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Princeton Weekly Bulletin   June 18, 2007, Vol. 96, No. 29   prev   next   current

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Fourteen faculty members transfer to emeritus status

By Eric Quiñones

Princeton NJ — Fourteen faculty members were transferred to emeritus status in recent action by the Board of Trustees.

They are: Paul Benacerraf, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy; Nancy Bermeo, professor of politics; Herman Ermolaev, professor of Slavic languages and literatures; Sam Glucksberg, professor of psychology; Maitland Jones Jr., the David B. Jones Professor of Chemistry; Daniel Kahneman, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs; Ulrich Knoepflmacher, the William and Annie S. Paton Foundation Professor of Ancient and Modern Literature; Suzanne Nash, professor of French and Italian; Andrew Plaks, professor of East Asian studies and comparative literature; Thomas Spiro, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Chemistry; Howard Taylor, professor of sociology; Scott Tremaine, the Charles A. Young Professor of Astronomy on the Class of 1897 Foundation; John Willis, professor of Near Eastern studies; and John Wilmerding, the Christopher Binyon Sarofim ’86 Professor in American Art.

All are effective July 1, 2007, except for Kahneman’s, Spiro’s and Tremaine’s, which are effective Sept. 1, 2007.


Paul Benacerraf

Benacerraf joined the philosophy faculty in 1960, the same year he earned his Ph.D. from Princeton. He also earned his A.B. from the University in 1953. As a Princeton student, Benacerraf studied with Hilary Putnam, with whom he later edited the anthology “Philosophy of Mathematics” (1964), which shaped the field for the rest of the century.

Benacerraf twice served as chair of the Department of Philosophy, from 1975 to 1984 and from 1992 to 1999, helping to build a lively intellectual community and first-rate teaching and research department. His own work has been widely influential, particularly in metaphysics and the philosophy of mathematics. Benacerraf’s seminal papers “What Numbers Could Not Be” (1965) and “Mathematical Truth” (1973) raised questions that philosophers continue to explore. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Benacerraf also played key roles in the University administration, serving as provost from 1988 to 1991, associate provost for special studies from 1968 to 1970 and associate dean of the Graduate School from 1965 to 1967. As associate provost, he worked with then-Provost William Bowen (a future University president) and President Robert Goheen to help strengthen the case for coeducation at Princeton.

Bermeo (photo not available) came to Princeton in 1983 after a year of teaching at Dartmouth College. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, she earned her Ph.D. at Yale University. Bermeo’s teaching and research interests are regime change, labor, civil society, political learning and institutional design. While she started off focusing on Southern Europe, her work also has come to include studies of Western Europe, the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Bermeo has written two books and numerous articles and co-edited six volumes that have shaped social science debate. Her 2003 book “Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times: The Citizenry and Collapse of Democracy” was a landmark comparative study of democratic breakdown in 17 countries in Europe and Latin America. It received the 2004 Best Book Award from the American Political Science Association’s Democratization Section and was named a 2005 Outstanding Academic Title from Choice Magazine. Bermeo was appointed this spring as the Nuffield Professor of Comparative Politics at Oxford University and is now head of Oxford’s Centre for Democracy and Political Change. She currently is working on a book that examines how the legacies of war affect new democracies.

In 1998, Bermeo was presented with the politics department’s first Stanley Kelley Jr. Teaching Award. She also has received grants and fellowships from the Fulbright Association, the Social Science Research Council, the German Marshall Fund and the Carnegie Endowment, among other organizations.


Herman Ermolaev

Ermolaev has spent his entire academic career at Princeton, joining the faculty in 1959, the same year he earned his Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley. Born in Siberia, Ermolaev served in a civilian sapper army during World War II and was captured by the Nazis, but escaped and made his way to Austria. He studied at the University of Graz before coming to the United States and earning a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University.

Ermolaev’s scholarship has focused on Russian literature of the Soviet period, and he is widely recognized as one of the world’s authorities in this field. His first book, “Soviet Literary Theories, 1917-1934: The Genesis of Socialist Realism,” was based on his dissertation and remains the standard work on the subject. His books also include “Mikhail Sholokhov and His Art,” “‘The Quiet Don’ and Political Censorship” and “Censorship in Soviet Literature, 1917-1991.”

As a teacher at Princeton, Ermolaev is known for a survey course on Soviet literature, which he brought alive through personal reminiscence, history and literature, as well as a popular class on the works of Russian Nobel laureate Aleksander Solzhenitsyn. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Ermolaev has returned often to his native country. His scholarly works appear in Russian journals, and he has been interviewed in Russian newspapers and on television.


Sam Glucksberg

Glucksberg earned a bachelor’s degree from the City College of New York and a Ph.D. from New York University. He served in the military for three years as a research psychologist at the U.S. Army Human Engineering Laboratories before joining the Princeton faculty in 1963.

Glucksberg is a pioneer in the field of experimental psycholinguistics. As one of the field’s true generalists, he has contributed to many different research areas, including problem solving, thinking, categorization and the psychology of language and communication in children and adults. Over the past 20 years, Glucksberg has focused on the experimental study of figurative language — metaphor, idioms, sarcasm and irony — examining how people use and understand such language in everyday life.

Glucksberg has introduced generations of Princeton students to psychological science through his undergraduate courses, and has been an influential graduate student mentor. He has served as editor of two of the field’s most prominent journals, Psychological Science and the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. In addition, he has used his expertise in language and communication to consult on legal issues, typically those involving consumer and workplace safety, contributing to improved consumer product and workplace safety designs.


Maitland Jones Jr.

Jones, a prolific researcher and dedicated teacher in the field of organic chemistry, earned undergraduate and doctoral degrees at Yale University. He came to Princeton in 1964, a year after completing his Ph.D.

Jones’ publications include more than 200 papers, monographs and books, most of them with co-authors including some 60 undergraduates, 30 graduate students, and 34 postdoctoral and visiting fellows. Some of those visitors to “Jones Alley,” as his lab was known, were among the first Chinese and Russian scientists to be permitted to come to the United States after having been shut out during the Cold War.

As a teacher, Jones’ signature has been the introductory yearlong undergraduate course on organic chemistry taken by most of the aspiring scientists, engineers and pre-med students to graduate from Princeton. The course has garnered strong reviews even as it is rated among the toughest at Princeton. As an alternative to the traditional lecture course, Jones created a peer-led organic chemistry course, using undergraduates as teaching assistants to work with students in more intimate problem-solving sessions. He also spent 10 years developing a 1,400-page textbook, “Organic Chemistry,” now in its third edition.


Daniel Kahneman

Kahneman, a Nobel laureate, received his bachelor’s degree from Hebrew University and his Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley. He taught at Hebrew University, the University of British Columbia and Berkeley before coming to Princeton in 1993.

Kahneman was awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize in economic sciences “for having integrated insights from psychological research into economic science, especially concerning human judgment and decision-making under uncertainty.” For nearly three decades, Kahneman and his colleague, the late Amos Tversky, revolutionized the scientific approach to decision-making and spawned new areas of research in economics, finance, medicine, law, politics and policy. More recently, he has conducted research on the psychological underpinnings of people’s well-being, providing insights into how individuals assess their past experiences and make decisions about the future. The results of this research are increasingly being used in policy-related research and applications.

Kahneman’s numerous honors and awards include a Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Society and from the Society of Consumer Psychology; election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences; the Hilgard Award for Lifetime Contribution to General Psychology; the Warren Medal of the Society of Experimental Psychologists; a Career Achievement Award from the Society for Medical Decision Making; and the Grawemeyer Prize in Psychology.


Ulrich Knoepflmacher

Knoepflmacher earned a Ph.D. from Princeton in 1961 and returned to teach in the Department of English in 1979. He spent the previous 18 years teaching at the University of California-Berkeley, where he had earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. His interests include Victorian literature and culture, 19th-century poetry, the English novel, and English and American children’s books. Knoepflmacher’s work has helped influence the study of children’s literature as a central part of Victorian and early modern literary production.

Knoepflmacher is the author of seven books on Victorian subjects, including “Emily Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’: A Study” and “Ventures Into Childland: Victorians, Fairy Tales and Femininity.” He also edited or co-edited 10 other books, including “The Endurance of ‘Frankenstein’” and “Forbidden Journeys: Fairy Tales and Fantasies by Victorian Women Writers.” He recently finished an illustrated children’s book and is completing a memoir called “Oruro: Growing Up Jewish in the Andes.”

Knoepflmacher developed Prince-ton’s first courses on children’s literature and on Judaism and English culture. He has been active in outreach efforts to promote the study of children’s literature through the Cotsen Children’s Library and the Program in Teacher Preparation. Knoepflmacher also has taught seven seminars for college teachers and schoolteachers for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). His honors include two Guggenheim Fellowships, two NEH research fellowships, a Rockefeller Foundation research fellowship, Princeton’s Behrman Award for distinguished achievement in the humanities and a lifetime achievement award from the Children’s Literature Association.


Suzanne Nash

Nash graduated from Wells College and earned a master’s degree at Cornell University prior to receiving her Ph.D. from Princeton in 1972. She joined the University faculty that same year. Her research and teaching interests include French poetry and poetic theory from 1800 to the present; the works of Baudelaire, Hugo, Apollinaire and Valéry; the interrelations of literature and the visual arts, poetry and sculpture; 19th- and 20th-century literary studies; and feminist history, theory and practice.

Nash’s first two books, “‘Les Contemplations’ of Victor Hugo: An Allegory of the Creative Process” (1976) and “Paul Valéry’s ‘Album de Vers Anciens’: A Past Transfigured” (1983) are considered outstanding contributions to the study of French poetry and poetics in general. In 1993, she edited an important collection of essays, “Home and Its Dislocations in 19th-Century France.” Nash’s book of critical essays linking poetry and sculpture, “Poétique de la Sculpture,” was published in 2007. She also has published numerous articles on modern French poets and currently is working on a book titled “Baudelaire and the Painters of Modern Life.”

Among many activities in service to the University community, Nash was a longtime interdepartmental committee member for the Program in Women’s Studies and served as its acting director in 1990-91. She also led several alumni study trips to France.

Plaks (photo not available) has been a faculty member since 1973, the same year he earned his Ph.D. from Princeton. He also received his A.B. from the University in 1967. He has published significant scholarly works in English, Chinese and Hebrew and is versed in numerous classical and modern languages.

Among Plaks’ many publications in English is his study of 16th-century fiction, “The Four Masterworks of the Ming Novel,” published by Princeton University Press in 1987, with a Chinese translation published in 1993. The book is the pre-eminent critical account of four long narratives that are at the center of the new form of prose fiction that began to be printed in the late Ming period. It was awarded the Joseph Levenson Prize by the Association for Asian Studies as the year’s best work on pre-20th-century China.

In 1987, Plaks also published a book in Chinese that provided a critical selection of Qing dynasty comments on the landmark 18th-century Chinese novel, “The Dream of the Red Chamber” (also known as “Story of the Stone”). In addition, he has published Hebrew and English translations of two of the four books that were foundational texts in Chinese elite education for the past thousand years or so. For more than a dozen years, Plaks taught Chinese literature and Chinese classics at Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the fall and at Princeton in the spring.


Thomas Spiro

Spiro holds a B.S. from the University of California-Los Angeles and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He joined the Princeton faculty in 1963 after undertaking postdoctoral research positions in Sweden and Denmark and spending a year working for Standard Oil. His research interests include bioinorganic chemistry, resonance Raman spectroscopy and environmental chemistry.

Spiro’s laboratory has spearheaded the development of resonance Raman spectroscopy as a tool for revealing the structure and function of biological molecules. The technique takes advantage of the “Raman effect’’ in which light striking a molecule sometimes gains or loses energy in a way that reveals the identity and energy state of the molecule. He has been honored for his pioneering role in applying techniques from physics to understand the function of biological molecules such as proteins and nucleic acids. He also has been recognized for advancing inorganic chemistry through his significant service in the field in addition to his research.

Spiro served as chair of the Department of Chemistry from 1979 to 1988. He also was involved in the creation of the Princeton Environmental Institute and co-wrote an influential textbook, “Chemistry of the Environment,” which is among his nearly 500 publications. Spiro has received the American Chemical Society’s Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry, a MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health, the Biophysical Society Founders Award and the Bomem-Michelson Award for fundamental contributions to molecular spectroscopy.


Howard Taylor

Taylor is a graduate of Hiram College and holds a Ph.D. from Yale University. He came to Princeton in 1973 after serving on the faculty at Syracuse University and the Illinois Institute of Technology. His research and teaching focus on race and ethnicity, social psychology, research methodology and African American studies.

Taylor guided Princeton’s Program in African American Studies during its early years, serving as director from 1973 to 1988 and setting a course for its continued success and recent expansion into the Center for African American Studies. He also has shaped the Department of Sociology’s undergraduate and graduate offerings in the study of race, social class and gender. Taylor’s popular courses include “The Social Basis of Individual Behavior” and “Race, Class and Intelligence in America.” During the past decade alone, he taught more than 2,300 undergraduates.

In addition to his teaching and service to the University and his field, Taylor has been recognized for his distinguished record of publication, in particular “The IQ Game: A Methodological Inquiry into the Heredity-Environment Controversy” (1980), “Balance in Small Groups” (1970), numerous journal articles and his introductory sociology text “Sociology: The Essentials,” with Margaret Anderson (now in its fourth edition). His forthcoming book is titled “Race and Class and the Bell Curve in America.” Taylor’s honors and awards include the 2000 President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching from Princeton and the 1998 DuBois-Johnson-Frazier Award from the American Sociological Association for distinguished research in race and ethnic relations.


Scott Tremaine

Tremaine, a graduate of McMaster University, earned his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1975. He returned to the University as a faculty member in 1997, coming from the University of Toronto, where he was a professor and founding director of the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics. Tremaine also directed the Program in Cosmology and Gravity at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, was a faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a long-term member of the Institute for Advanced Study. He has rejoined the institute as the Richard Black Professor of Astrophysics.

Tremaine is a theoretical astrophysicist whose work focuses on the structure of galaxies and the formation and dynamics of planetary systems, including comets and planetary rings. He is the co-author (with James Binney) of the influential book “Galactic Dynamics,” and the author or co-author of some 150 papers in the Astrophysical Journal, Icarus and other journals.

A former Sloan Research Fellow, Tremaine is the recipient of many prizes and awards, including the Heinemann Prize for Astrophysics of the American Astronomical Society, the Beals Award of the Canadian Astronomical Society and the Rutherford Medal in Physics of the Royal Society of Canada. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the Royal Society of London and the Royal Society of Canada, an associate of the Royal Astronomical Society and a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


John Willis

Willis earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona, his master’s degree from Boston University and his Ph.D. from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. He joined the Princeton faculty in 1972 after teaching at the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Birmingham and working for the Peace Corps, where he helped establish programs in the Ivory Coast, Niger and Dahomey.

Willis’ fields of research include: the history of Islam in Africa; the Islamic concept of jihad; Islamic concepts of revivalism and revivalist movements; Sufi orders and Islamic mysticism; and the sources of legal opinion in Islam. His 1988 book, “In the Path of Allah: The Passion of al-Hajj’Umar,” deals with an important Muslim reformer and warrior in 19th-century African history. Willis also has edited and contributed to books on African history, such as “Studies in West African Islamic History: The Cultivators of Islam” (1979) and “Slaves and Slavery in Muslim Africa” (1985).

Willis has taught undergraduate courses and graduate seminars on the societies, institutions and Arabic literature of Islamic Africa, covering material from the 16th century to the dawn of the 20th century. He served as director of Princeton’s Program in African American Studies in 1972 and was the founder and original editor of Slavery and Abolition: A Journal of Comparative Studies, for which he continues to serve on the editorial board. Currently he is organizing an exhibition at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City titled “Mr. Jefferson and His Book.”


John Wilmerding

Wilmerding has been a Princeton faculty member since 1988. Prior to coming to Princeton, he served as curator of American art, senior curator and deputy director at the National Gallery of Art and as a faculty member at Dartmouth College.

Wilmerding served as chair of Princeton’s Department of Art and Archaeology from 1992 to 1999, guiding its expansion as well as a major renovation of McCormick Hall. Through his research and teaching, he has made definitive contributions to American art history. His work has included authoritative studies of major 19th- and 20th-century American artists such as Fitz Henry Lane, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, John Peto, George Bellows, Andrew Wyeth and Richard Estes, as well as topics such as landscape painting, American cultural and intellectual history, and artists’ signatures and autobiography.

Wilmerding has documented and developed the Princeton University Art Museum’s American collection and substantively reorganized its American galleries. During his tenure at the University, he served as visiting curator in the department of American art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and he is a trustee of the Guggenheim Museum and the National Gallery of Art. He also has been a devoted collector of 19th-century American art for 40 years, assembling a collection that was exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in 2004.


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