The College of Arts & Sciences is proud to announce the winners of this year’s Dean’s Early Career Awards: Brett Esaki, assistant professor of religious studies; Fabien Baron, assistant professor of astronomy; and Nicola Sharratt, assistant professor of anthropology.
The Dean’s Early Career Awards provide research funding to rising faculty stars each year. The award helps the College of Arts and Sciences retain and recruit the best and brightest creative artists, researchers and scholars.
Brett Esaki, assistant professor of religious studies, is an interdisciplinary scholar of the religions and arts of American ethnic minorities. He researches the intersection of race, sexuality, and politics as well as the interaction and hybridization of religion among Asian Americans, African Americans, Native Americans, and White Americans. His current projects include: researching the presence of spirituality and religious “nones” among Asian Americans and an article on using theories of silence to study religion. His book, titled Enfolding Silence: The Transformation of Japanese American Religion and Art under Oppression, was published in 2016.
Fabien Baron, assistant professor of astronomy, works on image reconstruction for optical and radio interferometry, making very high angular resolution images at GSU’s Center for High Angular Resolution Array. His main science interests are interacting binaries, evolved stars (supergiants, giants), young stellar objects with dusty environments, and Active Galactic Nuclei. He has taken active part in producing the very first images of interacting binaries, of Roche-lobe filling stars, and of convective and magnetic spots on the surface of stars.
Nicola Sharratt, assistant professor of anthropology. Her ongoing archaeological project examines the aftermath of state collapse and how local communities are affected by and respond to political upheaval. She has directed a series of excavations at a site in the Moquegua Valley in southern Peru that was first established circa AD 1000 as the Tiwanaku state disintegrated. Her doctoral work examined funerary practices to understand how community members renegotiated identity and define themselves as groups and individuals as the overarching political entity fragmented. In more recent excavation seasons, she has focused on domestic contexts to investigate the impact of state collapse on household economies, craft production, subsistence practices, community organization and long distance networks of trade and exchange.