Seven Bowdoin faculty members have been promoted from the rank of associate to full professor: Aviva Briefel (English, Film Studies), Philip Camill (Environmental Studies; Earth and Oceanographic Science), Kristen Ghodsee (Gender and Women’s Studies), Samuel Putnam (Psychology), Patrick Rael (History), Shu-chin Tsui (Asian Studies; Film Studies), and Tricia Welsch (Film Studies).
“I am delighted to recognize each of these talented, respected, and dedicated faculty members,” said Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd in announcing the promotions. “Promotion to full professor highlights the tremendous contributions that these seven teacher-scholars have made to the Bowdoin community, and particularly the opportunities they provide to our students,” Judd said. “It’s invaluable for students to work with such extraordinarily gifted and committed teachers who are at the same time distinguished scholars, engaged in shaping their fields of study nationally and internationally.”
Aviva Briefel came to Bowdoin in 2000 with a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard University. She teaches courses related to Victorian literature and culture, the horror film, women and film, and cinematic adaptation, and her research interests include narratives of art forgery, Victorian empire and the body, and the Victorian gothic. Briefel also directs Bowdoin’s Film Studies Program, which earlier this semester hosted the week-long World Cinema Film Festival. She has served on an array of committees at the College, and was voted by the Bowdoin Class of 2006 to deliver the Karofsky Faculty Encore Lecture.
Currently working on a book titled Amputations: The Colonial Hand at the Fin de Siècle, Briefel is also the co-editor of Horror after 9/11: World of Fear, Cinema of Terror, a book about the politics of the horror film (lauded by New York magazine), and author of The Deceivers: Art Forgery and Identity in the Nineteenth Century, along with a number of journal articles, book chapters, and reviews. Breifel has been invited to lecture and participate in conferences across North America and in the U.K. and has been interviewed on national television for Bravo’s 100 Scariest Movie Moments, among other media appearances.
Philip Camill has held a Rusack Endowed Professorship in Environmental Studies at Bowdoin since his arrival in 2008, following a nine-year position at Carleton University. He directed the College’s Environmental Studies Program from 2008-2012 and has supervised dozens of research projects by Bowdoin students. He has also taken part in organizing symposia at Bowdoin, bringing international experts to the College to exchange and synthesize ideas about important issues in global conservation. Camill’s courses include “Earth Climate History” and “Feeding the World: The Nature and Challenges of Our Food and Agricultural Systems.”
A winner of the coveted National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2001, Camill has received many research grants from the NSF and other institutions, and has authored numerous scientific articles on his research. Currently he is working on an introductory environmental science textbook called The Environment: Understanding and Responding to Global Changes with W. H. Freeman Press. Camill has contributed to research on permafrost that was featured in the New York Times and has been tapped for his climate change expertise by media outlets such as Maine Public Broadcast Network.
Kristen Ghodsee holds a John S. Osterweis professorship at Bowdoin, where she joined the faculty in 2002 and serves as director of the Gender and Women’s Studies Program. Ghodsee’s interests include the economic transition from communism to capitalism and its gender-specific effects, and the ethnographic study of postcommunist nostalgia in Eastern Europe. She was selected to be a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University in 2010-2011 and has also been a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Ghodsee’s research has been supported by organizations such as the National Science Foundation and the Fulbright Foundation. In 2012 she won a Guggenheim Fellowship to investigate the history of the communist-era Bulgarian women’s movement and its role among progressive African women between 1968 and 1990. The author of four books and more than two dozen articles, Ghodsee won the Douglass Prize and several other awards for her 2009 book Muslim Lives in Eastern Europe. She has also written works for general readers, and in 2011 she won the Ethnographic Fiction Prize for the short story “Tito Trivia.” Public Radio International has featured her expertise and her book Lost in Transition: Ethnographies of Everyday Life after Communism.
Samuel Putnam has been at Bowdoin since 2001, teaching about and conducting research on social development. He served as Psychology Department chair from 2008-2011 and teaches a survey course in child development, an introductory psychology course, a seminar in social development, and a laboratory course in developmental research methods. Putnam has authored numerous conference papers and articles in peer-reviewed journals, many in collaboration with Bowdoin students. He has also written several book chapters and written journal and chapter reviews in dozens of publications including Science, Clinical Psychology Review, and Development and Psychopathology.
Putnam works with students to conduct research exploring interactions between “nature and nurture” in the development of sensation-seeking, negative emotionality, and attentional control. He has supervised more than 50 students conducting research for honors theses or independent honors projects in temperament. Putnam’s current and past research topics include studies comparing temperament in children across cultures and investigating behavior of exuberant children in early childhood. He has been interviewed for his expertise on topics such as shyness in children and his work has been featured in Time magazine.
Patrick Rael earned his doctorate in American History at UC Berkeley and has been at Bowdoin since 1995, teaching courses such as “The History of African Americans from 1865 to the Present,” “The Civil War in Film,” and “Diversity in America.” He was project director of “The Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain Project” in the Bowdoin Library’s Special Collections in 2008. Rael has been invited to deliver lectures and teaching presentations at an array of institutions – the Maine Humanities Council, Primary Source Teaching Seminar, and Colgate University, to name a few – throughout New England and further afield. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees at the Pejepscot Historical Society in Brunswick, Maine.
The author of several books and essays, as well as many reviews and conference presentations, Rael is currently writing Eighty-Eight Years: The Long Death of Slavery in the United States, examining the period between the abolition of slavery in Vermont’s state constitution in 1777 and the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. He has co-edited the series “Race in the Atlantic World” with the University of Georgia Press since 2006. Read Rael’s take on portrayals of slavery in films such as Django Unchained, watch his video about the portrayal of history in Spielberg’s Lincoln, and read an essay he wrote about Lincoln’s unfinished work.
Shu-chin Tsui holds degrees from the University of Michigan, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Xi’an University of Foreign Language Studies in China. She came to the College in 2002, having formerly taught at Oberlin College and Southern Methodist University, and served as Asian Studies Program Director at Bowdoin from 2007-2010. This spring Tsui is teaching “Cultural Topics in Contemporary China” and “Topics in Chinese Cinema.” In past years she has taken Bowdoin students to China for immersion experiences in studying contemporary culture and independent documentary filmmaking.
In 2013 Tsui organized a symposium at Bowdoin called “Female Embodiment of the Visual World: Women and Visual Arts in China” in conjunction with the Bowdoin College Art Museum. Read more about the project’s history and watch a video of Tsui interviewing the artist Hung Liu. Tsui is the author of Women Through the Lens: Gender and Nation in a Century of Chinese Cinema, published by the University of Hawaii Press, and has written numerous articles and book chapters. She has been invited to present guest lectures in the U.S. and abroad, at institutions such as Rutgers University, University of Washington, and Shanghai University.
Tricia Welsch has been at Bowdoin since 1993 and held an associate professorship on the Marvin H. Green, Jr. Fund since 2000, having previously taught at the University of Oklahoma. She holds degrees from the University of Virginia and Fordham University. Her courses at Bowdoin include “British Film,” “Film Narrative,” “The Films of John Ford,” “Biography and Film,” “Images of America,” “Film History,” “The Films of Alfred Hitchcock,” “German Expressionism and Its Legacy,” and “Cultural Difference and the Crime Film.”
Welsch recently released the book Gloria Swanson: Ready For Her Close-Up, which garnered a review in the Wall Street Journal. Watch a video interview of Welsch discussing her book and read more about the project. She has also written essays and book reviews, and has lectured and presented at conferences all over the United States as well as in Canada, Scotland, Italy, and Sweden. Welsch is a member of several film societies and has been supported by grant awards such as the Mellon Fellowship through the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center.