Faculty Advisory Panel

Natasha Bowdoin (Visual and Dramatic Arts, associate professor) teaches studio courses in painting, drawing, and mixed media. Bowdoin completed her undergraduate studies in studio art and classics at Brandeis University and received her MFA in painting from the Tyler School of Art. Known for her intricate cut paper, collage-based work and large-scale installations, Bowdoin's work investigates the intersections of visual, literary and experiential interpretations of the natural workd, reimagining our relationship to nature in the process. Her work has been featured in solo and group exhibtions across the U. S. and throughout Europe. Recent solo exhibitions include Sideways to the Sun at the Moody Center for the Arts at Rice (2019; Seedling at the Talley Dunn Gallery (2019); and Maneater at the Mass MoCA (2018-2019). Her work has been reviewed in publications including Artforum, BOMB and Wallpaper* Magazine. She has recevied fellowships in Artist-in-Residence Programs including the Core Residency Program (Houston, 2008-2010), the RAIR Program (Roswell, 2013) and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art (Omaha, 2013). Most recently Bowdoin has collaborated with artists in situ with her work at the Moody Center (2019) including Puerto Rico-based performance collective Poncili Creación and New York-based performance icon and costume designer Machine Dazzle to pursue how her work can engage with performance. Born and raised in Maine, Bowdoin was a lobsterwoman before pursing art professionally and entering academia.  www.natashabowdoin.com

Luis Duno-Gottberg (Modern and Classical Literatures and Cultures) is a professor of Caribbean and Film Studies and currently serves as the Magister of Baker College. He is the author of Humanity as a Commodity. Modern Slavery in America (2014), Di-solving differences: The ideology of miscegenation in Cuba (2003) and Albert Camus. Nature: Homeland and Exile (1994). He has edited The Films of Arturo Ripstein: The Sinister Gaze of the World (with Manuel Gutiérrez, 2019), Carceral Communities: Troubling Prison Worlds In 21st Century Latin America (2020), Embodiments of Politics. Biopolitics and Culture in Bolivarian Venezuela (2015), Sumerged. Submergido. Alternative Cuban Cinema (2013), Haiti and the Americas (2013), Gazes at the Margin. Cinema and Subalternity in Latin America (2008), Image and Subalternity. The Cinema by Víctor Gaviria (2003), and Culture and Racial Identity in Latin America (2002). His annotated translation of “Estela” (1853), the first Haitian novel was published by Biblioteca Ayacucho in 2015. The English version, featuring his introduction to the novel, was published by Markus in 2014. http://luisdunogottberg.com/

Maria Fabiola López-Durá(Art History, associate professor) focuses her research and teaching on the history and theory of modern and contemporary European and Latin American art and architecture. Her new book, Eugenics in the Garden: Architecture, Medicine and Landscape from France to Latin America in the Early Twentieth Century, investigates a particular strain of eugenics that, at the turn of the twentieth-century, moved from the realms of medicine and law to design, architecture, and urban planning—becoming a critical instrument in the crafting of modernity. Her work analyzes the cross-pollination of ideas and mediums—science, politics and aesthetics—that informed the process of modernization on both sides of the Atlantic, with an emphasis on Latin America.

Cymene Howe (Anthropology, professor) is the author of Intimate Activism (Duke 2013) and Ecologics: Wind and Power in the Antrhopocene (Duke 2019), which follows the human and more-than-human lives intertwined with renewable energy futures. She is co-editor of The Johns Hopkins Guide to Theory and the Anthropocene Unseen: A Lexicon (Punctum 2020) and has published widely in transdisciplinary journals and volumes. Her current research on cryohuman relations examines the changing dynamics between human populations and bodies of ice in the Arctic region and sea level adaptation in lower latitude coastal cities around the world. She co-created the documentary film Not Ok: A Little Movie about a Small Glacier at the End of the World (2019) and in August 2019, initiated the installation of the world's first memorial to a glacier fallen to climate change. The Okjökull memorial event in Iceland served as a global call to action and in memory of a world rapidly melting away.

Alida Metcalf (History, Harris Masterson, Jr. Professor) teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Latin American history. Her undergraduate courses include 'Brazil: Continuities and Changes,' 'Latin American Perspectives,' and 'Rio de Janeiro: A Social and Architectural History' (with Farès el-Dahdah). At the graduate level, she regularly offers seminars in the history of the Luso-Atlantic World, Brazil, and Colonial Latin America. She is accepting Ph.D. students in Latin American History, especially those interested in Brazil. Metcalf directs the Dual Degree program between the history departments of Rice and the Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil, which allows highly talented graduate students to earn two Ph.Ds, one from Rice and one from UNICAMP. Metcalf’s current research focuses on the history of water in Rio de Janeiro. With Farès el-Dahdah she co-directs imagineRio, a digital humanities project on the social and architectural history of Rio de Janeiro.

Astrid Oesmann (Modern and Classical Literatures and Cultures, German Studies, associate professor, Jewish Studies affialiate) is the author of Staging History: Brecht’s Social Concepts of Ideology (2005), which argues that Bertolt Brecht’s theater opens experimental spaces to examine political ideology rather than simply representing it. Together with Matthias Rothe, she is also editor of the forthcoming volume Brecht und das Fragment, which examines fragmentary aspects in Brecht’s writings and performance practice. Dr. Oesmann’s other work centers on questions of how historical trauma and radical political change are represented in literature, performance, and art. Her published work explores how 20th-century theater as a genre has responded to specific historical events in the context of mass culture and entertainment. Currently she works on memory formation and how different aspects of Holocaust history influenced the philosophical approaches of Theodor W. Adorno and Siegfried Kracauer. Expanding on her work on Adorno and the playwright Bertolt Brecht, she examines how the Holocaust has altered our reception and perception of tragedy.

Ian Schimmel (English, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing) teaches courses in fiction writing and radio storytelling and reportage. His own work has appeared in publications such as The Chicago Tribune, North American Review, and Glimmer Train. He is the recipient of a Donald Barthelme Award from the University of Houston, a Hobby-Inprint Fellowship, and was named as a finalist for the 2012 Nelson Algren Award. Schimmel also serves as the faculty advisor for Rice’s literary journal, R2: The Rice Review, and as a resident associate of Jones College. In 2013 and 2017, he received the Hudspeth Endowed Award for his work with R2. In 2015, the journal received the AWP’s National Program Directors’ Prize for “Best Undergraduate Literary Journal.” Ian is currently at work on his first collection of short stories and a novel. He is also the founding editor of the student-produced podcast series, "What Did You Eat For Breakfast?" https://www.whatdidyoueatforbreakfast.com/

George Sher (Philosophy, Herbert S. Autrey Professor) teaches courses on social and political philosophy and moral psychology. In recent years, his research has centered on two main topics: responsibility and distributive justice. He is the author of In Praise of Blame (2005) and Who Knew? Responsibility Without Awareness (2009) that deal with questions of blame and the role of knowledge in determining responsibility. The two books unify how we are related to our acts and omissions and imply that blame and responsibility are less closely linked to control than many imagine. In Equality for Inegalitarians (2014), the theme of control figures prominently. The main question is what role our choices should play in determining our shares of such goods as wealth, opportunity, and subjective welfare. Since these books, Sher has focused on unintentional omissions, moral ignorance, the relation between desert and justice, and the political significance of domination.