Oberlin’s Board of Trustees has approved recommendations to reappoint with continuous tenure five assistant professors and promote them to the rank of associate professor. The newly tenured associate professors are:
- Justin Emeka, Africana Studies and Theater
- Timothy LeFebvre, Singing
- Christina Neilson, Art History
- Darko Opoku, Africana Studies
- Ellen Wurtzel, History
Justin Emeka ’95 is a director, actor, writer, Capoeirista, and teacher recognized for his ability to integrate African Diasporic cultural traditions within classical and contemporary theater. He received his BA in black studies from Oberlin College and received his MFA in directing from the University of Washington. He is jointly appointed in the departments of Africana studies and theater and teaches courses in acting and directing. He also started one of the first Capoeira college programs in the country that integrates physical and musical training in Capoeira with academic research. On Oberlin’s main stage he directed Wedding Band, Macbeth, Follow Me to Nellie’s, The Compromise, and Death of a Salesman featuring Avery Brooks. He also directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo n Juliet (Classical Theater of Harlem, New York); Julius X and Detroit ‘67 (Karamu House, Cleveland); Stickfly (Intiman Theater, Seattle); and A Raisin in the Sun (Oberlin Summer Theater Festival). He starred in the 2015 Oberlin Summer Theater Festival production of Crumbs from the Table of Joy. He has written a chapter entitled “Seeing Shakespeare through Brown Eyes” for an upcoming book on black theatre methodology.
Timothy LeFebvre joined the voice faculty at Oberlin Conservatory of Music in fall 2010. He is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and Binghamton University. His previous teaching experience includes Binghamton University (assistant professor of voice 2006-2010, lecturer in voice 2005-2006, adjunct lecturer 1998-2005), and adjunct lecturer in voice at Cornell University, Hamilton College, Colgate University, and Syracuse University. Also an active singer, LeFebvre has wide-ranging experience from the operatic stage to the concert hall. Recent performances include a solo recital at Oberlin Conservatory, Elijah with Evansville Symphony, and Messiah with Wichita Symphony. In addition to private voice lessons at Oberlin, LeFebvre teaches Oratorio Repertoire for Singers and coordinates Freshman Vocal Seminar. His students have gone on to study at Curtis, Juilliard Opera Center, and Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, among others. His students have also won awards, including the recent Metropolitan Opera National Competition and the Joyce DiDonato masterclasses at Carnegie Hall in 2015, and have also attended numerous summer festivals.
Christina Neilson teaches Renaissance and Baroque art history. Her research tackles the relationship between theory and artistic practice, especially the meaning of materials and techniques. Her book on the fifteenth-century Florentine artist Andrea del Verrocchio (teacher of Leonardo da Vinci) explores the significance of Verrocchio's processes of making. It will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2017. She has published articles in The Burlington Magazine, I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance, and The Matter of Art: Materials, Practices, Cultural Logics, c.1250–1750 (ed. Christy Anderson, Anne Dunlop, and Pamela H. Smith; University of Manchester Press, 2014). She has been the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies (Villa I Tatti, Florence), and the American Philosophical Society.
Darko Opoku teaches African politics at Oberlin. He earned his BA in political science and development studies and his MA in political science from the University of Toronto in 1996 and 1997, respectively. He earned a PhD in political studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London in 2005. His research interests include political economic development in Africa, IMF- and World Bank-inspired neoliberal economic reforms in Africa, and state-business relations in Africa. His work has been published in Development and Change, Africa Today, the Journal of Contemporary African Studies, and Commonwealth and Comparative Politics. He is also author of The Politics of Government-Business Relations in Ghana, 1982-2008 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).
Ellen Wurtzel received her BA from Duke University and her MA and PhD from Columbia University in 2007. She began teaching at Oberlin in 2009 where she regularly offers a survey of medieval and early modern European history as well as upper-level courses focusing on urban history, property and possession, gender, science, and the Crusades. Her research concerns relations between cities, states, and other groups with particular attention to the southern Low Countries and France. She has published articles in the Jaarboek voor Middeleeuwse Geschiedenis, Proceedings of the Western Society for French History, and edited the volume The Power of Space: Cities in Italy and Northern Europe during the late medieval and early modern period. Her manuscript, City Walls and Competing Enclosures: jurisdiction, territory, and power in the southern Low Countries, 1384-1667, is currently under review and brings the archival records of Burgundian officials, Habsburg courts, feudal and ecclesiastical enclaves, and city corporations in sustained conversation with the legal humanism, religious reformation, and political ideologies that shaped the Low Countries during this period. While still engaged with questions of urban history, her current project turns to the way in which medieval bathhouses functioned as sites of sociability, hygiene, and gender distinction in the Francophone world.