Five Professors Appointed to Named Chairs

Five members of the Bowdoin faculty have been appointed to named chairs in recognition of their contributions to scholarship and teaching at the College. The appointments were made by President Clayton S. Rose on the recommendation of Dean for Academic Affairs Elizabeth F. McCormack and after consulting with senior members of the Committee on Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure. Holders of named chairs are entitled to additional research funds. The appointments are effective July 1, 2018.

Rachel J. Beane is appointed  as the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Natural Sciences
As a geologist in the Department of Earth and Oceanographic Science, Beane focuses her research on using mineral compositions and textures to understand solid earth processes. Research early in her career focused on pressure-temperature-time paths of subduction zone metamorphism with a field focus in the Ural Mountains, Russia. Her current research explores the connections between below-ground magma chamber processes and above- ground large volcanic eruptions, with field areas in the western United States and New Zealand. With Bowdoin students, she also studies Maine’s bedrock geology. Beane was awarded the 2003 Sydney B. Karofsky Prize, which recognizes the faculty member who “best demonstrates the ability to impart knowledge, inspire enthusiasm, and stimulate intellectual curiosity.” She was elected and honored as Geological Society of America Fellow in 2017.

Tess E. Chakkalakal is appointed as the Peter M. Small Associate Professor
Tess Chakkalakal is the author of Novel Bondage: Slavery, Marriage, and Freedom in Nineteenth-Century America (2011) and coeditor of Literature, Jim Crow and the Legacy of Sutton E. Griggs (2013). In 2011, she directed the Harriet Beecher Stowe at 200 International Conference, cosponsored by Bowdoin College and the Stowe Society. Following up on the conference, she directed the successful effort to renovate the Stowe House at Bowdoin College, where Stowe penned Uncle Tom’s CabinShe is currently at work on a literary biography of Charles W. Chesnutt (1858-1932), who was the first professional African American writer of fiction, publishing such important works as The Conjure Woman (1899) and The Marrow of Tradition (1901). Chakkalakal is currently associate professor of Africana Studies.

Brock Clarke is appointed as the A. Leroy Greason Professor of English
As well as teaching courses in creative writing, Clarke is the author of seven books of fiction, most recently a collection of short stories, The Price of the Haircut (2018.) His novels include The Happiest People in the World (2014); Exley (2010), which was a Kirkus Book of the Year, a finalist for the Maine Book Award, and a longlist finalist for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; and An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England (2007),which was a national bestseller and a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice pick, among other achievements. Clarke’s books have been reprinted in a dozen international editions, and his next novel, I Am Calvin Bledsoe, is due to be published by Algonquin in August 2019.

Nancy E. Riley is appointed as the A. Myrick Freeman Professor of Social Sciences
Riley is a sociology professor whose research and teaching areas include gender, family relationships, and demography. She is currently doing research on a multiyear project examining the historical and contemporary experience of Chinese in Hawai`i, using archival, observation, interview, and census data. She recently coedited the International Handbook on Gender and Demographic Processes (2018), which presents a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of gender in demography. Riley is also an expert on Asian demographics, and, in her previous book, Population in China (2018), she argues that China s population policies and outcomes are not simply imposed by the state onto an unresponsive citizenry, but have arisen from the social organization of China over the past sixty years.

Richmond R. Thompson is appointed as the Barry N. Wish Professor of Social Sciences
Thompson is a professor of psychology and neuroscience in the Department of Psychology, whose current research explores how hormones and neuromodulators influence social behavior in vertebrates, (i.e., all animals with a skeleton). The primary aim is to learn how and where within the brain these molecules act to influence interactions between individuals, particularly in reproductive contexts, from courtship to aggression to withdrawal. Although he has worked with numerous species, Thompson’s current work focuses on goldfish and zebrafish. The aim of this research, says Thompson, is to characterize hormonal mechanisms that have evolved to help different species solve social challenges and to identify similarities across species representing the fundamental principles through which brain neurochemistry affects social behavior in vertebrates.

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