News Archive 2009-2018

Five Faculty Members Earn Tenure in 2014 Archives

5tenure2013-648Five Bowdoin faculty members have been promoted to the rank of associate professor with tenure, effective July 1, 2014. The Board of Trustees voted on the promotions during their Feb. 6-8 meeting, awarding tenure to Nadia V. Celis (Romance Languages), Danielle Dube (Chemistry and Biochemistry), Brian Purnell (Africana Studies and History), Vyjayanthi Ratnam Selinger (Asian Studies), and Robert B. Sobak (Classics).


Nadia V. Celis (Romance Languages) specializes in 20th- and 21st-century Latin American, Hispanic Caribbean, and Latino literature. A member of the Bowdoin faculty since 2007, she has received multiple Bowdoin faculty research awards and course development awards. Celis teaches courses such as Latino Fiction, Introduction to Hispanic Studies, Advanced Spanish, and A Journey around Macondo: García Mȧrquez and His Contemporaries. Her service to the College includes appointments to the Curriculum and Educational Policy Committee, the Bias Incident Committee, the Latin American Studies Program Committee, and faculty advisor for the Latin American Students Organization.

Read about Celis’ exploration of Caribbean and Latino literature in connection with her own cultural roots, and watch a video of her trip with students to Colombia

Celis has been elected to the Executive Council of the Caribbean Studies Association and is the author of the forthcoming book La rebelión de las niñas: Cuerpos, subjetividad y poder en las escritoras del Caribe hispano. She is the editor of Hay Bicentenario. Independencia de Cartagena de Indias, 1811-2011 (Cartagena de Indias: Instituto de Patrimonio y Cultura, 2011) and co-editor of Lección errante: Mayra Santos-Febres y el Caribe contemporáneo (San Juan: Isla Negra, 2011). She received her Ph.D. and M.A. at Rutgers University, and her B.A. at Universidad de Cartagena in Colombia.


Danielle H. Dube (Chemistry and Biochemistry), a faculty member at Bowdoin since 2007, focuses on using chemical tools to target, alter, and understand glycosylation. She has an extensive funding record with the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation and is the author of many peer-reviewed articles in top-tier journals, several of which include Bowdoin students as co-authors. Dube earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. She holds a B.A. in Biology from Cornell University.

Dube’s courses at Bowdoin include Biochemistry, Chemical Biology, and a non-major course titled Drug Discovery. She has been appointed to the Recording Committee and the Faculty Development Committee, and is a mentor for students in the Bowdoin Science Experience program. Dube has received a Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, a Young Investigator Award, and a Bowdoin faculty research fellowship, among other distinctions.

Brian Purnell200

Brian Purnell (Africana Studies and History) has been on the Bowdoin faculty since 2010 and was previously an assistant professor at Fordham University, where he received his B.A. He holds a Ph.D. and M.A. from New York University. Purnell’s academic expertise centers on  20th-century American, African American and urban history. Purnell’s courses at Bowdoin include Introduction to Africana Studies, Racial and Ethnic Conflict in American Cities, Affirmative Action and US Society, Civil Rights and Black Power Movements and the Making of Modern America, and Oral History: Methods and Practice.

Purnell is the author of Fighting Jim Crow in the County of Kings: the Congress of Racial Equality in Brooklyn (Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2013), which was awarded the Dixon Ryan Fox Manuscript Prize. Purnell has written numerous peer-reviewed articles, refereed conference papers, book chapters, and oral history interviews. In addition to being awarded a Rockefeller Archive Center grant-in-aid, Purnell has received Bowdoin research and leave fellowships and a Bowdoin course development award, among other honors. His contributions to Bowdoin include his election to the Faculty Appeals and Grievance Committee, his appointment as faculty liaison to the Board of Trustees Subcommittee on Admissions, and his service on search committees for the Library Director and the Athletic Director.


Vyjayanthi Ratnam Selinger (Asian Studies) focuses on premodern and modern Japanese literature, Japanese language, and theoretical approaches to history as narrative. A Bowdoin faculty member since 2005, she holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University, a M.A. from Harvard, and a B.A. from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India. Among other honors, Selinger has received a Japan Foundation Research Fellowship and several Bowdoin research and leave fellowships. She is the author of many peer-reviewed articles and the book Authorizing the Shogunate: Ritual and Material Symbolism in the Literary Construction of Warrior Order in Medieval Japan (Leiden: Brill, 2013).

Selinger worked with the Bowdoin College Museum of Art on an exhibition aligned with her course “The Fantastic and Demonic in Japanese Literature”

Selingers’ courses include Confession and Story-telling: Fictions of the Self in Modern Japanese Fiction; Intermediate Japanese I and II; and Literature of World War II and the Atomic Bomb in Japan: History, Memory, and Empire. Her service to Bowdoin includes positions on the Curriculum and Educational Policy Committee, the Working Group on Student Orientation, the Lectures and Concerts Committee, and the Off-Campus Study Committee. She has taken an active role in bringing Japanese culture to the College and the community.


Robert B. Sobak (Classics) is Bowdoin’s 2013 recipient of the Sidney B. Karofsky Prize for Junior Faculty, a distinction that annually honors a teacher in the early years of his or her career at Bowdoin who “best demonstrates the ability to impart knowledge, inspire enthusiasm and stimulate intellectual curiosity.”

Sobak was awarded the Karofsky Prize for excellence in teaching during Bowdoin’s 2013 Honors Ceremony

Specializing in Greek and Latin language, Greek and Roman history, and Greek political theory and archaeology, Sobak teaches courses such as History of Ancient Greece, Intermediate Latin for Reading, Intermediate Greek for Reading, The Historians, and Ancient Democracy and Its Critics. A faculty member at Bowdoin since 2007, Sobak has served on the Governance and Faculty Affairs Committee and the Curriculum Implementation Committee, collaborated extensively with other departments and programs, and coordinated numerous visiting speakers in service of the College. He earned a Ph.D. and M.A. at Princeton University, as well as an M.A at University of Georgia and a B.A. at Franklin and Marshall College.

Sobak is the author of the forthcoming book Crafting the Democratic Body: Labor, Education, and Power in Classical Athens (The University of Michigan Press) and has published articles in top-tier, peer-reviewed journals. Among other honors, he has received a Newhouse Center for the Humanities Fellowship at Wellesley College and a Bowdoin research fellowship.