Distinguished Visiting Professors
To enhance its educational and cultural offerings, AUC's Distinguished Visiting Professor program brings a number of eminent scholars, writers and artists to campus for short-term lectureships or workshops.
Leading scholars of religion, prominent historians, expert law professors and world-renowned scientists are among the broad array of distinguished visiting professors who come to AUC each year to teach, conduct research and deliver public lectures. Through these visits, the University serves as a prime venue for the exchange of ideas, intellectual debate and cultural outreach.
Throughout the past few years, AUC has served as a venue for prominent speakers including U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Prince Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud and former Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar Mohamed Tantawi.
Recent Distinguished Visiting Professors at AUC
John Carlos Rowe is associate professor of the humanities and professor of English and American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California, where he has served as Chair of the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity (2008-2011). He was professor of English and comparative literature at the University of California, Irvine from 1975 to 2004, where he was a founding member of the Critical Theory Institute.
Rowe is the author of Henry Adams and Henry James: The Emergence of a Modern Consciousness (Cornell University Press, 1976), Through the Custom-House: Nineteenth-Century American Fiction and Modern Theory (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982), The Theoretical Dimensions of Henry James (University of Wisconsin Press, 1984), At Emerson’s Tomb: The Politics of Classic American Literature (Columbia University Press, 1997), The Other Henry James (Duke University Press, 1998), Literary Culture and U.S. Imperialism: From the Revolution to World War II (Oxford University Press, 2000), The New American Studies (University of Minnesota Press, 2002), Afterlives of Modernism: Liberalism, Transnationalism, and Political Critique (Dartmouth College Press of the University Press of New England, 2011), and The Cultural Politics of the New American Studies (Open Humanities Press, 2011), as well as more than 150 scholarly essays and critical reviews. He is the editor of: The Vietnam War and American Culture (Columbia University Press, 1991), New Essays on The Education of Henry Adams (Cambridge University Press, 1996), “Culture” and the Problem of the Disciplines (Columbia University Press, 1998), Post-Nationalist American Studies (University of California Press, 2000), Selections from the Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller in the New Riverside Editions (Houghton Mifflin, 2003), A Concise Companion to American Studies (Wiley-Blackwell’s, 2010), Re-Framing the Transnational Turn in American Studies (Dartmouth College Press, 2011), and A Historical Guide to Henry James (Oxford University Press, 2011).
Rowe's current scholarly projects are: Our Henry James, Culture and U.S. Imperialism since World War II, and The Rediscovery of America: Multicultural Literature and the New Democracy.
John McNeill is a distinguished visiting professor from Georgetown University and an expert on international environmental history. McNeill holds dual appointments in Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service and its Department of History. Prior to being named university professor, he was the Cinco Hermanos Chair of Environment and International Affairs in the School of Foreign Service. McNeill has also taught at Goucher College in Towson, Maryland and at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. He received both his master’s and doctorate from Duke University.
McNeill’s academic career is studded with numerous awards and fellowship opportunities including the American Historical Association’s 2011 Albert J. Beveridge Award for his most recent publication. In 2010, he won the Toynbee Prize for academic and public contributions to humanity. He is the president of the American Society for Environmental History, and has held fellowships with the MacArthur Foundation Program on Global Security and Sustainability, the Guggenheim Foundation, Woodrow Wilson Center and Fulbright Foundation.
In addition to numerous journal articles and essays, McNeill is the author of Mosquito Empires: Ecology and War in the Greater Caribbean, 1640-1914 and Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the 20th Century World, which won the World History Association Book Prize and the Weyerhaeuser Book Prize. His other books include The Human Web, The Mountains of the Mediterranean World: An Environmental History and The Atlantic Empires of France and Spain: Louisbourg and Havana, 1700-1763.
Judith Butler is an eminent philosopher, writer, activist and professor of comparative literature at the University of California. Butler is renowned for her groundbreaking philosophical contributions to the areas of ethics, gender studies, queer theory, feminism and political theory. She is a vocal supporter of the one-state solution for the ongoing crisis between Israelis and Palestinians. Butler has extensively argued that progress is impossible as long as the theoretical framework of Israeli policies do not change.
Butler received her PhD in philosophy from Yale University in 1984, for a dissertation subsequently published as Subjects of Desire: Hegelian Reflections in Twentieth-Century France. In the late-1980s she held several teaching/research appointments and was involved in post-structuralist efforts within Western feminist theory to question the presuppositional terms of feminism. Her research ranges from literary theory, modern philosophical fiction, feminist and sexuality studies, to 19th- and 20th-century European literature and philosophy, Kafka and loss, mourning and war. Her most recent work focuses on Jewish philosophy, exploring pre- and post-Zionist criticisms of state violence.
Mary Deane Sorcinelli, associate provost for faculty development and professor of educational policy and research administration, Amherst, was a distinguished visiting professor in Fall 2009, when she delivered a lecture on "How to Develop an Effective Mentoring Network." Sorcinelli received her EDD from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with concentrations in higher education and faculty development; her MA in English from Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts; and her BA in English from Westfield State College, Westfield, Massachusetts. She is the recipient of the Innovation Award, Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education; Bob Pierleoni Spirit of POD Award; Theodore M. Hesburgh Award; and Dorothy Harlow Award; among many others.
Rokus de Groot, composer and chair of the Department of Musicology, University of Amsterdam, delivered the Edward Said Memorial Lecture, “Contrapuntal Intellectual: Edward Said and Music,” and “Staging Majnun Layla: An Intercultural Experiment” in Oriental Hall in Fall 2009. De Groot earned his MA in musicology from the University of Amsterdam and his PhD from the University of Utrecht. His research focuses on the 20th and 21st century music, particularly on the aesthetics and techniques of composition and in the interaction between different cultural traditions, focusing on the perspective of present-day re-conceptualizations of past and present religious and spiritual traditions.
Sir John Meurig Thomas, world-renowned chemist and an honorary professor of materials science at the University of Cambridge, delivered an English Public Lecture in Fall 2009 at Oriental Hall, AUC Tahrir Square. Reviving the discoveries of Michael Faraday at AUC, Thomas highlighted Faraday’s achievements and discoveries that contributed to the world of science and technology. Thomas is the emeritus professor of chemistry at the Davy Faraday Research Laboratory of the Royal Institution and is the recipient of 20 honorary degrees, more than 100 named lectureships and holds more than 40 honorary fellowships in universities and colleges worldwide.
John Prendergast, human rights activist, offered solutions to failing US policy in Northeast Africa in a lecture he delivered at AUC in Spring 2008. Prendergast was an adviser to the U.S. State Department and the White House, and a senior adviser to the International Crisis Group. Prendergast spent most of his career focusing on crisis issues in Africa, including bringing international attention to the genocide in Sudan and the violence of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda. Prendergast is co-chair of ENOUGH, a joint project of the crisis group and the Center for American Progress that aims to end the crimes against humanity in Darfur, northern Uganda and eastern Congo. He is also a supporter of the Genocide Intervention Network.
Jan Assmann, noted scholar of ancient Egyptian religion, came was a visiting professor during an exciting time, as his first lecture was interrupted due to an excess of tear gas. Nonetheless, he carried on, delivering a total of five lectures and meeting with students and faculty members at a series of AUC-hosted events. His lectures were: "Polytheism and Monotheism," "Total Religion," "Akhenaten and Moses," "Egyptian Religious Thought," and "The Afterlife of Ancient Egypt in European Memory." Assmann is hoping to prepare a monograph based on the lecture series, and has submitted a prospectus for consideration to AUC Press.
Michael Wood is the Charles Barnwell Straut Class of 1923 Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Princeton University. Wood studied French and German at Cambridge University and has taught at Columbia University and at the University of Exeter in the UK. He has written books on Vladimir Nabokov, Luis Bunuel, Franz Kafka and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, as well as The Road to Delphi, a study of the ancient and continuing allure of oracles. Among his other books are America in the Movies and Children of Silence. He is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books and the New York Review of Books. At Princeton, he teaches mainly contemporary fiction, modern poetry and the theory and history of criticism. His most recent book is Literature and the Taste of Knowledge. Wood was a long-time colleague and friend of Edward Said, and edited and introduced Said's posthumous book On Late Style: Music and Literature Against the Grain.
Mark Miller is the Emma Smith Morris Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Delaware. He has extensive experience in international migration studies, which have been the focus of his teachings and research for three decades. In addition to publishing extensively on migration, he has played an important role in migration policymaking in the United States. He is also a member of numerous scientific, editorial and policymaking bodies concerned with migration on the international level. He addressed a class on international organization in global governance in the Center for Migration and Refugee Studies (CMRS) on October 14, 2012. Miller spent some time throughout the week meeting with CMRS students to discuss their respective research projects, and on October 15, Miller delivered a public lecture at AUC’s Oriental Hall on The Age of Migration, a book that he co-authored with Stephen Castles. The book argues that, since the 1970s, a confluence of factors have resulted in a distinctive era in the history of global migration. The six general tendencies demarcating this period of time were discussed by Miller during the lecture. On October 17, a roundtable discussion was organized by CMRS, where several faculty members joined Miller to address the securitization of migration in today’s world. On October 18, the Center for American Studies and Research invited Miller to the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to speak on “The prospects of Egypt - US relations.”
Timothy Mitchell, is a political theorist who studies the political economy of the Middle East, the political role of economics and other forms of expert knowledge, the politics of large-scale technical systems, and the place of colonialism in the making of modernity.
Educated at Queens' College, Cambridge, where he received a first-class honours degree in History, Mitchell completed his PhD in Politics and Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University in 1984. He joined Columbia University in 2008 after teaching for twenty five years at New York University, where he served as Director of the Center for Near Eastern Studies. He is now professor and chair of the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies.
Mitchell is the author of Colonising Egypt, a study of the emergence of the modern state in the colonial period and an exploration of the forms of reason, power and knowledge that define the experience of modernity. The book has been influential in fields as diverse as anthropology, history, law, philosophy, cultural studies, and art history. Translations have appeared or are in preparation in seven languages, including Arabic, German, Polish, Spanish and Japanese.
Mitchell's subsequent work covered a variety of topics in political theory and the contemporary political economy of the Middle East. His essay on the modern state, originally published in the American Political Science Review, has been republished on several occasions. Further writings on the nature of European modernity include an edited volume, Questions of Modernity, bringing together the work of leading scholars of South Asia and the Middle East. In political economy he has published a number of essays on agrarian transformation, economic reform, and the politics of development, mostly drawing on his continuing research in Egypt. The research includes long-term fieldwork in a village in southern Egypt, which he has studied and written about for more than a decade.
His 2002 book, Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity, draws on his work in Egypt to examine the creation of economic knowledge and the making of “the economy” and “the market” as objects of twentieth-century politics; the wider role of expert knowledge in the formation of the contemporary state; the relationship between law, private property, and violence in this process; and the problems with explaining contemporary politics in terms of globalization or the development of capitalism.
Mitchell's research on the making of the economy led to a four-year project that he directed at the International Center for Advanced Study at NYU on The Authority Of Knowledge in a Global Age. Articles on The Middle East in the Past and Future of Social Science, The Properties of Markets, Rethinking Economy, and The Work of Economics: How a Discipline Makes Its World, explored these concerns, and developed Mitchell's interest in the broader field of science and technology studies (STS). His recent research brings together the fields of STS and postcolonial theory in a project on Carbon Democracy, which examines the history of fossil fuels and the possibilities for democractic politics that were expanded or closed down in the construction of modern energy networks. His book Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil was published by Verso Press in 2011.
Mitchell has served on the editorial committees of the International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, the American Political Science Review, Middle East Report (where he has also been chair of the editorial committee), Social Text, Society and Space, the Journal of Historical Sociology, the Journal of Cultural Economy, and Development and Change. He has been invited to lecture at most leading research universities in the United States, and at universities and academic conferences in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. Several of his writings has been translated and published in Arabic, including three further books of essays, as well as in Persian, Hebrew, and Turkish.