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Where in the World are Pomona Professors on Sabbatical?

Each year, several of our professors take sabbaticals for research projects, to write books, perform as visiting scholars or professors at other universities, and more. Here is a sample of what our professors are currently doing on their sabbatical leave.

Eleanor Brown, Professor of Economics
Brown will begin her sabbatical as a Visiting Scholar at Boston College’s Center on Wealth and Philanthropy before serving as a Visiting Scholar at Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy in the spring. During this time, she hopes to complete a chapter on charitable giving and volunteering for the second edition of The State of Nonprofit America, a book composed of experts’ views on the foci of various nonprofit organizations. She will also begin a project on the economics of stewardship, a process by which persons and/or organizations have the right to control property on behalf of others.

Kim Bruce, Professor of Computer Science
Bruce will pursue two lines of research. The first includes analyzing the structure of dialogues in natural language, particularly the methods of tracking complex conversations. He will also explore the understanding of imperatives and the legal responses to them in comparison with assertions and questions.

Bruce’s second project addresses computer science education. The research aims to explore the complexities of multiple processors. He will use a computer system, Scala, which provides a programming model that seems more amenable than others addressing multiple processors, which would allow them to cooperate concurrently to solve problems faster and more reliably. Through his research, Bruce will travel across the world, visiting Tokyo, Genoa, and Orlando, Florida, among other cities.

Philip Choi, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy
Choi will work on three research projects. The first consists of observational galaxy evolution studies in nearby galaxy M32. He will investigate the impact of galaxy interactions on star formation. His second project attempts to understand the history of star formation, and his third deals with the development of an adaptive optics system for the Pomona College one-meter telescope.

Stephan Garcia, Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Garcia is working on a number of projects in complex analysis and linear algebra, and will visit the American Institute of Mathematics (AIM) in Palo Alto, UC-Berkeley, University of Richmond, and the American Mathematics Society-Mathematical Association of America Joint Meeting in San Francisco. He is also bringing collaborators to Claremont to work with him.

Gary Kates, Professor of History and former Dean of the College
Since stepping down from the position of Dean of the College on July 1, Kates has been living in a beach apartment in Redondo Beach and reading scholarship on the European Enlightenment.

Kyoto Kurita , Professor of Japanese
Kurita decided to stay in Claremont to write a book manuscript titled The Histories of the Future in Meiji Japan, which will examine how the Japanese discovered the Western concept of the future, and how they integrated it into their temporal consciousness in the latter half of the 19th century.

Pardis Mahdavi, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Mahdavi’s role as an Asia Society fellow takes her to East Asia twice a year to meet with political leaders and do research on trafficking and migration to Dubai. She is a fellow and scholar in residence at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., where she is working on her second book, Traffic Jam: Gender, Labor, Migration and Trafficking in Dubai. She also meets with policy makers and gives briefs at places like the State Department and the National Security Council. She has received an American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) fellowship and a Balzan Fellowship for researching gender in the Middle East.

Alma Martinez, Assistant Professor of Theatre
Martinez attended the Cornerstone Theatre Company’s Summer Theatre Institute where she created and staged an original production, Jason in Eureka: The Search for the Golden Fleece and Other Eurekan Treasures. In August, she presented her paper “Virgin or Revolution: Luis Valdez, Augusto Boal and the political theatre impasse, Mexico City, 1974” at the Association for Theater in Higher Education Conference in New York City, and she has been invited to participate in a workshop with the Tectonic Theatre Project.

She is going to Mexico City to work with the National Theatre Company of Mexico on a production of Zoot Suit, a play about the trial of Mexican-Americans wrongfully charged with murder. It will be the first Chicano play performed by the company. The show will open in April, run until July, and tour in Mexico throughout the following year. Martinez is looking for students to assist her in the project.

April Mayes, Assistant Professor of History
Mayes is a Fulbright Scholar in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where she plans to finish her manuscript, The Mestizo Republic, and begin a new research project on the colonial history of Hispaniola. She is affiliated with the Instituto Filosófico Pedro Francisco Bonó, a Jesuit university, where she is participating in a post-graduate certificate course, Human Rights and Interculturality, and will teach a class in the spring about trans-nationalism and gender in Hispaniola.

Susan McWilliams, Assistant Professor of Politics
McWilliams will work on the manuscript of a book entitled Traveling Back: Political Theory in an Age of Globalization, as well as compile various edited volumes, including a political companion to the work of author James Baldwin. She is also undertaking smaller projects, such as an essay on Harry Potter, which she will contribute to a book on politics and popular culture.

Frank Pericolosi, Associate Professor of Physical Education
Pericolosi is living in Geelong, Victoria, Australia, and working for the Geelong Baycats baseball club, which competes at the highest level in the Victorian State League. He helps coach all the teams in the club, from children to the most competitive team. He has also been an instructor at a Major League Baseball youth clinic and has served as an assistant coach with the Victorian U-14 State Team.

James Taylor, Professor of Theatre
Taylor will research Edward Gordon Craig, one of the most influential designers and stage theorists of early 20th century theatre. He is most interested in Craig’s early career, in which Craig gave up a promising life as an actor and turned his attention to theatre design, which ultimately led him to stage direction. Taylor will be doing most of his work at Honnold Library, where the Norman Philbrick Special Collection holds a large archive of Craig material. He will also be conducting research at the UCLA Special Collections Library, the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin, and the McNair Museum of Art in San Antonio, Texas.

Suzanne Thompson, Professor of Psychology
Thompson has received a grant to study how people respond to delayed-consequence personal threats, which are situations in which something like swine flu or identity theft is threatened, and people can take action immediately to protect against future negative consequences. She conducted research throughout the summer, and will continue throughout the school year. Another research topic of Thompson’s addresses the best way to communicate information about climate change.

Margaret Waller, Professor of French
Waller is working on a book called Napoleon’s Closet: The Emperor, the Priest and the Fashion Press, which examines how exhibitionism and fashion came to be see as “feminine” around the time of the French Revolution. For centuries before, these traits and interests had been attributed to the elite of both genders. She is using three case studies to argue that although “closeting” is now associated with the repression of queerness, it has long been required of men who attempt to perform normative masculinity.

Kenneth Wolf, Professor of History
Wolf delivered a paper in Florence, Italy at an “Images of Muhammad” conference, before traveling to Marburg, Germany, where he finished a book on St. Elizabeth of Hungary, who died there in 1231. He is now writing another paper, which he will deliver at Notre Dame in January. He is also preparing lectures on medieval heresy for an alumni trip to southern France, which he will use again in a new course on medieval religious dissent. He has not been in the classroom for four years, and is eager to return in 2010.

Professors on sabbatical not described:
Alfred Cramer (Music)
Grace Davila-Lopez (Spanish)
Lorn Foster (Politics)
Sharon Hou (Chinese)
Gizem Karaali (Mathematics)
Paul Mann (English)
Richard McKirahan (Classics)
Lynne Miyake, (Japanese)
Sandeep Mukherjee (Art)
Zhiru Ng (Religious Studies)
Mary Paster (Linguistics)
Mercedes Teixido (Art)
Friederike Von Schwerin-High (German)

This article was written by staff at the The Student Life and originally published on October 9, 2009. To view the locations of our professors on sabbatical on a map, please visit The Student Life Web site.