St. Paul, Minn. – Eight new tenure-track faculty members have joined Macalester this fall. They are Morgan Adamson (Media & Cultural Studies), Peter Bognanni (English), Julia Chadaga (Russian Studies), Steve Guglielmo (Psychology), Zeynep Gürsel (International Studies), Rivi Handler-Spitz (Asian Languages and Cultures), Arthur Mitchell (Asian Languages and Cultures) and Marcos Eduardo Ortega (Biology). David Shuman (Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science) will join the MSCS faculty in January 2014.

Adamson’s work brings together film and media theory, documentary and avant-garde cinema, critical theory and cultural studies, critical political economy, and film and video production. Her research focuses on the intersections of financial capitalism and culture, particularly visual culture, and she has published essays on this topic in a number of scholarly and popular venues, including South Atlantic Quarterly, Film-PhilosophyEphemera, and Polygraph. Adamson received her BA in from the University of California, Santa Cruz and her PhD from the University of Minnesota. She comes to Macalester from Duke University where she was an American Council of Learned Societies New Faculty Fellow.

Bognanni is a native Iowan and former student of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His first novel, The House of Tomorrow (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam 2010) won the L.A. Times Book Award for First Fiction, the Emerging Author Prize at the Iowa Author Awards, and an American Library Association Alex Award. It was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award and Semi-finalist for the Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell First Novelist Award.  His short fiction, essays, and humor pieces have appeared in the New York Times Book Blog, The Huffington Post, Large-Hearted Boy, Five Chapters, Gulf Coast, The Bellingham Review, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Stop Smiling Magazine.  In addition to writing fiction and nonfiction, Bognanni is also an occasional screenwriter. He was the winner of the 2013 Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Bognanni received his BA from Macalester College and his MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He came to Macalester in 2006 as a Visiting Instructor and more recently as a full-time Visiting Professor in the English Department.

Chadaga’s work brings together such fields as literature, visual art, material culture, and the history of science. She has written and published on topics that include religious discourse and electric light in the early Soviet period; mirrors as material objects and metaphors in the 18th and 19th centuries; Soviet subterranean spaces, from the Metro to Lenin’s tomb; and aviation as a source for the visual experiments of the Russian avant-garde. Chadaga’s current research is on the relationship between creativity and crime. Her work has appeared in journals including Russian ReviewSlavic ReviewStudies in Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century Literature, and Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie (New Literary Review), as well as in the essay collection Rites of Place: Public Commemoration in Russia and Eastern Europe. Her book titled Optical Play: Glass, Vision, and Spectacle in Russian Culture is forthcoming from Northwestern University Press. Chadaga received her BA in from Wesleyan University and her PhD from Harvard University. She came to Macalester in 2006 as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the German and Russian Studies Department.

Guglielmo’s research explores the psychological processes of moral judgment, specifically examining how moral judgments are guided by mental state judgments, and how negative moral judgments such as blame may differ from positive ones such as praise. In doing so, he explores core social psychological questions: how do people interpret negative and positive behavior, how do they make inferences about others’ mental states, and how do these various assessments shape judgments of right and wrong. Guglielmo received his BA from the State University of New York at Geneseo, his MS from the University of Oregon, and his PhD from Brown University. He comes to Macalester from Yale University, where was a lecturer in the Department of Psychology and Program in Cognitive Science.

Gürsel’s scholarship addresses imagination and mediation through material forms: how ideas emerge in and through material worlds, circulate, and generate other ideas and forms. How do individuals imagine the worlds in which they live and how do these “ways of world making” change alongside or in opposition to innovations in technology and the emergence of new narrative forms in a range of media? Her current book manuscript, Image Brokers focuses on the production, distribution, and circulation of international news images and the changing cultures of photojournalism after the digital turn. Specifically it addresses the labor and infrastructures behind news images. Gürsel is also the director and co-producer of Coffee Futures (2009), the first in a series of short documentaries that explore contemporary Turkish politics through the prism of the everyday lives of women.  Gürsel received her BA from Yale University and her MA and PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. She comes to Macalester from the University of Michigan, where she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Michigan Society of Fellows and a research scientist at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender.

Handler-Spitz has published several articles in peer reviewed journals including Prose Studies, Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies, and Compilation and Translation Review and contributed chapters to books, won competitive national fellowships, and held a post-doctoral fellowship at Brown University. She is currently working on three book projects, a monograph, an edited volume of scholarly essays, and a translation forthcoming with Columbia University Press. Handler-Spitz received her AB at Columbia University and her MA and PhD from The University of Chicago. She comes to Macalester from Middlebury College where she was an Assistant Professor of Chinese and affiliated faculty in the program in Comparative Literature. She studied Chinese at Columbia University, Fudan University, National Taiwan University and the University of Chicago, and holds a Certificate in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language from National Taipei University of Education. 

Mitchell’s scholarship examines literary modernism in Japan from a transnational perspective with a specific focus on how modernist fiction engaged and critiqued the dynamic social developments of the 1920s in Japan. Mitchell received his BA, MA, and PhD from Yale University.  He also studied at Sophia University in Tokyo and won the Japan Foundation Doctoral Research Fellowship for his research in Japan. He came to Macalester in 2012 as a visiting assistant professor of Asian Languages and Cultures. Mitchell teaches courses in Japanese film, animation, literature, and translation. He also instructs first year Japanese with a keen interest in Japanese language pedagogy. Having lived in many places around the world, he seeks to develop global citizenship through his teaching of foreign language, art, and culture.

Ortega’s research interests include structural biology of viruses. The Ortega lab utilizes X-ray crystallography, biophysical studies, and biochemical methods to try and understand DNA packaging of viruses at the molecular level. He uses bacteriophage as model systems to try and understand the complex machinery required to initiate replication of double stranded DNA viruses. The research goals in his lab are to crystallize viral proteins involved in assembly of a mature virus. The protein crystals will allow for structure solution of these viral proteins which will hopefully help in developing viral therapies for eukaryotic viruses, including adenovirus, herpes virus, and Epstein Barr virus. Ortega received his BA from Grinnell College and his PhD from the University of Colorado. He comes to Macalester from Harvey Mudd College, where he was a HHMI Teaching and research postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biology.

Shuman’s research interests focus on signal processing and stochastic control. He will support interdisciplinary work between the fields of the Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science Department and will strengthen the department’s connections to Economics and Physics. Shuman received his BA and MS from Stanford University, and another MS and his PhD from the University of Michigan. He comes to Macalester from Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) Switzerland, where he is currently a postdoctoral researcher. He also worked for three years as a Senior Analyst for the Monitor Group.

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 2,035 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement. Learn more at

August 15 2013

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