2018-2019

Margaret Andrews
Department of History
Assistant Professor

Margaret Andrews is an archaeologist and ancient historian focusing on the intersection of Roman social history and material culture over the longue durée. She is particularly interested in the social dynamics of ancient cities, specifically the recursive relationship between large-scale social change and urban transformation. Her current book project uses a combination of written, material, and visual evidence to analyze the physical development of a neighborhood in Rome from the Bronze Age to the Early Middle Ages (ca. 850 BCE-850 CE) and to show how this area of the city became the primary locus for expressing normative, institutional values of female social roles in the built environment throughout its history. Meg comes to the University of Chicago from Brown University, where she was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Classical Archaeology at the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World. She received her Ph.D. in Mediterranean archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015.

What can students look forward to in their interactions with you?

True intellectual and personal mentorship. I’ve benefitted significantly from having several very close mentors throughout my scholarly career, particularly those with whom I’ve done fieldwork. Nine weeks in a tent breaks down barriers fast! These relationships have made all the difference for my experience in the academic world. Students need this kind of support more than ever these days, so I’m very interested in making sure they get this from me, in whatever ways they need it, just as I did from my mentors.

Describe one object you have in your office that helps you in your work:

Scattered across my shelves are lots of objects that students have made in many of the courses I’ve taught—models of ancient buildings and aqueducts, wax tablets that were used for correspondence in the Roman world, a mock streetscape with walls covered in Roman graffiti, and even an original textile inspired by Roman domestic artwork that a student wove. As an archaeologist, I like to bring the materiality that is the focus of our work to the students. Images, plans, and written descriptions can only convey so much, but handling actual ancient objects, creating them yourself, or recreating an ancient practice gives the students experiential knowledge of the culture and engages different modes of thinking and analysis.

Simon Mongey
Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics
Assistant Professor

Simon Mongey focuses on understanding the role of market structure for business cycle dynamics and the empirical relationship between market concentration and inflation. He also works on the effects of student debt on job choice and the role of firms’ recruiting effort in the dynamics of labor markets. Mongey received his Ph.D. in economics from New York University and a B.A. in economics from the University of Melbourne. He was a junior scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in 2017-2018. He is currently also a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

What can students look forward to in their interactions with you?

In winter I'll be teaching ECON20210, and hoping to integrate more empirical work into our discussion of macroeconomic models and policy. It’s easy as an undergraduate to feel like Economics is only theory whereas in practice research is more of a constant conversation between the two. I hope to bring a bit more of that to the classroom.

If you could invite three specialists in your field (living or dead) to dinner, who would you choose, and what would you talk about?

Tom Sargent, Virgiliu Midrigan, Andy Atkeson. I find it very easy to get bogged in the weeds when doing research. These three know exactly the right amount of detail necessary to make big points.

René Flores
Department of Sociology
Neubauer Family Assistant Professor

René Flores studies the fields of international migration, race and ethnicity, and social stratification. His research to date has examined the social consequences of subnational restrictionist immigration policies in the U.S. using administrative, ethnographic, and social media data. His current research projects include an experimental study of the determinants of perceived immigrant illegality, an investigation of the effect of non-ethnic factors on ethnoracial identity in Latin America, and a set of papers assessing the adaptation of Latino and Asian immigrants in the U.S. using social media data. His work has appeared in American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Social Forces, and Social Problems, among others. Flores received his Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Policy from Princeton University.

What can students look forward to in their interactions with you?

In my opinion, sociology is at its best when it challenges students’ preconceived notions about the social world and makes them wonder. Are things what they appear to be? Why are social arrangements the way they are? Can they be changed? I look forward to engaging with Chicago students and embarking together on the long, tortuous but ultimately gratifying path of knowledge discovery. One of the aspects that I found very appealing about Chicago, besides the pleasant winter weather and low property taxes, is the intellectual rigor of its undergraduate and graduate students. This place was described to me as a place in which ideas matter and students care more about learning than about accumulating credentials. It there a better selling point? Maybe, but it is still quite neat.

If you could invite three specialists in your field (living or dead) to dinner, who would you choose, and what would you talk about?

Isn’t bringing people back from death slightly sacrilegious? But putting that momentarily aside, I would like to have dinner with Andre from the film “My Dinner with Andre.” I find this type of character, unconventional, searching for a deeper truth, absolutely irresistible. I have also thought of hanging in my office portraits of thinkers I admire like sociologists Robert Merton or Paul Lazarsfeld or philosopher Bertrand Russell, but I always end up checking my impulses. What stops me? I am weary of succumbing to a Catholic impulse to collect saints. You realize how odd this is once you start visiting temples from other faiths.

Natacha Nsabimana
Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow (2018-2020)
Assistant Professor (7/1/2020-)
Department of Anthropology

Natacha Nsabimana’s research interests include law and subjectivity, musical movements, postcolonial critique, and the cultural and political worlds of African peoples on the continent and the diaspora. She received her Ph.D. in socio-cultural anthropology from Columbia University, where her dissertation examined the everyday aftermath of violence in post-genocide Rwanda, particularly the ways in which the violence of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi occupies the spatial memory of Rwanda's landscape and the kinds of individual and national narratives such memory allows and disavows. She received MA and BA degrees in Anthropology and Aboriginal Studies from the University of Toronto.

Describe one object you have in your office that helps you in your work

The chair across my desk in which students, colleagues and friends sit while we exchange about this or that idea, a social or political question.

If you could invite three specialists in your field (living or dead) to dinner, who would you choose, and what would you talk about?

The question of freedom and collective self-determination is one I think about often. What does freedom mean? What does collective self-determination entail? Zora Neale Hurston, Karl Marx, Toni Morison, Frantz Fanon and Steve Biko have in their own field taken up these questions and their different ramifications at the level of the body politic, the economy, interpersonal relations and much more. I would ask them to reflect on these questions vis-à-vis the contemporary world in which most people are theoretically free yet still in many ways somewhat entrapped. I would also ask about writing. They are all multi-dimensional writers with not only deliberate, careful and precise language but a style that is at once both visual and sonic.

Steven Pincus
The Thomas E. Donnelly Professor of British History and the College, Department of History
Steven Pincus works on Atlantic history, the history of Britain and its Empire, global history, early American history, and the history of the Netherlands, early modern European History, with a particular emphasis on the history of political economy and state formation. He is the author of Protestantism and Patriotism: Ideologies and the Making of English Foreign Policy, 1650-1668 and England’s Glorious Revolution 1688-89, 1688: The First Modern Revolution, and most recently The Heart of the Declaration: The Founders’ Case for Activist Government. He has published numerous essays on the economic, cultural, political and intellectual history of early modern Britain, early modern Empires, the British Empire, and the early modern Atlantic. Currently, Pincus is completing a book on the global British Empire (c. 1650-1784) that offers a new interpretation of the American Revolution and the origins of British India, and a book comparing the Irish Revolution (1778-1782) with the American Revolution. Pincus, who was at UChicago from 1993 until 2005, is returning from Yale University.

In which section of the library do you enjoy being in the most? Why? Name a few of the most interesting books you’ve found there.

The D section of the stacks at Regenstein. What I especially enjoy discovering are collections of primary materials printed in the 19th century and hardly used today because they have either been badly catalogued or because they never made it into the historiographical mainstream.

If you could invite three specialists in your field (living or dead) to dinner, who would you choose, and what would you talk about?

Hmm. Adam Smith, Sir John Seeley, and John Elliot. These are all people who have shaped the study of the British Empire. For Adam Smith I would like to ask him when it was that the empire was so central to his concepts of political economy and economics. Sir John Selley thought the British Empire was a beneficial polity, but he did not think India was properly part of the British Empire. I would like to ask him why he excluded India, and if he included India would he think it so beneficial? Elliot has forced scholars of empire to think comparatively. But he only thought about the Atlantic segments of Spanish and British Empires. How would his conceptions change if he were to think about the empires as a whole?

Susan Stokes
The Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor and Director of the Program on Democracy, Political Science
Susan Stokes focuses on democratic theory, distributive politics, comparative political behavior and how democracy works in developing societies. She was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2008. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, Fulbright, the American Philosophical Society, and the Russell Sage Foundation. She is the author or co-author of five books, including the forthcoming, Why Bother? Rethinking Participation in Elections and Protests co-authored with S. Erdem Aytaç; Brokers, Voters, and Clientelism, co-authored with Thad Dunning, Marcelo Nazareno and Valeria Brusco and recipient of best-book prizes from the Comparative Politics and Comparative Democratization sections of American Political Science Association; and Mandates and Democracy: Neoliberalism by Surprise in Latin America, which received prizes from the APSA Comparative Democratization section, the Society for Comparative Research, and the Hallett Prize for a lasting-contribution award. Stokes’s articles have appeared in The American Political Science Review, World Politics, and The Latin American Research Review. Stokes, who was at UChicago from 1991 until 2005, is returning from Yale University.

Learn more about Professor Stokes in this issue’s Commons Ground.

Kathryn Takabvirwa
Anthropology
Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow (2018-2020)
Assistant Professor (2020-)

Kathryn Takabvirwa is a social and cultural anthropologist who works in Southern Africa. Her research explores the ways conceptions of citizenship and of the state are reconfigured in times of national crisis. She is currently working on a book manuscript on police roadblocks in Zimbabwe. Tentatively titled How to Ask for a Bribe, it is an ethnography that presents a close examination of encounters between police officers and those they stop along Zimbabwe’s roads, in the wake of Zimbabwe’s historic economic and sociopolitical crisis. Dr. Takabvirwa has also written on xenophobic violence in South Africa, following research on local governance and migration. She received her PhD in Anthropology from Stanford University in 2018.

Describe one object you have in your office that helps you in your work.

There’s a post-it on my wall on which I scribbled a quote from Toni Morrison’s Beloved. It’s from p319. It reads: “She is a friend of my mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to in the right order…” It is perhaps one of the most often cited lines in Toni Morrison’s work, but every time I look up at that post-it, it’s like I’m reading it for the first time. Each time, the text calls me to stop, and breathe. To remember that I am a person who is made up of a constellation of parts that are ever dancing and jostling with themselves, and so too are the people that I have the privilege to write about. It reminds me to ask who or what it is that gathers me, that gives me back to myself “in the right order,” and to invest there. What I love about being an anthropologist is that I get to sit with people as they process the pieces of their selves, and to write about the gathering, the scattering, and the ordering of those pieces.

In which section of the library do you enjoy being in the most? Why? Name a few of the most interesting books you’ve found there.

In Regenstein, I’m going to enjoy the third floor stacks where the call numbers starting with PR- are housed: African literature and poetry. There is a happy collection of works by Zimbabwean writers there – texts that I grew up on and to which I look forward to introducing my students, like Tsitsi Dangarembwa’s Nervous Conditions, and works I have always wanted to read, like Chenjerai Hove’s Rainbows in the Dust.

Rochelle Terman
Provost Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Political Science

Rochelle Terman examines international norms, gender and advocacy, using a mix of quantitative, qualitative and computational methods, with a focus on the Muslim world. Her work has appeared in International Studies Quarterly; Review of International Organizations; and Theory, Culture & Society, among others. She is currently working on a book project examining resistance and defiance towards international norms, based on her dissertation, which won the 2017 Merze Tate Award for the best dissertation in international relations, law, and politics from the American Political Science Association. She was a post-doc at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University and received the PhD in Political Science with a designated emphasis in Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

What can students look forward to in their interactions with you?

Students can look forward to an inclusive, support environment that places strong emphasis on intellectual curiosity and growth.

If you could invite three specialists in your field (living or dead) to dinner, who would you choose, and what would you talk about?

I would like to get Pierre Bourdieu, Hannah Arendt, and Emile Durkheim together and watch The Bachelor.