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We would like to welcome our new faculty to the Romance Languages and Literatures Department. We have thirteen new hires, and we are excited to have them contribute to our academic community.

Adi Saleem Bharat - he/him/his

Adi (Ph.D. University of Manchester, 2020) came to Michigan in 2020 as an LSA Collegiate Fellow. He transitioned into his role as an Assistant Professor in August of 2022. A scholar of modern and contemporary France, his research and teaching focus on the intersection of race and religion, specifically as it relates to Jews and Muslims. In his manuscript, tentatively titled Beyond Jewish-Muslim Relations, Adi takes an interdisciplinary approach to examine how media and political discourse impact Jewish and Muslim relations. By exploring cultural studies, media studies, literary studies, and critical discourse in contemporary French society, Adi builds on a growing body of work that further examines the creation and perpetuation of identity categories.

In a second project, Adi explores the politics of apostasy from Islam. As Islam becomes increasingly politicized by Western society, his research delves into the phenomena of how media and political figures weaponize both Islam and (ex-)Muslims that have renounced their association to the religion. As a preliminary form of inquiry into the topic, he co-edited and contributed to a special issue of Contemporary French Civilization (2022) titled "Leaving Islam in France and North Africa: Politics, Representation and Lived Experience." In this work, Adi explores representation and lived experience providing an anthropological and sociological perspective on individuals and communities, while continuing to examine the broader spectrum on how ex-Muslims are represented in media, political discourse, and cultural productions.

Expanding beyond his primary focus on France, Adi has widened his research to include race, religion, language, and sexuality in Singaporean politics and society. He is the co-editor of a special issue of the Journal of Language and Sexuality (2021) on the topic of Pink Dot, an LGBT movement established in Singapore in 2009. 

Visit Professor Bharat’s Profile Page


This fall, RLL welcomed twelve new Lecturers to the department. Some of these faces may look familiar. Coquis Galvan-Santibanez, who has taught with us for a number of years, was hired to serve as the Coordinator of the new Spanish 231 topics courses. Pris Calatayud-Fernandez, Jason Grant, Martin Ruiz-Mendoza, and Travis Williams all earned their Ph.D.s from RLL and have now stepped into faculty roles. 

Sandra Bontemps, Manuela Di Franco, Chelo Digón-Aroba, Laura Gess, Elizabeth Houbeck, Álvaro Pérez Gómez, and Caitlin Rowe all joined RLL for the first time this fall. 

We are excited to have them in the department. 

Maria "Coquis" Galvan-Santibanez

Lecturer III

Sandra Bontemps, she/her/hers

Lecturer I, French

Priscila Calatayud-Fernández, she/her/hers

Lecturer I, Spanish

Manuela Di Franco, she/her/hers

Lecturer I, Italian

Consuelo "Chelo" Digón Arroba, she/her/hers

Lecturer I, Spanish

Jason Grant, he/him/his

Lecturer I, French

Laura Gess, she/her/hers

Lecturer I, Spanish

Elizabeth Houbeck, she/her/hers

Lecturer I, Spanish

Álvaro Pérez Gómez, he/him/his

Lecturer I, Spanish

Caitlin Rowe, she/her/hers

Lecturer I, Spanish

Martín Ruiz-Mendoza, he/him/his

Lecturer I, Spanish

Travis Williams, he/him/his

Lecturer I, Spanish

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