Upper row, left to right: Tiago Perez, Shuk Han Lui, Rudabeh Shahid Lower row, left to right: John Perry, L.J. White, Debarati Biswas, Lena Bohman

By Abby Weingarten

Seven faculty members—including literature, history, art, music, political science and data science professors, as well as a new librarian—have joined the New College team this fall.

Shuk Han Lui, Visiting Assistant Professor of Art
M.F.A., University of Georgia
B.F.A., University of Utah
Lui works predominantly in mixed-media paintings and artists’ books. Her studio practice takes a meditative emphasis to explore relationships between drawing, painting, piano and Cantonese. Her research interests focus on incorporating as many voices and ways of mark making as possible to form a body of work. She is currently teaching “Painting Principles” and “Mixed Media Painting.”

Debarati Biswas, Visiting Assistant Professor of Literature/Consortium for Faculty Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow
Ph.D., English, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, Africana Studies (advanced certificate)
MPhil., English, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
M.A., English, Calcutta University, India
B.A., English (Honors), Calcutta University, India
Biswas’ teaching and research interests include 20th– and 21st-century African American literature and culture, queer studies, Black diaspora literature, radical Black feminism and poverty studies. She is currently working on her first book manuscript, entitled Brother Outsider: Queered Belonging and the Aesthetics of Elsewheres in African American Men’s Literature. Biswas’ research and teaching explore how Black and queer literary and cultural expressions embrace or reject the “wrongness of being” and offer alternate possibilities of our existence as a species in this world. She is teaching “Race, Writing, and Worldmaking: Introduction to African American Literature.”

John Perry, Visiting Assistant Professor of History/Consortium for Faculty Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow
Ph.D., University of Kentucky
M.A., New York University
B.A., Rutgers University
Perry’s academic interests focus on non-state actors of the Middle East and their relationship with the United States. His dissertation explored the interactions between the Muslim Brotherhood, Palestinian refugees and Syrian ethnic minorities with the United States government during the early Cold War. His teaching and research interests include the history of the United States in the world, global Cold War history, modern Middle East history, empire and decolonization. He is teaching “The Long Road to 9/11: The United States in the Middle East, 1945—Present.”

Leighton “L.J.” White, Visiting Assistant Professor of Music/Consortium for Faculty Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow
D.M.A., Northwestern University
White’s music serves ideals of direct, focused and socially relevant expression, assimilating an unrestricted array of influences through strange and evocative sonorities and rhythms, concise gestures and apposite forms. He has won the Craig and Janet Swan Prize and an Emil and Ruth Beyer Award from the National Federation of Music Clubs, and has received grants from the American Composers Forum and Chamber Music America. He has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and the Banff Arts Centre. White earned a doctorate in composition from Northwestern University in 2017, and taught from 2017 to 2020 at Washington University. His courses include “Music Theory I” and “Music Theory II.” His personal website is ljwhitemusic.com.

Rudabeh Shahid, Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science/Consortium for Faculty Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow
Ph.D., School of Government and International Affairs, Durham University
M.A., School of Global Studies, University of Sussex
B.A., Middlebury College
Shahid’s research interests include South Asia’s conflicts and ethnic identities, minority affairs, citizenship and statelessness concerns, and migration and refugee issues. Her research has focused on civil society in post-partition South Asia and wider international relations of the region, including the situation concerning the ongoing Rohingya refugee crisis and issues of statelessness developing in India’s northeastern state of Assam. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Politics, University of York. She is also a nonresident senior fellow at the South Asia Center of the Atlantic Council, and a senior consultant at the European Institute for International Law and International Relations. Her course offerings include “Politics of South Asia” (Fall 2021) and “Citizenship and Statelessness” (Spring 2022).

Tiago Perez, Assistant Professor of Data Science
Ph.D., University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS)
B.S., Georgia Institute of Technology
Perez was previously an assistant professor at Drew University and an instructor at UCCS. His research interests include big data analytics, distributed systems and computer security. Before joining academia, he worked for almost nine years in the information technology industry, with infrastructure projects, SOA, middleware and development support at both Serasa Experian and BM&FBovespa in Brazil. His courses offerings include “Algorithms for Data Science” and “Distributed Systems for Data Science.”

Lena Bohman, Assistant Librarian (Research, Instruction and Digital Humanities)
MSLIS, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, School of Information Sciences
B.A., Brown University
Bohman specializes in helping students and faculty with digital projects, including publicizing research through the web and using digital methods to conduct research. She also helps run the library’s digital collection and makerspace technology. Her research interests include rural cemeteries (and how they can be a resource for disenfranchised communities) and the history of immigrants in St. Louis. She has given conference presentations on the role of animation and digital advertising in digital humanities.

Abby Weingarten is the senior editor in the Office of Communications & Marketing.


Founded in Sarasota in 1960, New College of Florida is a top-ranked public liberal arts college and the state’s Honors College of Florida. New College prepares intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement by providing a highly individualized education that integrates academic rigor with career-building experiences. New College offers 45 undergraduate majors in arts, humanities and sciences, a master’s degree program in applied data science, and certificates in technology, finance, and business skills.

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