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Brandeis hires 22 faculty members across 16 departments

By Samantha Lauring

Section: News

November 10, 2017

There are 22 new tenured and tenure-track faculty members as well as postdoctoral faculty that have joined Brandeis this year. Sixteen different academic departments will gain faculty members as a result of the new hires.

Suleyman Dost (NEJS), who has been at Brandeis for a few months, is an Assistant Professor of Classical Islam. He currently teaches Introduction to the Qur’an (NEJS 186a) and Muhammad: From Early Muslim Accounts to Modern Biographies (NEJS 195a).

Dost researches classical Islamic history, particularly the origins of Islam through the lens of documentary sources. He is currently working on turning his dissertation into a book and is translating an early 10th century Arabic treatise on the history of the Qur’an into English.

He completed his graduate research at the University of Chicago and also had some teaching experience there as a graduate assistant. Dost hopes to “make the critical study of Islam an important component in the department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies.”

Dost says he came to Brandeis because as a research university with a liberal arts focus, Brandeis is a good match for a humanities professor. “When I received an offer I didn’t think twice,” said Dost.

“He’s a great professor with a lot of passion,” said Adib Milani ’18, an Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (IMES) and politics double major, who is in both of Dost’s classes. “I’ve learned a lot about Islam and how to examine the Qur’an for meaning…His life of Muhammad class has taught me a lot about how the perception of Muhammad has changed over time and you can really see how/when islamophobia began and how it’s evolved over time,” stated Milani.

Leanne Day (WGS/GRALL), a Florence Kay Levy Fellow in Asian American Pacific Islander Studies, started teaching at Brandeis this fall. She currently teaches The Asian American Pacific Islander Experience: Race, U.S. Empire, and Migration (AAPI 140b) and is teaching Asian American Pacific Islander Literature and Popular Culture (AAPI 150b) next semester.

Day currently works in two departments and hopes to “expand the scope of each department in terms of thinking through Asian American and Pacific Islander history, experiences, and cultural production as a productive field and lens in order to engage questions of the role of literature and how the intersection of gender and sexuality are intimately connected with U.S. racialization.”

She defended her dissertation in English in June at the University of Washington, where she also taught undergraduates. Day has also taught at the university level in Thailand as well as at the secondary level in Hawaii.

During her campus visit, Day was inspired by the level of students engaged in advocating for a post-doctoral fellowship in Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies. She also came to Brandeis because she wanted to be able to continue her research and be involved in the implementation of an Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies program, which was reinstated last year.

Day’s research is based in literary studies, but she focuses on Asian American and Pacific Islander history and cultural production. She is currently working on revising the tone of one of her dissertation chapters to turn into an article. The article will focus on the mandatory segregation of primarily indigenous peoples in Hawaii, Kanaka Maoli, who were suspected of having leprosy to the island of Molokaʻi.

“I am particularly interested in the role of Indigenous caretakers who voluntarily went to the leprosy colony and how marriage (and re-marriage) can be conceptualized as a form of resistance to separation,” said Day.

New tenure or tenure-track professors Paul Musegades (AMST/MUS), Patricia Alvarez Astacio (ANTH), Sebastian Kadener (BIOL), Maya Eden (ECON), Jean-Paul L’Huiller (ECON), Emilie Diouf (ENG), Muna Guvenc (FA) Max Mishler (HIST), Jonatahn Tououl (MATH), Erin Gee (MUS), Björn Penning (PHYS), Marcelle Soares-Santos (PHYS), Bhoomija Ranjan (IBS), David Weil (HS), Wangui Muigai (AAAS/HSSP), Cory Hunter (AMST), Vivian Solana (ANTH), Manjieh Moradian (HIST), Vanessa Lovelace (WGS) and Shilpa Phadke (SAS) could not be reached for comment in time.

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