News

Spring Semester Brings Faculty Honors and Promotions

by Davidson College

The Davidson College Board of Trustees approved continuous tenure and promotion to Associate Professor for three faculty members this spring. Caroline Beşchea-Fache, Maria F. Fackler and Hilton Kelly all joined the faculty in 2007. Profiles of each appear below.

In addition, at Spring Convocation recently, three other faculty members were awarded named professorships. Jessica Good from psychology received the L. Richardson King Professorship, Scott Tonidandel received the Wayne and Carolyn Watson Professorship, and Andrew O'Geen from political science received the MacArthur Professorship.

Caroline Beşchea-Fache, Associate Professor of French

A native of Northern France, Caroline Beschea-Fache holds a masters degree in movie translation from the University of Lille, where she also completed her undergraduate work. She then moved to Paris and worked in the movie subtitling industry. In 2000, she came to America and began graduate studies in French at Indiana University. She wrote her Ph.D. dissertation on métissage, the representation of biracial characters in Francophone literature, and joined the Davidson faculty in 2007.

Her research and teaching interests also include modern Francophone literature, cinema, and the construction of identity in France for immigrants. Beschea-Fache studies image and representation in the French world, especially as it relates to what she describes as a crisis of identity in modern France. "Immigration is a big issue in France-it's an old country that's defending its Old World identity without noticing the new elements being added," she said.

In addition to teaching classes in French language, culture, and literature, Beschea-Fache has a special interest in film, particularly the film industry in Francophone Africa. She teaches a seminar titled "Africa Shoots Back" that concerns African cinema, its challenges and its relationship to the West.

This spring Beschea-Fache attended the 23rd biennial Pan African Film Festival in Burkino Faso, a country that has been central to the development of African film production. She not only attended screenings, but also learned more about the particular challenges of making films in that part of the world. They include the lack of capital to finance film projects, and means of production and distribution to cover an area whose audiences employ multiple languages.

She noted trends such as an increasing number of action movies, and the proliferation of short, quick digital movies shot on a low budget. The production of films in Nigeria has become so popular that people now refer to films there as "Nollywood" productions.

Beschea-Fache is now working with two colleagues at other universities on compiling an assessment of recent Francophone films around the world. Beschea-Fache will work on those in Africa. They plan to list, summarize and analyze films, with hopes that their work will familiarize outside scholars about high-quality but narrowly distributed films, and introduce scholars to new filmmakers in the region.

In addition to her teaching and scholarship, Beschea-Fache will be resident director of Davidson's abroad program in Tours, France, in 2014-2015-the second time she has served the college in that capacity.

Maria F. Fackler, Associate Professor of English

Maria F. Fackler joined the Davidson faculty in 2007, and was named as the new holder of the John D. and Catherine MacArthur Professorship in 2011. The two-year, pre-tenure title rewards promising young scholars and encourages their continued work at Davidson.

Fackler grew up in Surrey, England, and moved to Florida with her family in 1994 at the age of sixteen. Fackler earned her undergraduate degree in English literature summa cum laude from Duke University, and did her graduate work at Yale University, earning her Ph.D. there in 2007.

She specializes in British literature since 1945, modernism, the history of the novel, and gender and sexuality studies. Her current research expands on her Ph.D. dissertation in exploring the role of the artist manqué in the development of postwar British fiction, and is included in the forthcoming four-volume Blackwell Companion to British Literature.

She has also published articles on literature and gossip, which appeared in a special issue of the journal Modern Drama, and about the queer coalition between a woman and her gay friend (co-authored with Nick Salvato of Cornell University), which appeared in the academic journal Discourse.

During her time at Davidson, Fackler has designed fourteen courses, eight of which are new to the Davidson catalogue. Some are the seminars "Gossip," "Fallen Women," and "Twenty-First-Century British Fiction." They also include upper-level courses on "Desire," "British Literature Since 1945," and "Advanced Research Methods in the Humanities," which she team-taught with Professor Scott Denham in the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies. She is currently developing new courses titled "Beyond Prince Charming" and "Thinking Girls, Thinking Boys."

Hilton Kelly, Associate Professor of Education

Born and raised in eastern North Carolina, Hilton Kelly earned his bachelor's degree in history from UNC Charlotte. He then earned his master's degree in labor studies and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He taught at the middle school, high school, and college levels before joining the Davidson faculty in 2007.

At Davidson, Kelly teaches courses that relate to the historical sociology of the African-American experience, particularly the racial history of education in the Jim Crow South. He researched that topic for his dissertation, and published it in 2010 as a book titled Race, Remembering, and Jim Crow's Teachers. It explores the competing narratives surrounding the quality of all-black schools in the Jim Crow South. In 2011, the book received the American Educational Studies Association Critics' Choice Book Award.

His book research also led to articles in professional journals. His article in The Urban Review titled "What Jim Crow's Teachers Could Do: Educational Capital and Teachers' Work in Under-Resourced Schools" explains how Jim Crow-era teachers prepared and motivated disadvantaged students in spite of funding and resource deprivation. He also wrote about racial tokenism in the school workplace for the journal Educational Studies. Kelly has also published several articles and a book chapter addressing critical issues in sociology and education, as well as co-edited a special issue of Educational Studies on "Black Teachers Theorizing."

He has also been active in presenting papers at professional meetings, and helped Davidson students in his "Social Diversity and Inequality in Education" course to present their work at an American Educational Studies Association Conference. Paul Bennett '11 also published a book chapter that he developed in Kelly's course titled "Mapping Social Relations in Special Education Classrooms: Power, Pedagogy, and Ruling Relations."

Research for the book has inspired Kelly to pursue a related project. As a 2012-2013 Visiting Scholar and Research Fellow at the James Weldon Johnson Institute for Race and Difference, he investigated the biography of Marion Thompson Wright, a former Howard University professor and a sociologist of education whose work on the social and historical foundations of segregated education contributed to the dismantling of the "separate but equal" doctrine in public schooling. Despite her credentials, she committed suicide in 1962.

Kelly said there is little known about her life, and hopes to explain what it meant for a black woman in the Age of Jim Crow to make a contribution to the social science research that led to the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision in the shadow of widely notable black men.

In addition, he is collaborating with colleagues outside Davidson on research examining how social memories shape educational policy, research, and practice.

His other research interests include teachers' work, lives and careers, social justice education, and historical and qualitative methodology.

Kelly is the new chair of the education department at Davidson College. He hopes to move educational studies toward a non-teaching focus, which he says accurately reflects the kind of students who enroll in our classes.

"Our department wants to attract students who may go to law school or to graduate school in public policy, business, and administration," he said. "Every Davidson student will be involved in some aspect of education, whether it is choosing the best schools for their children or participating in local educational matters. I want students to think about education more broadly, and to understand the social organization of education-structures, processes, and interaction patterns within it."