History, Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Social Sciences
Associate Director of the Norton Family Center for the Common Good
Faculty member since 1997
M.A. Teachers College, Columbia University
What drew you to Loomis?
I had always known about Loomis Chaffee as I was growing up; one of my neighbors went to LC and we actually ended up studying together at Yale and upon graduation, he put me in touch with his father and the rest is history. It’s an honor to be a teacher here and to be able to see and interact with such talented individuals from other faculty members to students.
If you could ask any historical figure anything, who and what would you ask?
I think it would be a question to an anonymous person; someone who was experiencing but not directly guiding history. My favorite period of history is the early 700s-1492 when the Arab Empire ruled Spain during the cultural explosion. I would want to ask someone immersed in that era, “How do you function so well as a multicultural society?” I’d want to bring the answer back with me to the present so that we in the US could do a better job as a country.
What is your favorite material or class you teach and why?
I taught World History for 15 years and my favorite area of the world to teach was Andalusia, Spain—an area controlled by Arabs. It’s fascinating to me how in this one area so many talented scientists, artists, philosophers, and thinkers used healthy competition to promote a new understanding of the world.
What is it that you love most about history?
History is the story of people and I love how I can put myself in their shoes, so to speak, and see the world through their eyes. History is about constantly trying to solve mysteries and answer questions. I enjoy reading historical fiction in addition to historical texts and part of that interest comes from being able to feel as though you’re stepping into another world outside of your own. Understanding the perspectives of those who came before us is extremely valuable to being able to thrive in our current world.