New faculty bring wide array of expertise to labs, classrooms

Brandeis welcomed 14 new tenure-eligible faculty to campus this fall. They represent one of the largest group of tenure-eligible faculty appointments in recent years.

“We’re thrilled to have such a robust group of scholars joining our community,” said Irving Epstein, interim provost at Brandeis. “In the classroom, in the lab, and with their research, these new faculty offer our campus new perspective and expertise.”

A total of 12 faculty members were appointed to tenured or tenure-track positions in the College of Arts and Sciences and one each in the Heller School for Social Policy and Management and the Brandeis International Business School. 

BrandeisNow will be running a series of profiles on some of the new faculty and their expertise and research over the course of this school year. Here’s a look at the backgrounds of the new faculty:

Arts and Sciences

African and Afro-American Studies

Carina E. Ray (PhD, Cornell University, 2007), associate professor of African and Afro-American studies. Since receiving her PhD, Ray served as assistant professor from 2007 to 2014, and associate professor 2014 to present at Fordham University. Ray is recognized as an important young scholar in African history and African diaspora studies with an impressive publication record and research interests including Africa and the Black Atlantic world, race and sexuality, comparative colonialisms and nationalisms, migration and maritime histories, and relationships between race, ethnicity, and political power. Ray’s book, “Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana,” will be published this year by Ohio University Press, and she has begun work on her second book project, “Somatic Blackness: A History of the Body and Race-making in Ghana.” Professor Ray has accepted a prestigious fellowship at the Society for the Humanities for the next academic year and will be on leave of absence from Brandeis until fall 2016.

Anthropology/Crown Center for Middle East Studies

Pascal Menoret (PhD, Université Paris-1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, 2008), assistant professor of the modern Middle East. Menoret served as a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute for the Transregional Study of the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia of Princeton University, and an academy scholar in the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, before accepting a position as assistant professor at New York University in Abu Dhabi for the past four years. Menoret is an ethnographer and historian, interested in youth, urbanism and political activism in the Arabian Peninsula and beyond. He is the author of three books, the most recent, “Joyriding in Riyadh: Oil, Urbanism, and Road Revolt,” was published in 2014 by Cambridge University Press. This year he will offer courses including “Urban Worlds,” and “Culture and Power in the Middle East.”


Tijana Ivanovic (PhD, Harvard Medical School, 2008), assistant professor of biochemistry. Ivanovic is a molecular virologist and biophysicist. Having obtained her PhD, she took up a postdoctoral appointment at Harvard Medical School to study the mechanism of viral membrane fusion. She subsequently relocated her research to the University of Colorado and, shortly after, received a prestigious l’Oréal Fellowship for Women in Science, which is awarded in partnership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She used the award to build a Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF) microscope, with single-molecule-imaging capability, to achieve real-time imaging of influenza virus membrane fusion.  Her plans include the application of the TIRF technology to other types of virus membrane fusion mechanisms. Ivanovic will join Brandeis in the spring semester.

Maria-Eirini Pandelia (PhD, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion in Mülheim, and Technical University of Berlin, 2009), assistant professor of biochemistry. Pandelia’s scientific background spans physics, chemistry, and biochemistry.  Her graduate studies exposed her to an array of biophysical techniques including EPR, FTIR and Mössbauer spectroscopy and electrochemistry, as well as to theoretical approaches such as density functional theory calculations. She is the recipient of the Ernst Haage Prize in Bioinorganic Chemistry and the Otto Hahn Medal for outstanding scientific achievement and, more recently, of an NIH Pathway to Independence Award. Following a three-year postdoctoral appointment at Penn State, Pandelia comes to Brandeis to establish a research program that explores the interface between biocatalysis and medicine. Pandelia will join Brandeis in the spring semester.

Education, and Sociology

Derron O. Wallace (PhD, University of Cambridge, 2014), assistant professor of education and sociology.  Wallace is a sociologist of education whose research investigates patterns of racial, cultural and gender inequality in global cities and urban centers of developing countries.  His dissertation, which examines the educational experiences of second-generation Afro-Caribbean adolescents in two of the largest schools in New York and London, was awarded the 2014-2015 Division G Distinguished Dissertation Award from the American Educational Research Association.  Wallace’s other research interests include educational and disability studies in Rwanda, and skin lightening among secondary school students in Kingston, Jamaica.


Jerome Tharaud (PhD, University of Chicago, 2011), assistant professor of English.  Having received his PhD, Tharaud moved to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to take up a two-year appointment as a Mellon postdoctoral fellow. His research interests include early American literature and culture, print culture and media, American religious history, art history and visual culture, theories of space and place, and the American West. His book project, “Apocalyptic Geographies: Religion, Literature, and the American Landscape, 1820-1860,” examines the relationship between religion and American literature, focusing in particular on the role of evangelical Protestantism in American culture.


Hannah Weiss Muller (PhD, Princeton University, 2010), assistant professor of history. Muller’s research interests include British history and the history of the British Empire, French history and the history of the French Empire, South Asian history, legal history, history of subjecthood and citizenship, colonial and postcolonial studies, and transnational and comparative history. Since completing her dissertation entitled “An Empire of Subjects: Unities and Disunities in the British Empire, 1760-1790,” Muller served as a lecturer at the Harvard University Committee on Degrees in History and Literature from 2011 to 2013, and Assistant Professor at Denison University since January 2014. Muller’s book manuscript, “Subjects and Sovereign: Bonds of Belonging in the British Empire,” has recently been accepted for publication by Oxford University Press. Muller will join Brandeis in the spring semester, and offer a course on the Modern British Empire.

Near Eastern and Judaic Studies

Laura Jockusch (PhD, New York University, 2007), Albert Abramson Assistant Professor of Holocaust Studies.  Jockusch undertook her academic training in Jewish studies programs at universities in Germany, the United States and Israel.  Her research centers on the Holocaust and the postwar periods, focusing on the social, cultural, political and legal histories of Holocaust survivors from a transnational and comparative perspective. Her first book, “Collect and Record!  Jewish Holocaust Documentation in Early Postwar Europe,” was winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for the Holocaust category, and of the 2013 Sybil Halpern Milton Book Prize.  For the past three years, Jockusch has served as a postdoctoral fellow at the Martin Buber Society of Fellows at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she has been working on her second book project, “Beyond Vengeance: Jewish Conceptions of Retributive Justice after the Holocaust.” Jockusch will be on leave of absence from Brandeis until fall 2016.


W. Benjamin Rogers (PhD, University of Pennsylvania, 2012), assistant professor of physics.  Before coming to Brandeis, Rogers was a postdoctoral fellow in applied physics at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard.  His work focuses on a variety of problems in soft condensed matter physics, including colloidal self-assembly, light scattering and diffusion in nanoparticle films, and responsive photonic crystals.  His aim at Brandeis is to establish an experimental research program focused on developing quantitative tools and design strategies to understand and control the self-assembly of soft materials. To accomplish his goals, he will utilize a number of techniques including synthetic chemistry, optical microscopy, statistical mechanics and computer simulations. Rogers will join Brandeis in the spring semester.

Romance Studies

Clémentine Fauré-Bellaïche (PhD, Yale University, 2015), assistant professor of French and francophone studies.  A former student of the École normale supérieure-Ulm in Paris, Fauré-Bellaïche completed her doctoral studies at Yale.  Broadly defined, her specialization is nineteenth- and twentieth-century French literature; her dissertation focused on Protestantism and literary modernism in the work of Barthes, Gide, and Sartre. Fauré-Bellaïche’s next project will examine the cultural significance of the notion of aventure in twentieth-century French and Francophone literature.  Other ongoing research topics include modern and contemporary uses and representations of classicism in French and Francophone literature, painting and film, and religion and identity in French and Francophone literature


Michael Strand (PhD, University of Notre Dame, 2013), assistant professor of sociology. After completing his doctorate with a dissertation entitled “A Genealogy of Social Justice: Britain, 1834-1914,” Strand served on the faculty of Bowling Green State University for two years. His research interests include social theory, sociology of science/knowledge and culture, and involves explaining processes of social and cultural change with lasting consequences for the present. The courses he will offer include Morality and Market Society, Approaches to Sociological Research, and Classical and Critical Theory.

Theater Arts

Dmitry Troyanovsky (MFA, American Repertory Theatre/Moscow Art Theatre Institute for Higher Theatre Training at Harvard University, 2000), assistant professor of theater arts. Troyanovsky completed his undergraduate degree in Theater Arts and Politics at Brandeis in 1998. He joins Brandeis after several years directing theater productions nationally and internationally, and, for the last three years, serving as an assistant professor at Tulane University. Troyanovsky works cross-disciplines using music, dance, and movement, and currently is moving into directing opera. He also works cross-culturally as evidenced by his productions in Russia and in Shaghai. Troyanovsky will offer courses in Directing, Improvisation for Theatre, Acting, and Queer Theater.

Brandeis International Business School


Alice Hsiaw (PhD, Princeton University, 2010), assistant professor of economics. After completing her doctorate, Hsiaw spent a year as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, before joining the faculty of Holy Cross College. Her research interests are in behavioral economics and applied microeconomic theory, and she has published papers in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization and the Journal of Economic Theory. At Holy Cross she taught foundational courses in macroeconomics and microeconomics, as well as behavioral economics and research methods. In her first semester at Brandeis she is teaching a graduate course in managerial economics.

Heller School for Social Policy and Management

Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld (PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1988), professor. Cutcher-Gershenfeld teaches operations management and strategic management.  He leads a multi-university research team on stakeholder alignment, which is a foundation for agile institutions in the 21st century. Cutcher-Gershenfeld previously served as a professor and dean in the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois, where he has a continuing affiliation with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Cutcher-Gershenfeld is an award-winning author who has co-authored or co-edited eleven books and over ninety articles, book chapters, and policy monographs on high performance work systems, strategic negotiations, transformation in employment relations, economic development, and engineering systems.  He has helped to lead large-scale change initiatives in pubic and private sectors in Australia, Bermuda, Canada, England, Iceland, Jamaica, New Zeeland, Panama, and the United States. Cutcher-Gershenfeld will join Brandeis in the spring semester.

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