Swarthmore College

Jean-Vincent Blanchard
Associate Dean of the Faculty for Academic Programs
Professor, French

Jean-Vincent Blanchard is a specialist in early modern literature and culture; his teaching also includes modern French literature (“La Modernité”), the philosophy and anthropology of literature (“A History of the Five Senses”), and the medical humanities (“Literature and Medicine”). Professor Blanchard has published extensively in his field, including a biography of Cardinal Richelieu titled Éminence: Cardinal Richelieu and the Rise of France (2011). Among many projects, he is preparing a study of the architectonics of power in Louis XIV’s France, as well as a digital, critical, and pedagogical edition of Madame de La Fayette’s La Princesse de Clèves.



Timothy Burke
Co-Director, Aydelotte Foundation
Professor, History

Timothy Burke’s main field of specialty is modern African history, specifically southern Africa, but he has also worked on U.S. popular culture and on computer games. Professor Burke teaches a wide variety of courses, including surveys of African history, the environmental history of Africa, the social history of consumption, history of leisure and play, and a cultural history of the idea of the future. He is completing a book on individual experience and agency in 20th-century Zimbabwe, and has maintained the blog “Easily Distracted: Culture, Politics, Academia and Other Shiny Objects” since 2002. He co-directs the Aydelotte Foundation.



Rachel Buurma profile image

Rachel Buurma
Co-Director, Aydelotte Foundation
Associate Professor, English Literature

Rachel Sagner Buurma works on 18th- and 19th-century literature and print culture, the history of the novel, 20-century Anglo-American literary criticism, and literary informatics. Current projects are on the history and theory of literary research, especially practices of knowledge organization like indexing and note-taking, pasts and presents of collaborative work, and the intersection of literary-critical inquiry and information science. With Laura Heffernan, she is at work on a project that retells the history of English literary study from the perspective of the classroom. ​She co-directs the Aydelotte Foundation.



Tristan Smith
Assistant Professor, Physics

Tristan Smith is an assistant professor of physics. His research interests include early universe cosmology; tests of modified theories of gravity; and analysis of the cosmic microwave background. Professor Smith also co-presents interdisciplinary workshops that use the techniques of improvisation to help students communicate the splendor of science with others.


 Jonny Thakkar
Assistant Professor, Political Science

Jonny Thakkar is an assistant professor of political science as well as one of the founding editors of The Point. After receiving his Ph.D. from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago in 2013, he spent three years at Princeton University as a postdoctoral fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts and then one year at the University of British Columbia as an assistant professor. His first book, Plato as Critical Theorist, was published by Harvard University Press in spring 2018.