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American Studies

Faculty & Staff

Other Participating Faculty

Kerry Buckley

Kerry Buckley is author of Mechanical Man: John Broadus Watson and the Beginnings of Behaviorism, co-editor, with Christopher Clark, of Letters from an American Utopia: The Stetson family and the Northampton Association, 1843–1847, and editor of A Place Called Paradise: Culture and Community in Northampton, Massachusetts, 1654–2004. His articles and reviews have appeared in The New England Quarterly and The Journal of American History.

Richard T. Chu

Richard Chu received his bachelor's degree from Ateneo de Manila University (1986), his master's degree from Stanford University (1994) and his doctoral degree from the University of Southern California. Proficient in Tagalog, Chinese (Mandarin and Hokkien) and Spanish, Chu was born and raised in the Philippines, but has spent some time in China.

Chu's research focuses on the history of the Chinese and Chinese mestizos in the Philippines and the different Chinese diasporic communities in the world, centering on issues of ethnicity, gender and nationalism. More recently, he has begun a new field of research: the history of Filipino Americans in New England. He has published several well-received articles, including "Rethinking the Chinese Mestizos of the Philippines" (in Shen and Edwards, Centre for the Study of the Chinese Southern Diaspora, ANU, 2002), "The Chineses and Mestizos of the Philippines: Towards a New Interpretation" (Philippine Studies Journal, 2002) and "The Chinaman Question: A Conundrum in U.S. Imperial Policy in the Pacific" (Kritika Kultura, 2006).

Chu is currently revising his first book manuscript Catholic, Sangley, Mestizo: Negotiating Chinese Identities in Manila 1870–1925. He received the Young China Scholars Award given by the China Times Cultural Foundation in 2000, and his research has been funded by various fellowships such as the Chin-Ben See Memorial Fund, the Ahmanson Foundation, and the Centre for Intercultural Studies at the University of Santo Tomás (Manila).

W. T. "Rip" Lhamon, Jr.

W. T. Lhamon trained in American literature but entered into American Studies in 1985, when he brought Constance Rourke's American Humor back into print and attention. His own first book was an account of American postmodernism, Deliberate Speed (1990; rpt. with a new preface in 2002). Since then, earlier American culture—and the claims it can make on the present—has attracted him.

He has published Raising Cain: Blackface Performance from Jim Crow to Hip Hop (1998) and Jump Jim Crow: Lost Plays, Lyrics, and Street Prose of the First Atlantic Popular Culture (2003). He is currently writing Secret Histories, about the slow meting out of cultural democracy from Macheath to Bob Dylan. Its many examples range from Herman Melville, Dan Emmett and Nathaniel Hawthorne to Bert Williams and ragtime, from the Gershwin brothers to Brecht and Weill and Lenya, from Thelonious Monk and Billie Holiday to Frank O'Hara and Larry Rivers.

Sujani Reddy

Sujani Reddy is Five Colleges assistant professor of Asian/Pacific/American Studies at Amherst College. Her interests include cross critical race theory, postcolonial theory, transnational feminisms, South Asian diaspora, American studies and comparative ethnic studies. She is currently working on a manuscript on the history of Indian nurse migration to the United States. In addition, Reddy has been active in campaigns against police brutality, immigrant detention and corporate-led globalization; and has worked across a variety of settings as an educator and community media producer.

Russ Rymer
Russ Rymer was the 2009-10 Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. In 2008-9 he was a Lecturer in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies at MIT. He has been a Visiting Professor of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, Instructor at the California Institute of Technology, and Distinguished Writer in Residence at St. Mary's College in Moraga, California.

Rymer served as editor-in-chief of Mother Jones magazine and executive editor of Portland (Oregon) Monthly. He has been senior editor or staff writer for other national magazines and daily newspapers including Science ’86, a monthly magazine published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Hippocrates, and The Sciences, a magazine published by the New York Academy of Sciences.

Rymer has contributed articles to major magazines and newspapers, including The New Yorker, National Geographic, Harper’s, Atlantic, Smithsonian, Vogue, Los Angeles Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, and The Strad. He has written two books. Genie—A Scientific Tragedy (HarperCollins, 1993) was translated into six languages and transformed into a NOVA television documentary, received a 1995 Whiting Writers Award from the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, and was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award. American Beach—A Saga of Race, Wealth, and Memory (HarperCollins, 1998) was nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year Award for Researched Non-fiction, and named a New York Times Notable Book.

Rymer has lectured on topics in creative non-fiction and journalism ethics to classes and forums at a number of colleges, including Columbia University, University of Southern California, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University, and Sciences Po Paris. He’s discussed journalism subjects in many media appearances, including “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross, “The Diane Rehm Show”, and “The Today Show” with Katie Couric and in addresses before such groups as the National Association of Science Writers, the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, and the Commonwealth Club.

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation appointed Rymer a Guggenheim Fellow in 2002.

Rymer's third book and first novel, The Battle of Sévre-Babylone, will be published by Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt in 2013.

Dava Sobel
Science writer Dava Sobel is the Joan Leiman Jacobson Non-Fiction Writer in Residence at Smith College and the author of Longitude, Galileo's Daughter, The Planets, and A More Perfect Heaven. She worked as a reporter for the science section of The New York Times, a contributing editor to Harvard Magazine, a columnist for Discover, and spent many years as a full-time free-lance magazine writer before she discovered that writing books was more fun. She has also written a play about Copernicus, called "And the Sun Stood Still," which will have its first fully staged production in spring 2014 with the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company in Colorado.

Before coming to Smith as the Joan Leiman Jacobson Visiting Non-fiction Writer, she enjoyed two other similar teaching positions -- as the Robert Vare Nonfiction Writer-in-Residence at the University of Chicago in 2006 and as the Elizabeth Kirkpatrick Doenges Visiting Artist / Scholar at Mary Baldwin College (Staunton, VA) in 2011.

Her current book project, tentatively titled The Glass Universe, concerns the women who worked as computers for the Harvard College Observatory from the late 1870s through the early 20th century. (Several of them were Smithies!) 

More information about her is available on her web site, davasobel.com.

Nan Wolverton 
Nan Wolverton is the Director of the Center for Historic American Visual Culture (CHAViC) at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts and is executive director of Historic Northampton Museum. She teaches classes for American Studies and the Art Department at Smith. She holds a doctorate in American Studies from the University of Iowa, where the focus of her graduate work was material culture studies. She has worked extensively with American decorative arts and historic interiors and landscapes. From 1996 to 2003 she served as Curator of Decorative Arts at Old Sturbridge Village. She has published articles in The Magazine Antiques, the New England Antiques Journal and the Journal of the New England Garden History Society, among others. In addition, she has essays in Reinterpreting New England Indians and the Colonial Experience (Colin G. Calloway and Neal Salisbury, eds.) and in Rural New England Furniture: People, Place, and Production (The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife). Wolverton has served as a museum consultant for numerous museums including the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, MA, Herman Melville’s Arrowhead in Pittsfield, MA, Historic Deerfield, Inc. in Deerfield, MA, and the Nichols House Museum on Beacon Hill in Boston. For the Houghton Library at Harvard University she prepared an online catalogue of the artifacts on view in their Emily Dickinson Room.