Faculty Achievements in Academic Year 2023-24

Editorial StaffMay 2, 202415min
1200x660 faculty

By Rose Chen ’26

Fellowships, Research, and Grants

Associate Professor of Government Basak Kus was awarded a Fall 2024 fellowship at New York University’s Remarque Institute.

Assistant Professor of the Practice in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies Nataliya (Natasha) Karageorgos received an Allbritton Center Research Networks grant for a project about the ongoing cultural and existential erasure of Ukraine’s Mariupol Greek population, which, prior to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the resulting war, constituted the third-largest ethnic group (after Ukrainians and Russians) in the bitterly contested Donetsk region.

Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economics Abigail Hornstein was a visiting researcher in August 2023 at the Bank of Finland Institute for Emerging Economies.

Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Rich Olson received a National Institutes of Health grant for his structural and functional studies of glycosyl hydrolases governing Vibrio biofilm dispersal.


Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies and Assistant Professor, Government Joan E. Cho recently published her first book, Seeds of Mobilization: The Authoritarian Roots of South Korea’s Democracy, through University of Michigan Press. Dr. Cho explores South Korea’s complex transition to democracy through her extensive research in authoritarianism, democratization, and social movements in Korea and East Asia.

Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music Sumarsam will be publishing his major book, The In-Between in Javanese Performing Arts: History and Myth, Interculturalism and Interreligiosity, with Wesleyan University Press. This book will be the first comprehensive overview of Javanese performing arts from their origins and their dynamic present, and reveals their impact on Javanese culture, identity, and artistic expression. Sumarsam was also invited to be a reviewer and keynote speaker at the Kasultanan court event to commemorate the birth of the Sultan of Yogyakarta.

Assistant Professor of Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies Roman Utkin published his book Charlottengrad: Russian Culture in Weimar Berlin through The University of Wisconsin Press. Utkin examines the Russian émigré and exile community in Berlin in the aftermath of the 1917 revolution, and considers some of the world’s first “stateless” peoples. He has given talks on the book at the Amherst Center for Russian Culture at Amherst College, The Max Kade German House and Cultural Center at the University of Kentucky, Babel Books Berlin, CUNY Hunter College, and the Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia at New York University.

Utkin also received an Allbritton Center Research Networks grant for a project with Assistant Professor of English and Assistant Professor, African American Studies Marina Bilbija, “Beyond Analogy: Comparative Approaches to Race and Difference in the Second World.”

The Russian translation of Marcus L. Taft Professor of Modern Languages and Professor of Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies Susanne Fusso’s book, Editing Turgenev, Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy: Mikhail Katkov and the Great Russian Novel, was published by Academic Studies Press in fall 2023. She is now working on a translation of Dostoevsky’s 1875 novel The Adolescent for Columbia University Press.

Associate Professor of Dance Marcela Oteíza is publishing “Rage at Plaza Dignidad: Performance Design and Activism, Santiago, Chile” for the forthcoming 2024  Women’s Innovations in Theatre, Dance, and Performance Volume 3: Designers & Crafters, co-edited by Greer Crawley and Carolina E. Santo. Also in 2024, Oteiza is also publishing a book review for Sites of Transformation by Louise Ann Wilson.

Assistant Professor of Theater Katie Brewer Ball recently published The Only Way Out, an exploration of the American fascination with the escape story, through Duke University Press. Ball describes the escape as a key site for exploring American conceptions of freedom and constraint.

Hedding Professor of Moral Science Joseph T. Rouse published Social Practices as Biological Niche Construction through the University of Chicago Press, which was the culmination of a three-year research grant from the Natural Sciences Division of the John Templeton Foundation.

Associate Professor of Economics Anthony Keats received the Excellence in Reviewing 2023 award for The Journal of Human Resources. Keats was also a co-editor for VoxDevLit on Female Labor Force Participation, and presented his paper “Maternal Care and Child Mortality: Evidence from Three Policy Reforms in Ghana” at the Centre for the Study of African Economics conference in Oxford, UK.

Associate Professor of Economics David Kuenzel published a paper titled “Non-tariff Measures vs. Tariffs: A Fresh Look at the Evidence” in Economics Letters.

Assistant Professor of Economics Francois Seyler won the Best PhD Thesis awarded in 2023 by the Faculty of Social Sciences at Université Laval for his dissertation titled “The political economy of labor coercion,” which focuses on the mechanisms of labor coercion with a focus on the abolition of slavery in Brazil, the persistence of inequalities inherited from that era, and contemporary challenges faced in Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Seyler emphasizes the crucial role of empowering workers and increasing the costs of coercion in shaping labor markets and societal norms.

Professor of Economics Gilbert Skillman presented a research paper “Production of Commodities with Endogenous Working Hours” in the University of Massachusetts-Boston Economics Department Seminar.

Professor of Economics Melanie Khamis and Andrews Professor of Economics, Emerita, Joyce Jacobsen have a paper forthcoming in the Eastern Economic Journal, “Demography, Human Capital Investment, and Lifetime Earnings for Women and Men.” Khamis and Jacobsen investigate demographic trends of increased life expectancy and decreasing birth rates, along with the labor market patterns of returns to human capital investment and changes in real hourly earnings, in conversation with changes in women’s and men’s lifetime earnings.

Andrews Professor of Economics Richard Grossman gave a seminar at Queen’s University, Belfast, entitled “Was Freedom Road a Dead End? Political and socio-economic effects of Reconstruction in the American South.” The paper, co-authored with Harvard political scientists Jeffry Frieden and Daniel Lowery, is now in the Wesleyan, CEPR, and CES/ifo working paper series.

Lectures and Performances

Class of 1958 Distinguished Professor of History and Letters Ethan Kleinberg was selected to deliver the prestigious Nugent Lecture at Queen’s University. Kleinberg’s lecture, titled “The Surge: Temporal Anarchy and the Pursuit of Dynamic History,” explored the complexities of historical interpretation and the pursuit of dynamic narratives.

Assistant Professor of Theater Maria-Christina Oliveras recently played Detective Bea Johnson on CBS’ Blue Bloods. She also gave a reading of THE MATTS, a new play by Emmy and Tony award-winner, John Leguizamo, directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson for The Public Theater; led a workshop of FOLIE A DEUS, a new play by Lynnie Green (Nip/Tuck, Masters of Sex), directed by Tony Award winner, Lonny Price, starring Carla Gugino; and led a workshop of Como Correr, an new hip pop musical by Nico Raimont.

Professor of Theater Ronald Jenkins received a 2023-24 Artist Fellowship in Playwriting from the Connecticut Office of the Arts. Jenkins’ play, “Surviving Troubled Waters,”  created with musicians Naomi Wilson and BL Shirelle, was also presented in Italy at Palermo Classico Festival. Jenkins was also invited to speak about prison theater at Yale, Fordham, Fairfield, and Vanderbilt Universities while serving as visiting professor at Yale Divinity School. In January 2024, his play “Jailbreak” was presented at Flynn Center in Vermont.

Assistant Professor of Theater Katie Pearl directed a production of her play “Ocean Filibuster” at Utah Presents in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Assistant Professor of the Practice in Theater and Design and Assistant Professor, Engineering Studies Courtney Gaston designed the lights for a February 2024 production of “King Lear” at Centenary College of Louisiana. Gaston also served as the lighting and media designer for the October 2023 world premiere of “Westphalia” by Helen Banner at Luna Stage in West Orange, New Jersey.

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Theater Robin Mazzola gave a research presentation titled “Lit From Within” at the Critical Costume 2024 symposium in Los Angeles, California.

Adjunct Associate Professor of Music and Adjunct Associate Professor, Global South Asian Studies David Nelson performed at the Cleveland Tyagaraja Festival, accompanying the Carnatica Brothers.

Assistant Professor of Art Kate TenEyck received a Connecticut Office of the Arts Artists Respond Grant and a Middletown Commission on the Arts Project Grant for her work with Mosaics on Main.

Professor of English Maaza Mengiste, at the invitation of Universita’ dei stranieri in Siena, Italy, gave the first inaugural Virginia Woolf lectio. Mengiste’s photograph essay was also published in the winter issue of Epiphany literary journal.