Faculty Advisory Panel


Maria Fabiola Lopez Duran (Art History) focuses her research and teaching on the history and theory of modern and contemporary European and Latin American art and architecture. Her forthcoming 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.



Reto Geiser is a designer and scholar of modern architecture with a focus on the intersections between architecture, pedagogy, and media. He is the Gus Wortham Assistant Professor at the Rice School of Architecture where he teaches history, theory, and design. A registered architect in Switzerland, he studied architecture at ETH Zurich and Columbia University in New York, and holds a PhD from ETH Zurich. He previously taught at the University of Michigan, and was a Marshall McLuhan Fellow at the University of Toronto. Geiser's writings have been published widely. His forthcoming book Giedion and America (2018) traces aspects of cultural transfer and transatlantic exchange in the work of Swiss art historian and architecture critic Sigfried Giedion. He is the co-author of Reading Revolutionaries (2014), the editor of award-winning House is a House is a House is a House is a House (2016) and Explorations in Architecture (2008), and the series editor of Standpunkte Dokumente. Current research includes the project “Print and Screen” an investigation of the shift from print and post-print production and new forms of publishing in the information age. His curatorial works include the exhibition Explorations: Teaching, Design, Research, Switzerland’s official contribution to the 11th Venice Architecture Biennial. A founding principal of the collaborative design practice MG&Co., Reto is developing spatial strategies in a range of scales from the book to the house, exploring the boundaries of design and research with a special focus on the intersections and overlaps between architecture, installation, textiles and typography.

www.printandscreen.org (project website, with HRC connection through masterclass)

www.arch.rice.edu/People/Faculty/Reto-Geiser/ (School of Architecture website)

www.molletgeiser.com (practice website)



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/    




Alida Metcalf 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 Fares el-Dahdah she co-directs imagineRio, a digital humanities project on the social and architectural history of Rio de Janeiro.



Astrid Oesmann (Jewish Studies, Classical & European Studies) 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. See her faculty page in Classical & European Studies here.



Ian Schimmel 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. Professor 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?" (whatdidyoueatforbreakfast.com). 



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.