About the Founders and Directors
Yuen-Gen Liang is Associate Professor of History and author of Family and Empire: The Fernández de Córdoba Lineage and the Spanish Realm. He teaches an equal balance of European and Islamic histories. Founder and Executive Director of the Spain-North Africa Project, he is dedicated to creating intellectual communities that bring together scholars and students in the shared pursuit of knowledge. Liang received his Ph.D. from Princeton University, his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and has studied at the Institut français d'études arabes à Damas (Damascus, Syria). He has been awarded grants from the IIE-Fulbright, Social Science Research Council, Spanish Ministry of Culture, and National Endowment for the Humanities. His research has taken him to the major Spanish state and private archives in Barcelona, Córdoba, Granada, Madrid, Pamplona, Toledo, Simancas-Valladolid, and Seville. Born in Taiwan and raised in California, Liang lived for years in Syria and Spain.
Touba Ghadessi is Assistant Professor of Art History. Her book-length study, Courting Monstrosity: the Spectacular Body in Early Modern Portraiture, focuses on the ways in which human monstrousness and physical deformity have been historically represented, categorized, and interpreted in the various Italian and French courts of the late Renaissance. Ghadessi’s courses highlight intellectual concepts and material that often fall outside of the common canon of art history. It is through these discourses that she encourages students to become critical thinkers, inside and outside of the classroom. Ghadessi received her Ph.D. from Northwestern University and her B.A. from Trinity University. She has been awarded grants to study at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (Paris), to conduct archival research in Paris, Florence, and Rome, and to participate in the Centre national de la recherche scientifique's sponsored seminars in Paris. Of Persian descent, Ghadessi was born and raised in Switzerland.
Student Founding Members
The Wheaton Institute for the Interdisciplinary Humanities was founded with the collaborating support of a team of fourteen students representing nine disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and natural and applied sciences.
- Morgan Bakerman ‘13 (Art History)
- Tyler Bennett ‘12 (Physics)
- Blake Funston ‘12 (Art History)
- Madeleine Goldsmith ‘12 (Art History)
- Robert Iafolla ‘13 (History and International Relations)
- Logan Hinderliter ‘14 (Classical Studies)
- Rachel LaFortune ‘13 (English and French Studies)
- Ian Lazzara ‘12 (Anthropology)
- Gerald O’Neil ‘14 (Art History)
- Kirstie Parkinson ‘13 (Art History)
- Jacob Pomerantz ‘12 (History)
- Laura Richardson ‘12 (Mathematics)
- Victoria Schuppert ‘12 (History of Philosophy)
- Christine Sobieck ‘12 (French Studies and History)