Williams Announces Tenure for Six Faculty Members

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

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., December 11, 2013—Following the recommendation of the Committee on Appointments and Promotions, the Williams College Board of Trustees Executive Committee has voted to promote six faculty to the position of associate professor with tenure. The vote will be ratified by the full board in January, and the promotions will take effect July 1, 2014, for Jessica Chapman, history; Christopher Goh, chemistry; Rhon Manigault-Bryant, Africana studies; Mara Naaman, comparative literature and Arabic; Neil Roberts, Africana studies; and Fred Strauch, physics.

Jessica Chapman, history
Chapman’s specialization is American foreign relations, with particular research emphases on Vietnam, decolonization, and the Cold War. Her book, Cauldron of Resistance: Ngo Dinh Diem, The United States, and 1950s Southern Vietnam was published in 2013 by Cornell University Press. She earned her B.A. from Valparaiso University and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Chapman’s teaching interests include international history and U.S. foreign relations from the early republic to the present, including the relationship between domestic affairs and foreign policy. She serves on the college’s Committee on Undergraduate Life and on the committee overseeing the design of the new quadrangle that will be created by the removal of the current Sawyer Library building.

Christopher Goh, chemistry
Goh’s research focuses on the metal-based catalysis crucial in biochemical and chemical processes, and aims to discover new catalysts or to improve the efficiency of existing systems. He earned his B.S. from the University of Durham and his Ph.D. from Harvard University.

His work has been published in a variety of journals, including the Journal of the American Chemical Society and Inorganic Chemistry. His courses include Inorganic/Organometallic Chemistry and Introductory Concepts of Chemistry, and he has served on Williams’ Committee on Educational Policy since 2012.

Rhon Manigault-Bryant, Africana studies
Manigault-Bryant’s courses include Dangerous Bodies: Black Womanhood, Sexuality, and Popular Culture; Blackness 2.0: Race, Film and New Technologies; and Sacred Cinema: Black Religion and the Movies. She is the author of Talking to the Dead: Religion, Music, and Lived Memory among Gullah/Geechee Women (forthcoming from Duke University Press in 2014), co-editor of Womanist and Black Feminist Responses to Tyler Perry’s Productions (forthcoming from Palgrave Macmillan in 2014), and is currently working on a single-authored monograph titled Pushing Weight: Religion, Popular Culture, and the Implications of Image.

At Williams, Manigault-Bryant has served on the Advisory Committee for Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; the Committee on Diversity and Community; and the Faculty Steering Committee. She earned her A.B. from Duke University and her M.Div. and Ph.D. from Emory University.

Mara Naaman, comparative literature and Arabic
Naaman’s research focuses on modern Egyptian literature, Arab women’s writing, and Arab-American literature and culture. Her book Urban Space in Contemporary Egyptian Literature: Portraits of Cairo was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2011. Her articles have appeared in various journals, including the Journal of Arabic Literature, Comparative Literature Studies, and Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics.

Naaman teaches Arabic language and literature and courses on the cities of Beirut and Cairo, Arab youth subcultures, and Arab-American cultural production. She has served on the Winter Study Committee as well as the Committee on Admission and Financial Aid. She received her B.A. from Wesleyan University and her Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Neil Roberts, Africana studies
Roberts, a political theorist, focuses on the intersections of Caribbean, Continental, and North American concepts of freedom. He teaches courses on contemporary Africana social and political philosophy; modern political thought; hip-hop and political theory; and Rastafarianism. He has served on the Committee on Diversity and Community and is currently on the Faculty Lecture Series Committee.

Roberts, who earned his B.A. at Brown University and his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, co-edited Creolizing Rousseau, edited the Trayvon Martin event symposium for Theory & Event, has been published in various journals including Caribbean Studies, Perspectives on Politics, Philosophia Africana, and Political Theory, and is completing A Political Companion to Frederick Douglass for the University Press of Kentucky. His book, forthcoming from University of Chicago Press, is titled Freedom as Marronage.

Fred Strauch, physics
Strauch is a theoretical physicist specializing in the design and study of “artificial atoms” made of superconducting devices operating in the quantum limit at very low temperatures and with very low electrical noise. He earned a B.S. from Loyola College and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.

Strauch’s courses include Seminar in Modern Physics; Mathematical Methods for Scientists; and Controlling Quanta: Atoms, Electrons, and Photons. His work has been supported by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement and the National Science Foundation, and has appeared in Nature, Physical Review Letters, and Physical Review A. He has served on the Honor and Discipline Committee since 2012.


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.

To visit the college on the Internet: www.williams.edu Williams College can also be found on Facebook: www.facebook.com/williamscollege and Twitter: twitter.com/williamscollege

Published December 11, 2013