Two Faculty Members Promoted to Full Professor

By Bowdoin News

Two faculty members have been promoted from the rank of associate to full professor based on their excellence in teaching, distinction in scholarly or artistic engagement, and service to the College.

The appointments, which are effective July 1, 2024, were announced in a letter from President Safa Zaki sent to the professors at the recommendation of Senior Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs Jennifer Scanlon following reviews in their respective departments and by the Committee on Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure.

“I’m delighted to recognize professors Nelson and Thompson, both of whom are so talented in their fields of study and dedicated to sharing that work with their students,” said Dean Scanlon. “Promotion to full professor highlights their individual commitments and the invaluable contributions they make to the College and the Bowdoin community.”

Ingrid Nelson
Ingrid Nelson

Professor of Sociology Ingrid Nelson

Sociologist Ingrid Nelson’s research examines how racialized educational systems shape the resources, relationships, and identities that enable young people to navigate structural inequalities. Her first book, Why Afterschool Matters, published by Rutgers University Press in 2017, investigates how and why extracurricular participation influences the educational attainment of some Mexican American students in California more than others. Other research projects have further expanded her field’s theoretical explanations for the attainment of bachelor’s degrees among marginalized youth. For this work, she researched adolescents in rural Maine, studying the links between their families, schools, and community social capital. In her forthcoming book, Yet Another Costume Party Debacle, in production with the University of Chicago Press, Nelson looks at how policies that perpetuate the status quo at elite colleges create openings for students to throw racially themed parties. Drawing on interviews with Bowdoin students, she explores what undergraduates learn about race and racism from such events, and how colleges both contest and reproduce racialized systems of power. Recently, she’s been working with students to collect, clean, and analyze data that will help illuminate the experiences of college students during the pandemic and how they approached the choices they had to make during that time. Nelson teaches classes on education, transitions to adulthood, race and ethnicity, and research methods. She earned her BA in sociology at Wellesley College and her MA in sociology and PhD in the sociology of education at Stanford University.

“The most rewarding aspect of my recent research has been the ways I've gotten to collaborate with Bowdoin students. Students have been involved in every part of the work—from study design to interviewing to data analysis—through coursework, as research assistants, and through independent study projects. Bringing students into the craft of sociological research not only brings greater validity to our findings but makes the process much more rewarding.”
Hilary Thompson
Hilary Thompson

Professor of English Hilary Thompson

Hilary Thompson joined the Bowdoin faculty in 2005, having previously held lecturing posts at the University of Southern Maine and the University of Michigan, where she earned her PhD in 1998. Her scholarship and research areas include literatures of the nonhuman and extra-human, focusing on contemporary global anglophone multispecies fictions. Thompson’s first work, Novel Creatures: Animal Life and the New Millennium (Routledge, 2018), examines global anglophone fictions of the animal, retrieving more expansively connective models of creatureliness in premillennial works from the more constricted and human-centric biopolitical writings of the post-9/11 era. Her latest book, Worldly Spirits, Extra-Human Dimensions, and the Global Anglophone Novel (Bloomsbury, 2023), examines novels written by diversely diasporic authors from 2018 to 2020, highlighting their extra-human turn and engagement with spirit animals, spirit dimensions, and animist life-worlds.  

Thompson says teaching contemporary fiction from global anglophone writers means she is always reading new things. “My particular focus on representations of the nonhuman and nonhuman perspectives means I'm often trying to imagine all the ways the world looks from other species’ points of view, or really all the other worlds our world intermingles with,” she says. Recently, Thompson says, she’s been especially fascinated by the merger of contemporary literary fiction with more fantastic modes, “with magical realism reaching across the aisle to fantasy fiction, spawning new hybrids.” This trend, she adds, inspired the New Modes of Magic course she taught during the spring semester. The class examined how these new works both draw on and transform diverse cultural traditions, blurring the boundaries between literary, fantasy, and science fiction as they critically address contemporary issues. “I loved the way students brought their detailed knowledge of magical systems to our discussions, sometimes throwing me for a loop and teaching me a lot in the process,” she says. Thompson is currently working on a new book manuscript titled The Cosmic Commons: Planetary Thinking from Above.