Our New Arts Faculty Members

We are thrilled to welcome 16 new tenure track professors to the Faculty of Arts. Working in a broad range of disciplines, and with backgrounds across the Social Sciences and Humanities, we look forward to the research and teaching that they will contribute to our Faculty. 



Peter Johansen (PhD, University of Chicago) 

Research Interests: South Asian Archaeology; South India; politics; space, place and landscape; social distinctions and inequalities; materiality; techno-politics; ferrous metallurgy; ceramics; archaeological theory; Indigenous archaeologies.

Peter Johansen's research and teaching interests focus on archaeological approaches to investigating the politics of everyday life. In particular, he studies how entrenched and emergent modalities of power operate at smaller, largely non-institutional scales and contexts to produce historically contingent, sociologically meaningful, multi-scalar landscapes. These interests have led him to research the politics of Neolithic and Iron Age ritual and monumental practices and Iron Age settlement, residential and metallurgical practices and landscapes in southern India. His current research investigates the long term techno-politics of ferrous metallurgy in the south Indian state of Karnataka. He is exploring how assemblages of materials, knowledge and practice contributed to a dynamic social history of metallurgical production and consumption, and in particular how power relations inhabited and extended from technological practices as people attempted to organize and control materials within wider resource assemblages over the course of the South Indian Iron Age, Early Historic and Medieval periods. Johansen co-directs the Maski Archaeological Research Project (MARP), an ongoing field project that explores the dynamic relationship between agro-pastoralism, metallurgy and settlement and the development of regional socio-political organization, differences and inequalities from the Neolithic through Medieval periods in South India. In addition to his research in South India, he also works with Nlaka’pamux communities in the Fraser canyon and South Thompson River regions of British Columbia on First Nation’s directed archaeological research and heritage management projects.



Gal Gvili (PhD, Columbia University)

Research Interests: Modern and contemporary Chinese literature, comparative literature and literary theory, Sino-Indian literary networks, religion studies, postcolonialism

Gal Gvili's current research investigates how modern literature came to be perceived as effective in ushering social change during the late Qing and the Republican era, with an emphasis on interactions between religious thought and literary realism. This work has received support from the Confucius Institute Program for Visiting Scholars of Sinology, the Columbia-Mellon Dissertation Travel Award Fellowship and the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University.

More broadly, Professor Gvili works and teaches in early modern, modern, and contemporary Chinese literature, Chinese cinema of all periods, and literary and cultural theory. She is interested in ways in which transnational philosophy, religion, and literature inform national identity and poetics, and draws upon different approaches such as narratology, genre theory, translation studies, the history of emotions and ideas, religious studies, cultural anthropology and postcolonial studies. A chapter, entitled “Pan-Asian Poetics: Tagore and the Interpersonal in May 4th New Poetry” is forthcoming in Journal of Asian Studies.



Rui Castro (PhD, University of Rochester)

Research Interests: Macroeconomics, Economic Development and Growth, Labor Economics.

Prior to joining McGill in 2017, Rui Castro was Professor at the Department of Economics of Western University, and prior to that at the Université de Montréal. His research has been in Macroeconomics, with connections to several other areas such as Economic Development, Labor Economics, International Economics, Political Economy, and Finance. He has been interested in questions of applied nature, both from a positive/understanding phenomena and from a normative/policy implications perspective. This research has been funded mostly by FQRSC and SSRCH, and published in academic journals such as the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Review of Economic Studies, the Journal of Monetary Economics, the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, the Review of Economic Dynamics, the International Economic Review, and the Journal of Industrial Economics.


Silvia Goncalves (PhD, University of California, San Diego)

Research Interests: bootstrap methods, time series analysis, financial econometrics.

Sílvia Gonçalves is a Professor of Economics at the McGill University and a research member of CIREQ and CIRANO. She received her Ph.D. in 2000 from the University of California, San Diego. Her first job was at the Universite de Montreal, for the period 2000-2015. Prior to joining McGill, she was a full professor at Western University. Her work in econometric theory has focused on developing bootstrap methods that apply computing power to allow accurate inference for a range of statistical problems in economics. Her work develops these methods for dependent, time-series data typical of economics. Along with her co-authors, she has applied these methods to provide practical improvements for drawing conclusions about topics in financial economics that include the behaviour of realized volatility and the measurement of value at risk. This work has been cited extensively and published in Econometrica, JASA as well as in the top field journals in econometrics. She received the first CWEN prize for research by a young woman researcher in a Canadian University in 2010 and is a Fellow of the Society for Financial Economics. She currently serves as an Associate Editor of JBES, Econometrics Journal, Journal of Time Series Analysis and the Portuguese Economic Journal.



Michael Nicholson (PhD, University of California, Los Angeles)

Research Interests: British Romanticism; Poetry and Poetics; Literature and Empire; History of Science and Technology; Ecocriticism and Ecology; Gender and Sexuality Studies

Michael Nicholson  is an Assistant Professor in the English Department. Prior to his appointment at McGill, he spent a year as an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at the University of Toronto. His current book project, After Time: Romanticism and Anachronism, is a historicization of anachronism that studies how English poets from a broad range of backgrounds were developing new poetic strategies of untimeliness in order to contest the increasing dominance of so-called imperial time: the new clock-based, machine-regulated, and strictly standardized temporality used to enforce a forward-moving narrative of empire. "After Time” offers new ways of understanding the power of poetic form to reshape time’s binds. Three selections from this project have appeared as essays in ELH, Genre, and ECTI (forthcoming). His most recent research, on utopian timelessness and occasional time, has received fellowship support from the Lewis Walpole Library (Yale), the Jackman Humanities Institute (Toronto), and the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library (UCLA). He is also organizing a panel at the 2018 annual meeting of the Modern Language Association entitled, "Ecology, Aesthetics, Empire: Romanticism and its Afterlives.”



Kristy Ironside (PhD, University of Chicago)

Research Interests:  Twentieth-century Russian/Soviet history, political economy, taxation and fiscal policy, the welfare state, and Russia's international engagement.

Kristy Ironside is a historian of modern Russia and the Soviet Union. She is especially interested in the political, economic, and social history of Russia/USSR’s twentieth century. She is currently finishing her first book, based on her doctoral thesis and tentatively entitled Money and the Pursuit of Communist Prosperity in the Postwar Soviet Union, 1945-1964.  This book looks at how money, an ideologically problematic ‘vestige of capitalism,’ was mobilized by the Soviet government in the intertwined projects of recovering from the Second World War’s damage and building a prosperous communist society. This project has spun off articles looking at related economic and social phenomena in Soviet history, exploring the balance of coercion and incentives, Stalinist and Khrushchev-era economic thinking, and the nature of the postwar Soviet welfare state. Her articles have appeared in Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review, Slavic Review, Europe-Asia Studies, and The Journal of Social History.  Ironside is also beginning a new project looking at Russia and the USSR’s fraught relationship to the concept of international copyright. The resulting book will examine changing notions of intellectual property, profit, and rights, as well as the Russian state’s engagement with international legal norms, from the late 19th century, through the Soviet period, to the return of capitalism in Russia after 1991.

Donald Nerbas (PhD, University of New Brunswick)

Research interests: Canadian-Scottish studies; history of capitalism; British Empire; business-state relations; coal.

Dr. Don Nerbas is Associate Professor and Chair in Canadian-Scottish Studies in the Department of History and Classical Studies. He completed his PhD in Canadian History at the University of New Brunswick in 2010, and subsequently held a SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship at McGill. He returns to McGill from Cape Breton University, where he had been a member of faculty since 2012. Don’s research broadly centres on the history of capitalism, and he has published a variety of articles on economic elites and capitalist development. In 2013 he published his first monograph, Dominion of Capital: The Politics of Big Business and the Crisis of the Canadian Bourgeoisie, 1914-1947 (University of Toronto Press), a social history of the Canadian bourgeoisie and changing business-state relations. His current book project, supported by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant, examines the history of Cape Breton coal from the mid-nineteenth to early-twentieth centuries. Situating Cape Breton’s Sydney coalfield in an imperial and transnational context, the project links the Scottish diaspora and settler colonialism to the making and shaping of Canada’s emerging industrial order.



Yann le Polain de Waroux (PhD, Université catholique de Louvain)

Research InterestsStudying the factors behind the expansion of commodity production in South American woodlands, with focus on the Gran Chaco region. Examining spillovers and displacement of land use. Investigating transformations of land use and livelihoods around agricultural frontiers

Yann le le Polain de Waroux has a doctorate from the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium) and most recently held a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University. His research examines the role of people’s livelihood and land use choices as a nexus between social and environmental, and global and local dynamics in rural areas of the Global South. In particular, he is interested in the relationship between globalization, human and capital mobility and land-use change, and its implications for development and environmental sustainability; and in the role of learning and adaptation processes in strengthening the resilience of rural communities in the face of environmental change. He uses an empirical approach integrating qualitative and quantitative methods to explore these questions. His main areas of interest have been North Africa — specifically woodlands of Southern Morocco — and the Gran Chaco ecoregion of Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay. His current work investigates the transformation of land use around agricultural commodity frontiers, and the role of structural and agent-level factors in their expansion.



Vanessa Ceia (PhD, New York University)

Research Interests: Contemporary Spanish Literature and Film; Ibero-African Cinemas; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Digital and Spatial Humanities 

Vanessa Ceia  is Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies and Digital Humanities at McGill. Her research examines the construction of collective and individual identities in contemporary Spanish literature, visual culture, and digital media, particularly in relation to contemporary debates on the body, queer theory, transitional politics, nationalism, subculture, and the image. She has published on the cinema of Pedro Almodóvar, and is currently writing a book on representations of the body in the film and photography of the Movida madrileña (“Perverted Politics: Imagining the Body in Spanish Film and Photography, 1976-1988”). She is also developing two applied and theoretical digital projects, “Mapping the Movida,” an open web archive that identifies cultural hubs and networks during Spain’s transition to democracy, and “Digital Rhetoric of Iberian Democracy,” a Twitter and parts-of-speech analysis project of Spain’s Podemos and Ciudadanos, and Portugal’s LIVRE! political parties. Before joining McGill, Vanessa was Postdoctoral Fellow in Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University, and Visiting Scholar at Brown University.



Audrey Coussy (PhD, Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3)

Research Interests: Translation, translation studies, children’s literature, translation and creativity, constructing/deconstructing identity and alterity, popular literature.

Audrey Coussy is an assistant professor of translation studies and literary translation at the department of French Language and Literature at McGill University. She completed a PhD in translation studies and children’s literature at the Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3. Her dissertation focused on the way children’s literature enables both the reader and the translator to experience non-reified language, orality, identity and alterity – these questions are central to her research in translation studies (general literature and children’s literature). Currently, she is also an associate member of the PRISMES research laboratory (Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3). She is a literary translator, working from English to French: she has translated five works of contemporary fiction, and her latest translation will be published in October 2017 (Beyrouth Noir, Paris, éditions Asphalte).



Hamish Van der Ven (PhD, University of Toronto)

Research Interests:  Global environmental politics, transnational governance, private authority in international affairs, international political economy, mixed-method research design.

Hamish Van der Ven is an Assistant Professor in the McGill School of Environment and the Department of Political Science, McGill University. He is also affiliated with the Governance, Environment, and Markets Initiative at Yale University, the Environmental Governance Lab at the University of Toronto, and the Earth System Governance Project. His interests include global environmental politics, transnational governance, international political economy and corporate social responsibility. His research seeks to explain why private actors get involved in global environmental governance and under what conditions they will create credible regulatory solutions to environmental problems. Professor Van der Ven’s work has been published in Global Environmental Politics, Review of International Studies, Regulation & Governance, and Business and Politics. His first book, Beyond Greenwash? Explaining Credibility in Transnational Eco-Labeling, is forthcoming with Oxford University Press. Prior to pursuing a PhD, he held positions with the Government of British Columbia, BC Hydro, and Canadian Business for Social Responsibility.



Hamsa Stainton (PhD, Columbia University)

Research interests: South Asian religions, Hinduism, Sanskrit language and literature, aesthetics, historiography, philology, Kashmir

Hamsa Stainton is an Assistant Professor in the School of Religious Studies at McGill University. He studied South Asian religions at Columbia University (Ph.D., 2013), Harvard Divinity School (M.T.S.), and Cornell University (B.A.). His book manuscript, “Poetry as Prayer in the Sanskrit Hymns of Kashmir” (currently under review), charts the history of a popular genre of Sanskrit devotional poetry in north India. He also co-edited a forthcoming volume on Hindu Tantra. He teaches courses on religious traditions and literature in South Asia, theories and methods in religious studies, and special topics like Yoga. He is currently the Co-Chair of the Religion in South Asia Steering Committee of the American Academy of Religion.

Heidi Wendt (PhD, Brown University)

Research Interests: religion in the Roman Empire, early Christianity, New Testament, Roman history, new religious movements.

Heidi Wendt is an Assistant Professor of Religions of the Greco-Roman World jointly appointed in the School of Religious Studies and the Department of History and Classical Studies. Her research investigates religious developments of the Roman imperial period, with a focus on situating Jewish and Christian actors and phenomena in their Greco-Roman milieu. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Biblical Literature, the Journal of Roman Studies, and the Journal of Ancient Judaism. Her first monograph, At the Temple Gates: The Religion of Freelance Experts in the Roman Empire (Oxford: 2016), examines evidence for the rise of self-authorized experts in specialized religious skills, rites, and wisdom under the Roman Empire. Previously, she was an Assistant Professor in New Testament and Christian Origins at Wright State University (Dayton, OH) and a visiting lecturer at Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT).