Torres-Saillant, Van Gulick named Tolley Professors
Torres-Saillant, Van Gulick named Tolley ProfessorsOctober 11, 2007Sara Millersemortim@syr.edu
Silvio Torres-Saillant, associate professor of English in The College of Arts and Sciences and director of the Latino-Latin American Studies Program at Syracuse University, and Robert Van Gulick, department chair and professor of philosophy in The College of Arts and Sciences, have been named William P. Tolley Distinguished Teaching Professors in the Humanities. Torres-Saillant and Van Gulick were appointed by Arts and Sciences Dean Cathryn R. Newton to the distinguished professorships for the academic years 2008-10.
“Tolley Professors energize the campus discourse on teaching and research in the humanities,” says Newton. “Silvio Torres-Saillant and Robert Van Gulick are scholars with wide-ranging academic expertise. Their passion for teaching in the Humanities will be particularly vital in their mentoring of new faculty.”
Together, Torres-Saillant and Van Gulick will support the Tolley tradition in enhancement of teaching and development of humanities. Both currently serve on the Humanities Council, which works to sponsor and promote lectures, symposia and other humanities-focused activity on campus, in the community and among the three institutions (SU, Cornell University, and the University of Rochester) that make up the Humanities Corridor.
Torres-Saillant joined SU’s English department in 1999 and was appointed director of the Latino-Latin American Studies Program in 1999. Serving as director, he has helped the program establish a clear identity within the University and community by expanding and improving academic programs for undergraduates.
A native of the Dominican Republic, Torres-Saillant launched the City University of New York’s Dominican Studies Institute — the only research initiative focused on the Dominican experience based in a U.S. university — prior to joining SU and also held several appointments in the English department at CUNY. In 2005, he was conferred to the Order of Merit of Duarte, Sanchez and Mella in the Rank of Commander — an honor the equivalent of knighthood. Also, he served as the 2005-06 Wilbur Marvin Visiting Scholar at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University. Torres-Saillant earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communications at Brooklyn College, and master’s and doctoral degrees in comparative literature at New York University.
The author of numerous journal essays, book chapters and magazine articles, Torres-Saillant has published widely on Caribbean, Dominican, Latino and Latin American topics, with a focus on cultural history, race and ethnicity, diasporic identity and intellectual history. Some of his most influential works include “Caribbean Poetics: Toward an Aesthetic of West Indian Literature” (Cambridge University Press, 1997); “An Introduction to Dominican Blackness” (CUNY Dominican Studies Institute, 1999); “El Retorno de las Yolas: Ensayos Sobre Diaspora, Democracia y Dominicanidad” (Ediciones Libreria La Trinitaria/Editora Manati, 1999); “The Dominican-Americans” (with Ramona Hernandez) (Greenwood Press, 1998); “Desde La Orilla: Hacia Una Nacionalidad Sin Desalojos” (Santo Domingo 2004); and, most recently, “Intellectual History of the Caribbean” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005). He is an associate editor of the journal Latino Studies and a senior editor of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States.
Van Gulick currently chairs SU’s Department of Philosophy, which he joined in 1984 after teaching at Rutgers University. He is also the director of SU’s Cognitive Science Program. He received a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, all in philosophy.
His research is interdisciplinary and deals with philosophical issues that intersect empirical work in neuroscience, psychology and cognitive science. His current research focuses on topics related to consciousness, including the qualitative nature of experience, self-knowledge and the reflexive nature of conscious awareness, which he has explored in his HOGS (Higher-Order Global State) model of consciousness. He has also published on a variety of other issues in the philosophy of mind, including mental causation, reduction, emergence, mental representation and the computational model of mind.
Several of his papers have been widely reprinted, anthologized and republished in translation. His paper “Understanding the phenomenal mind: are we all just armadillos?” was selected for inclusion in The Philosophers Annual XVI as one of the top 10 philosophical papers published in English during 1993. His entry on “Consciousness” in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is one of the most frequently accessed Web items on the topic of consciousness.
He has twice been a recipient of NEH Faculty Fellowships. In 2001-02, he served as president of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, and he is currently co-editor of PSYCHE, the official journal of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness. In 1998, he received the Outstanding Advisor of the Year Award from The College of Arts and Sciences. On the side, Van Gulick writes poetry.
William P. Tolley was the chancellor of SU during a formative period from 1942-1969. The Tolley professorship was created to support the enhancement of the pedagogical experience at SU and to maximize effectiveness in the classroom.