HSA Faculty Spotlight Archives

Fall 2015: Christy Spackman

Christy Spackman

Christy Spackman

The Department of Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts welcomes Christy Spackman, our new Hixon-Riggs Early Career Fellow in Science, Technology and Society. She is an interdisciplinary scholar with an undergraduate degree in molecular biology, a professional cookery certificate, an M.S. in food chemistry, and a PhD in social studies of food. Her work, in her own words, “focuses on how the sensory experience of making, consuming, and disposing of food influence and are influenced by ‘technologies of taste.'”

Read more about Spackman in the fall/winter issue of the Harvey Mudd College Magazine.

Spring 2014: Amberdeen Dadabhoy

Ambereen new photo P1020301Ambereen had previously worked at Harvey Mudd as a tutor and instructor, and is delighted to return to Mudd after a two-year stint at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Turkey. Ambereen has a PhD in early modern English literature, and her research focuses on the representation of religious and racial difference in early modern English drama. She is interested in how such differences are embodied and the circulation of those bodies in various early modern discourses, particularly on the stage.

Ambereen’s current research stems from her previous work and her experiences in Turkey. She has a forthcoming article, “ʻGoing Native’: Geography, Gender, and Identity in Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s Turkish Embassy Letters,” in which she examines Lady Mary’s flirtation with Ottoman culture and adoption of Ottoman practices as a form of female agency. Another essay, “Two Faced: the Problem of Othello’s Visage,” is also forthcoming in a collection of essays on Shakespeare’s Othello. In it, she argues that Shakespeare’s play parodies Ottoman cultural practices in order to construct an imperial ideology based on the exclusion of colonized people from the political body. Ambereen has been able to bring the questions about identity that she raises in her research into her work in the classroom, and is currently at work on an article, “The Moor of America: Approaching the Crisis of Race and Religion in the Renaissance and

21st Century,” which discusses her approach to teaching Othello alongside contemporary issues of racial and religious difference in America.

At Harvey Mudd Ambereen has had the opportunity to teach classes on Shakespeare, from Elizabethan to Jacobean and also to take over Professor Jeff Groves’ popular “Lit 110 Shakespeare” course, in which students mount a full production of one of Shakespeare’s plays. In May of 2013, her students will perform Henry IV part 1. She has also taught topical and genre surveys including, the hero in literature, medieval romance, and Renaissance drama. She enjoys teaching literature to Mudd students because they bring the same kind of inquisitive lens and problem solving skills to her courses that they do to their courses in the technical fields. In addition, she finds that their questions lead her down interpretive paths that might not have been apparent to her otherwise.

Fall 2013: Ken Fandell

For spring 2012, we introduce Associate Professor of Art Ken Fandell, who joins the Department and the College this year.

Ken colorAfter 12 years of teaching at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), Ken is looking forward to the challenges of working with a new and very different group of students at Harvey Mudd College. At SAIC he was known for teaching an eclectic range of courses from Introductions to Photographic Image Making to more advanced classes covering specific themes and theories, including one called Nothing. During 2011-2012 he served as Chair of the Department of Photography. He is hopeful bringing his ideas to this new environment will take them in new directions and help shape new conversations.

Ken’s artistic practice is as diverse as his teaching. He works with drawing, sculpture, sound, video, text, collage, installation and photography. Themes in his work often revolve around oppositions, such as small and large, near and far and the quotidian and the transcendent. He has shown extensively nationally and internationally. Recent projects include an 8′ x 24′ photomontage mural of images of his finger at the Honolulu Museum of Art and a text based installation at the Chicago Cultural Center. His newest body of work deals with the rational versus the irrational. A solo exhibition of this work, titled “Lasers and Fog and Crystals and Waves and Grids” will be on view at Tomlinson Kong Gallery in New York this fall.

In addition to his teaching and art making, Ken is a runner (eighteen marathons to date) and avid surfer. With his arrival here in Southern California he is looking forward to pursuing both year round.

Fall 2011: Vivien Hamilton

For Fall 2011, we introduce the newest member of the department, Vivien Hamilton, Assistant Professor of the History of Science

Vivien-Hamilton2Vivien is delighted to be joining the faculty at Harvey Mudd this fall. She is a historian of modern science whose work focuses on questions of authority and trust in science. She is particularly interested in moments in which scientific experts with different educational and disciplinary backgrounds come together to collaborate on the same project. Her dissertation research at the University of Toronto examined the relationships that evolved between doctors and physicists following the discovery of x-rays in 1895.

Vivien’s favorite historical objects are mid-19th century electro-magnetic devices designed to cure nervous disorders. She is in the early stages of a new research project looking at electrotherapeutic and x-ray apparatus from the Victorian era.

With a BSc in physics from Dalhousie University, Vivien has experienced first-hand the manic joys and frustrations of life in the lab. She hopes to offer the students at Mudd a chance to reflect in a different way on the nature of scientific practice and is developing courses on a broad range of topics including the history of modern physics, gender and science, and the role of technology in medicine.

Spring 2011: David Cubek

For Spring 2011, we introduce the newest member of the department, David Cubek, Assistant Professor of Music in the Joint Music Program ofClaremont-McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges. 

As part of his appointment in the Joint Music Program, David directs the Claremont Concert Orchestra, which provides a large number of Mudders (and students from the other Claremont Colleges) with the opportunity to participate in a full symphonic ensemble. He also teaches courses in music theory and history at Scripps College that carry departmental credit for HMC students.

david-cubekAlthough he specializes in the performance of symphonic music from the end of the eighteenth century through the present, David is also interested in a variety of subjects, including multidisciplinary artistic genres (e.g. opera and cinema) and trans-cultural exchanges between American and European artists during the first half of the twentieth century. His dissertation examines a vocal-symphonic composition by Alexander Zemlinsky, an Austro-Jewish composer living in Berlin in the 1920s, who set to music verses by African-American poets associated with the Harlem Renaissance.

Born in Venezuela, David began piano and composition lessons at the age of 7, before entering the Simón Bolívar Conservatory in Caracas. In 1999 David went on to continue his education in Montreal, studying piano, music theory, and orchestral conducting at McGill University and the Conservatory of Montreal. He completed doctoral studies in orchestral conducting at Northwestern University in 2010, served as director of the University of Chicago Chamber Orchestra, and was a lecturer at McGill and Northwestern. David has also conducted ensembles in Brazil, the Czech Republic, and, more recently, from Venezuela’s “El Sistema,” an internationally-praised organization that fosters social change through orchestral training.

At Claremont, David has greatly enjoyed interacting with students and faculty from across the disciplines and is excited about continuing the strong tradition of music-making in the Harvey Mudd community.

Spring 2010: Michael Deane Lamkin

For Spring 2010, we pay tribute to Michael Deane Lamkin, Professor of Music at Scripps College and Director of the Joint Music Program of Claremont-McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges.  Professor Lamkin will retire in June of this year.

michael-lamkinProfessor Lamkin joined the Scripps Music Department and the Joint Music Program of Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges in 1977, receiving his PhD in Musicology soon thereafter from The University of Iowa.  In addition to his conducting and other teaching in the Joint Music Program, he has also served in recent years as Vice President and Dean of the faculty at Scripps. Outside of Claremont, he has conducted extensively at music festivals in Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Germany, and elsewhere. A co-founder of the Haydn Society of California, he assisted with the organization of The Haydn Society of North America, was elected board member during its first year and was subsequently re-elected to a second term. Professor. Lamkin is a recipient of the Grosse Ehrenzeichen or Grand Decoration, the highest civilian medal of honor, from the Burgenland, Austria, government, for his work in bringing Americans and Austrians closer together, and for his conducting of Haydn performances in Austria.

We offer two appreciations of Michael from departmental colleagues who have worked with him closely over the years:

William Alves, Professor of Music

Since arriving at Scripps College in 1977, Michael Lamkin transformed the “Claremont Chamber Orchestra” from a small ensemble specializing in works of modest size by Mozart and Haydn to the “Claremont Concert Orchestra,” a group of over 60 musicians playing challenging works by Mahler, Shostakovich, and (thanks Michael) myself. From the beginning the orchestra has greatly benefitted and benefitted from Harvey Mudd students, who now make up more than half of the students in the 4-college orchestra and a disproportionate number of concerto soloists. This popularity is not only a result of our well rounded student body but also of the attraction of spending Monday evenings making music in such congenial and challenging rehearsals. Students would often be treated with one of Michael’s famous anecdotes, sometimes about a colorful incident in the life of a composer or perhaps about the time when Michael matched vocal ranges with Henry Kissinger. Even when serving as the Scripps Dean of Faculty, Michael has always been a conscientious and active member of the HMC Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and the Arts, and I think no faculty member is more beloved.

Charles Kamm, Assistant Professor of Music

Michael Lamkin has been instrumental (pun intended) in bringing high quality musical performance experiences to generations of Claremont Consortium instrumentalists, singers, and audience members through the Joint Music Program of Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges.  Michael was the founding director of the Claremont Chamber Orchestra which evolved into the present Claremont Concert Orchestra.  He also conducted the Concert Choir and the Chamber Choir for many years.  I would estimate that he has conducted over 2000 Consortium students in over 200 performances during his career in the Joint Music Program and at Scripps College.  Plus he has been a mentor to dozens of musicians who now sing, play, and conduct throughout the U.S. and the world.

In my five years in Claremont, Michael has also been a mentor to me.  I have learned much from him, especially about the performance of Haydn’s and Mozart’s music.  He has been a wonderful and supportive colleague.  And he has been an inspiration in my own music making.  I will greatly miss his presence in the Joint Music Program.

Fall 2009: Erika Dyson

For Fall 2009, we introduce the newest member of the department, Erika Dyson, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies.

Dyson,Erika3x4Erika comes to HMC this semester as a new assistant professor of religious studies. She specializes in nineteenth-century American religious movements, church/state relations, and science and religion.  Her dissertation research (done at Columbia University) examines the prosecution of Spiritualist mediums and ministers arrested under fortune telling laws at the turn of the twentieth century, for performing their central religious rite: delivering messages from the dead to the living.  To complete this research, she received a fellowship from the American Association for University Women, and the New York State Archives in Albany.

On the way to Claremont from the east coast this summer, Erika accompanied 24 high school students to the Middle East as part of a pre-college program she organized. The program, entitled “Culture and History: Understanding the Arab World,” was taught jointly at Columbia University and King¹s Academy in Jordan.  Erika is hoping to involve Mudders in future incarnations of this program as teaching and residential assistants, particularly any who are interested in Middle Eastern history and contemporary culture.

Erika is delighted to join the HMC community for many reasons, not the least of which is the chance to teach courses that incorporate both her research interests and her love of writing.  This semester she will teach a writing-intensive seminar called “Ghosts and the Machines,” which explores the interfaces between occult religions and technologies.  In the future, she hopes to teach an advanced seminar in non-fiction science writing (think Stephen Jay Gould, not technical reports) aimed at Mudders who would like to bring their intellectual passions to a non-academic audience.