From Ethnomusicology to Photonics: New Faculty at the GC

August 22, 2017

The Graduate Center has appointed seven new faculty members for 2017 - 2018 - a substantial jump in new hires over previous years.

The Graduate Center has appointed seven new faculty members for 2017 - 2018 - a substantial jump in new hires over previous years.

"I am thrilled to welcome these talented and accomplished scholars and teachers to our community," said Joy Connolly, provost and senior vice president. "They bring new perspectives and experiences that will enliven the already remarkable research and learning that takes place at the Graduate Center. I'm confident that they will help us carry out our commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship and education that enhance the public good."

Of the new appointments, one is in the arts, three are in the social sciences, and three are in the sciences.

Meet the new faculty.

Professor Andrea Alù

Andrea Alu
Einstein Professor of Physics
Director of the Photonics Initiative at the Advanced Science Research Center
Ph.D., Roma Tre University, Italy

Alu, an engineer and photonics researcher, is best known for his breakthroughs in invisibility cloaking, or making objects transparent to incoming microwave signals. He was previously the Temple Foundation Endowed Professor #3 in the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas, Austin. He was also a member of the Cockrell School's Wireless Networking and Communications Group and the head of the Metamaterials and Plasmonic Research Laboratory. He holds more than a dozen patents and patent applications and has co-authored more than 500 contributions to scientific literature. He is a recent recipient of the Alan T. Waterman Award (2015) from the National Science Foundation - one of the top prizes for scientists and engineers in the United States.

Alu begins his Graduate Center appointment in early 2018.

Eliot Bates Professor

Eliot Bates
Assistant Professor, Music
Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley

Bates is an ethnomusicologist specializing in digital audio recording cultures and the production of contemporary music in Istanbul, Turkey. He was previously a lecturer at the University of Birmingham, in the United Kingdom, and he was an ACLS New Faculty Fellow at Cornell University's Society for the Humanities. He has authored two books: Digital Tradition: Arrangement and Labor in Istanbul's Recording Studio Culture (Oxford University Press, 2016), and Music in Turkey: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture (Oxford University Press, 2011). He is also a performer and recording artist of the 11-stringed-oud.


Shana Elbaum-Garfinkle
Assistant Professor Biochemistry; Structural Biology Initiative at the Advanced Science Research Center
Ph.D., Yale University

Elbaum-Garfinkle's research focuses on protein and RNA granules, intracellular liquid organelles, and protein assembly and aggregation, as well as neurophysiology and degeneration. She was previously a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University, where she received a Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institutes of Health. She is a City University of New York graduate, having earned a B.A. in Physics from Hunter College.




david-schwab_200 faculty photo

David Schwab
Assistant Professor, Biology
Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

A biological physicist, David Schwab applies statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics to problems in biology. To explore these issues, he draws on a diverse set of analytical and computational tools such as statistical mechanics, dynamical systems theory, machine learning, and information theory. Previously he was an assistant professor at Northwestern University, where he focused on questions such as how neural networks perform memory and attention and how cells communicate and coordinate their behavior during development.


Carla Shedd faculty photo

Carla Shedd
Associate Professor, Urban Education
Ph.D., Northwestern University, Sociology

Shedd joins the Graduate Center from Columbia University, where she was an assistant professor of sociology and African American studies. Her work focuses on timely issues related to criminal justice; race, law and society; social inequality; and urban policy. Her current research centers on New York City's juvenile justice system, specifically investigating how young people's institutional experiences influence their placement on and movement along the carceral continuum. She is the author of Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice (Russell Sage Foundation, 2015), which explores obstacles facing urban adolescents in Chicago; the book received the 2015 C. Wright Mills Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems and the 2016 Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award Presented by the American Sociological Association's Section on Race, Gender, and Class.


Suzanne van der Feest faculty photo

Suzanne van der Feest
Research Associate Professor, Linguistics
Ph.D., Radboud University Nijmegen

Van der Feest was previously a research associate and lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include infant and adult speech perception; psycholinguistics; and language acquisition and sound recognition in young children - specifically, how children recognize sounds as spoken words and in spoken words. She has served as a visiting researcher at the University of Amsterdam and speaks Dutch, English, Italian, French, German, and Spanish and conducted her postdoctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania.


Bianca C. Williams faculty photo

Bianca C. Williams
Associate Professor, Anthropology
Ph.D., Duke University

Williams, a black feminist cultural anthropologist, studies topics related to race, gender, and activism, including black feminist leadership and pedagogy, most recently in the Black Lives Matter movement. She is the author of the forthcoming book The Pursuit of Happiness: Black Women, Diasporic Dreams, and the Politics of Emotional Transnationalism (Duke University Press, 2018). She was previously an associate professor of cultural anthropology at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she received the 2016 American Anthropological Association and Oxford University Press Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching of Anthropology.