Williams Announces Tenure for Six Faculty Members

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, executive assistant; tele: 413-597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., January 2, 2019—The Board of Trustees of Williams College voted to promote six faculty to the position of associate professor with tenure. Promotions will take effect July 1, 2019, for Julie Blackwood, mathematics; Matt Carter, biology; Jessica Fisher, English; Jeffrey Israel, religion; Aparna Kapadia, history; and Anjuli F. Raza Kolb, English and comparative literature.

Julie Blackwood, mathematics

Blackwood’s research interests lie at the intersection of mathematics and ecology, developing mathematical models for analyzing large populations of organisms and the effect of their behavior in their environment. Her research is interdisciplinary and spans topics including invasive insect management, disease ecology (in both humans and wildlife), and coral reef conservation. She earned a B.S. in applied mathematics from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a Ph.D., also in applied mathematics, from the University of California, Davis, where she was awarded the Henry L. Alder Prize for Excellence in Teaching.

Blackwood’s work has been published in journals including Ecological Economics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Journal of Theoretical Biology, and the Journal of Animal Ecology, among others.

Matt Carter, biology

Carter studies the neurobiology of hunger and sleep. Working in collaboration with his students, he performs experiments using mice as model organisms to research how neural mechanisms in the brain affect animal physiology and behavior. Among his numerous awards is a 2017 CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation to support his research into sleep and wakefulness in mammals. Earlier this year he received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to conduct research with his undergraduate students to better understand how the brain suppresses appetite after overeating, or during illnesses like cancer or clinical depression.

Carter earned a B.A. in biology from Whitman College and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Stanford University. His courses include Physiology and Neural Systems and Circuits. He currently serves on the Faculty Steering Committee.

Jessica Fisher, English

Fisher is a prize-winning poet and critic whose poems have appeared in such publications as The New YorkerAmerican Poetry ReviewMcSweeney’s, and Tin House, among others. Her first book of poems, Frail-Craft (Yale University Press, 2007), won the 2006 Yale Younger Poets Award and was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award. Her second book of poetry, Inmost (Nightboat Books, 2012), won the Nightboat Poetry Prize and was reviewed by The Los Angeles Review of Books and Rumpus. She was also awarded a 2012-2013 Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among other prizes and fellowships.

Fisher earned her B.A. in English from Swarthmore College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley. Her translations of poems have appeared in The Paris Review and The New York Review of Books.

Jeffrey Israel, religion

Israel studies the intersection of modern Jewish thought and political theory. He received his B.A. in religion from Oberlin College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago Divinity School. He is the author of the forthcoming book Living with Hate in American Politics and Religion (Columbia University Press, 2019). He is the founding associate editor for the Journal of Jewish Ethics (Penn State University Press), and his writings have appeared in such publications as Social Research: An International Quarterly, CrossCurrents, and The Journal of Religion. Before coming to Williams, he taught at the Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts at The New School, Rutgers University, and Northwestern University.

Israel currently serves on the Curricular Planning Committee, and he previously served on the Faculty Review Panel and the Honor and Discipline Committee. His courses include Religious Conflict and Cooperation; Ethics of Jewish American Fiction; Religion and the State; and Anti-Semitism, among others.

Aparna Kapadia, history

Kapadia is a historian of South Asia. Her research interests include the cultural and literary history of pre-modern and modern South Asia, Indian regional traditions, and the Indian Ocean. She is the author of In Praise of Kings: Rajputs, Sultans and Poets in Fifteenth-Century Gujarat (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and co-editor of The Idea of Gujarat: History, Ethnography and Text (Orient Blackswan, 2010). Kapadia received a B.A. in history from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai and an M.A. and M.Phil. from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. She received her Ph.D. from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and subsequently held a Mellon post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Oxford until 2011.

Before coming to Williams, Kapadia was an assistant professor of history at Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD) College. She currently serves on the Faculty Steering Committee.

Anjuli F. Raza Kolb, English and comparative literature

Raza Kolb holds an M.Phil. and a Ph.D. from Columbia University, where she also completed her undergraduate degree. Her research and areas of interest include colonial and postcolonial literature and theory, comparative literature, cultural criticism, Asian studies, women’s gender and sexuality studies, and history and philosophy of science, among others. She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including Columbia University’s Meyerson Award, Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching, and Edward W. Said Fellowship. Her work has appeared in The Boston Review, Fence, Syndicate Lit, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and BookForum, among other publications. She is currently developing a poetry collection and writing about the life sciences in the colonies.

Raza Kolb has served on the Faculty Steering Committee, and is co-chair of the Dively Committee for Human Sexuality and Diversity.


Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s 2,000 students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. Students’ educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions on U.S. applicants are made regardless of a student’s financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.






Published January 2, 2019