Faculty Research

Barnard faculty have lived, studied, researched, and taught all over the world, and they contribute constantly to our contemporary knowledge of cultures and countries around the globe. Below are highlighted only some of the many remarkable faculty at Barnard who are pursuing an international research agenda:

Viriginia Bloedel Wright Professor of Art History and Department Chair at Barnard College

Professor Alberro's research interests are in the area of modern and contemporary European, U.S., and Latin American art, as well as in the history of photography. His current book project is titled Abstraction in Reverse, a study of the emergence and development of abstract art in Latin America, and he is also at work on a volume that explores new forms of art and spectatorship that have crystallized in the past two decades.


Associate Professor of Political Science 

Professor Autesserre currently works on civil wars, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, humanitarian aid, and African politics. Her latest research project examines successful international contributions to local and bottom-up peacebuilding, while her previous research project focused on the everyday elements that influence peacebuilding interventions on the ground, including extensive fieldwork in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and briefer comparative research in Burundi, Cyprus, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, South Sudan, and Timor-Leste.


Professor of Professional Practice, Architecture

Professor Baxi's current work focuses on design, new technologies and global cultural relationships. Recent projects include an audio-visual montage titled Two Cities Three Futures: Architectural Transmittals revisiting CST Station in Mumbai and Ground Zero in New York (ongoing); Triptych-Apps mobile and spatial interfaces for translingual play (ongoing); and Citizenship by Design, a series of exhibitions and workshops on international passports (2010-11).


Professor of English and Africana Studies

Professor Christiansë is a South African-born poet, novelist, and scholar, and the author of two books of poetry: Imprendehora (published in South Africa by Kwela Books/Snail Press 2009) and Castaway (Duke University Press, 1999). She teaches poetry and prose of former English colonies (with an emphasis on South Africa, the Caribbean and Australia), narratives of African Diaspora, 20th Century African American Literatures, poetics and creative writing, and her research interests include the nexus between theories of race and gender, class and postcoloniality.


Professor of History

Professor Coen's research centers on the history of the physical and earth sciences and the cultural history of central Europe. Her current book project, Climate in Word and Image: Science and the Austrian Idea, explores how climate came to be understood in terms of the exchange of energy among systems at a spectrum of scales, from the molecular to the hemispheric.


Professor of French and Comparative Literature

Professor Connor's research interests include twentieth-century French literature, literary theory, contemporary French philosophy, translation, and psychoanalysis. He is the director of Barnard’s Center for Translation Studies, which provides a space for the study of the modes and methodologies of translation, as well as a space for exploration of the major political, ethical, and theoretical issues in translation studies today.


Associate Professor of Economics

Professor Dye specializes in economic history and institutions with emphasis on Latin America. His current research focuses on the political economy of the institutions of trade protection and imperialism, particularly the relationship between prerevolutionary Cuba and the United States.


Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies 

Professor George specializes in women's history, urban history, the history of childhood in Africa, the study of gender and sexuality in African History, and the history of development work in Africa. She is currently working on a book about the politics of girl-saving and transformations in girlhood in 20th-century colonial Lagos, Nigeria.


Associate Professor of French

Professor Glover's research interests include francophone literature, particularly that of Haiti and the French Antilles, colonialism and postcolonialism, and African cinema. Her current projects include Disorderly Women, a study of the ethics of narcissism and configurations of the feminine in 20th and 21st century Caribbean fiction; "New Narratives of Haiti," a special issue of Transition magazine (May 2013); and Revisiting Marie Vieux Chauvet: Paradoxes of the Postcolonial Feminine, an edited volume of critical essays forthcoming with Yale French Studies. 


Lucyle Hook Chair of English and Professor of Africana Studies

Professor Hall's research interests include Renaissance/Early Modern Literature and Culture, Critical Race Theory, Black Feminist Studies, Slavery Studies, Visual Culture, Food Studies, and Digital Humanities. She is currently working on two book projects: Sweet Taste of Empire, which examines the roles of race, aesthetics and gender in the Anglo-Caribbean sugar trade during the seventeenth century and a new project, Othello Was My Grandfather: Shakespeare and the African Diaspora, which discusses Afrodiasporic appropriations of Othello.


Professor of Religion

Professor Hawley's research is focused on the religious life of north India and on the literature that it has spawned in the course of the last 500 years. His most recent book—A Storm of Songs:  India and the Idea of the Bhakti Movement (Harvard University Press, 2015)—is devoted to deconstructing and reconstructing one of the principal ways in which Indians have told their religious history. Its focus is bhakti, the religion of song, of radical engagement, and of the heart.


Tow Associate Professor for Distinguished Scholars

Professor Larkin's research focuses on the ethnography and history of media in Nigeria, exploring how media technologies comprise broader networked infrastructures that shape a whole range of actions from forms of political rule, to new urban spaces, to cultural life. His current book project, provisionally titled Secular Machines: Media and the Materiality of Islamic Revival, analyzes the role media play in the rise of new Islamic movements in Nigeria and explores theoretical questions about technology and religion. 


Assistant Professor of Sociology 

Professor Kesler's research focuses on cross-national comparisons of social inequality, and particularly on the experiences of international migrants in European societies. She has recently completed a project that compares immigrant socioeconomic incorporation and exclusion in Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.


Professor of Political Science

Professor Marten's current research focuses on Russia. She has two major projects underway: a counterfactual analysis of what would have happened if NATO hadn't expanded, and a historical analysis of Soviet intelligence organizations and their foreign policy impact. Her latest book, Warlords: Strong-Arm Brokers in Weak States (Cornell University Press, 2012), traces the development of warlordism and its consequences in the tribal areas of Pakistan, Sunni Arab areas of Iraq, and post-Soviet Georgia and the Republic of Chechnya in Russia.


Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures

Professor McDermott's research focuses on the Hindu-goddess-centered religious traditions of the Bengal region of India. Her forthcoming book, Of Fortunes and Festivals: Money, Power, and the Goddesses of Bengal, focuses on the Durga, Kali, and Jagaddhatra Pujas and the relation between economics, politics, and religion as seen through the lens of these 300-year-old public festivals.


Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

Professor McGuire's research interests include the factors that structure microbial communities, the influence of mycorrhizal fungi on plant community structure, the impacts of global change on microbes, and tropical ecology. She has done extensive study of microbes in the tropical rain forests of Central and South America, and she currently leads projects in Malaysia, Puerto Rico, and on various components of green infrastructure in New York City.


Associate Professor of History 

Professor Milanich's scholarly interests include modern Latin America, Chile, and the comparative histories of family, childhood, and gender, and law and social inequality. Her current book project, entitled The Birth of Uncertainty: A Global History of the Paternity Test, traces the reception of paternity science in law and social practice, showing how its consequences for men, women, and children differed across national contexts; how paternity science, which coincided with the rise of eugenics, was deeply racialized from its inception; and how these new technologies migrated from family law into immigration law.


Tow Associate Professor of Classics

Professor Milnor's research interests include Latin literature of the late Republic and early Empire (especially epic, elegy, and the ancient novel), Roman history, and feminist theory and gender studies. Her first book, Gender, Domesticity, and the Age of Augustus: Inventing Private Life, won the 2006 Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit from the American Philological Association, and she is currently at work on a book about literary graffiti from the ancient city of Pompeii.


Professor of History

Professor Moya has written extensively on global migration, gender, and labor, and he is currently editing the Latin American Historiography for Oxford University Press, as well as working on the socio-cultural history of anarchism in belle-époque Buenos Aires and the Atlantic world.


Professor of Environmental Science and Alena Wels Hirschorn '58 and Martin Hirschorn Professor of Environmental and Applied Sciences and Chair of the Department of Environmental Science

Professor Pfirman's research focuses on the Arctic environment, in particular on the nature and dynamics of Arctic sea ice under changing climate. Her previous research activities have included melting and surging glaciers and pollution transported by sea ice. 


Associate Professor of History 

Professor Rao has research and teaching interests in the history of anti-colonialism; gender and sexuality studies; caste and race; historical anthropology, social theory, and colonial genealogies of human rights and humanitarianism. She is currently working on a book on the political thought of B. R. Ambedkar, as well as a project titled Dalit Bombay, which explores the relationship between caste, political culture, and everyday life in colonial and postcolonial Bombay.


Professor of Art History

Professor Reynolds's research focuses on the history of modern Japanese architecture and Japanese photography. His recently published book, Allegories of Time and Space: Japanese Identity in Photography and Architecture, explores the role of the concept of tradition in the construction of cultural identity in Japanese architecture, photography, and popular culture from the 1940s to the 1990s.


Professor of Spanish and Latin American Cultures 

Professor Ríos-Font's academic specialization is Spanish literature and culture from 1800 to the present. She is currently engaged in two major research projects: the first involves the relationship between different cultural fields in nineteenth-century Spain, with topics on the semiotics of the construction of criminality and the early juridical system and on the connection between literature and economics in the Bourbon Restoration; and the second looks at historical, political, economic, and cultural/literary exchanges between Spain and Puerto Rico during the late Spanish Empire (1815-1898), examining their bearing on early formulations of national identity in colonial Puerto Rico.


Senior Lecturer in English and Director of Creative Writing

Professor Szell's scholarly and pedagogical interests include Animal Studies (in particular the interdisciplinary investigation of theoretical, political and material boundaries between species), medieval literature and culture, with a focus on hagiography, gender, and symbolically weighted liminal figures like animals, and she is currently editing a collection of essays on the role of animals in human lives. Another significant project underway is the translation of her father's memoirs from Hungarian into English.


Professor of Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies

Professor Tadiar's research focuses on contemporary Philippine and Filipino cultures and their relation to political and economic change, while addressing broader issues of gender, race, and sexuality in the discourses and material practices of nationalism, transnationalism, and globalization. She is currently working on two book projects: Present Senses: Aesthetics, Affect, Asia in the Global (with Jonathan L. Beller) and Remaindered Life: Becoming Human in a Time of War.


Associate Professor of Professional Practice in Dance

Professor Thomas's teaching at Barnard includes advanced modern-dance technique, introductory ballet technique, contact improvisation, and advanced composition/collaboration and the creative process. Her choreographic works have been performed in Brazil, Estonia, Hong Kong, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Taiwan, and Venezuela, among others, and she is also the director of the Barnard Dance in Paris program.


Tow Professor of Anthropology

Professor West’s general research interest is the relationship between society and the environment. She has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Australia, Germany, England, and the United States, in order to consider the linkages between environmental conservation and international development, the material and symbolic ways in which the natural world is understood and produced, the aesthetics and poetics of human social relations with nature, and the creation of commodities and practices of consumption.


Assistant Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies

Professor Worthen's research focuses on performative cultures and totalitarianisms, nationalist rhetoric and the Holocaust, European drama, theatre and performance studies, censorship and the arts, and dramaturgy. She is currently working on a new book project, tentatively entitled Theatre of Humanisms.