Dr. James F. Bondarchuk

Faculty Information

Department(s)
Math
Title(s)
Math, Advisor to The Cardinal

Contact Information

Email
(Primary)

Education

Degree(s)
BA, Columbia University
MA, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
PhD, Harvard University

Other Information

Employed Since
2018
Biography
James Bondarchuk was born and raised in Orient, NY, a rural hamlet on the North Fork of Long Island. He attended Greenport High School, where he graduated valedictorian of the class of 2001. James credits two people with inspiring in him an enduring love of the life of the mind: his AP English teacher, Mr. Connolly, who first exposed him to Plato’s dialogues; and his grandfather, the late Episcopal theologian Robert Farrar Capon. He tries to bring some of that same inspiration to the students at St. Andrew’s.

James attended Columbia University, where he took classes in a broad range of subjects but ultimately majored in mathematics. However, James never regarded himself as exclusively a “math person,” and his own study of mathematics was inflected with broadly humanistic concerns, such as the nature of mathematical knowledge. (As his math students at St. Andrew’s have come to discover, James takes a particular interest in the history of the subject, and will often punctuate his discussions of mathematical concepts with historical asides.) Unsurprisingly, by his senior year of college he was taking mostly philosophy classes. He graduated cum laude in 2005.

James considered studying philosophy in graduate school, but to a first generation college student that seemed like a reckless pursuit. So he worked as a paralegal at a small, white collar criminal defense firm in New York City, with the intention of eventually going to law school. During this time James proved himself comically inept at actually caring about the details of criminal law.

In 2007, he enrolled in the M.A. program in philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Two years later, James enrolled in the Ph.D. program in philosophy at Harvard University. His dissertation, Self-Consciousness in Kant’s Moral Philosophy, traces Immanuel Kant’s account of moral knowledge to the theory of self-consciousness advanced by Kant in the Critique of Pure Reason.

While James always loved the study of mathematics and philosophy, he feels most at home in front of a classroom. James began his teaching career as an undergraduate teaching assistant in the math department at Columbia. At UWM, he taught symbolic logic. At Harvard, James taught a wide range of undergraduate philosophy courses, acted as the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies for his department, and regularly tutored mathematics on the side. He is a three-time recipient of Harvard’s Certificate of Distinction in Teaching.

James appreciates loud music, 80s action movies, caffeinated beverages, and the thrill of taking an idea to its logical conclusion. He lives on Silver Lake Road with his wife Pardis Dabashi, who is finishing her Ph.D. in English at Boston University.