Meet our new faculty: Humanities

Welcome to all new instructors in humanities departments and programs!

This academic year, Arts & Sciences welcomes new faculty in the departments of African and African American Studies, Classics, East Asian Languages and Cultures, English, Jewish, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Music, Performing Arts, and Philosophy, as well as in the programs in American Culture Studies, Film and Media Studies, Latin American Studies, and Linguistics. Welcome to these new members of our community!

To meet more instructors joining Arts & Sciences this semester, see the earlier roundups of new faculty in the social sciences and natural sciences and mathematics.


Joint Appointments

Jianqing Chen, PhD, has accepted a position in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Film and Media Studies as an assistant professor as part of the Digital Transformation Initiative. Chen researches new media technologies and aesthetics, surveillance, global techno-capitalism, post-socialist structure and critique, and cinema and media culture in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. She is working on a book project which examines the global dissemination of touchscreen media and their radical transformation of our interactions with media objects.


Ian Hollenbaugh, PhD, joins the Department of Classics and the program in Linguistics as an assistant professor. Hollenbaugh’s research focuses on the tense and aspect systems of Indo-European languages from both diachronic and synchronic perspectives. His current projects include annotated digital corpora of Rigveda and the Illiad, tagged for morphological and semantic information. He is also working on a book about the Indo-European verb.


Raven Maragh-Lloyd, PhD, joins the Department of African and African American Studies and Film and Media Studies as an assistant professor as part of the Digital Transformation Initiative. Most recently, Maragh-Lloyd was an assistant professor of communication studies at Gonzaga University. Her research focuses on Black digital media practices and their connections to power, resistance, and longstanding efforts of community building and preservation. She is working on her first book, “Reshaping Black Resistance: Strategic Rearticulations in the Digital Age,” which is under contract with University of California Press. 


Eliza Williamson, PhD, has accepted a joint lecturer position in Latin American Studies and the Department of Romance Languages & Literatures. Williamson is a cultural medical anthropologist whose research focuses on reproduction, disability, and healthcare in Brazil. She is currently writing a book on “humanized birth” and public health policy in Bahia, Brazil as well as conducting longitudinal ethnographic research on Bahian families raising children with congenital Zika syndrome. 


African and African American Studies

Robin McDowell, PhD, joins the Department of African and African American Studies as an assistant professor. McDowell’s interdisciplinary research draws on archives, oral histories, earth sciences, design, multimedia art making, and experiences from years of grassroots community organizing in the greater New Orleans area. Her work explores the historical dimensions of environmental racism and visions for environmental justice for Black communities. McDowell earned her doctorate at Harvard University.


American Culture Studies

Zachary Manditch-Prottas, PhD, has accepted a lecturer position with American Culture Studies and the Department of African and African American Studies. Manditch-Prottas’s research is based in the nexus between African American literature, Black cultural studies, and theories of gender and sexuality. He is currently working on a project about the Black Arts Movement, the origins of Black pulp fiction, and the novels of Donald Goines. In the fall and winter of 2021, his writing will be featured in forthcoming issues of The Black Scholar: Journal of Black Studies and Research and African American Review.


East Asian Languages and Cultures

Hea-Young Chun, MA, joins the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures as a lecturer in Korean. Chun studied Korean classical literature at Seoul National University, where she focused on the poetry of the ruling class (Yang-ban) during the Choson Dynasty. She has a strong interest in strengthening pedagogical practice and curriculum development in the teaching of Korean.


Megumi Iida, MA, has accepted a lecturer position in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, where she will teach Japanese language. Megumi previously taught Japanese at Claflin University and studied Japanese linguistics at the University of Arizona. She has also worked with young heritage language learners at the Tucson Japanese Language School. 


Hyeok Hweon Kang, PhD, joins the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures as an assistant professor. Kang researches the history of science and technology, material culture, and global history of early modern Korea and East Asia. His dissertation won two prizes, the Turriano Prize for the best book on the history of technology and the International Convention of Asia Scholars Book Prize for best dissertation. His current book project, “The Artisanal Heart: Craft and Experimentalism in Early Modern Korea,” recasts the history of early modern science from the perspective of artisans and practitioners in Choson Korea (1392–1910).

Tae Hyun Kim, PhD, has accepted a visiting lecturer position in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. Kim’s research re-assesses the intellectual and religious history of China in the formative stage of the civilization by reading newly excavated manuscripts such as oracle-bone inscriptions, bronze inscriptions, or bamboo-slip manuscripts alongside classics of the same period. At WashU, Kim will teach courses on pre-modern Chinese literature and East Asian religions.


Jiyoon Lee, MA, joins the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures as a lecturer in Korean language. As a graduate student at the University of Oregon, Lee focused on computer-assisted language learning, pragmatics, and course design. Before coming to WashU, she specialized in teaching Korean heritage learners at the University of California, Berkeley.


Mano Yasuda, PhD, joins the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures as a lecturer in Japanese language. Most recently, Yasuda completed her graduate studies at the University of Oklahoma, where she focused on foreign language curriculum and pedagogy in higher education, transformative learning, and teacher development. In the classroom, she aims to broaden students’ perspectives of the world by giving them experiences with new materials and opportunities to reflect upon themselves.



G’Ra Asim, MFA, joins the Department of English as an assistant professor. Asim is a writer and musician whose work has appeared in Slate, Salon, Guernica, The Baffler, and The New Republic and whose DIY pop punk quintet babygotbacktalk was named one of Alternative Press’s 17 rising Black alternative bands that are leading the next generation. He is the author of Boyz n the Void: a mixtape to my brother.

Niki Herd, PhD, joins the Department of English as a visiting writer in residence. She is the author of The Language of Shedding Skin and won the 2021 Inprint Donald Bartheleme Prize in Nonfiction. Most recently, she was the Inprint C. Glenn Cambor Fellow of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Houston.


Film and Media Studies

Ian Bogost, PhD, joins Film and Media Studies as director and professor. Bogost is internationally recognized for his writing on video games and media studies. He is the author of 10 books, most recently Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games, and is a contributing writer at The Atlantic. His research approaches media studies from the perspective of both a critic and a practitioner. After completing his doctorate at UCLA, Bogost joined the faculty at Georgia Tech, where he held appointments in media studies, interactive computing, business, and architecture. At WashU, he holds a joint appointment in the McKelvey School of Engineering and an affiliation with the Humanities Digital Workshop.


Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies

Eyal Tamir, MA, joins the Department of Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies as a lecturer in Hebrew. Tamir completed his doctorate in comparative literature at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where his research focused on twentieth-century popular culture and science fiction. At WashU, Tamir will teach modern Hebrew.


Christopher Douthitt, MA, joins the Department of Music as a lecturer in electronic music. Douthitt is a composer and scholar whose work explores how technology can be used to create new contexts for song and songlike expression. He directed the Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk) for the 2020–21 season and co-directed Underwolf Records from 2017–20. He is completing his doctorate at Princeton University.


Performing Arts

Elizabeth Hunter, PhD, has accepted a position as assistant professor of drama in the Performing Arts Department. Hunter is a critical theorist and digital maker exploring the future of live performance and emergent technologies. Her research asks what happens when we inhabit the space of a famous story, and the story seeps into ours. Most recently, Hunter was assistant professor of theatre studies at San Francisco State University.



Matthew McGrath, PhD, joins the Department of Philosophy as a professor. One of McGrath’s continuing research interests is in the relationship between epistemic notions – notions of knowledge and rational belief – and practical notions – notions of action, preference, intention. Another abiding interest is in the nature of appearances and how they afford us knowledge of reality. With Jeremy Fantl, he is the coauthor of Knowledge in an Uncertain World (Oxford University Press). Prior to coming to WashU, McGrath was Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University. He is thrilled to join the vibrant philosophical and intellectual scene at WashU.