, and cultural responses to illness. This interdisciplinary work seeks to recenter the experiences of marginalized communities, broaden the narrative canon, and promote health equity. Dr. Krishnan earned her MD from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and her DPhil (PhD.) in English Literature from the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She completed her Internal Medicine residency at Duke, where she was a Faculty Affiliate at the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities, & History of Medicine, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in General Internal Medicine and History of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 

Mireya Loza is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of History. Her areas of research include Latinx History, Public History, Labor History, and Food Studies. Her book, Defiant Braceros: How Migrant Workers Fought for Racial, Sexual and Political Freedom (UNC Press), examines the Bracero Program and how guest workers negotiated the intricacies of indigeneity, intimacy, and transnational organizing. This book won the 2017 Theodore Saloutos Book Prize from the Immigration and Ethnic History Society and the Smithsonian Secretary’s Research Prize. She is currently researching her second book tentatively titled The Strangeness and Bitterness of Plenty: Making Food and Seeing Race in the Agricultural West,1942-1965. Mireya previously taught Food Studies at New York University and was a curator at the National Museum of American History. She earned her Ph.D. in American Studies and a M.A. in Public Humanities at Brown University.

Amani Morrison is an Assistant Professor of African American Literature & Culture in the Department of English. Her areas of expertise include 20th-century African American literature, race and space studies, performance studies, cultural studies, and the urban and digital humanities. Amani’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Meridians, African American Review, and The Common Reader.  She is writing the first cultural history of black Chicago’s mid-twentieth-century kitchenette apartments.  Amani was a 2019-20 CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in African American Data Curation at the University of Delaware with the award-winning Colored Conventions Project and a 2018-19 Postdoctoral Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis in African and African American Studies. She received her Ph.D. in African American and African Diaspora Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. 

Sara Omar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Arabic & Islamic Studies. Her research and teaching interests include Islamic intellectual history, the Qur’ān and its exegesis, Islamic Law, gender and sexuality, religious authority, and religion and violence. Sara’s work traces the legal and social genealogies governing words, concepts, and the practices that they encode. She explores the logic, contexts, and hierarchies that have shaped discourses of normativity over the first eight centuries of Islamic history, particularly as they relate to gendered patterns of power. Sara is working on a book on the genealogy of same-sex sexual practices in the formation of Muslim discourses as a means of understanding the legal, ethical, and social genealogies that have authorized various practices and beliefs as authentically Islamic, while also disqualifying and silencing others. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in Near East Studies.

Margit Reischer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics. Her research focuses on macroeconomics, production networks, and applied macroeconometrics. She was a postdoctoral research scholar in the Economics Division at Columbia Business School, Columbia University. Margit received her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Cambridge in 2019. She also holds a Masters’ Degree in Economics from the Vienna University of Economics.

Joel Reynolds is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy with a specialty in Disability Studies, and a Senior Research Scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics. His work explores the relationship between bodies, values, and society. He is especially concerned with the meaning of disability, the issue of ableism, and how philosophical inquiry into each might improve the lives of people with disabilities and the justness of institutions ranging from medicine to politics. Joel is the founder of The Journal of Philosophy of Disability. Currently, he is the co-director of a 2-year NEH Public Humanities grant project, The Art of Flourishing: Conversations on Disability and Technology. He has published over two dozen peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and authored The Life Worth Living: Disability, Pain, and the History of Morality (The University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming). Joel received his Ph.D. from Emory University in 2017. From 2017-2020, he was the inaugural Rice Family Fellow in Bioethics and the Humanities at The Hastings Center. He currently is working on two book manuscripts, The Meaning of Disability and Philosophy of Disability: An Introduction.

Benjamin Ujcich is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science. He conducts research on topics in systems and networking security, network accountability, and legal and regulatory influence on systems and networking design. His most recent research focus has been in the area of securing software-defined networks and network operating systems using data provenance and program analysis techniques. Benjamin received his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  

Gen Yin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics. His research interests are theoretical solid-state physics, focusing on both the fundamental understanding and the device applications of topological quantum materials. He served as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, and in 2019 became an Assistant Project Scientist in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UCLA. Gen received his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of California, Riverside. His B.S. and M.S. degrees in physics are from Fudan University, Shanghai, PRC.

Full-Time Non-Tenure Line Faculty

Dail Chapman is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Biology. She studies the biophysics of molecular motor, the proteins within our cells that move cargo from one part of a cell to another. Dail studied neurons in an animal model, C. elegans. This research is very clinically relevant since many human neurodegenerative diseases result from defects in the neuronal structure, and could lead to the development of successful therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. Dail also is passionate about teaching and engaged learning. She has received two teaching excellence awards at the University of California, Irvine, where she completed her Ph.D.

Shauna Bennett is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Biology. Her research career has focused on the molecular entry mechanisms of DNA virus infections. She is interested in the ways that people of all stages of life think about and learn science. Shauna previously worked as a community college professor and science writer. Her Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology is from the University of Michigan. 

Joseph Hartman teaches constitutional law, American government, and political theory in the Department of Government, where he also serves as the Co-Director of Undergraduate Studies. Prior to his time in the academy, he spent more than a decade as a litigation attorney in private practice with a large law firm in Washington, D.C. He earned his Ph.D. in Government from Georgetown University and also holds a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.

Jay Hammond is an Assistant Professor of Practice in Recording Arts in the Department of Performing Arts. He is a musician, audio producer, and cultural anthropologist. His publications have appeared on Bloomsbury Academic, and his recording credits include New Amsterdam Records, Galtta Media, and Sleepy Cat Records. Jay holds a Ph.D. from Duke University where he conducted ethnographic research on the gentrification of New Orleans and New York in relation to the work of jazz musicians. He also holds an M.A. from Columbia University in Anthropology, and a B.M. from Berklee College of Music, where he studied audio engineering, guitar, and jazz composition.

Angela van Doorn is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Biology and the Georgetown Environmental Initiative. She specializes in wildlife conservation, specifically human/primate conflict. Angela lived and worked in East, South, and West Africa for a period of 12 years and regularly incorporates this experience into her teaching. She joins Georgetown from American University where she has spent the past 5 years teaching environmental science and conservation. Angela has a Ph.D. in Zoology and a MS in Environmental Science from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

21st Century Postdoctoral Fellows

Louise Djapgne earned her Bachelor of Arts in Law from the University of Douala and her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Maryland, where she also received a Ph.D. in Pharmacy. Djapgne will now work under Timothy Warren in the chemistry department at Georgetown. 

-by Shelby Roller (G’19)

African American Studies
Arabic and Islamic Studies
Computer Science
East Asian Languages and Cultures
Georgetown Humanities Initiative
Humanities Initiative
Performing Arts