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The Tow Family Award For Pedagogy And Professorships

Spring 2014 Winners

The following two members of the Barnard faculty have been named Tow Professors:

Brian Larkin, Associate Professor of Anthropology – Professor Larkin is the author of Signal and Noise: Media Infrastructure and Urban Culture in Nigeria (Duke University Press, 2008) and, with Lila Abu-Lughod and Faye Ginsburg, co-editor of Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain (University of California Press, 2000). He sits on the board of the Society for Cultural Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association.

His research focuses on the ethnography and history of media in Nigeria. Most broadly he examines the introduction of media technologies into Nigeria – cinema, radio, digital media – and the religious, social and cultural changes they bring about. He explores how media technologies comprise broader networked infrastructures that shape a whole range of actions from forms of political rule, to new urban spaces, to cultural life. He has also published widely on issues of globalization, piracy and intellectual property, and Nigerian films (Nollywood) in such journals as Public Culture, Africa, Social Text and Cahiers d’Études Africaines.

His current book, provisionally titled Secular Machines: Media and the Materiality of Islamic Revival, analyzes the role media play in the rise of new Islamic movements in Nigeria and explores theoretical questions about technology and religion.

Dina Merrer, Associate Professor and Chair of Chemistry – Professor Merrer joined the Barnard chemistry department in 2001. A physical organic chemist, Professor Merrer and her undergraduate research group study the mechanisms of intermolecular carbene additions to strained cyclic compounds and the impact of reaction dynamics on these mechanisms. They use a combination of experimental and computational techniques to elucidate reaction pathways that exhibit non-traditional behavior. The Merrer group has been supported continuously by the National Science Foundation since 2005, with previous support from the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society and Research Corporation.

Professor Merrer has mentored 28 undergraduate research students at Barnard. Her students have co-authored several research papers. In addition, her students have presented their work at national meetings of the American Chemical Society and over two-thirds have gone on to Ph.D., M.D./Ph.D., and M.D. programs in the chemical and biological sciences or onto careers in the chemical sciences. Recently, Professor Merrer has served as guest editor of the Journal of Physical Organic Chemistry’s special issue on Reactive Intermediates and Unusual Molecules. She was invited to contribute a chapter on Dynamics in Carbene Reactions in Contemporary Carbene Chemistry and is a member of the Reaction Mechanisms Conference Governing Board for 2010-2016.

Professor Merrer teaches courses in organic chemistry, including Organic Chemistry I and II, Modern Techniques of Organic Chemistry, and Advanced Organic Chemistry. She is currently a member of the Faculty Governance and Procedures Committee, secretary of the Barnard chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, and serves as premajor and major adviser for chemistry and biochemistry students. In 2006, she was awarded the Gladys Brooks Teaching Award by the faculty of Barnard College.

The Spring 2014 winner of the Tow Award for Innovative and Outstanding Pedagogy is Mark Carnes.

Mark Carnes, Professor of History and Director of “Reacting to the Past”- Professor Carnes joined the faculty of Barnard in 1982. His academic specialty is modern American history. His courses include The United States: 1940-1975, and several versions of the “Reacting to the Past” program which he initiated in 1995. Professor Carnes served as general co-editor (with John Garraty) of the 24-volume American National Biography (1999). He is also Executive Secretary of the Society of American Historians.

Originally posted on the Barnard College website

Read @ Barnard faculty members honored with 2014 Teaching Awards