The College welcomes two new assistant professors this year, Svetlana Peshkova in the anthropology department and Cord Whitaker in English. Their record of achievement is impressive, and their future as scholars is most promising.
Svetlana Peshkova is a socio-cultural anthropologist and a scholar of Islam. She earned her Ph.D. and M.A. from Syracuse University, an M.T.S. (Master of Theological Studies) at Emory University, and an M.A. and B.A. at State University of Linguistics in Pyatigorsk, Russia. Her dissertation, “Otinchalar (women religious practitioners and leaders) in the Ferghana Valley: Power, Gender and Islam,” received an Outstanding Dissertation Award from Syracuse. After receiving her doctorate, Peshkova served for a year as a Rockefeller Visiting Fellow at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame and then for two years as a Visiting Assistant Professor in Islamic Studies at Syracuse. She holds a Woodrow Wilson Center Kennan Institute Fellowship that will enable her to finish her manuscript next summer about the dynamics of Muslims lives in post-Soviet Uzbekistan. She joins the UNH faculty as an assistant professor of anthropology. Peshkova’s research interests include gendered identities of Muslim women and men; Muslim women leaders; Transnational Islamic Movements (TIM); religion and globalization; conflict transformation; ethnographic film; gender, religion, and power; and Islamic feminism. In 2009, she published an article in Contemporary Islam Journal about the dynamics of Muslims’ everyday lives in post-Soviet Central Asia, challenging the concept of Islamic renewal. Her article about Muslim women’s leadership, both political and religious, will appear in the forthcoming winter issue of Journal of International Gender Studies. At both the undergraduate and graduate level, she has taught courses in socio-cultural anthropology, Islamic studies, Central Asia and Caucasus studies, gender studies, conflict studies, and filmmaking.
Cord Whitaker is a scholar of medieval English literature. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. at Duke University, and he holds a B.A. from Yale University. In his dissertation, “Race and Conversion in Late Medieval England,” Whitaker argues that four late medieval texts reveal a cultural shift in which “race-thinking” overtakes religious difference as the dominant paradigm by which England and the West imagine themselves superior to the eastern world. The dissertation was inspired by British Library manuscript Cotton Vespasian E.16, the only extant medieval English manuscript to preserve three of the texts together. Whitaker held the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship and was an associate fellow of the Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers. He also held the Duke Endowment Fellowship and the Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowship. He received a pre-doctoral fellowship from the University of New Hampshire and spent the 2008-09 academic year teaching early British literature for the English department while completing his dissertation. He now joins the UNH faculty as an assistant professor of English. Whitaker’s research interests include Chaucer and medieval romance as well as race, religion, and religious conversion in late medieval English literature. Whitaker has taught courses on religion and literature, the politics of medieval romance, and romance literature from ancient Rome through modern day.
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