Williams College Promotes Eight Faculty Members to Full Professor

Media contact: Gregory Shook, director of media relations; tele: 413-597-3401; email: [email protected]

NOTE: This release was updated on Sept. 14, 2020 to include Jacqueline M. Hidalgo to the list of faculty promotions.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., Aug. 4, 2020—Williams College has announced the promotion of eight faculty to full professorships, effective July 1, 2020. They include Jessica Chapman, history; Lisa Gilbert, geosciences; Christopher Goh, chemistry; Jacqueline M. Hidalgo, Latina/o/x studies and religion; LeRhonda (Rhon) S. Manigault-Bryant, Africana studies; Ashok Rai, economics; Neil Roberts, Africana studies; and Fred Strauch, physics.

In addition, eight faculty have received new named chair positions: Daniel Aalberts is the Kennedy P. Richardson ’71 Professor of Physics; Stephen Freund is the John B. McCoy and John T. McCoy Professor of Computer Science; Marc Gotlieb is the Halvorsen Director of the Graduate Program in Art History; John Limon is the John Hawley Roberts Professor of English; Susan Loepp is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Mathematics; Lucie Schmidt, is the John J. Gibson Professor of Economics; Eiko Siniawer is the Class of 1955 Memorial Professor of History; and Steven Swoap is the Howard B. Schow ’50 and Nan W. Schow Professor of Biology.

Jessica Chapman

Chapman’s specialization is the United States and the world, with research emphases on Vietnam, decolonization, and the Cold War. Her teaching interests include U.S. foreign relations, the Vietnam Wars, the Cold War and decolonization, sport and diplomacy, and the relationship between foreign policy and domestic affairs. Her first book, Cauldron of Resistance: Ngo Dinh Diem, The United States, and 1950s Southern Vietnam, was published by Cornell University Press in 2013. The recipient of a Mellon New Directions Fellowship, she is currently at work on two book projects. She received her B.A. from Valparaiso University and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Lisa Gilbert

Gilbert’s areas of interest include undersea volcanoes and hydrothermal vents and science education. Her deep-sea research emphasizes the geophysical and geologic structure of mid-ocean ridges, seamounts, and hydrothermal systems. She is also a field geologist, with projects on ancient underwater volcanoes now accessible in New Zealand, Cyprus, Oman, Canada, Connecticut, and the western U.S. Each summer, and part-time during the academic year, she leads the Marine Geosciences Research Group at Williams-Mystic. Her ongoing work includes efforts at improving equity in higher education, building partnerships in sustainability education throughout the learning ecosystem, and systems thinking skills development. She received her A.B. from Dartmouth and her Ph.D. from the University of Washington.

Christopher Goh

Goh’s research interests most broadly center around the role of metals and have included work on mimicking metal-containing active sites of enzymes, on the design of homogeneous metal catalysts and more recently, on polymers for removing heavy metals from the environment. He teaches introductory courses in chemistry as well as advanced courses in inorganic and organometallic chemistry, bio-inorganic chemistry, and instrumental methods of analysis. He has also taught Winter Study classes introducing students to research and a course on interpersonal communication. His scholarship has been published widely. In addition to teaching, he is a Faculty Fellow of the Davis Center and the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity.

Jacqueline M. Hidalgo

Hidalgo is the author of Revelation in Aztlán: Scriptures, Utopias, and the Chicano Movement (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) and Latina/o/x Studies and Biblical Studies (Brill, 2020). She is also the co-editor of Latinxs, the Bible, and Migration (Palgrave Macmillan 2018). She first came to Williams as a Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow in 2008 and started on the tenure track in 2010. Her courses include U.S. Latinx Religions, Scriptures and Race, Utopias and Americas, Latinx Ecologies, Queer Temporalities, Revolt and Revelation in the Twentieth-Century Americas, among others. A past recipient of a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and a Louisville Institute Sabbatical Grant, her research focuses on scriptures as contested phenomena enmeshed in the shaping of Latina/o/x communities in the United States. Hidalgo has served as chair of the religion department and currently serves as associate dean for institutional diversity, equity and inclusion. She received her A.B. from Columbia University, her M.A. from Union Theological Seminary in New York, and her Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University.

Rhon Manigault-Bryant

Manigault-Bryant is the author of Talking to the Dead: Religion, Music, and Lived Memory among Gullah/Geechee Women (Duke University Press, 2014) and Womanist and Black Feminist Responses to Tyler Perry’s Productions (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). She first came to Williams as a Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow in 2006 and has taught at the college since 2011. Her courses include Race, Gender, and the Alien Body: Octavia Butler’s Science Fiction, Womanist/Black Feminist Thought, and Blackness 2.0: Race, Film and New Technologies, among others. As a Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship awardee, she is pursuing substantive and methodological training in film studies and documentary filmmaking. She received her A.B. from Duke University and her Ph.D. from Emory University.

Ashok Rai

Rai’s current research examines the globalization of coffee, drawing on history, literature, ecology, and on fieldwork in Central America and East Africa. In addition to Williams, he has taught at Harvard University, Yale University, and the University of Göttingen. In his teaching and scholarly writing, he uses game theory, a cross-disciplinary mathematical tool, to analyze how people interact—in the past and in the present, in cartoons and in business. His research has been published in journals such as World Development, the Journal of Development Economics, and the Review of Economic Studies. He has a B.A. from Stanford University and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Neil Roberts

Roberts’ teaching and scholarship ranges from modern and contemporary political theory to Afro-Caribbean thought, African-American philosophy, critical theory, the politics of race, and concepts of freedom. He is the author of the award-winning book Freedom as Marronage (University of Chicago Press, 2015), the collaborative work Journeys in Caribbean Thought (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2016), and several edited and coedited collections. His latest volume is A Political Companion to Frederick Douglass (The University Press of Kentucky, 2018). At Williams, he has served as chair of the religion department and college lecture committee, and is currently the W. Ford Schumann Faculty Fellow in Democratic Studies. He received his B.A. from Brown University and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Fred Strauch

Strauch is a theoretical physicist whose research aims to develop methods to efficiently and robustly store, transfer, and manipulate quantum information using simple, experimentally accessible control protocols. His current work, which is supported by the National Science Foundation, focuses on the design of “artificial solids” capable of demonstrating novel quantum transport, with potential application in quantum computers. At Williams since 2008, his courses include Mathematical Methods for Scientists, Philosophical Implications of Modern Physics, Controlling Quanta, as well as Physics and Astronomy Colloquium. He received his B.S. from Loyola College and his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.


Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s approximately 2,000 undergraduate 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. The college is also home to roughly 100 Master’s students enrolled in its renowned graduate programs in Development Economics and the History of Art (the latter offered in collaboration with the Clark Art Institute). 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 August 4, 2020