Faculty Advisory Panel


José F. Aranda Jr. is an Associate Professor of Chicano/a and American Literature. He is the author of When We Arrive: A New Literary History of Mexican America (2003). He has written articles on 19th century Mexican American literature and the Recovery Project, the future of Chicano/a Studies, and most recently undertaken an investigation of the relationship between modernity and Mexican American writings, entitled The Places of Modernity in Early Mexican American Literature, 1848-1960.

Dr. Aranda has a dual appointment in the departments of English and Spanish & Portuguese and Latin American Studies. He is the Director of the Latin American Studies major at Rice. He is also a board member of Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project, as well as the founder and director of the Américas Reseach Center of Rice University. And co-founder of Avanzamos: El Taller Chicana/o, an annual workshop focused on advanced scholarship in Chicana/o Studies, sponsored by Rice University and the University of North Texas.



Anthony Brandt is an Associate Professor of Composition and Theory at the Shepherd School of Music.  His compositional honors include a Koussevitzky Commission from the Library of Congress and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet-the-Composer, the Houston Arts Alliance, the New England Foundation for the Arts and the Margaret Fairbank Jory Copying Assistance Program.  Recent projects include the chamber opera Ulysses, Home, with a libretto by Neena Beber, and the ballet Full Circle, with choreography by Oliver Halkowich.  An album of his vocal music, including his chamber opera The Birth of Something, is available on Albany Records.  He and neuroscientist David Eagleman have co-authored The Runaway Species, a book about creativity to be published by Catapult (US) and Canongate (UK) in fall 2017.   Dr. Brandt is co-founder and Artistic Director of the contemporary music ensemble Musiqa, winner of two Adventurous Programming Awards from Chamber Music America and ASCAP and eight grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.  Now in its fifteenth season, Musiqa has presented the music of nearly 200 modern composers and performed free educational programs that have served over 50,000 public school students.  Dr. Brandt has organized three international conferences on “Exploring the Mind through Music” at Rice and co-authored papers for the journals Frontiers and Brain Connectivity.  He has been awarded Rice University’s George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching and Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize.




Christina Keefe is the Director of the Theatre Program and Professor in the Practice in Theatre at Rice University. Rice directing: Proof, Eurydice, The Servant of Two Masters, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth. Outside directing:  Bound, (premiere) with HGOco East Plus West Series at the Asia Society; Houston Grand Opera, Art of Opera Summer Program: The Tinker of Tivoli, Pirates of Penzance, A Place to Call Home, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Brundibãr.  At Rice, she has produced over fifteen shows including: Much Ado About Nothing, Little Shop of Horrors, Drunken City, The Threepenny Opera, Noises Off, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Tartuffe.  Christina is a professional actor, director and vocal coach with credits in regional theatre and Off-Off Broadway.  Recent performing credits: Henry V (Classical Theatre Company), There Is A Happiness That Morning Is, (regional premiere for Hollywood Fringe Festival) Showboat at Houston Grand Opera and Shakespeare’s Will at Rice University.  Christina presented a workshop called “Singing the Text: An Exploration of Voice and Movement” at the International University/Global Theatre Experience, Graz, Austria in May 2011.  She has been an Artistic Associate at both the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival and The Warehouse Theatre in South Carolina, where she served as Vocal Coach as well as performing in such shows as Cherry Orchard, Hamlet, Richard III and Taming of the Shrew. She is a member of Actors Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild and the Voice and Speech Trainer’s Association.   Awards:  Doerr Innovation Award, Arts Initiative Fund, Sarofim Teaching Award, Brown Teaching Grant.



Jeffrey J. Kripal (Ph.D., History of Religions, University of Chicago, 1993) holds the J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought at Rice University, where he chaired the Department of Religion for eight years and helped create the GEM Program, a doctoral concentration in the study of Gnosticism, Esotericism, and Mysticism that is the largest program of its kind in the world. He is the Associate Director of the Center for Theory and Research at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, where he also serves as Chair of the Board. Jeff is the editor-in-chief of the Macmillan Handbook Series on the Study of Religion (ten volumes) and the author of numerous books, including Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion and The Serpent’s Gift: Gnostic Reflections on the Study of Religion. He is presently working on a three-volume study of paranormal currents in the history of science and American metaphysical literature for the University of Chicago Press.  His full body of work can be seen at http://kripal.rice.edu/    




Randal L. Hall is an associate professor of history at Rice University and serves as editor of the Journal of Southern History. His research has focused on the history of the American South, with publications on topics such as the tension between denominational higher education and the teaching of evolutionary biology; racism and the novels of Thomas Dixon; regional stereotypes and the development of mass culture in early radio programming and the sport of automobile racing; and, more recently, the environmental effects of extractive industry and agriculture. He is the author or an editor of several books, including Mountains on the Market: Industry, the Environment, and the South (2012) and William Louis Poteat: A Leader of the Progressive-Era South (2000), both with the University Press of Kentucky, and Seeing Jefferson Anew: In His Time and Ours (University of Virginia Press, 2010). Recent work includes an article on soil reform in the United States and Brazil accepted by Environment and History and an edited book for classroom use introducing the narrative of a rape trial in 1806. Hall serves on the faculty steering committee of the Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences at Rice. In addition to courses in the history department, he teaches in the First-Year Writing-Intensive Seminar program and in 2016-2017 has convened a Mellon Graduate Research Seminar titled "Environment, Culture, Limits: Thinking through the Long Anthropocene in the United States."




Elora Shehabuddin is Associate Professor of Humanities and Political Science at Rice University. She received her A.B. in Social Studies from Harvard University and Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University. She is the author of two books, Reshaping the Holy: Democracy, Development, and Muslim Women in Bangladesh (Columbia University Press, 2008) and Empowering Rural Women: The Impact of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh (Grameen Bank, 1992). She has published articles in Modern Asian StudiesSignsJournal of Women's HistorySüdasien-Chronik [South Asia Chronicle], Journal of Bangladesh Studies, and Asian Survey, as well as chapters in numerous edited volumes. She is an Associate Editor of the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures (Brill) and a guest co-editor of a special issue of Feminist Economics on "Gender and Economics in Muslim Communities." Her current book project is tentatively titled "Visions of Progress: Feminism, Empire, and Muslim Women." She has received many fellowships, including from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the American Association of University Women, the Social Science Research Council, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the U.S. Institute of Peace. She has been selected as a Research Associate in the Women's Studies in Religion Program at the Divinity School at Harvard University and as a Carnegie Scholar. Her doctoral dissertation was awarded the American Political Science Association's Aaron Wildavsky Dissertation Award for best dissertation in Religion and Politics. She currently serves on the Advisory Committee of the Women's Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School.  


Charles Siewert is Robert Alan and Kathryn Dunlevie Hayes Professor of Humanities and Professor of Philosophy at Rice University. His research aims primarily to clarify an understanding of what consciousness is and how it figures in the mind. More specifically, it concerns how the subjective character of experience relates to the perception of our surroundings and our warrant for judgments about them, as well as to our capacity for conceptual thought and for the distinctively first-personal understanding we enjoy through reflection on our own experience. The interest of these matters lies partly in how understanding them may help us to better understand how we can have psychological self-knowledge, how to distinguish minded from mindless beings, and how to account for the special value we are prone to accord the former. His research and teaching interests extend also to ancient philosophy and to the phenomenological tradition. He is the author of The Significance of Consciousness (Princeton 1998), and a number of articles concerning consciousness, intentionality, introspective self-knowledge, and the implications of experimental psychology for a philosophical understanding of the mind.   
  Nicole  Waligora-Davis, is an Associate Professor of English at Rice University. She specializes in late-nineteenth and 20th century African American and American literary and cultural criticism, with a particular emphasis on black intellectual history, black internationalism, legal studies, critical race theory, and visual culture. She is the author of Sanctuary: African Americans and Empire (Oxford University Press, 2011).  An associate editor of the award winning Remembering Jim Crow (New Press, 2001), Waligora-Davis’s essays have appeared in numerous publications including the Cambridge History of African American Literature, the Cambridge Companion to American Literature after 1945, Centennial Review, African American Review, Modern Fiction Studies, and the Mississippi Quarterly. She is currently working on a book-length study titled, The Murder Book: Race, Forensics and the Value of Black Life.