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School of Social Sciences and Philosophy Welcomes New Academic Staff

September 14, 2018

The School is delighted to welcome seven new academics to our staff who will strengthen Trinity's research and teaching expertise in the fields of economics, political science and philosophy.

Department of Economics

kopeckyDr Joseph Kopecky, Assistant Professor, Economics

Joe received his PhD in economics from the University of California, Davis in 2018. His research is in the area of macroeconomics, with particular interest in population aging, entrepreneurship, and international macroeconomics. Current research projects focus on the risk profiles of individuals across their life cycle, studying the effects these have on macroeconomic factors such as the rate of new business creation and the equity premium as populations age. Other work studies the effect of currency unions on trade, with a focus on how bilateral trade among eurozone countries has evolved over time.

This academic year, Joe will be teaching modules on economic policy, money and banking, and macroeconomic theory.

Department of Philosophy

Dr Brian Carey, Teaching Fellow, Philosophy

careyBrian received his PhD in political philosophy from the University of Manchester in 2015. Prior to his appointment as a Teaching Fellow at Trinity, he has held research and teaching posts at the University of Limerick and University College Cork. Brian’s research interests concern the relationship between theory and practice in political philosophy, and the obstacles we encounter when we try to apply principles of distributive justice to the world in which we live. He is particularly interested in issues involving public deliberation, autonomy, political feasibility, and global justice. Brian is also a member of the Mobility and Inclusion in a Multilingual Europe (MIME) Consortium, a multidisciplinary network of European researchers working on various aspects of language policy in the European context.

In the 2018/19 academic year Brian will be teaching on a range of modules in political philosophy, covering topics such as citizenship, democracy, authority, freedom, equality, and justice.

Dr Alison Fernandes, Assistant Professor, Philosophy

fernandesAlison grew up in Sydney, Australia, studying as an undergraduate at the University of Sydney. She completed degrees in Physics, Chemistry and (eventually) Philosophy, drawn to the idea that, in philosophy, everything is open to question. As an aspiring academic, she moved to New York to complete a PhD at Columbia University. Here she was able to combine her scientific and philosophical interests, writing a dissertation on causation, agency and the direction of time (‘A Deliberative Account of Causation’). Since then, she has worked on topics including time travel and chance (at the Centre for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh) and the metaphysics and psychology of time (on a UK AHRC project at the University of Warwick). She is currently working on a book on agency, time and the foundations of science. 

Alison will be teaching metaphysics module at undergraduate and graduate level, with a focus on topics relating to time, causation, and freedom.

Dr Elizabeth Ventham, Teaching Fellow, Philosophy       

venthamElizabeth recently joined the Philosophy Department as a Teaching Fellow in ethics, where she will be teaching a range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules in moral philosophy.

Before coming to Trinity, she studied for her PhD at The University of Southampton; her thesis was on moral reasons and obligations, and how they relate to our desires. Elizabeth specialises in normative ethics, meta-ethics and moral psychology, but also has an interest in the link between those topics and the philosophy of mental health. In addition, Elizabeth also has an interest in making philosophy accessible for members of underrepresented groups, and is co-director of the UK branch of the organisation MAP (Minorities And Philosophy).

Dr Ben White, Assistant Professor, Philosophy

whiteBen received his doctorate in philosophy from Temple University in 2016 under the supervision of Jerry Vision. His research focuses on the mind-body problem and the topic of mental causation, and deals specifically with the question of how explanations of human behaviour as caused by our mental states (e.g. our beliefs, desires, sensations, and emotions) can be justified without being reduced to explanations that treat human behaviour as the effect of various physical or neurophysiological causes. Other research interests include the relation between subjective experience and the contents of perception, and the nature of the realization relation, which philosophers often posit as holding, e.g., between mental states and the neural states they depend on, or a statue and the material of which it is made. Ben’s work on these topics can be found in The Philosophical Quarterly, Synthese, and Pacific Philosophical Quarterly

This upcoming academic year Ben will be teaching modules on mental causation, early analytic philosophy and philosophy of mind.

Department of Political Science

keenanLisa Keenan, Teaching Fellow, Political Science

Dr Lisa Keenan received a BA in Economics and Sociology in 2011 and an M Litt. in Economics in 2013, both from Trinity College. She was awarded a Grattan Scholarship in 2013 and completed her PhD thesis investigating the experience of women in Irish politics. It examined potential sites of resistance to women's participation in political life, during electoral campaigns, at the ballot box, and after their election to Dáil Éireann. She co-authored a paper with Prof McElroy entitled 'Who supports gender quotas in Ireland?' which was published in IPS, the journal of the Political Studies Association of Ireland. She researches predominantly on women in politics and is currently a Teaching Fellow at Trinity's Department of Political Science.

Lisa will teach undergraduate classes on public opinion and women in politics. In addition, she will teach classes on economic development and the European Union in crisis on the MSc in International Politics programme.

Roman Gabriel Olar, Assistant Professor, Political Science olar

Roman-Gabriel Olar has recently obtained his PhD in Government from the University of Essex where he wrote his thesis on control strategies in autocracies. During his PhD, Roman was also a visiting researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo and a member of its PhD Research School. Roman has a developing research agenda on the politics of authoritarian regimes, state repression, civil military relations and democratization.

At Trinity, Roman will teach classes in international politics, autocracy, human rights and corruption.