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Southwestern Welcomes Four New Faculty Members

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    New faculty members (l-r) are Omar Rivera, Lysane Fauvel, Brenda Sendejo and Melissa Byrnes.

New professors to teach anthropology, history and philosophy

Southwestern is welcoming four new tenure-track faculty members this fall, several of whom have international backgrounds.

Lysane Fauvel, a native of France, is joining the Religion and Philosophy Department as an assistant professor of philosophy. She will be teaching Introduction to Philosophy and Introduction to Feminist Theory, along with a class on Plato’s Republic.

Fauvel’s research focuses on feminist theory, history of philosophy, and Continental (European) philosophy. 

She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Reims in France, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Stony Brook University with a concentration in history of philosophy. In addition to her native language of French, she is fluent in German, English and Italian.

Omar Rivera, a native of Peru, also is joining the Religion and Philosophy Department as an assistant professor of philosophy. He comes to Southwestern from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, where he was an assistant professor of philosophy. 

Rivera will be teaching Latin American Philosophy, Introduction to Ethics and Philosophy of Race.

His research interests are Latin American philosophy, particularly issues of race, nation building, aesthetics, Marxism and indigenous dignity; 19th and 20th century European philosophy, particularly a method of thinking known as phenomenology (including its relation to Latin American philosophy); and ancient Greek philosophy, particularly Plato and Aristotle.

Rivera earned a B.A. in philosophy and mathematics from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md., and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Penn State University. He says he was drawn to Southwestern because of its interest in introducing diversity into the philosophy curriculum.

Brenda Sendejo is joining the Sociology and Anthropology Department as an assistant professor of anthropology. She will teach Introduction to Anthropology and Latina/o and Latin American Spiritualities in the fall and Introduction to Anthropology and Ethnographic Methods in the spring.

Sendejo’s research focuses on the anthropology of religion with an emphasis on Mexican American and Latino/a religious and spiritual experiences in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. Her most recent project looks at the intersection of spirituality and issues of social justice among Texas Mexican women (Tejanas) involved in movements for social change in Texas from the 1960s to the present. She also is interested in the indigenous heritage of Mexican Americans and efforts to reclaim their spiritual traditions.

A native of Corpus Christi, Sendejo earned a B.A. in cultural anthropology from The University of Texas at Austin, along with an M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology. She spent several years as an instructor and teaching assistant at UT.

Sendejo said she is looking forward to working with students both in and out of the classroom.

“I was particularly impressed by Southwestern’s demonstrated commitment to high-quality learning experiences for its students,” she said. “I also wanted to work in an environment that valued experiential learning, so I was excited to discover that Southwestern has an active civic engagement initiative and numerous opportunities for students to engage in community-based learning. I look forward to combining my university training, experience in university-community research collaborations, and active research into a dynamic resource for students both within the classroom and beyond.”

Sendejo said she also is interested in the work of the university’s Diversity Enrichment Committee and hopes to contribute to its efforts.

Melissa Byrnes is returning to Southwestern as an assistant professor of history. She  served as a visiting assistant professor of history in fall 2008 and spring 2009. 

Byrnes will be teaching Nations and Nationalism in World History this fall and a new course on the history of Western Humanitarianism. In the spring she will teach a course on modern France, and possibly a course on history of Europe’s Muslims.

Byrnes’ research focuses on immigration from North Africa to France in the 20th century.

In 2009-2010, she was awarded an ACLS Mellon Doctoral Recipients Fellowship to conduct research in France and work on a book manuscript. 

A native of Massachusetts, Brynes earned undergraduate degrees in history and French from Amherst College. She earned an M.A. in history, an M.S. in foreign service and a Ph.D. in history from Georgetown University.