I am a 2014 graduate of CWRU, where I received my PhD in English with a research focus in medical rhetoric. I received my MA in English from CWRU in 2009 and my BA in History from Baldwin-Wallace College 2006. In research, I am especially interested in how knowledge about health, medicine, and the body reaches the general public and the role that persuasive language plays in shaping individuals’ beliefs, attitudes, and actions related to health and disease. I am also interested in the rhetorical functions of personal narrative within public discourse. My dissertation, Gender, Illness, and Narrative: A Rhetorical Study of the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women Campaign, examines how a major health promotion campaign seeks to persuade women not only to adopt healthy actions but also to engage in certain communicative practices including personal storytelling. As a writing instructor, one of my goals is to bring my research into the classroom and ask students to consider the various definitions of health that circulate in public discourse, both verbally and visually. What does it mean for one to be healthy in today’s society? What values are attached to health? To disease? What does health look like? What communities have formed around health and disease, and what identities are attached to these communities? In addition to asking students to study the social meanings and implications of health, I challenge students to think about the ways that health can be defined, discussed, written about, and promoted on their university campus. In these ways, I hope to encourage students to think critically about health as a social concept but also to think practically about health as an immediate and local concern.
After years as a higher education administrator and consultant for nonprofit organizations nationwide, I earned my Ph.D. at Case Western Reserve University. My research interests include early modern women writers (particularly playwrights), Shakespeare, and higher education pedagogy. My book, a bilingual translation of Barbara Torelli’s 1587 play Partenia won the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women’s 2014 award for best critical edition. As a SAGES Fellow, I teach courses on a wide range of topics that draw on my earlier career in the nonprofit world as well as my literary research interests. In designing my seminars, I take a historical approach to introducing students to the concept of paradigm change, stressing the reflexivity of philosophical, cultural, and scientific ideas.
In his writing and teaching, Matt Burkhart works at the dynamic intersections of environmental humanities, multiethnic American literature, Indigenous and Regional studies in the era of globalization—especially with respect to the U.S. Southwest. His current writing project, “Travels in the Glittering World: Transcultural Representations of Navajo Country,” addresses how Euroamerican nature writers and Navajo (Diné) writers and filmmakers have depicted the Navajo Nation as a respite from 20th Century modernity, a vital homeland, as well as a site for affirmation of cultural sovereignty and environmental justice. He earned a B.A. through the University of Colorado’s Honors Program and completed Master’s work in English and American Studies before finishing his Ph.D. in English at the University of Arizona. His writing has been published in Western American Literature and ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and The Environment. Before coming to CWRU, he served as a full-time Instructor in Northern Arizona University’s Comparative Cultural Studies Program and then as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Colby College. Building upon the constellation of texts he teaches in courses such as “Reading Nature Otherwise” and “The Built Sublime,” he is establishing foundations for a second book project on “The Emergent Global Sublime.” That manuscript focuses on global literature, photography, and cinema that calls upon the aesthetics of the sublime to provoke ethical reflection upon anthropogenic transformations of the more-than-human world.
Gabrielle M.W. Bychowski is an Anisfield-Wolf SAGES Fellow teaching courses on transgender and intersex history, disability culture, racism, and medieval literature. In previous years, she has guided students to Prague to attend the Mezipatra Queer Film Festival as part of a course on LGBT film. She was raised in Chicago, where she received her B.A. in English and History at DePaul University, before moving on to complete a Masters and Ph.D in English Literature in Washington D.C.at the George Washington University. A few of her recent and upcoming articles include, “Unconfessing Transgender: Dysphoric Youths and the Medicalization of Madness in John Gower’s “Tale of Iphis and Ianthe” (Accessus 2016), “The Necropolitics of Narcissus: Confessions of Transgender Suicide in the Middle Ages” (the Medieval Feminist Forum 2017), “The Island of Hermaphrodites: Disorienting the Place of Intersex in Pilgrimage Narratives” (Postmedieval 2018), alongside contributions to The Medieval Disability Ashgate Research Companion, Chaucerian Skin Matters, and the Companion to Medieval Sexuality. In addition to her other writing, she engages actively in the Digital Humanities, maintaining a website on transgender and disability culture, http://www.ThingsTransform.com, through which she offers, “Transform Talks,” workshops and training for businesses, schools, and faith communities on issue of gender and disability. Such work has brought her to work with the White House twice in 2016 as part of the “LGBTQ Champions of Change” and “the Forum on LGBT and Disability Issues.” Additionally, for five years she founded and ran Match: A Critical Theory Reading Group, and she is currently an executive board member for the UCC Mental Health Network.
Cara Byrne’s teaching and research interests are centered around studying literary and visual texts, exploring race, gender, and age. Her current book project, Illustrating the Smallest Black Bodies: The Creation of Childhood in African American Children’s Literature, 1836–2015, analyzes visual representations of black childhood in picture books. She investigates how images communicate belief systems, function in a different rhetorical framework than works created chiefly for adult audiences, and redefine previously constructed visual statements, ultimately affecting larger assumptions about American childhood and racial identity. She has published articles on visual rhetoric in picture books based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in ImageTexT and on matrophobia in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games series, and has several forthcoming articles, including an analysis of adapted picture books based on Zora Neale Hurston’s anthropological writings in Children’s Literature Association Quarterly. Prior to earning her Ph.D. and MA in English at Case Western Reserve University, she earned a BA in English and a BS in secondary education at Bowling Green State University and worked at an educational non-profit in Akron, Ohio.
(PhD Univ of Arizona) – Ecocriticism, Cultural Studies, Native American Literature and Culture
I received my PhD in Applied Linguistics and Professional Writing from Oklahoma State University and joined the English Department at Case Western Reserve University in Fall 2014. I currently teach seminar-based writing courses to ESL students in the SAGES curriculum. My research and teaching interests include English for Academic Purposes (EAP), English for Specific Purposes (ESP), second language writing, simulation and gaming, technical writing, and intercultural rhetoric.
Thom Dawkins a Ph.D. candidate in the CWRU English Department working on early modern theology and poetics. Before coming to CWRU, he completed a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Chatham University and a Master of Theological Studies degree at the Vanderbilt Divinity School. In addition to teaching in SAGES, he has taught a variety of writing and literature courses, both at CWRU and elsewhere, including courses in poetry, creative writing, and professional communication.
PhD, University of Cincinnati
English and comparative literature
My interests include poetry, translation, contemporary American literature, Japanese language and literature, and mathematics.
I’ve designed and taught USSY 290V, Experiencing Mathematics, which involves instruction in both writing and mathematics.
“Zero.” Nimrod (forthcoming).
“I Don’t Watch Too Many Movies.” Lullwater Review (forthcoming).
“I Took a While to Respond.” Lullwater Review (forthcoming).
“The Key Is Ready for Pickup.” Lullwater Review (forthcoming).
“Suspense.” Translation (with Noriko Hara) of “Sasupensu,” by Ken’ichi Sasō. Painted Bride Quarterly (forthcoming).
“Gathering.” Mantis 13 (2015).
“Favor.” Roanoke Review 36 (2014).
“Gift.” Translation (with Noriko Hara) of “Okurimono,” by Ken’ichi Sasō. Forklift, Ohio 28 (2014).
“The Planet of Hearts.” Translation (with Noriko Hara) of “Shinzō no hoshi,” by Ken’ichi Sasō. Forklift, Ohio 28 (2014).
“Everyone, I’m Leaving.” Puerto del Sol 49.2 (2014).
“You’d Have to Get Up Pretty Early.” Mid-American Review 25.2 (2005).
Gusztav Demeter has been teaching in the SAGES ESL Writing Program since Fall 2011. He received his PhD in English with concentrations in applied linguistics and TESL from Oklahoma State University in 2011. His main research interests include Cognitive Linguistics, Construction Grammar, corpus linguistics, and second language writing. Most recently, he has been studying apologies from a Construction Grammar perspective as well as the use of simulations in teaching English for Academic Purposes.
Scott Dill teaches and writes about how contemporary cultural forms portray the experience of belief. In the classroom, this translates into challenging students to think through the cultural histories that shape our everyday assumptions about meaning and significance. His writing on these topics has appeared (or will soon appear) in boundary 2, Books & Culture, The Christian Century, Critique, Christianity and Literature, Literature and Theology, Religion and Literature, as well as other edited collections. He received a BA from Wheaton College in Philosophy and English, as well as an MA and PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in English and Comparative Literature. Right now he is working on a book about the relationship between literary style and moral emotions.
Bill Doll is the author of the primer SPEAK, How to Talk to Classmates and Others, which was developed for SAGES and has now been published by Oxford University Press. He is a lawyer with a doctorate in sociology and a former theater critic for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. Bill heads his own communications and research consulting firm, Bill Doll & Company. Founded in 1988, the firm works on complex communications and advocacy issues. Clients have included banks, law firms, health systems, arts organizations and other not-for-profits, among them National City Corporation, KeyCorp, KPMG/Cleveland, Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, The CSA Health System, Playhouse Square Foundation and the Greater Cleveland Partnership. His articles and speeches for clients have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Fortune Small Business, the Washington Post, the National Law Journal, Vital Speeches, among others. Bill is a former president of the Cleveland Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. For more background and work examples please see here.
(PhD Michigan State Univ) – Native American Literature and Culture
Susan Rose Dominguez holds a PhD with honors in American Studies from Michigan State University with concentrations in American Indian Studies and Women’s Studies. Her research focuses on American Indian Boarding and Canadian Residential Schools, and representations of Native peoples. Her current book project is the biography of Yankton Sioux writer, Zitkala-Ša (1876-1938). Prior to joining CWRU’s English Department and SAGES Program in the fall of 2008, Dominguez taught American Indian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Iowa. At Case Western, Dominguez uses her English studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in interdisciplinary writing-intensive seminars on Indigenous Environmentalism as well as seminars tailored to second language and foundational learners, such as Academic Conversations, Dignity and American Indians and One World Many Cultures. Dominguez has published in the Centennial Review, Studies in American Indian Literatures, American Music Research Center Journal, reference encyclopedias on American Indian and Women’s history, and the International Writing Centers Association Newsletter. She wrote the new introduction to Zitkala-Ša’s American Indian Stories, “Zitkala-Ša: The Representative Indian” reissued by the University of Nebraska Press in 2003 (orig. 1921). At Case, Dominguez serves as the faculty advisor to the student group, Indigenous Alliance @CWRU. Locally, she is a member of the Native American Culture Garden focus group in Cleveland and nationally, serves on the and Board of Directors of Wordcraft Circle of Native Storytellers and Writers.
Nárcisz’ primary research interests and teaching experience are in interdisciplinary and comparative studies of gender and sexuality in literature, film, media and cultural studies. Her work also extends into the areas of globalization, studies of representation and identity, and tourism. In her class “Passport to Eastern Europe,” students familiarize themselves with the constructed and textual nature of geopolitical categories such as continents, nation states, and the concepts of East and West. They also gain an understanding of the special histories and cultures of the borderlands of Eastern Europe and its literary and cinematic representations. In her “Global Tourism” class, students consider various tourist activities with critical distance and address their ethical dimensions. Her courses place much emphasis on helping students evaluate cultural encounters and contexts and develop into responsible and culturally sensitive observers. Both of these classes include segments drawn from Nárcisz’ research on the ways in which literary works, films, and the media portray sex tourism and sex trafficking in the former Soviet bloc. She also analyzes practices of migrant work on the European continent and their gender implications, the growth of the mail-bride industry, and the shifting definitions of masculinity in Eastern Europe. Nárcisz has a Ph.D. in English from Case Western Reserve University and completed her pre-doctoral studies in the United States, Finland, and Hungary. She also participated in a seminar organized by the University of Amsterdam’s School for Cultural Analysis on “Media,Globalization, and Post-Communist Eastern European Identities” in 2006. Nárcisz is a recipient of various teaching awards, including the inaugural Richard A. Bloom, M.D., Award for Distinguished Teaching in the SAGES Program. She enjoys traveling and plans to learn documentary film-making.
Paul Hanson is an anthropologist/folklorist working in the United States and Madagascar. His primary research interest is the interrelations between the people indigenous to the southeastern rainforest regions of Madagascar and the international group of conservationists concerned with the island’s natural resources. In considering such interrelations, Hanson focuses on communication dynamics (especially ritual communication), conservation and development rationales, and democratic processes. A second, and more recent, research interest is in forms of political action specific to 1960s Cleveland, Ohio. He is currently writing a book on the Hough and Glenville riots that occurred in the city. Hanson’s pedagogical approach owes a great deal to the Brazilian educator and educational theorist Paulo Friere’s understanding of education as a “practice of freedom”. Accordingly, his efforts to teach social scientific concepts and methodologies are inseparably tied to struggles to overcome injustices and efforts to identify and transform debilitating ideologies. Hanson currently teaches the University Seminar course “Struggles for Justice in Globalizing Environments” for SAGES.
Chris has been employed by and volunteered for nonprofit organizations for her entire career, in the U.S. as well as abroad. Her work included being the executive director of a microenterprise organization and the director of a family foundation. Previous positions in the nonprofit sector include public relations, volunteer management, continuing education, hospital administration, community development, and serving as a board member for many organizations. She has a BA in Sociology from Hiram College, a Master of Nonprofit Organizations from the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Case Western Reserve University, and is a certified personal coach. She also teaches the Doing Good course at Hiram College. A lifelong Clevelander, she resides in Cleveland Heights.
John Higgins received his Ph.D. in Literatures in English from the University of California – San Diego with a specialization in the literatures and cultures of 16th and 17th century England. His research explores the intersection between Literary Studies, Social History, and theories of the public sphere by studying dramatic texts, popular print culture, legal and political documents, and other archives that provide records of the active role that non-aristocratic men and women played in shaping and participating early modern English governance. He has published articles in English Literary Renaissance and the Journal of Early Modern Studies, and is currently working on a book manuscript on early modern drama and popular politics. Due to his interdisciplinary research and academic training, he has had the opportunity to teach a broad range of courses, including surveys of Western Humanities, World Cultures and British Literature, Shakespeare, Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama, and collaborative courses in the SAGES Program with colleagues in Engineering, Business and Astronomy. Inspired by his research and thinking on the public sphere, he believes that learning, should aspire to be an active, collaborative process where students create knowledge through research, discussion, and writing.
(PhD Washington Univ in St Louis) – 20th C American Poetry, Environmental Studies
Dr. Kevin Houser is the Beamer-Schneider SAGES Teaching Fellow in Ethics at Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, Ohio. His research specialties include ethics/moral philosophy, moral emotions, epistemology, and interdisciplinary pedagogy. Forthcoming publications will appear in Levinas Studies (2017) and The Oxford Handbook of Emmanuel Levinas (2018). Present projects center upon ethics instruction across humanities and STEM disciplines, the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, the relation between being ethical and being reasonable, and the rational structure of religious affects like sin and grace.
(PhD Marquette) – Early Modern British Literature, Renaissance Epic and Spenser
Bernie earned a Ph.D. in History at Case Western Reserve University in August 2006. In his dissertation, Ephemeral Containers: A Cultural and Technological History of Building Demolition, he examines the history of wreckers and wrecking machines, and uses an exploration of the discourse surrounding building demolition as a window into the impact of modernity on notions of progress, the construction of identity, and the American public’s relationship to the built environment. He has presented his work before the societies for historians of technology and historians of architecture, and has published an article on the razing of city hotels in the Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts, Issue 25, on “The American Hotel.” Bernie has taught courses in American History, Technology and Culture, and Technology and Society for Cleveland State University, Weatherhead School of Business, and the history department of Case Western Reserve University. In addition to his academic work, Bernie has experience circulating, maintaining, and developing temporary exhibitions for science and technology museums, and has acted as a researcher in the field of cultural resource management. In his SAGES courses, he asks his students to reconsider the role of the commonplace and the remarkable in the built world and the natural world.
Caitlin Kelly teaches and writes about the literature and culture of the Long Eighteenth Century, particularly British and Transatlantic fiction from 1770-1830. She also presents and writes on pedagogy, and has extensive experience working with undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty in academic support and writing center contexts. Caitlin received her PhD in English from the University of Missouri, her MA from the University of Tennessee, and her BA from the University of Central Arkansas.
Kristine Kelly is a Lecturer in English at CWRU, teaching primarily in the SAGES program. She earned her PhD at CWRU and her MA (Literary Studies) at the University of Cape Town. Her research and teaching focus on British colonial and post-colonial Anglophone literature and cultures. She also studies and writes about digital literature and digital pedagogy. In addition to teaching writing in SAGES co-instructed classes, she teaches SAGES classes on stories of empire and colonial contact, travel, experimental narratives and new media, and electronic literature.
I received my Ph.D. in English from Northeastern University in 2015. My research and teaching spans late Victorian and Edwardian literature, postcolonial and Anglophone literature, and ecocriticsm and literary animal studies. Prior to my current position as Lecturer in the SAGES Program at Case Western Reserve University, I was a visiting assistant professor at Stetson University, 2016-2017, and an assistant professor at Bunker Hill Community College. My article on colonial friendship in E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India and a book chapter on animal-human relations in J. R. Ackerley’s My Dog Tulip were published in 2016. Currently I am at work on two new articles: on the small spaces of colonial Hong Kong in Shih Shu-Ching’s novel City of the Queen and on human intervention as natural disaster in H. G. Well’s The Island of Doctor Moreau, for the Global South Journal and an edited collection on Victorian environmental nightmares respectively.
Before coming to Case Western Reserve University, Emily Laurance served as chair of music history at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she taught courses on Verdi, nineteenth century French opera and the symphonic poem. She received her Ph.D. in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and degrees in harp from the Oberlin and the New England Conservatories. She has a broad scholarly and performing background, with research areas that include early camp meeting hymnody, early 20th-century American ultramodernism, and the French vocal romance of the late eighteenth century. Dr. Laurance’s most recent publication is an essay on the use of Parisian street vendor cries in late nineteenth century French opera. She is a frequent concert lecturer, including for the San Francisco Opera and the Cleveland Orchestra. As a performer she most recently served as Principal Harp with the Stockton Symphony and still performs regularly with the Avedis Chamber Series at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. With Boston tenor Thomas Gregg Laurance co-founded the duo DoubleAction, an ensemble that specializes in harp-accompanied song performed on an 1829 single-action harp. Her recording credits include Luciano Berio’s Sequenza II on Neuma Records as well as the Squirrel Nut Zippers album Perennial Favorites, which won the Recording Institute Association of America’s Gold Sales award. Prior to her work at the San Francisco Conservatory, she held a postdoctoral fellowship at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress and taught harp at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University.
I received my PhD In Education from University of Rochester and joined the English Department at Case Western Reserve University in Fall 2016. I currently teach First Year Seminars and I work especially with ESL students. My research interests include World Englishes, issues of power in teaching English as a second/foreign language, second language writers’ identify formation and negotiation.
Dave Lucas is a writer, teacher, and promoter of the literary arts. Born and raised in Cleveland, he studied literature and poetry at John Carroll University (BA, 2002), the University of Virginia (MFA, 2004), and the University of Michigan (PhD, 2014). His first book, Weather (Georgia, 2011), received the 2012 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. He has contributed both to regional (Belt, Cleveland Magazine, Edible Cleveland, The Plain Dealer) and national (Granta Online, The Kenyon Review, The Nation, Orion, The Paris Review, Poetry, Slate, The Threepenny Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review) publications. A co-founder of the Brews + Prose literary series at Market Garden Brewery, he also teaches at the Sweet Briar Creative Writing Conference, the John Carroll Young Writers Workshop, and the Cleveland Clinic Program in Medical Humanities.
Howard Maier has worked many years in transportation planning, city and regional planning as well as public administration. He retired in 2012 as Executive Director of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), a position he held for more than two decades. NOACA provides transportation and environmental planning for Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, and Medina Counties. Prior to NOACA, Mr. Maier held other public and private sector positions, including Director of Planning and Development for the City of Cleveland Heights. During his career, Mr. Maier received a number of professional awards and honors. Among others, he is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners. He also received a Distinguished Alumnus award from the College of Engineering at Ohio State University and was inducted into the Mayfield High School Alumni Hall of Fame. Prior to retirement, he served as President of the Ohio Association of Regional Councils and Treasurer of the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium. Among his current civic activities, Mr. Maier chairs the Senior Transportation Connection of Cuyahoga County. He serves as vice-chair of the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District. He also co-chairs the Cleveland Heights Transportation Advisory Committee. He has a B.A. (Economics) and a Master of City and Regional Planning both from Ohio State University as well as an M.S. in Public Management from Case Western Reserve University. A lifelong cartoonist, he drew editorial cartoons for the Sun Newspapers in the mid-1970’s and co-wrote the script of the animated cartoon entitled It’s the Greatest Little City. He is married to Sue Maier, a CWRU alumna. They have three adult children and two grandchildren.
Daniel Melnick is an emeritus professor of English from Cleveland State University, and he has taught in the SAGES program (and occasionally in English) since his retirement from CSU in 2005. The focus of his teaching and research is twentieth century literature and particularly the modern period. His book on music and modern fiction is Fullness of Dissonance: Modern Fiction and the Aesthetics of Music (Fairleigh Dickinson, 1994), and a series of his essays on modern fiction has appeared in various journals – the latest article being about Joseph Conrad’s Under Western Eyes. His on-going series of ‘notes on the modern period’ can be found here. He is also the author of a series of short stories and three novels, Hungry Generations, Acts of Terror and Contrition and the The Ash Tree (2015, West of the West Press), which tells the story of an Armenian-American family in California from 1915 to 1972, and was nominated for the Saroyan Writing Prize. His B.A. and Ph.D. in English are from the University of California at Berkeley.
Terri Mester received her BA, MA and PhD in English from Case Western Reserve. Since 2002, she has taught literature and film classes in the English Department and FSEM’s and USEM’s for SAGES. In 2008, she joined Undergraduate Studies as the pre-law advisor. In 2012, Dr. Mester became an adjunct professor at CWRU School of Law. She has been nominated several times for Case’s outstanding teaching (Wittke) and advising (Jackson) awards. Besides teaching and advising, Dr. Mester is the director of Workplace Writing, where she has conducted workshops in legal, business and technical writing since 1998. Her clients include several bar associations, prominent law firms, CPA firms, and high-profile companies like Lubrizol, Nationwide Insurance and Abbott Laboratories. A writer herself, Terri has published numerous articles and reviews in scholarly journals and area newspapers and magazines on film, dance and literature. She is the author of Movement and Modernism, an interdisciplinary look at the arts at the turn of the last century.
Andrea Milne is a twentieth-century U.S. historian specializing in gender, sexuality, and patient advocacy around stigmatized diseases, especially HIV/AIDS. She received her doctoral degree from the University of California, Irvine, in 2017. Her dissertation, A Caring Disease, examined the radical political labor performed by the nurses who constructed and staffed the world’s first AIDS ward. Her forthcoming article in Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies examines the unconventional activist strategies employed by three women interned in the Carville National Leprosarium (Carville, Louisiana) from the 1940 through the 1960s. Milne is also an avid public writer; you can read her work online at her website, http://www.andreamilne.com.
James Newlin received his PhD in English from the University of Florida. His research is primarily concerned with the reception of Shakespeare in intellectual history, though he has also published articles on film and contemporary literature. His writing on these topics has appeared in SubStance, Philip Roth Studies, ImageText, and in other edited collections. He is currently developing a book project on allusions to King Lear in Romanticism and in the critiques of Romanticism by Søren Kierkegaard and Jacques Lacan. Before joining the SAGES program at CWRU, James taught literature and composition at a number of institutions in Florida, including serving as Assistant Professor of English at Webber International University. A complete CV is available at his personal website.
Lisa Nielson is the inaugural Anisfield-Wolf SAGES Fellow and appointed as a Lecturer in Music at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, where she teaches classes on diverse topics such as the courtesan, the harem, and world slavery. While at Case, she has been nominated for several prestigious teaching awards, receiving the Richard A. Bloom, MD Award for Distinguished Teaching in the SAGES Program in 2012, the Carl F. Wittke Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2014, and the J. Bruce Jackson, MD Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring in 2016. Her research focuses on musicians, musical culture and the relationship between music and society in the medieval Islamic courts. She regularly presents at national and international conferences, and her professional affiliations include the American Musicological Society, the Middle East Studies Association, and the Middle East Medievalists. Nielson received an overseas travel grant from the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities in 2013 and is a 2015-16 recipient of a Balzan Musicology Research Visitorship, which enabled her to spend two months conducting research in Jerusalem. She has published in Early Music History and has a forthcoming article in an essay collection on women in the medieval Islamicate world published by Oxford University Press. Dr. N’s other interests include social justice and contemporary literature, and she has contributed reviews and opinion pieces to the Journal for the Society of American Music and the blog for the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. A devotee of Henry Rollins and punk rock, her hobbies include loud music, needlepoint, inflicting bad movies on her students each semester for Movie Night and gleefully eschewing all social media.
Gabrielle Parkin (Ph.D., University of Delaware) works on late medieval English literature and is most interested in understanding how merchants and artisans of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries experienced their material world. Through her work she seeks to interpret domestic goods, like clothing and prayer books, through their affective and sensual histories. Gabrielle became interested in the material culture of the late medieval world as a way to share seemingly difficult or inaccessible texts with students. An enthusiastic teacher of writing and literature across time periods, Gabrielle designs courses so that students interact with music, film, and objects to understand the text and its audience’s passions, desires, and fears. Gabrielle also enjoys giving presentations to the general public. She has given numerous talks on the tactile experience of medieval prayer books and on medieval clothing, and welcomes the opportunity to speak to any group interested in the late medieval world.
Annie Pécastaings teaches interdisciplinary seminars on topics such as “Science in Literature,” “Coffee and Civilization,” “To Everest and Back: The Politics and Culture of Mountaineering,” and “Paris in the Arts.” She studied English at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and at Tufts University, where she wrote her dissertation on 18th-century British Gothic novels. Her main areas of interest include travel literature as well as the intersection between politics and science in 18th-century texts. She is a native of Bayonne, France.
Steve Pinkerton teaches and writes about twentieth-century literature. Before coming to Case Western he taught at Cornell University, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the University of Texas at Austin. His first book, Blasphemous Modernism: The 20th-Century Word Made Flesh (Oxford, 2017), shows how a shared commitment to blasphemy shaped the modernist imagination from Ulysses to The Satanic Verses. His other writings reflect a range of interests in modern culture—including literary engagements with jazz, psychoanalysis, and the second law of thermodynamics—and have appeared in Modernism/Modernity, Studies in the Novel, Paideuma, the Journal of Modern Literature, and the African American Review.
Brad Ricca got his Ph.D. in English from CWRU. His book Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster -The Creators of Superman (St. Martin’s, 2013) was named a Top 10 Book in the Arts by Booklist and won the 2014 Ohioana Book Award for Nonfiction. He has spoken about comics in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Boston Globe, and on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” He won the St. Lawrence Book Award for his first book of poetry, American Mastodon, and is also a filmmaker whose documentary, Last Son, won a Silver Ace Award at the Las Vegas International Film Festival. In 2014, he was awarded a Cleveland Arts Prize for Emerging Artist in Literature.
Michael Sangiacomo has been a hard news reporter for the Plain Dealer in Cleveland since 1989 and has written a syndicated column on comic books since 1993. He has taught Colors, Capes and Characters, a history of comic books in America, since 2006. The course allows him to combine his love of comics with his journalism background. He has written several comic series and graphic novels himself, including the award-winning Tales of the Starlight Drive-In and Phantom Jack, the adventures of a newspaper reporter who can turn invisible. Hard to figure out where that one came from.
Benjamin Sperry is an educator, historian and writer with a particular interest in race, incarceration, civil rights, the American South (especially Mississippi), and slavery. He has a background as a political campaign organizer, magazine and newspaper journalist, classroom teacher (in social studies and creative writing) in the Cleveland public schools, college history professor, teacher in a prison setting, and freelance writer. His SAGES course, which he created in 2013, involves teaching not only CWRU undergraduates but also a group of students incarcerated at Lorain Correctional Institution, a state prison in Grafton, Ohio. Originally from Connecticut, Sperry holds a bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College, a master’s from Wesleyan University, and a Ph.D. in history from CWRU.
Anthony Wexler (PhD, Johns Hopkins University) studies postwar American literature, specializing in Jewish literature and the Holocaust in American life. He has held research and teaching fellowships at Colby College, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Johns Hopkins University, and Northwestern University. He has also studied traditional Jewish texts at yeshivas in Israel and New York. His current book project is titled At a Distance of Years: The Novel of Aging in the Shadow of Auschwitz. In it, he examines how a group of late-life novels challenge the ways the Holocaust has been received and represented in American life.
John Wiehl has interests in the practice of representative democracy, literary forms, religious history, and cultural theory. His research and teaching range across nineteenth century British literature, from Romantic era poetry to later Victorian novels. He received a PhD from the University of Florida and MA and BA degrees from the University of Kansas, and he has also taught at Cornell College.