Composition, Rhetoric & English Studies

Amber Buck specializes in writing technologies and digital literacies, specifically literacy practices connected to social media platforms.

Amy Dayton‘s research interests include historiography and archival research, Progressive-Era histories of composition, community literacy, language attitudes, ethnic/immigrant rhetoric and literacy, qualitative research, and assessment/teacher training.

Jessica Kidd is a fiction writer interested in speculative literature, and her current work focuses on an intersection of Southern environment, family folklore, and the fantastic.

Luke Niiler’s research interests include writing center and writing program development, assessment, and leadership.

Creative Writing

Robin Behn is a poet and musician whose interests include the lyric, documentary poetics, 20th–21st century poetics, writerly and interdisciplinary collaboration, psychology and poetry, forms of poetry, creative writing pedagogy, music and poetry, and reading performance. Joel Brouwer writes poetry and poetry criticism. John Estes is the author of two books of poetry, with a volume of short fiction forthcoming. Kwoya Fagin Maples‘ interests include creative approaches to historical research, the speculative, magical realism, process experimentation, visual poetry and collaboration. Nana Nkweti is a Cameroonian-American writer whose pedagogy explores her eclectic literary interests in graphic novels, speculative fiction, medical humanities, the African diaspora experience, and works by female authors in genres such as horror, western, afrofuturism, and mystery. Wendy Rawlings’ specialty areas include short fiction, the personal essay, writing comedy, the lyric essay, and writing by women. Kellie Wells writes novels and short fiction and has a particular interest in fabulist, speculative, and slipstream work, as well as posthumanism, animal studies, cli-fi, women and chronic illness, and the figure of the crone in literature.


In their teaching and research interests, the members of the literature faculty use a variety of critical perspectives to cover the full array of genres in British, American, and World literature.

British Literature

Early Modern specialists David Ainsworth, Alexandra Cook, Tricia McElroy, Cassander Smith, and Elizabeth E. Tavares are faculty in the Strode Program in Renaissance Studies, directed by Michelle Dowd.

The Restoration and 18th century are covered by Deborah Weiss, whose research focuses on the history of the novel, women writers’ engagements with the Enlightenment, historical feminism, and gender and sexuality in the long 18th century. In the 19th century, Romanticist Steve Tedeschi’s interests include historical poetics and critical theory. Victorianist Daniel A. Novak’s interests include visual culture, race, performance, and the history of sexuality. Albert Pionke researches a broad range of topics—including secrecy, ritual, professionalism, status, representations of the East and West Indies—across the fiction, poetry, and nonfiction prose of the Victorian period. He is also the founding director and principal investigator of Mill Marginalia Online.

David Deutsch maintains an interest in modern British and American literature, with a special focus on queer fiction, drama, and poetry. Indebted to archival research, James McNaughton’s work examines the intersections among history, politics, and modernist aesthetics; his specialties include 20th-century Irish writing, British and Irish poetry, and international modernisms. The only comparatist in the department, Emily Wittman’s teaching and research interests include international modernism, translation studies, contemporary world literature, travel literature, and autobiography (from Augustine to the present). She also oversees the minor in Comparative and World Literature.

American Literature

Also a member of the Strode Program faculty, Cassander L. Smith is an early African Americanist with a particular expertise in race and the cultures of the early Atlantic World. Nikhil Bilwakesh teaches and writes about American literature, both early and late. Yolanda Manora’s interests focus on African American Literature, with a particular emphasis on women writers in the first decades of the 20th century. Trudier Harris focuses her research on African American literature, particularly African American women writers; intersections between African American and American literature, especially southern American authors; folklore in/and literature; and science, speculative, and horror fiction. Heather White‘s interests include modern American poetry and fiction, and editorial theory. A specialist on Marianne Moore, she co-directs the Marianne Moore Notebook Project.

Lauren S. Cardon‘s research centers on 20th-century and contemporary American literature, with a specialization in ethnic literature and cultural studies. Fred Whiting specializes in 20th-century American literature and culture and critical theory. His interests broadly encompass the relationship between literary form and ideology. He is also the director of the Blount Scholars Program. Steven Trout works on 20-century American modernist fiction, American war literature, and the depiction of armed conflict in visual art and public memorials.

Strode Program

Faculty in the Strode Program specialize in a wide range of subjects within Medieval and Renaissance studies, including the early modern transatlantic, gender, race, and sexuality studies, intellectual history, religious studies, and the history of performance and adaptation. Strode faculty have highly visible national and international scholarly reputations; in addition to publishing numerous books and journal articles, Strode faculty have been recognized for their research with grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Huntington Library, and elsewhere.

  • David Ainsworth works predominantly on John Milton and other 17th century British poets, with a focus on theology, critical thinking, and interpretation.
  • Alexandra Cook specializes in late medieval literature and Chaucer Studies; she researches how poetry of the period is shaped by theories of memory, historicity, temporality, and translation. She also writes about modern medievalisms of the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • Michelle Dowd is a specialist in Shakespeare and Renaissance drama as well as early modern women’s writing. Her research interests include early modern theater culture, dramatic genres, feminist theory and gender studies, and economic criticism.
  • Tricia McElroy works on English Renaissance literature, especially 16th century poetry and prose. Her research interests include satire, political theory, manuscript studies, and, more generally, Scottish Renaissance and Reformation history, literature, and culture.
  • Cassander Smith specializes in early African American, American, and Caribbean literature, and her research focuses on representations of black Africans in early Atlantic literature, especially the racial/cultural ideologies that helped shape English encounters with the early Americas.
  • Elizabeth Tavares is an interdisciplinary scholar of early modern English drama, with particular interests in playing companies, theatre history, and Shakespeare in performance.


Discourse Analysis

Robert Poole specializes in corpus-aided discourse analysis as he explores areas such as business writing, legal language, and environmental discourse. Dorothy Worden examines second language classroom discourse from a sociocultural theoretical perspective to investigate how interactional patterns mediate student learning.

Second Language Learning and Teaching

Dorothy Worden specializes in language teacher cognition and multilingual writing pedagogy with a focus on curriculum design and genre-informed approaches.

Corpus Analysis and Technology-Based Language Teaching

Robert Poole investigates the use of technology, primarily corpora, in language teaching and learning with a particular focus on English for Academic Purposes contexts.