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.



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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.



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Désirée Díaz
Assistant Professor, Department of Spanish

Désirée Díaz received her Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she also completed her M.A. studies. She also holds a B.A. in Art History from Universidad de La Habana. Professor Díaz specializes in Latin American literature and visual culture with an emphasis in the Hispanic Caribbean. Her research focuses on issues of alternative citizenship, human and cultural geography, diaspora and transnational movements, and the Latino cultural production in the U.S. In addition, she is interested in the fields of visual studies, urban studies, and popular and material cultures.

Professor Díaz has published a number of articles on Cuban cinema and literature in peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes, recently contributing to the volume World Film Locations: Havana (Intellect, 2014). She is currently working on a book manuscript based on her dissertation on citizenship participation and urban space in post-Soviet Cuba.

In her native Cuba, Désirée Díaz served as a researcher with the prestigious Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos (ICAIC) and as Assistant Editor of the cultural magazine La Gaceta de Cuba.


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Cat Norris
Associate Professor, Psychology and Neuroscience


Ron Tarver
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art

Before joining the faculty at Swarthmore, Ron Tarver had been a staff photojournalist at The Philadelphia Inquirer where he shares the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for his work on a series documenting school violence in the Philadelphia public school system. He was nominated for three Pulitzers and honored with awards from World Press Photos, the Sigma Delta Chi Award of the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Press Photographers Association/ University of Missouri Pictures of the Year, as well as other national, state, and local honors. Tarver’s work has appeared in National Geographic, Life, Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, Black and White Magazine, Huffington Post and Hyperallergic. He is co-author of the book We Were There: Voices of African American Veterans, published by Harper Collins in 2004, which was accompanied by a traveling exhibition that debuted at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.