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New faculty appointments 2022-2023

January 4, 2024

Mika Ahuvia headshotMika Ahuvia began as Director of The Stroum Center for Jewish Studies in July 2022, and is the Herbert L. & Lucia S. Pruzan Chair in Jewish Studies. Ahuvia is an associate professor of Jewish studies and comparative religion. She specializes in premodern Jewish history and religion. She received her Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton University in 2014.

Jessica_BeyerJessica Beyer was selected in May 2023 as Assistant Teaching Professor of Cybersecurity, the Jackson School’s first dedicated professorship to international cybersecurity. In addition to teaching cybersecurity politics courses, Beyer has co-led the School’s Cybersecurity Initiative and supervised student Global Research Groups since 2015. She earned her Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Washington in 2011 and is also an alumna of the Jackson School (B.A. International Studies, 1999).

Vanessa FreijeVanessa Freije, Associate Professor of International Studies, was appointed as Chair, Latin America and Caribbean Studies, in July 2023. Her research examines the history of information and media politics in Latin America, with a particular focus on Mexico. She is currently working on a new book project on technology, violence, and struggles over information sovereignty in Mexico, which has received support from the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend. She received her Ph.D. in History in 2015.

Paula Holmes-EberPaula Holmes-Eber, Affiliate Professor, is serving as Interim Chair, Middle East Center 2023-2024. Holmes-Eber, an expert on culture and conflict in the Middle East, has previously served as Professor of Operational Culture at Marine Corps University and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She teaches about identity politics, war and conflict, Islam and gender, and the family in the Middle East, among other courses. Paula holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology and African Studies from Northwestern University..

Christopher TounselIn June 2023, Christopher Tounsel was selected as Chair of the African Studies Program. He served as Interim Chair of African Studies in 2022-2023. Tounsel, Associate Professor of History at the University of Washington, is a historian of modern Sudan with special focus on race and religion as political technologies. He is also an Executive Board Member of the Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities, and an affiliate faculty member of the Comparative Religion Program. Tounsel received his Ph.D. in History at the University of Michigan in 2015.

Noam PiankoNoam Pianko, Samuel N. Stroum Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies, is serving as Interim Director of the Middle East M.A. program and Associate Director of Graduate Studies in the Jackson School of International Studies. He received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies/Judaic Studies from Yale University in 2004 and joined the Jackson School faculty as an Assistant Professor in the fall of that year.