Faculty Advisory Committee


Alexander Cooley, Tow Professor of Political Science

Alexander Cooley is the Tow Professor of Political Science at Barnard College. He is also a Ph.D. Advisor at Columbia University, a Faculty Member of the Harriman Institute and Saltzman Institute for War and Peace Studies, and teaches at the School of International and Public Affairs. Professor Cooley's research is in the area of international relations and examines how external actors influence state sovereignty and political decision-making, with a focus on post-Soviet Eurasia and other parts of the emerging "post-Western" world. His courses include International Organization and Globalization and International Politics. 

In addition to his academic work, Professor Cooley currently serves on the Board of Advisors of the Open Society Foundations’ Central Eurasia Project, the Advisory Committee of Human Rights Watch, Division of Europe and Central Asia, and has testified before the US Congress about Central Asian-related topics. His policy-related articles and opinion pieces have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy and Foreign Affairs and he is regularly quoted in international media outlets.


Alan Dye, Professor of Economics

Alan Dye is Professor of Economics at Barnard College and an affiliate member of Columbia University’s Department of History and Institute of Latin American Studies. He joined the Barnard faculty in 1995. He has also held visiting positions at Yale University, the University of Michigan, and the Universidad de Carlos III de Madrid. He specializes in economic history and institutions with emphasis on Latin America.

Professor Dye’s teaching includes courses in the economic history of Latin America and Europe, and institutional economics applied to organizations, innovation and political economy. His current research focuses on the political economy of the institutions of trade protection and imperialism, with a current project on the relationship between prerevolutionary Cuba and the United States.


Ross Hamilton, Professor of English & Director of Film Studies Program

Ross Hamilton specializes in metahistorical patterns from the Reformation to Romanticism, as well as the shift from natural philosophy to early modern science. He is also interested in the Annales historians and their influence. He was a prize teaching fellow at Yale, and held a post-doctorate fellowship at Johns Hopkins University.

His first book, Accident: A Literary and Philosophical History (University of Chicago Press, 2008), traces the transformations and mutations of Aristotle's notion of the accidental or inessential from Sophocles to late 20th century film. It won the Harry Levin Prize from the ACLA for best work of literary history in 2007-8. A second book, Falling: Literature, Science and Social Change, explores literary analogues to the paradigm shift from natural philosophy to early modern science described by Thomas Kuhn, among others.

In addition to editing Tom Jones, he has written articles on Wordsworth, Erasmus Darwin, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the eighteenth century culture of gambling, theater and the rise of the novel, and the paintings of Pieter Bruegel the Elder.


Kimberly Johnson, Associate Professor of Political Science

Kimberley S. Johnson, Associate Professor of Political Science, joined the Barnard faculty in January 2000. Her research focuses on the intersections between American political development, federalism and intergovernmental relations, race and ethnic politics, bureaucracy and public policy. She is the author of Reforming Jim Crow: Southern Politics and State in the Pre-Brown South (Oxford, 2010) and of Governing the American State: Congress and the New Federalism 1877-1929 (Princeton, 2006).

At Barnard, Professor Johnson teaches such courses as "American Political Development," "Dynamics of American Politics," "Legislative Process," and "Contemporary Urban Problems." In addition to her teaching duties for the Department of Political Science, she is co-director, with Professor Flora Davidson, of the Urban Studies Program.

Professor Johnson's research and scholarship have been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Political Science Association, Columbia University's Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, the New York State Archives, and the Ford Foundation.

Professor Johnson serves as the Faculty Director for the Guggenheim Summer Internships in Criminal Justice/Crime Prevention at Barnard College.


Robert McCaughey, Professor of History

Robert A. McCaughey, professor of history and Janet H. Robb Chair in the Social Sciences, joined the faculty of Barnard in 1969. His teaching specialties include the social history of American intellectual life, the history of American colleges and universities, and early American maritime history. Professor McCaughey was a recipient of Barnard's Emily Gregory Teaching Excellence Award in 1987.

Professor McCaughey's recent research interests include the history of Columbia University and maritime New York in the Age of Sail. Professor McCaughey's research and scholarship have been supported by the New-York Historical Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Professor McCaughey has a long-standing interest in the use of electronic resources in education. He has been the Director of BEATL (Barnard Electronic Archive and Teaching Laboratory) since 1997.

He was the founding director of the Barnard first-year seminar program and has served several terms as chair of Barnard's history department. From 1987 to 1993 he served as dean of the Barnard College faculty.


Debra Minkoff, Professor of Sociology, Chair of the Department of Sociology

Debra Minkoff joined the faculty of Barnard in 2005, after teaching at the University of Washington in Seattle. She also has taught at Yale University and held visiting positions at the University of Munich and the Humboldt University of Berlin.

Professor Minkoff’s work focuses on the organizational dimensions of social movements and political activism in the U.S. Her earlier research traces the civil rights and feminist movements, developing a new approach that emphasizes the ecology of national political and civic organizations. She has written on such topics as the structure of protest cycles in the U.S., organizational change and failure among national political organizations, and the role of national social movements in American civil society. More recently her research has investigated such questions as how funding by elite foundations shapes the field of organizations seeking to consolidate the gains of the feminist and civil rights movements, and how much variety exists in the organizational models available for citizen advocacy at the national level in the U.S.

Her article "Conceptualizing Political Opportunity" (with D.S. Meyer) received the 2005 Best Published Article Award from the American Sociological Association Section on Collective Behavior and Social Movements.

At Barnard, Professor Minkoff’s teaching includes such courses as "Social Movements, Funding Social Change: A Research Practicum, and the Junior Colloquium."


Rae Silver, Professor of Natural and Physical Sciences

Rae Silver is the Helene L. and Mark N. Kaplan Professor of Natural & Physical Sciences and the head of the Silver Neurobiology Laboratory. Since 1976, Professor Silver has been a member of Barnard’s faculty and has taught courses in Quantitative Reasoning, Neuroscience and Psychology. The National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Mental Health, and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Office of Naval Research, are among the organizations that have supported her research.

Over the course of her career, Professor Silver has held many positions on committees in services to the educational community, the scientific and research community, and the Barnard and Columbia communities. Currently, she is a US Representative and serves as Vice-chair on the Council of Scientists for the Human Frontiers Science Program and a member of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine Forum on Neuroscience. Her work as Senior Advisor at the National Science Foundation helped to create a series of workshops to examine opportunities for the next decade in making advances in Neuroscience through the joint efforts of biologists, chemists, educators, mathematicians, physicists, psychologists and statisticians. She served as co-chair of the NASA committee that prioritized biological research for the International Space Station. She is a fellow to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Her two research areas focus on sleep-wake cycles and their neural bases, and on immune – nervous system interactions in the brain.


David Weiman, Alena Wels Hirschorn '58 Professor of Economics and Dean for Faculty Diversity and Development

David Weiman has been a member of the Barnard faculty since 2001.  He is also an affiliated member of Columbia University’s Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy and History Department.  He specializes in 19th and 20th century U.S. economic history, the political economy of contemporary U.S. criminal justice policy, and the history of economic thought.  His current research focuses on the evolution of the U.S. banking-monetary system from the demise of the Second Bank of the United States to the founding of the Federal Reserve System.  He teaches core courses in Barnard’s distinctive Political Economy track and joint Economic and Social History Program.


Paige West, Professor of Anthropology

Paige West, Professor of Anthropology, joined the faculty at Barnard College and Columbia University in 2001, the year after earning her Ph.D. in cultural and environmental anthropology at Rutgers University. She is currently the chair of the Barnard College Department of Anthropology and in 2012 became the Chair of the Ecology and Culture University Seminar at Columbia University. Professor West’s scholarly interest is the relationship between societies and their environments, and has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Australia, Germany, England, and the United States. She is the author of numerous papers and four books. Her most recent book, Representational Rhetorics: Ideology, Dispossession and the Environment in the Melanesian Pacific, will be published by Columbia University Press in 2016. 

Professor West is a past president of the Anthropology and Environment Section of the American Anthropological Association as well as past chair of the Association of Social Anthropology in Oceania. She is also the founder and co-editor of the journal Environment and Society: Advances in Research. For further information, see her website.

Brian Mailloux, Professor of Environmental Science