At its February meeting the Colby College Board of Trustees, on the recommendation of President David A. Greene, awarded tenure to six accomplished professors who demonstrate excellence in the classroom, in their scholarship, and in service to the College. “This is an extraordinary collection of scholars who consistently inspire and challenge students in the classroom,” said Greene. “Colby is known for its outstanding faculty and for the commitment of the faculty to our talented students. This group strengthens that defining aspect of the Colby experience.”
Colby’s newly tenured professors are Chandra Bhimull (anthropology and African-American studies), Audrey Brunetaux (French and Italian), Maple Razsa (global studies), Tanya Sheehan (art), Christopher Soto (psychology), and Scott Taylor (mathematics and statistics). Each will be promoted to associate professor effective Sept. 1, 2015.
Assistant Professor of Anthropology and African-American Studies Chandra Bhimull studies the African diaspora. Her book Empire in the Air: Airline Travel and the African Diaspora, forthcoming from New York University Press, analyzes British Airways and its changing relationship to race, empire, and mobility from the time of its establishment as Imperial Airways in the 1920s. Scholars describe her work as having “irreducible originality” and call it “as inspiring as it is significant.” Bhimull earned her B.A. at Kenyon College and her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan.
Assistant Professor of French Audrey Brunetaux is a scholar of 20th- and 21st-century French literature, culture, and cinema with an emphasis on Holocaust narratives and films. She is the leading scholar of the works of Holocaust survivor Charlotte Delbo, a French writer who was a prisoner in Auschwitz. Her articles have appeared in Holocaust Studies: Journal of Culture and History, Women in French Studies, and French Review, among many other publications. Brunetaux studied at France’s University of Poitiers before earning a Ph.D. from Michigan State University.
Assistant Professor of Global Studies Maple Razsa is a social anthropologist and ethnographer of political change in Eastern Europe. He has conducted ethnographic fieldwork over two decades to understand the varied answers to the question, “What does it mean to be a leftist after socialism?” His book, Bastards of Utopia: Living Radical Politics after Socialism, forthcoming from Indiana University Press, is accompanied by a documentary film of the same name. Razsa earned a B.A. from Vassar College and the first Ph.D. in social anthropology with media from Harvard University.
Associate Professor of Art Tanya Sheehan studies American art with a focus on the history of photography and the representation of race in American art. She is the author of Doctored: The Medicine of Photography in Nineteenth-Century America and of many essays including a recent one in the flagship journal of the profession, American Art. Sheehan came to Colby from Rutgers University, where she earned tenure as an assistant professor of art history. She was previously a lecturer at Columbia University. She earned a B.A. from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. from Brown University.
Assistant Professor of Psychology Christopher Soto is a personality psychologist whose scholarship focuses on personality structure, personality development, and life outcomes. He has written numerous peer-reviewed articles exploring factors such as psychological dispositions on political attitudes and influences of religiosity on attitudes toward torture. A forthcoming publication in the Encyclopedia of Adulthood and Aging includes student coauthors Josephine K. Liang ’14 and Anna Kronauer ’16. Soto earned his B.A. at Harvard University and his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley.
Assistant Professor of Mathematics Scott Taylor is a knot theorist in a branch of mathematics consisting of tools for studying loops in three-dimensional space. He is the author of numerous papers, and he has overseen student research on topics including software for drawing rational tangles and studying unknotting numbers using combinatorial sutured manifold theory. Taylor earned a B.A. from Gordon College and a Ph.D. from University of California, Santa Barbara.