Brookings Hall

Meet Our New Faculty: Humanities

Every fall, Arts & Sciences welcomes new faces to our community. In addition to a talented group of undergraduate and graduate students, this year's recruits include 34 new faculty members.

"I'm happy to welcome this large and outstanding group of new faculty," says Barbara Schaal, dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences. "The work they do will contribute greatly to our ongoing efforts in teaching and research across the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities."  

This week, we are highlighting our new humanities faculty. Please read below to discover their varied research interests and professional backgrounds.


African and African-American Studies

Geoff Ward

Geoff Ward, PhD, joins the African and African-American Studies department as an associate professor, and the Center for Social Development in the Brown School as a faculty associate. An historical sociologist, his research addresses racial politics of social control, with a focus on racial violence, youth justice, and representation in the legal profession. The author of numerous articles and essays, his book The Black Child Savers (University of Chicago Press, 2012) won the Michael J. Hindelang Award of the American Society of Criminology and the Outstanding Book Prize of the History of Education Society. His current projects examine historical racial violence, its legacies, and implications for transitional justice. He earned his doctorate in sociology from the University of Michigan and previously held faculty positions at the University of California, Irvine, and Northeastern University.



Rebecca Sears

Rebecca Sears, PhD, joins the classics department as a lecturer. Her research interests include ancient music, papyrology, Latin poetry (particularly Ovid’s Metamorphoses), and ancient magic. She is currently working on a textbook for the University of Michigan Press that will discuss important technical and cultural features of both Greek and Roman music, as well as the reception and reconstruction of ancient music. She earned her doctorate from the University of Michigan before holding positions at the University of Michigan, Tulane University, and Wake Forest University.


East Asian Languages and Cultures

Nathan Vedal

Nathan Vedal, PhD, joins the East Asian languages and cultures department as an assistant professor. His research interests include early modern Chinese cultural and intellectual history, with a particular focus on the history of knowledge production and the history of the book. His current research extends his dissertation, Scholarly Culture in Late Imperial China, into the history of language study and the circulation of censored books. He earned his doctorate at Harvard University and was a postdoctoral fellow at Pennsylvania State University’s Center for Humanities & Information.


Taewoong Kim, PhD, joins the East Asian Languages and Cultures department as a lecturer in Korean. His research interests include Korean language, second language acquisition, technology-mediated language learning, social justice through education, and learner identity. His most recent publication is "Metacognitive Instruction Using Web 2.0 Technologies in an Adult ESL Speaking Course." Previously, he worked in the School of Korean at Middlebury College. He earned his doctorate majoring in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum from the University of Oklahoma.



Aditi Machado

Aditi Machado, PhD, ABD, joins the English department as a writer-in-residence. She is a poet, translator, and editor. She is the author of Some Beheadings (Nightboat, 2017) which received The Believer Poetry Award, and four chapbooks: Prologue / Emporium (forthcoming), This Touch (2018), Route: Marienbad (2016) and The Robing of the Bride (2013). Her translation of Farid Tali’s Prosopopoeia was published by Action (2016). Her poetry, criticism, and translations appear or are forthcoming in Lana Turner, Bat City Review, Western Humanities Review, VOLT, Witness, Chicago Review, Jacket2, and elsewhere. Aditi edits poetry in translation for Asymptote. She is completing her doctorate at the University of Denver.


Phillip Maciak, PhD, joins the English department and American Culture Studies program as a lecturer. His research focuses on American literature, film, and visual culture at the turn of the twentieth century, comparative literary and cinematic realisms, television narrative, and theories of religion, secularism, and popular culture. His book, The Disappearing Christ: Secularism in the Silent Era, forthcoming from Columbia University Press, looks at visualizations of Jesus Christ from Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel, Ben-Hur, to William Wyler’s 1959 film adaptation. His scholarship has appeared in J19, Adaptation, PMLA, and Film Quarterly. In addition to his scholarly work, Maciak is a cultural critic and the TV editor for The Los Angeles Review of Books, where he co-founded the “Dear Television” blog. His essays and reviews on television, film, and literature have appeared in Slate, The Daily Beast, The New Republic, Salon, The Hairpin, Avidly, and Slant Magazine. He earned his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania before serving as an assistant professor at Louisiana State University.


Martin Riker, PhD, joins the English department as a senior lecturer. His fields of interest include international and experimental fiction, literature in translation, literary criticism, and the philosophy of style. He is author of the novel Samuel Johnson's Eternal Return. His fiction and criticism have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Wall Street Journal, London Review of Books, TLS, Paris Review Daily, The Baffler, and Conjunctions. In 2010, he and his wife, Danielle Dutton, co-founded the feminist publishing house Dorothy, a Publishing Project, which offers internships to Washington University MFA students. He was previously the Associate Director of Dalkey Archive Press and served as an editor for the Review of Contemporary Fiction and CONTEXT: A Forum for Literary Arts and Culture.


Film and Media Studies

Reem Hilu

Reem Hilu, PhD, joins the film and media studies program and women, gender, and sexuality studies department as an assistant professor. She works at the intersection of feminist media studies, media history, and the history of games and computing, and in her current research, she explores the interaction between digital media and domestic spaces. She earned her doctorate at Northwestern University before serving as a postdoctoral fellow in digital humanities at McGill University.


Performing Arts

Rhaisa Kameela Williams

Rhaisa Kameela Williams, PhD, joins the performing arts department as an assistant professor. Her research uses mixed-archive methods—spanning across literature, family history, archives, and public policy—to focus on the intersections of blackness, motherhood, affect, and disquieting modes of freedom. Currently, she is writing her manuscript, Mama, Don’t You Weep: Motherhood, Blackness, and Performances of Grief, that traces the intimate relationship between grief and black motherhood from the civil rights movement to the present. Offering discontinuous readings of grief, the book asserts that black women, no matter their personal relationship to offspring or other mothering, have specifically mobilized grief inherent to black motherhood as a tactic to perform, remake, and critique forms of citizenship. Williams earned her Ph.D and M.A. in Performance Studies at Northwestern University and a B.A. in Africana Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Her work has been supported by the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium, and the Mellon, Woodrow Wilson, and Ford foundations; and has appeared in Transforming Anthropology, Callaloo, and Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly.


Dominique Rhea Glaros, MFA, joins the performing arts department as a lecturer. She is a costume designer who previously held positions at Baylor University and Truman State University, where she was the head of costuming. For the last six summers, Nikki was the Head of Costume Crafts at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. She earned her master of fine arts in costume design at the University of Cincinnati-CCM.


Romance Languages and Literatures

Miguel Valerio

Miguel Valerio, PhD, joins the romance languages department as an assistant professor. He researches the African diaspora in the literature and culture of the Iberian world from the late medieval period to the present, with a particular interest in black cultural agency in religious confraternities and public festivals in the early modern Iberian Atlantic. His work has appeared in Afro-Hispanic Review and Confraternitas. He is currently working on his first book, The Black Kings and Queens of Colonial Mexico City: Identity, Performance, and Power, 1539-1640. Valerio earned his doctorate in Spanish and Portuguese at Ohio State University. 


Juan Pablo Rodríguez Argente, PhD, joins the romance languages department as a lecturer and will also be serving as an editorial assistant of the Revista de Estudios Hispánicos. His research examines the origin of modern literature through the study of medieval hunting manuals, exploring how autobiography, satire and criticism proliferate in this genre at the end of the fifteenth century in Castile. His work has appeared in La Coronica: A Journal of Medieval Hispanic Languages, Literatures & Cultures, and numerous edited scholarly volumes. He earned his doctorate in Spanish literature from Yale University.


Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Cynthia Barounis, PhD, joins the women, gender, and sexuality studies department as a lecturer. Her research focuses on queer theory, masculinities, and feminist disability studies. Her book, Vulnerable Constitutions: Queerness, Disability, and the Remaking of American Manhood, is forthcoming from Temple University Press. Her current book project uses crip theory and biopolitics to revisit the camp aesthetic. She earned her doctorate in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Reem Hilu, PhD, joins the film and media studies program and women, gender, and sexuality studies department as an assistant professor. See above under Film and Media Studies for her full bio.


College Writing Program

Colin Bassett

Colin Bassett, MFA, joins the college writing program as a lecturer. He is a fiction writer whose stories have appeared in Fence, Barrelhouse, the Northwest Review, and the Mississippi Review, among other journals. He is the author of two fiction chapbooks, Boring Meadows (Greying Ghost, 2009) and Miserable Fish (Mud Luscious Press, 2010). His story, "This Is So We Don't Start Fighting," was listed as a distinguished story in Best American Short Stories. His writing has been awarded the Galt Prize in Fiction, received honorable mention for the AWP Intro Journals Award, and been anthologized in Mississippi Review 30 Years. He earned his master's of fine art from WashU.


Deanna Benjamin

Deanna Benjamin, PhD, joins the College Writing Program as a lecturer. She is a Faculty Advisor with Residential Life and coordinates the McLeod Writing Prize. Her studies include writing as activism, writing about the natural world, the histories and structures of memoir and lyric prose, as well as theories of identity and memory. Her creative work has appeared in Brevity, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, the anthology Sleep It: Writers and Artists Do Sleep (Red Claw Press), and more. She took her master's of fine arts from Vermont College of Fine Arts and her doctorate from the University of Missouri.


Nathaniel Farrell

Nathaniel Farrell, PhD, joins the college writing program as a lecturer. He is the author of Newcomer (UDP) — a personae poem narrated by an anonymous soldier and set in an undefined military campaign — and Lost Horizon (forthcoming, UDP), a long poem inspired by the American mall, interstate landscapes, and suburban pastorals. Farrell’s poetry has been published in 6x6New York NightsGreetings MagazineVLAKThe Brooklyn Rail, and The Recluse. His collages have been exhibited at Bushel (Delhi, NY), and Some Other Ways — his collaborative poetic project with Jessica Baran on the first month of Trump’s presidency — was part of the World Chess Hall of Fame’s Imagery of Chess exhibition. He earned his doctorate in English Literature from Columbia University.


Terri Taylor

Terri Taylor, MA, joins the college writing program as a lecturer. In her research, she applies psychoanalytical theory, specifically second-wave Lacanian gaze theory, to classic cinema in order to understand spectator desire and gender positions. Taylor’s essay, “There’s Nothing Wrong with Ellen: Feminine Positions in John M. Stahl’s Leave Her to Heaven,” was published in the The Pick. Her current book project is titled, You Have to Come a Long Way--From the Beginning of Time--To Kill Yourself: Feminine Desire in Maya Deren's Meshes of the Afternoon, At Land, and Ritual in Transfigured Time. She earned her master's from Southeastern Louisiana University.


Aileen Waters

Aileen Waters, PhD candidate, joins the college writing program as a lecturer. She studies literature, particularly that of British and American modernism, and is working on how crowd theories intersect with the avant-garde and modernism both formally and politically. She is a doctoral candidate in English at Washington University.