Postdoctoral Teaching Fellows

Bowdoin College has been fortunate to create positions for a number of postdoctoral teaching fellows each year.

These fellowships are connected to a variety of programs, including the Consortium for Faculty Diversity (CFD), endowed positions such as the Doherty postdoctoral fellowships in marine biology, and grant-funded positions, including a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund postdocs in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.

Postdoctoral fellows form an important part of our faculty, allowing Bowdoin to offer exciting new classes in emerging fields or new sub-disciplines, as well as creating important connections to graduate programs and advisors for many of our students contemplating graduate study. The Office of the Dean for Academic Affairs works closely with academic departments and programs to provide support for our postdoctoral fellows by fostering research, mentoring teaching, and helping them prepare for academic employment following their time at Bowdoin.

Jessica Benson, B.A. (UC Davis), M.A., Ph.D. (Rutgers), CFD Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychology

Jessica Benson, B.A. (UC Davis), M.A., Ph.D. (Rutgers), CFD Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychology

Jessica Benson is a social psychologist who is primarily interested in initiatives that promote intergroup harmony and facilitate diversity and inclusion. Her current research seeks to understand how identity, encounters with discrimination, and finding meaning through adversity can impact academic achievement. The ultimate goal of this research is to contribute to the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women and minority students in higher education. This area of work has been a longstanding research interest of Jessica's, dating back to her undergraduate years at UC Davis working as an academic tutor and mentor for Latino youth and as a research assistant studying the impact of microaggressions on minority students' psychosocial outcomes.
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Marika Cifor, B.A. (Mills), M.S., M.A. (Simmons), Ph.D. (UCLA), CFD Postdoctoral Fellow in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies

Marika Cifor, B.A. (Mills), M.S., M.A. (Simmons), Ph.D. (UCLA), CFD Postdoctoral Fellow in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies

Marika Cifor is an interdisciplinary scholar of gender, sexuality, and information. Her research focuses on developing complex understandings of how LGBTQ individuals and communities and persons living with HIV/AIDS come to define themselves, their social groups and movements, and their past, present and future through archives, new media, and data produced within digital cultures. Currently, she is working on a book, Viral Culture: Nostalgia, Affect and HIV/AIDS Archives, that examines the critical potential of the emotions and memories that are recorded and produced by archives documenting 1980s and 1990s HIV/AIDS activism in the United States. The book will be accompanied by digital humanities project of the same title. Cifor is co-editor of special issue of Archival Science on "Affect and the Archive, Archives and their Affects." Her work has appeared in Transgender Studies Quarterly, Australian Feminist Studies, The American Archivist, Archival Science, Journal of Open Humanities Data, The Moving Image, and Archivaria.
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Annie Laurens deSaussure, B.A.-equiv. (University of Rennes), M.A.-equiv. (University of Rennes II), Ph.D. (Yale), Andrew W. Mellow Postdoctoral Fellow in Francophone Studies

Annie Laurens deSaussure, B.A.-equiv. (University of Rennes), M.A.-equiv. (University of Rennes II), Ph.D. (Yale), Andrew W. Mellow Postdoctoral Fellow in Francophone Studies

A scholar of twentieth and twenty-first century Francophone literature and culture. Her current project, "Global Brittany: Breton Literature and the Francophone World," examines the impact of Aimé Césaire and the Négritude movement on a generation of Postwar Breton authors. By exploring the relationship between Brittany and the French Caribbean, her research seeks to challenge paradigms of center and periphery while analyzing the ways in which Francophone identities are shaped, challenged, and transformed by travel, migration, and globalization. She also cultivates research interests in the cultural history of Francophone immigration to the United States, as well as women's travel writing.
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Anya A. Golovkova, B.A. (Moscow State Linguistics University), M.A. (Columbia), M.St. (Oxford), Ph.D. (Cornell), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Religion

Anya A. Golovkova, B.A. (Moscow State Linguistics University), M.A. (Columbia), M.St. (Oxford), Ph.D. (Cornell), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Religion

Anya Golovkova is a historian of religion and a Sanskritist. Her research focuses on South Asian religious traditions, Hindu Goddesses, and tantric ritual. In her dissertation, she explored unstudied transformations in a popular trans-regional Hindu tantric worship of the Goddess Tripurasundari, now known as Srividya. In her book project, Golovkova delves into previously unstudied Sanskrit texts from the tenth to the fourteenth centuries CE, many of which are only available in the manuscript form. She uncovers vibrant religious communities in Kashmir and south India, which renewed and revitalized the tantric worship of Tripurasundari through innovative re-examination of earlier texts and ideas. In the classroom, Golovkova is committed to using active learning techniques, including an innovative role-playing methodology called Reacting to the Past.
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Idriss Jebari, B.A. (University of Geneva), M.A. (University College London), M.A. (London School of Economics), Ph.D. (Oxford), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in History

Idriss Jebari, B.A. (University of Geneva), M.A. (University College London), M.A. (London School of Economics), Ph.D. (Oxford), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in History

After completing his doctorate on the history of the production of critical thought in Morocco and Tunisia at the University of Oxford, Idriss Jebari has held a postdoctoral fellowship at the American University of Beirut to study the dynamics of intellectual and cultural exchanges between the Maghrib and the Mashriq in contemporary Arab thought. He has published on the intellectual projects of several North African intellectual figures and on the theory and practice of Arab intellectual engagements in public affairs. He is also currently involved in a number of initiatives on the humanities in the Arab region with the Arab Council for Social Sciences and frequently provides analysis and comments on current issues on social and political change in North Africa.
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Tara Kohn, A.B. (Bowdoin), M.A., Ph.D. (Texas-Austin), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Art History

Tara Kohn, A.B. (Bowdoin), M.A., Ph.D. (Texas-Austin), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Art History

A scholar of the art of the United States with an emphasis in the history of photography, critical race theory, and trauma studies. In her research and teaching, she works to draw out histories of immigration and assimilation that have been flattened in traditional discourses of American art by deeply-rooted myths of national distinctiveness. Engaging with legacies of rupture and resettling, her dissertation and current book project uncovers the ways in which evolving constructs of whiteness and Americanness influenced the shape of cultural history across the twentieth century. She is also developing a new manuscript that explores Alfred Stieglitz's gallery at 291 Fifth Avenue as a microcosm that contains within it the textures and racial tensions of the broader political sphere. Her work has been supported by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and her research appears in American Art and the forthcoming volume Jewish Translation/Translating Jewishness.
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Nicholas K. Kupensky, B.A. (Bucknell), M.Phil., Ph.D. (Yale), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Russian

Nicholas K. Kupensky, B.A. (Bucknell), M.Phil., Ph.D. (Yale), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Russian

A scholar of Soviet Cultural Studies, his research investigates the intersection of aesthetics, economics, and politics in Russia, Ukraine, and the United States. His book manuscript, Beyond the Rapids: The Art and Politics of the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station, explores the art, cinema, and literature about the construction - and destruction - of the first major Soviet building project in southern Ukraine. Also a specialist in Carpatho-Rusyn Studies, he recently launched an initiative in the digital and public humanities, The Emil Kubek Project, which researches and publishes the stories of Slavic immigrants who worked in America's mining industry.
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Salar Michael Mohandesi, B.A. (William and Mary), M.A., Ph.D. (Pennsylvania), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in History

Salar Michael Mohandesi, B.A. (William and Mary), M.A., Ph.D. (Pennsylvania), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in History

A historian of Modern Europe from a global and transnational perspective. His research interests include imperialism and anti-imperialism, the global 1960s and 1970s, twentieth-century social movements, the history of the left, and social and political theory. His current book project, tentatively titled From Anti-Imperialism to Human Rights, traces the history of transnational anti-Vietnam War activism in France and the United States to explain how and why human rights displaced anti-imperialism as the dominant form of internationalism in the 1970s. His research has appeared in Les Temps modernes, he has a forthcoming article in French Historical Studies, and he also writes for more popular venues. He is the founding editor of Viewpoint Magazine.
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Fernando L. Nascimento, B.S. (Catholic University of Campinas), M.S., Ph.D. (Catholic University of Sao Paulo), Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital and Computational Studies

Fernando L. Nascimento, B.S. (Catholic University of Campinas), M.S., Ph.D. (Catholic University of Sao Paulo), Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital and Computational Studies

A scholar of Digital and Computational Studies, Hermeneutics, and Ethics. He worked for almost twenty years in the telecommunication industry developing software for mobile devices worldwide. In parallel, he has also been studying and teaching Philosophy, with a special focus on the ethical and hermeneutical works of the French philosopher Paul Ricoeur. He is currently working on establishing a digital portal that will provide a template for digital humanities advanced textual analytics on Ricoeur corpus that can be re-instantiated for other thinkers and academic communities. His current research is considering the mutual and bidirectional relationships between hermeneutics and digital textual analysis. This study intends both to reflect on the new hermeneutical possibilities for digital textual analysis and also to discuss how to apply digital textual analysis to provide new ways to interpret and publish humanistic studies. A second research interest area involves the discussion of ethical and ontological aspects of technologies in our current society as well as perspectives for the near future.
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Kerry Sonia, A.B. (Brown), M.T.S. (Harvard Divinity), Ph.D. (Brown), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Religion

Kerry Sonia, A.B. (Brown), M.T.S. (Harvard Divinity), Ph.D. (Brown), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Religion

A scholar of the Hebrew Bible, the religions of ancient West Asia, and theory and method in the study of religion. Her research examines the construction of memory and social formation through the religious practices of everyday life, particularly those associated with the family in ancient Israel. Her teaching focuses on religion in the ancient world and includes courses on the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, Death and Immortality, and Ancient Warfare. Her current book project, entitled The Enduring Dead: the Cult of Dead Kin in Ancient Israel, examines the care and veneration of ancestors through a variety of interpretative lenses, including gender, ritual theory, and religious authority.
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Sebastian Daniel Urli, B.A. (Pontificia Catholic University of Argentina), M.A., Ph.D. (Pittsburgh), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Spanish

Sebastian Daniel Urli, B.A. (Pontificia Catholic University of Argentina), M.A., Ph.D. (Pittsburgh), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Spanish

His dissertation addresses the self-figuration process of Argentinean writers Jorge Luis Borges, Cesar Fernandez Moreno and Juan Gelman. The principal aim analyzed the paradox of a "lyric I" who portrays himself as constantly fragmentary, yet underlines his status as an author by using autobiographical reference and remarks about his poetic practice and its limits. His main areas of research are twentieth-century and contemporary Latin American poetry and poetics as well as Southern Cone literatures of the same period. He is also particularly interested in literary theory and its connection with philosophy, aesthetics, representation of violence, translation studies and theories of the image.
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Jonathan Vertanen, B.A. (Taylor), M.A. (Missouri), Ph.D. (Yale), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Philosophy

Jonathan Vertanen, B.A. (Taylor), M.A. (Missouri), Ph.D. (Yale), Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Philosophy

A scholar of metaphysics, philosophy of language, and early modern philosophy. His dissertation defends an account of what it is for certain facts, properties, and things to be more fundamental or basic than other facts, properties, and things (as some have thought that, e.g., physical facts and things are more fundamental than, say, economic facts and things). While some philosophers have proposed to regiment this sort of talk of relative fundamentality using the notion of grounding or metaphysical explanation, he argues instead that it should be understood in terms of the Aristotelian notion of a real definition, and proposes to reduce matters about what grounds and depends on what to matters involving definitions.
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