College of Arts and Sciences

HAPS Faculty


Meet Our Faculty

Historical & Political Studies faculty bring expertise, passion, and pedagogic creativity to all their teaching activities. Faculty members provide students one-on-one attention in the development of effective research and writing practices. Department faculty create connections between traditional classroom learning and the world beyond campus by making extensive use of the culturally rich Philadelphia area and by regularly leading international Global Field Studies. In recent years, department faculty have traveled with our students to Spain, Italy, England, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Kosovo, South Africa, Sierra Leone, and Costa Rica. 

For all this and more, several department faculty members have received University-wide teaching awards: In 2015, Samer Abboud was awarded the Steinbrucker Endowed Chair and Peter Siskind won the Abernathy Service Award. Bill Jacobsen won the Adjunct Faculty Award in 2014, Geoffrey Haywood won Professor of the Year in 2013, and the Adjunct Faculty Award was awarded to Christopher Cerski in 2012, and to Vance Kincade in 2010.

Advising and Mentoring

Personal attention in the Department of Historical and Political Studies means many things. Students get to know their academic advisers (who are full-time department faculty members) and other department professors and meet with them regularly—to choose courses, to explore study abroad options, to discuss internship and other professional development opportunities, and to get advice about applying to graduate school and presenting research at conferences.


Historical and Political Studies faculty members are engaged and widely-respected scholars pursing ambitious research agendas that enrich the department’s academic environment. For example, Professor Samer Abboud recently published the book Syria, that provides an in-depth analysis of that nation’s descent into civil war, and he has been speaking about the crisis with dozens of international media outlets. Professor Jennifer Riggan just published her book The Struggling State: Nationalism, Mass Militarization, and the Education of EritraProfessor Amy Widestrom published her book Displacing Democracy: Economic Segregation in America. Professor Hilary Parsons Dick won a prestigious Wenner-Gren Hunt fellowship that is allowing her to complete her book Words of Passage: National Belonging, Ethical Practices, and the Imagined Lives of Mexican Migrants. And Professor Roland Adjovi was reappointed to a second three-year term on the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.