College hires professors for French and history

The history department hired Rick Lopez ’93, who focuses on Latin American history.

Members of the history department said they are eager to demonstrate their commitment to Latin American history. The arrival of Lopez will help to ensure that a continual and rigorous course selection relating to Latin America will be available to students.

The department expects Lopez to teach a two-part survey of Latin American history as well as other history courses in areas such as the environment and the indigenous people of Latin America. He will be replacing the position vacated by Assistant Professor of History Brodwyn Fisher.

The department received over 175 applications for the vacant position. Professor of history and American studies Martha Sandweiss served as the head of the search committee.

“Ultimately, the department selected Lopez as a result of his extensive publishing track record and because of the personality that he could bring to the department,” said Sandweiss. “The department is looking forward to have him being our colleague, especially since some of us taught him when he was a student at Amherst.”

Following his time at Amherst, Lopez went on to earn a M.A. and Ph.D. in history from Yale University. Currently, Lopez is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in history at Northwestern University, where he teaches two seminars about Latin American history.

The French department has also hired a new professor for a tenure- track position. This year, the French department was allocated a full-time slot to fill the spot vacated by Assistant Professor of French Marie-Helen Hunt, who taught at the College from 1985-96. Since her departure, the position has been temporarily filled by various visiting professors.

Laure Goldstein, a degree candidate in comparative literature from Yale and a native of France, will fill the position in the department as a tenure-track professor.

Goldstein is currently in France writing her dissertation on the French poet Baudelaire and the American poet Walt Whitman and is teaching at the University of Aix-Marseilles. However, she has lived on and off in the United States for the last eight years

In 1990, Goldstein worked as a teaching assistant for the French department at the College.

Professors in the French department generally teach half of their courses as lower-level language classes and the other half in their particular area of expertise. At Amherst, Goldstein is expected to focus on 19th-century literature and the history of France after the revolution.

“[Goldstein] was an outstanding candidate for the position, we just felt she was the best out of the 120 applicants who applied,” said Professor of French Paul Rockwell, who chairs the department. “We are very happy and excited about her coming here because we think that she is a very talented and smart individual, a very nice addition to the department.”

In addition to her education at Yale, Goldstein’s credentials include a degree from the Sorbonne at the University of Paris, as well as the French equivalent of an undergraduate degree from Ecole Normale Superieure, one of France’s most elite and rigorous educational institutions.