2016/17 New Faculty

Basic Writing Program

Karen GocsikKaren Gocsik

Associate Teaching Professor (LSOE)
Director of Basic Writing Program
Appointment effective 7/1/16

Karen Gocsik received her Ph.D. in English Literature from Case Western Reserve University in 1987. For the last three years, Professor Gocsik served as the Director of the Warren College Writing Program at UC San Diego. For 25 years prior to her arrival at UC San Diego, she served as the Executive Director of Composition at Dartmouth College. While at Dartmouth, she helped to establish the innovative Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning, serving as a member of its executive team.

Professor Gocsik’s research interests focus on the teaching and practice of composition, including how novice writers construct new knowledge; how students compose multimodally; and issues pertinent to writing program administration. She is also the primary author of the Norton Writing about… series, which includes Writing about Movies, Writing about American Literature, and Writing about World Literature.

Professor Gocsik has been recognized for her undergraduate teaching at Dartmouth College, receiving the Dean of Faculty Teaching Award in 2010 and the Student Assembly Teaching Award in 2006. In 2012, she was named one of the Princeton Review’s Top Three Hundred Professors.

Professor Gocsik looks forward to teaching in and directing the Basic Writing Program.


Nir ShafirNir Shafir

Assistant Professor
Appointment effective 6/30/16

Nir Shafir received his Ph.D. in History from UCLA in 2016. Professor Shafir’s research broadly explores the intellectual and cultural history of the late medieval and early modern Middle East (1200-1800). In particular, he examines the intersections of knowledge production, religious practice, and material culture in the seventeenth-century Ottoman Empire.

His doctoral research was supported by grants from a number of funding agencies including the Social Science Research Council, the National Science Foundation, and the Fulbright Commission. In 2017 and 2018, he will be a Mellon Mediterranean Research fellow at Consortium of American Overseas Research Centers and a research fellow at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul under the auspices of the ERC Consolidator Grant Project: “The Fashioning of a Sunni Orthodoxy in the Ottoman Empire, 1500-1800.”

Professor Shafir’s work has appeared in the Journal of Global History and the Journal of Ottoman and Turkish Studies. He is currently working on a book manuscript that uses the insights of material culture and the history of the book to reinterpret Islamic religious transformation in the eastern Mediterranean during the seventeenth century. His future articles include studies of antiquarianism in the Ottoman Empire, the significance of a medical procedure known as ‘hummus cauterization’ in the seventeenth-century Middle East, and the impact of cheap and ephemeral writing on the archival order of the empire. He is a frequent host on the Ottoman History Podcast and curates the podcast’s History of Science Series in addition to being the co-founder of hazine.info, a website dedicated to exploring the archives and libraries of the Islamic world. He is also a founding organizer of the Digital Ottoman Platform, which aims to create basic infrastructure for future data-driven analyses of Middle Eastern history. At UCSD, he will teach classes in the history of the pre-modern Islamic world, the history of science and knowledge, and global history.


Hoang Tan NguyenHoang Tan Nguyen

Associate Professor
Appointment effective 6/30/16

Dr. Nguyen received his Ph.D. in rhetoric, with an emphasis in film studies, from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2008, and an M.F.A. in studio art from the University of California, Irvine, in 1996. He was an associate professor at Bryn Mawr College prior to his appointment at UCSD. His primary interests include Asian American visual culture, experimental film and video, race and pornography, transnational sexuality, and video production. His first book, A View from the Bottom: Asian American Masculinity and Sexual Representation (Duke 2014), examines racially gendered positionings in film, video, and performance across transnational Asian/American contexts. Currently, he is studying the aesthetic strategies employed by queer Thai and Vietnamese filmmakers to contest and collaborate in the production and regulation of proper citizenship. In the fall of 2005, he was a residential fellow at the University of California Humanities Research Institute in the cluster, "The Object of Media Studies." Dr. Nguyen was a regional faculty fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Humanities Forum in academic year 2015-16 in the Mellon Research Seminar on “Sex." His experimental videos have screened at the Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of Modern Art at the Pompidou Center, the Getty Center, and film and media festivals in the U.S. and internationally. He will offer undergraduate courses in Asian American film, race and new media, experimental video, and global queer cinema.

Brandon SomBrandon Som

Assistant Professor

Appointment effective 6/30/16

Brandon Som received his Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California in 2014. He is the author of the poetry collection The Tribute Horse (Nightboat Books), winner of the 2015 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and the poetry chapbook Babel's Moon (Tupelo Press), winner of the Snowbound Prize. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Prior to joining the faculty at UCSD, he was the Anne Newman Sutton Weeks Poet-in-Residence at Westminster College. His teaching and writing interests include 20th and 21st century American poetry, transpacific literature, Asian American and Chicanx poetry, citational poetics, and sound studies. Dr. Som will teach undergraduate writing courses as well as workshops in UCSD's MFA Program in Writing.

Ameeth VijayAmeeth Vijay

Assistant Professor
Appointment effective 6/30/16

Ameeth Vijay received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine, in 2015. He was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the humanities program at Boğaziçi University during the 2015-2016 academic year. His research interests are in global anglophone literature, modern and contemporary British literature, postcolonial studies and urban studies. He specifically examines the intersections between literature, urban planning and architecture in the various ways these disciplines imagine and create future places. His book project tracks the persistence of colonial relationships in the development of contemporary spaces, including global cities. Professor Vijay has several years of teaching experience in literature, philosophy and cultural studies, both in the United States and abroad as a professor in Istanbul, Turkey, where he taught an interdisciplinary humanities survey course. He has also worked extensively with the Graduate Student Resource center at UC Irvine to improve graduate student writing across all fields and disciplines and to connect graduate students to funding opportunities. At UC San Diego, he will teach courses in anglophone, British, and postcolonial literatures, with a specific thematic emphases on urbanization and immigration.

Kathryn WalkiewiczKathryn Walkiewicz

Assistant Professor
Appointment effective 6/30/16

Dr. Walkiewicz received her Ph.D. in literature from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in August 2014. Prior to her appointment at UCSD she was an assistant professor of English and American Studies at Kennesaw State University in the Atlanta metro area, and she currently serves as a member of the American Studies Association’s Committee on Critical Ethnic Studies. While at Kennesaw State, Dr. Walkiewicz developed campus wide programming to raise awareness and promote discussion of North Georgia’s significance as Cherokee homelands. Dr. Walkiewicz is a co-editor of the anthology The People Who Stayed: Southeastern Indian Writing After Removal (University of Oklahoma, 2010) and her article analyzing the significance of 2010 English-only legislation in Oklahoma is forthcoming later this year in NAIS: Journal of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. Her current book project, developed from her dissertation, focuses on U.S.-Indigenous relations and nineteenth-century narratives of territoriality and statehood. Dr. Walkiewicz’s research was supported by campus wide fellowships while a doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois, namely a Nicholson fellowship through the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) and an INTERSECT: Cultures of Law fellowship. She also received the IPRH “Best Graduate Student Research Prize” in 2013 for one of her dissertation chapters. Her research interests include nineteenth-century literature and culture, Native American and Indigenous studies, and formations of U.S. empire. At UCSD she will teach graduate and undergraduate courses in early American literature and culture, Native American literature, Indigenous studies, and colonialism and empire. Dr. Walkiewicz has received numerous awards for her teaching: the Gunter Starkey Teaching Excellence Award at the University of New Mexico (2006-2007) and the Department of English Teaching Award and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (2011-2012) at the University of Illinois.


Sarah HankinsSarah Hankins

Assistant Professor
Appointment effective 6/30/16

Dr. Hankins is trained as an ethnomusicologist, with research interests in sound studies of conflict in the globalizing metropolis, Afro-diasporic popular musics, history of technology, music and gender, and sonic dimensions of clinical psychoanalysis. Her articles appear in Black Music Research Journal, City and Society, Women and Music, Ethnomusicology Review, and Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society; she also reviews new monographs for Popular Music and other journals. Hankins is currently writing a book on musical nightlife and political aesthetics among African refugees and migrants in urban Israel, which is an outgrowth of her 2015 Harvard University doctoral dissertation. She has held teaching positions at Wellesley College, Brown University, and the University of Massachusetts Boston. Hankins is the current Co-Chair of the Gender and Sexualities Taskforce (GST) of the Society for Ethnomusicology, and a recipient of the GST’s Marcia Herndon Award. Her past fieldwork and research has been funded by the Anna Rabinowitz Fellowship at Harvard’s Center for Jewish Studies. Ongoing projects include ethnographic work with the Black Lives Matter political movement, research on the intersections of sound, violence, and memory, and writing on ethnographic fieldwork ethics. A member of the U.S. Foreign Service from 2002-2009, Hankins served in Tel Aviv, Washington, D.C., and throughout Latin America, winning Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards from the Department of State for her reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As a dance music producer and DJ, she has held club residencies in Boston and Tel Aviv, performed at the launch of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, and collaborated with electronic musicians and performance artists in a wide variety of idioms. Her remix collection Been in the Storm So Long (2009) was independently released in consultation with Smithsonian Folkways.


Jennifer CarrJennifer Carr

Assistant Professor
Appointment effective 6/30/16

Dr. Carr received her Ph.D. in philosophy from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013, followed by a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Leeds. Before her appointment at UCSD, Dr. Carr was an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on the theory of rational belief and rational choice, including belief modeling, decision theories for belief, and the relationship between rationality and mental content. She also has research interests in philosophy of language, in particular the language of uncertainty and evaluation. At the University of Illinois, Dr. Carr has appeared on the list of teachers ranked as excellent. She will be teaching undergraduate and graduate classes in theoretical philosophy, including epistemology, logic, decision theory, and philosophy of language.

Charles SebensCharles Sebens

Assistant Professor
Appointment effective 6/30/16

Dr. Charles Sebens earned his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2015. He spent 2015-2016 as the Ahmanson Postdoctoral Instructor in the History and Philosophy of Physics at the California Institute of Technology.

His work has been focused on the philosophical foundations of quantum mechanics. He uses tools from metaphysics and epistemology to assess competing proposals about what physical laws govern the motion of subatomic particles. In the future he plans to also examine the foundations of other parts of physics, such as electromagnetism, special relativity, and quantum field theory.

At the University of Michigan, Dr. Sebens received an award from the graduate school for outstanding teaching. He is looking forward to teaching courses in the philosophy of science and other areas of philosophy at UCSD.

Manuel VargasManuel Vargas

Appointment effective 6/30/16 (on leave 16/17)

Dr. Vargas received his Join-Ph.D. in Philosophy and Humanities from Stanford University in 2001. Prior to his appointment at UCSD he was a Professor of Philosophy and Law at the University of San Francisco. He has held visiting appointments at the California Institute of Technology, UC Berkeley, and Stanford University. He has been a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard and a visiting fellow at the McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society at Stanford University. He is a winner of the American Philosophical Association Book Prize, as well as the winner of the inaugural Prize in Latin American Thought given by the American Philosophical Association. His primary research focuses on the overlap of moral, psychological, and legal issues with human freedom and responsibility. In particular, he is interested in how empirical research can inform our understanding of blame, guilt, and desert. He will teach undergraduate and graduate courses on moral psychology, free will, and Latin American philosophy.

Theatre and Dance

Jennifer ChangJennifer Chang

Assistant Teaching Professor (LPSOE)
Appointment effective 7/1/15

Ms. Chang received her M.F.A. from the University of California, San Diego in 2006. Her work has been the recipient of the Ovation Award and the Stage Scene LA award, among other honors. Jennifer is a founding member of Chalk Repertory Theatre where she has directed and acted in numerous plays. Her other directing credits include Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them for Artists at Play and Our American Story at the Japanese American National Museum in collaboration with East West Players. As an actor, she has worked with South Coast Rep, East West Players, Company of Angels, Mixed Blood Theatre, Fulton Opera House, and the National Asian American Theatre Company, among others, as well as performing for television and commercials. She has taught in the conservatory at the East West Players and guest directed at USC. As Head of the Undergraduate Acting program, she will both advise students and teach core undergraduate courses in theatre as well as directing for productions.

Visual Arts

Jordan RoseJordan Rose

Assistant Professor
Appointment effective 6/30/16

Jordan Rose received his Ph.D. in History of Art from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013. Before joining the faculty at UCSD, he taught at The University of Vermont and UC Berkeley. He is currently working on a book, The Spell of the Barricade, which investigates the nexus of art and politics in France between 1830 and 1852. He is also writing a book-length study of the anarchist art journal La Liberté (1832-1833) and a series of essays that orient the caricatures of Honoré Daumier around the figure of money. At UCSD, Professor Rose will be the resident dix-neuvièmiste, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses on European art in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

William TronzoWilliam Tronzo

Teaching Professor (SLSOE)
Appointment effective 6/30/16

William Tronzo (Ph.D. Harvard) is an art historian who has, in recent years, co-directed a research project on the buildings, cities and landscapes of the Italian South in the later Middle Ages funded by the NEH, a three-year program of research, seminars and conferences on the medieval Mediterranean at the American Academy in Rome funded by the Getty Foundation, and been a member of the Collegio dei Docenti del Dottorato di Ricerca in the Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici at the Università degli Studi Roma Tre. The recipient of numerous fellowships and grants, he has held research appointments at the American Academy in Rome, Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, CASVA at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Bibliotheca Hertziana, the École des hautes études en sciences sociales, the Huntington, the Clark Art Institute and the Stanford Humanties Center. He has published extensively on the art and architecture of the Mediterranean world from Late Antiquity through the early Renaissance, as well as on problems of historiography and method. His monograph on the Cappella Palatina of Palermo advanced a radical interpretation of the edifice as the result of essentially two planning projects, with divergent aims, in the twelfth century. It signaled an interest in the hybrid culture of the Italian South, which has continued in studies of Neapolitan urbanism, the court of Frederick II and Arab and Norman Palermo. He is currently pursuing these interests with a focus on problems of intermediality, collecting and display. Another focus of his research is the historical landscape, as social network and mediator of images. He received the David R. C