Faculty Members Receive Promotion and Tenure

Bradley Borthwick, art; Alicia E. Ellis, German; Aaron Hanlon, English; Robert Lester, economics; Lindsay Mayka, government; and Arnout van der Meer, history.
By Laura Meader
Contact: George Sopko ([email protected]) 207-859-4346
February 2, 2021

President David A. Greene, in consultation with the Committee on Promotion and Tenure and Provost and Dean of Faculty Margaret McFadden, and with the approval of the Board of Trustees, has recently promoted and awarded tenure to six faculty members.

Those receiving tenure and a promotion from assistant professor to associate professor include Bradley Borthwick, art; Alicia E. Ellis, German; Aaron Hanlon, English; Robert Lester, economics; Lindsay Mayka, government; and Arnout van der Meer, history.

“Each one of these exceptional faculty members has already contributed significantly to the life of the College in their own unique ways,” said Provost and Dean of Faculty Margaret McFadden. “But what they have in common is that they are all splendid and inclusive teachers and mentors, innovative and accomplished creative and scholarly researchers, and dedicated and generous members of the Colby community. I am so grateful for their contributions and so delighted that they have joined the senior faculty.”

Bradley Borthwick, art

Sculptor Bradley Borthwick deploys unmatched technical skill and exquisite craftsmanship in work that offers deeply researched commentary on contemporary social and environmental concerns. His interdisciplinary practice combines historical research, material experimentation, performance, and film documentation, and he explores sophisticated conceptual ideas through stone carving, woodworking, wax molding, and working leather. Themes of place, time, and memory shape his work, giving voice and materiality to the distant past and its relationship to the present. His more recent work explores themes of environmental and technological change. Borthwick has been invited to an impressive quantity of juried group and solo shows, including a prominent exhibition at the prestigious DeCordova New England Biennial in 2019.  Borthwick received his M.F.A. in sculpture from Cornell University and his B.A. in landscape architecture from the University of Guelph. 

Alicia E. Ellis, German

Alicia Ellis is an interdisciplinary scholar of comparative literature, with expertise in German studies, African-American studies, and Caribbean literature. Her forthcoming book, Figuring the Female: Language and Identity in Franz Grillparzer’s Classical Dramas, offers a compelling re-reading of three of Grillparzer’s plays through the lens of contemporary feminist theory. The book is original, innovative, and pushes the boundaries of a somewhat conservative field in beneficial and necessary ways. Ellis is also expanding her research into emerging interdisciplinary fields, including Black German studies, Afro-European studies, and Caribbean literary studies, and is leading these fields in exciting and transformative new directions.  Ellis earned her Ph.D. in Germanic languages and literatures and her M.A. in African-American studies from Yale University, and her B.A. in Germanic literature and women’s and gender studies from Amherst College.

Aaron Hanlon, English

Aaron Hanlon brings a distinctive voice and approach to his scholarship of 18th-century British literature. His research focuses on British and transatlantic literature of the long 18th-century, particularly the intersections of literature and political theory, science, and the historical Enlightenment. He is the author of A World of Disorderly Notions: Quixote and the Logic of Exceptionalism; has submitted a second book manuscript, Empirical Knowledge in the Eighteenth-Century Novel to the publisher; and is currently working on a third book, Understanding Science Denial. He has also published many articles in top peer-reviewed journals and has an outstanding record of publication as a public intellectual, having more than 40 essays in leading newspapers and magazines. Whatever the venue, Hanlon’s work is widely recognized for its rigor, originality, erudition, and theoretical sophistication. Hanlon received his D.Phil. from the University of Oxford, an M.A. in cultural studies from Dartmouth, and a B.A. in political science and an M.A. in English from Bucknell University.

Robert Lester, economics

Macroeconomist Robert Lester’s work spans a number of important and policy-relevant fields ranging from monetary to welfare policy. A prolific scholar, he has placed many articles in top-quality journals since arriving at Colby, work that is already having a significant impact in shaping economic and public policy. He has a particular talent for identifying topics with important policy implications and then finding creative ways to use the latest modeling techniques to generate new (and often surprising) answers to very complex questions. He has introduced cutting-edge mathematical modeling techniques to the Colby curriculum, teaching macroeconomic theory using a textbook he cowrote to support the material he wanted to teach. This open-source book is widely used in economics departments across the country and shows his dedication to ensuring students have the best teaching materials to support their learning. Lester completed an M.A. and a Ph.D. at the University of Notre Dame. He also holds a B.A. from the University of Montana.

Lindsay Mayka, government

Political scientist Lindsay Mayka specializes in institution-building in Latin America. Her research centers on the relationship between civil society and public institutions in Latin America and the struggle for genuine participation and social inclusion in different political systems there. Her book, Building Participatory Institutions in Latin America: Reform Coalitions and Institutional Change, was published by the top press in her field. She has also placed many peer-reviewed articles in high-quality journals and served as a guest editor for two special issues of influential journals. In 2020 she was named a Clarence Stone Scholar by the American Political Science Association in recognition of her influential contributions to the field, and two of her scholarly papers won awards from the Latin American Studies Association. Her work is theoretically and methodologically sophisticated and based on a formidable level of research and on exceptional language facility in both Spanish and Portuguese. Mayka completed an M.P.P. and a Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley and a B.A. at Carleton College.

Arnout van der Meer, history

Path-breaking historian Arnout van der Meer studies colonial Indonesia in particular, and Southeast Asia more generally. He has authored Performing Power: Cultural Hegemony, Race and Resistance in Colonial Indonesia, based on meticulous research in archives and in periodicals in five languages. This exhaustive research allowed him to see all sides of the transition to a post-colonial society in Indonesia and to make a compelling argument that changes the prevailing view of the shift from a colonial to a post-colonial national identity. He has also placed numerous peer-reviewed articles in highly respected journals. His work is original, inventive, and authoritative, and is making highly influential contributions to the field. van der Meer earned his M.A. and Ph.D. at Rutgers University and his M.A. at Leiden University.

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