Interim Department Chair of Theology, Associate Dean for Faculty and Graduate Affairs
Klingler College of Arts and Sciences
My research focuses on questions surrounding American identity at the individual, cultural, and national levels. I have a doctorate in the interdisciplinary field of American Studies, so I incorporate history, sociology, and ethnic theory among other disciplines into my examination of particular topics.
My first book approaches issues of American identity by investigating how writers Claude McKay and Paule Marshall depict in poetry, fiction, and autobiographical memoir the complexities of being both black and immigrant in the United States. My goal in this study is to challenge the simplistic — and some might say distinctly American — notion of "race" that collapses national, ethnic, and regional differences within the black American community.
My second book project considers how the mythologies of freedom and captivity have shaped American literary history and culture, using Japanese internment literature as one of the primary lenses through which to explore the issue. I also have a strong interest in concepts of regional distinctiveness, centering particularly on the South and the Midwest.
Finally, I love to teach and offer courses in African American literature and Ethnic American literature, as well as more broadly-defined American literature surveys.
Harvard University, Ph.D., American, African American and Ethnic Studies
Caribbean and Caribbean American, African American, Japanese American, and U.S. literatures and cultures
- Caribbean and Caribbean American literature and culture
- African American literature and culture
- "American" identity
- Japanese Internment literature and culture
- Mythologies of captivity and freedom in U.S. Literature and culture
- Conversations with Paule Marshall, eds. James C. Hall and Heather Hathaway, UP of Mississippi, 2010.
- Race and the Modern Artists. Oxford UP, 2003 (Co-edited with Jeffrey Melnick and Josef Jadab.
- Caribbean Waves: Relocating Claude McKay and Paule Marshall. Indiana UP, 1999.