Department News

News from the Chair

Dear All, 

As we approach the end of the semester and this year, let us take stock of the lives and doings of those among us, this newsletter being a way of sharing the warmth of other bodies and minds in the department. As I write this, we are all absorbing the news that we will soon lose our Academic Department Administrator Tanesha Fluker Floyd. We wish her well in the next chapter of her career at Emory. We give thanks for her tireless service, and acknowledge the service and labor of all our staff members with gratitude. 

In other news, Professor Geraldine Higgins, Director of the Richard Ellmann Lectures in Modern Literature, has announced the return of the series, founded in 1988 by Emeritus faculty, Professor Ron Schuchard. A former Guggenheim Fellow, he is the author of books on W. B. Yeats and T. S. Eliot, including Eliot’s Dark Angel (1999), which received the Robert Penn Warren-Cleanth Brooks Award, and The Last Minstrels: Yeats and the Revival of the Bardic Arts (2008), which received the Robert Rhodes Prize. He is the editor of Eliot’s unpublished Clark and Turnbull Lectures, The Varieties of Metaphysical Poetry (1993). With John Kelly, he is the co-editor of three volumes of Yeats’s letters, one of which received the Modern Language Association’s Morton N. Cohen Award. Schuchard is general editor of the major eight-volume online and print editions of The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition, volume 2 of which won the Modernist Studies Association Edition Prize, volumes 5 and 6 of which won jointly the MLA Prize for a Distinguished Scholarly Edition. 

In honor of the tenth anniversary of Irish Nobel prize winner, Seamus Heaney (1939-2013) who delivered the first Ellmann lectures, the series will be relaunched on March 3th, 4th, and 5th by twodistinguishedspeakers, Fintan O’Toole and poet laureate Natasha Trethewey, who was our colleague in the English department for 15 years till her departure in 2017.

Former Ellmann Lecturers: Seamus Heaney, Denis Donoghue, Helen Vendler, Henry Louis Gates, A.S. Byatt, David Lodge, (our former colleague) Salman Rushdie, Mario Vargas Llosa, Umberto Eco, Margaret Atwood, Paul Simon, Colm Toibin, and Claudia Rankine.

The Richard Ellmann Lectures in Modern Literature, now among the most prominent in North America, were established in honor of Richard Ellmann (1918–1987), biographer of James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, and Oscar Wilde, and Robert W. Woodruff Professor in our department from 1980 to 1987.

News of the accompliments of our collegues, students, and alumni follows below.

New Course take Students to the Sea Islands to learn about Gullah Geechee culture.

As part of a one million-dollar Mellon Foundation grant running from 2020-2025 for which she was co-PI, Professor Valerie Babb originated a new study-away course, “Archiving Reconstruction, Civil Rights, and Sea Island Culture.” Students were introduced to the “on-the-ground” history of Reconstruction and Civil Rights movement strategy through classwork, research in the Rose Library archives, and a study away collaboration with the Penn Center National Historic Landmark where they joined students from other area universities: Morehouse, Spelman, University of Georgia, and University of North Carolina, among others on St. Helena Island, South Carolina at the Penn Center. They learned about Gullah Geechee history and culture, and explored Penn Center archives relating to the strategizing meetings held by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Students participated in an indigo-dyeing workshop while learning about this heritage crop’s importance to black culture. They also made excursions to the Barnwell Tabby Archaeological Research and Excavation Project, Mitchelville Freedom Park (located on the site of what was once a self-governed community of the formerly enslaved), and learned about common concerns in Gullah Geechee communities: legal land theft, heirs’ property rights, ownership of cultural production, and sustaining heritage.

Student comments:

“We got to walk down to the dock and see the house the Center built for MLK, but he was never able to stay there because he was assassinated before he was able to return.”

“The first day was filled simply with gratitude, for me, to be amongst such majestic giants, both the trees and the spirits of those who had come before me on the island.”

“As a class, we sat out on the dock, and the water made me feel like I could fully breathe for the first time. There’s something so perfect about being in such loud and active nature. Me and my classmates vowed to go to this dock whenever we could. There’s so much history here, and it’s told to us in stories. First, through the diaries and books we read in preparation, and today through this tour guide, stopping us and telling us to look, to listen.”

Faculty Accomplishments

Daniel Bosch’s poems “Nullius in Verba,” “Swimming at Night,” and “Under the Stalactite the Stalagmite Grows” will appear in the November and December 2023 issues of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Aaron Colton had an article, “From Suspicion to Sincerity in Composition Pedagogy,” published in Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Language, Literature, Composition, and Culture 23.3. The article can be found at the following link by searching  for the journal through the library website:

Geraldine Higgins published an article on “Seamus Heaney’s Desks: Stages of Writing” in ÉIRE-IRELAND (Spring/Summer 2023) and gave a keynote lecture on the same topic at the Boston College Seamus Heaney Afterlives conference in November. She also gave an online lecture at the National Library of Ireland on “Yeats our Contemporary” examining the global reach of W.B. Yeats one hundred years on from his Nobel prize award. 

Irish Studies’ Nathan Suhr-Sytsma hosted Peter Miller for a wonderful lecture on “Seamus Heaney’s Beowulf and the Limits of Lyric” in October.  In November we welcomed Belfast’s Kabosh Theatre for two nights performing their award-winning play, Green and Blue at Emory’s Performing Arts Studio.

Nathan Suhr-Sytsma has also recently had a chapter on postcolonial poetry published in Decolonizing the English Literary Curriculum, edited by Ato Quayson and Ankhi Mukherjee (Cambridge University Press), which is fully access.

Marina Magloire’s book We Pursue Our Magic: A Spiritual History of Black Feminism (UNC Press 2023) explores the influence of African diasporic spiritualities on the work of Black American feminists.

Dan Sinykin’s book  Big Fiction: How Conglomeration Changed Book Publishing and American Fiction, was officially published on October 24. The same day, an excerpt from the book on Toni Morisson was published in Lit Hub. Dr. Sinykin published two essays related in the book earlier in October: one on the creation of the “fantasy” genre, in Slate; and another on the surprisingly short history of “literary fiction” in The Nation.

Emil’ Keme participated in the following events:

(Virtual) Helped co-organize the II International Conference: Indigenous Peoples Against Racism, and moderated the panel: “Migration, Racism, and Violence Against Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples. Guatemala city, August, 16-18, 2023.

Presented the paper, “‘We Are Also Here’. Maya Migrant Stories From TurtleIsland” at the 2023 Five College Native American and Indigenous Studies Symposium. Amherst College, MA October 12-14, 2023.

Presented work on, “Indigenous Literatures from Abiayala” at the Festa Literária das Periferias / Literary Festival of the Peripheries (FLUP, ), Rio do Janeiro, Brazil, October 20-22, 2023.

(Virtual) Presented work on “Abiayala: Filosofia e expansão dos territórios mentais/ Abiayala: Philosophy and expansion of mental territories” at the Semana de Politização Indígena Urbanizada / Urbanized Indigenous Politicization Week, São Paolo, Brazil, October 27, 2023.

Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows

Postdoctoral Fellow Steven Huy Thanh Duong’s debut poetry collection, AT THE END OF THE WORLD THERE IS A POND, was just picked up last week by W. W. Norton and will be published with them in 2025. 

LGS doctoral scholar, Alexis Mayfield, was presented the Kharen Fulton Graduate Diversity Award at the EDGE Annual Diversity Reception for her personal and professional efforts towards diversity, inclusion, and community engagement in the Laney Graduate School at Emory University. The Kharen Fulton Award is given annually and has been created to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Kharen Fulton and her dedication to diversity in graduate education.

Sixth-year PhD candidate Ra’Niqua Lee’s book of fiction, For What Ails You, has just been published!


Oli Turner’s article “Notes from Underground Atlanta’s DIY arts scene” was published in the September 2023 Issue of Atlanta Magazine. It is also available online here.

Easton Lane, Creative Writing and Environmental Science double major, was published for the first time as a poet in two different publications! Easton’s first published poem, “I open,” was published in Impostor: A Poetry Journal’s Issue 3.1, and a second published poem, “Bearbaiting,” was published in the Quarter Press’s Weirder Still Issue! Here are the links:

Alumni News

Maggie Greaves, who received her PhD in English in 2015, has published Lyric Poetry and Space Exploration from Einstein to the Present (Oxford University Press, 2023 – 30% with promotion code AAFLYG6).

Molly Slavin, who received her PhD in English in 2018, has published Criminal Cities: The Postcolonial Novel and Cathartic Crime (University of Virginia Press, 2023).

Former student, Celine Chauviere, just published a piece with Atlanta Studies.  Her work, “Redistricting in Atlanta: The impact of Race, Class, and Community Involvement in the Face of School Closures,” began as an essay in one of the new Writing Program courses, “Writing Atlanta.”  In the wake of recent student protests against public school redistricting in Atlanta, Celine’s piece asks what we can learn about prior successful and unsuccessful protests in Peoplestown and Vine City, and from prior scholarship on community power.  After going through blind peer review, it is now available at Celine is the second undergraduate from the spring 2023 Writing Atlanta course to have work published that began in that course.  The other student, Oli Turner, who also took Hank’s class last spring where most of the writing took place, had her piece, “Notes from Underground Atlanta’s DIY Arts Scene,” published in Atlanta Magazine in September.  Her article is available at

And congratulations to Francis Ittenbach, Anmol Sahni, and Palak Taneja on their weddings this December!

Keep us informed of your good news. If we missed something important, please send us your news for inclusion in the next newsletter.

Parting Words from Maya Angelou for the upcoming break: “Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”

— Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now

Jonathan Goldberg

It is with sadness that we report the passing of the brilliant and pioneering scholar emeritus professor Jonathan Goldberg, who joined the English department faculty in 2006

In addition to mentoring numerous graduate students and undergraduates in the department,  Jonathan was a cofounder and first Director of the Studies in Sexualities Program (2007-2012). Under his leadership, the program hosted exciting conferences such as Risky Sex (2010) and Queer Worlds and Global Positions (2011), as well as lectures by José Muñoz, Valerie Traub, Robert Rheid-Pharr, Cathy Cohen, Vernon Rosario, and Gayle Rubin, among many others. Jonathan’s efforts created an important space for queer community among graduate students, undergraduates, and faculty at Emory. 

A highly influential scholar of early modern literature, Jonathan helped create the now burgeoning field of queer early modern studies. He was the author of seventeen monographs whose subjects ranged from Spenser to Shakespeare, Willa Cather, Lucretius, Alfred Hitchcock, Patricia Highsmith, Sappho, Douglas Sirk, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Todd Haynes, Saint Mark, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. His most recent book, published in 2022 by Fordham University Press, is Being of Two Minds: Modernist Literary Criticism and Early Modern Texts. His edited volumes include work on queer early modern studies, sodomy, and Milton. A 2012 Brown University conference in his honor, “Writing Sex and Other Matters with Jonathan Goldberg,” which resulted in an edited volume about the worldmaking power of his work on early modern literature. He also edited Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s posthumous The Weather in Proust (2011). He was a gifted close reader and a formidable theorist who was as adept at negotiating the psycholinguistic moves of queer negativity as he was with the Lucretian swerve. Jonathan’s life and work were worldmaking, in the queer sense of the Old English worold he brought out in Spenser: the making of “something like subjective experience, the meaning of a life” that cannot be captured as the “totality that sums up a life.” His worlding was “sapphic,” a creative process he described in Sappho: ] Fragments as the beautiful “pairing of love and writing” where “love is bittersweet–bitter and sweet.” 

Jonathan joined the Emory faculty in fall 2006 as Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor in the Department of English. He was affiliated faculty in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. He received his BA, MA, and PhD from Columbia University, and was a 1984 recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He previously taught at The Johns Hopkins University, where he was Sir William Osler Professor of English Literature; he also has held positions at Temple, Brown, and Duke Universities. 

Jonathan left a profound mark on the department’s intellectual life through his passionate commitments to scholarship and teaching. He is survived by emeritus professor Michael Moon, his partner of 38 years – who was also a member of the departments of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies —  and by his daughters Julia and Abby. 

Department News

News from the Chair

Dear Emory English:

Apologies for the belatedness of this account of (some of) the accomplishments, recognitions, arrivals, and other exciting developments in the English department at Emory since last June.  It’s been a thrill to see the campus truly open up and to spend more time with colleagues, students, and staff in person this semester.  It’s beginning to feel as if we’re truly back in the business of thinking, talking, teaching, learning, and dreaming together.

New Arrivals

We welcome some new dreamers, thinkers, teachers, and learners to the department’s faculty and staff.  This fall saw the arrival of FIVE wonderful new faculty colleagues:

Kimberly Belflower is no newcomer to Emory, having spent three years as a Playwriting Fellow in our Creative Writing program.  She has now begun her faculty career as an assistant professor in Creative Writing and Theatre. Prof. Belflower has worked in virtually every medium available to a dramatic writer.  Of her many plays that have been professionally produced across the country, her most recent is John Proctor Is the Villain, which received its world premiere production at Studio Theatre in Washington DC. Reviews were very positive, including these two reviews from two different critics at the Washington Post, here and here.  She has also developed several television projects for Nine Stories Productions and HBO/Hyperobject, adapted a cycle of plays for audio drama, and has led original experimental narratives for Meow Wolf, a major player in the ever-growing immersive/interactive entertainment world.  Prof. Belflower received her MFA in Playwriting at the University of Texas at Austin in 2017.

Emma Davenport joins us as assistant professor, specializing in Victorian literature and culture. She received her PhD last spring from Duke University, after receiving an MA from Georgetown and a JD from Harvard Law School.  Her areas of theoretical expertise include novel theory and critical legal theory. She also teaches Anglo-American law and literature, literary and cultural theory, and the history of the novel. Her current research focuses on the intersection of nineteenth-century novels and legal theories of contract. Reading literature, law, and political theory together, she traces how the Victorian novel challenged liberalism’s insistence that contractual agreement enacts willed consent. An article drawn from this research appears in Victorian Studies.

Erica Kanesaka is an assistant professor specializing in Asian American literary and cultural studies, with additional research and teaching interest in childhood studies, transnational feminisms, feminist disability studies, and feminist science and technology studies.  She is currently at work on two book projects: The first, an academic monograph, explores how children’s books and toys have mediated feelings about race, sex, and gender between Japan and the United States from the late nineteenth century to the present. The second, a collection of essays written for a general audience, reflects on the resonances of kawaii and cuteness for Asian American feminist politics.  Her research has received awards from the Association for Asian American Studies and the Midwest Conference on Asian Affairs. Articles have appeared in Journal of Asian American Studies, positions: asia critique, Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Avidly: Los Angeles Review of Books, Ms. Magazine, Public Books, and elsewhere. As a teacher, she is invested in the pedagogical approaches of women of color feminism and feminist disability studies. Dr. Kanesaka received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from New York University and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Prior to coming to Emory, she was a 2021–2022 Postdoctoral Fellow at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women at Brown University.

Donna McDermott is a scientist, writer, and teacher who received her PhD in Population Biology, Ecology, and Evolution from Emory last spring.  She now joins us as an assistant teaching professor in the Writing Program, where she specializes in teaching science writing for public and professional audiences. Dr. McDermott’s scientific research background is in behavioral ecology. Most recently, she studied how bumble bees’ foraging choices are influenced by both pesticides and the presence of their peers. Her scientific work has been published in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Current Zoology, and Ethology. Her current research is in biology education. She is studying how instructors assess student ability to make connections across academic disciplines.  She has taught courses on science communication, animal behavior, interdisciplinary writing, and pedagogy. In addition to her work as an educator, she has worked as a journalist through the AAAS Mass Media Fellowship, a wildlife biologist for the National Park Service, and a program coordinator for Science ATL’s community science outreach.

Gregory Palermo also joins the department’s Writing Program as assistant teaching professor. He specializes in the rhetorics of data, algorithms, and disciplinary formation. His teaching and research bridge the fields of writing, rhetoric, and digital humanities, focusing on data transformation and visualization as rhetorical practices. Palermo’s current research project recuperates early methodology of co-citation analysis, a method for mapping the “landscape” of academic fields based on “networks” of published scholarship. This project offers an approach to co-citation for tactically linking distinct research areas with shared values and practices, as well as for supporting citational justice. He has additional interests in narrative approaches to inquiry, such as evocative autoethnography.  His work has appeared in the Journal of Writing Analytics and Digital Humanities Quarterly (DHQ). Most recently, he is collaborating on DHQ’s Biblio project and co-edited an issue of The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy (JITP) with a forum on “Data and Computational Pedagogy” (2020). He serves on the JITP Editorial Collective, where he is currently Co-Editor of Reviews.
We are also very fortunate to welcome to the department two new talented and experienced staff members.  Tanesha Fluker Floyd joins us as the new Academic Department Administrator after many years in a similar role at Purdue University Global’s composition program.  And Khristin Isley is our new Undergraduate Coordinator, after having served in several positions in admissions at Georgia State University and her alma mater Pfeiffer University. 
Faculty Accomplishments

Deepika Bahri, Professor of English, published an article titled Why Stories about Illness Matter in The Lancet – the most cited general-interest medical journal in the world — this summer.
Heather Christle, Assistant Professor of English and Creative WritiA new poem, “Fleurrrrs,” appeared as Poetry Northwest’s “poem of the week.” The link is here, ( or you can also listen to a recording ( of me reading it on their Instagram. A Serbian translation of The Crying Book (Knjiga plača) came out this fall.
Jonathan Goldberg, Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Goldberg’s latest book, Being of Two Minds: Modernist Literary Criticism and Early Modern Texts, was published by Fordham University Press this fall.

Hannah Griggs, Visiting Assistant Professor of English
Beginning in January 2023, Griggs (Emory PhD, 2022) will become the Visiting Subject Librarian for English in the Emory Library System.
Barbara Ladd, Professor of English
Her book, The North of the South: The Natural World and the National Imaginary in the Literature of the Upper South (Mercer University Lamar Memorial Lectures Ser. Book 59) was published this fall, as part of the Mercer University Lamar Memorial Lectures Ser. (33 Books).
Laura Otis, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of English
Prof. Otis has drafted her book, The Neuroscience of Craft, on how four contemporary world writers activate readers’ sensory imaginations, and she is continuing to get it ready for prime time. Her essay, “Affective Neuroscience: The Symbiosis of Scientific and Literary Knowledge,” has just been published as part of the Routledge Companion to Literature and Emotion.  Her article, “The Role of Multimodal Imagery in Life Writing,” will be included in a special issue of SubStance on Life Writing and Cognition. Two other essays, “Reading to Be” and “Whose Spirit? Literature, Appropriation, and the Responsibilities of Artists,” will be appearing, respectively, in an edited volume on how childhood reading has shaped scholars’ work and a special issue of the Deutsche Vierteljahsschrift on the relationship between literary studies and the social sciences. In her blog for Psychology Today, she has been writing about Brain Fog and Body Ownership.

Benjamin Reiss, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of English, Department Chair
Has worked closely with Prof. Thomas Rogers (History) to develop a Public Humanities graduate certificate program featuring opportunities to collaborate with partner organizations on research and cultural programming in the public interest. They launched an internship program in support of this initiative, in which 8 graduate students from across the humanities will participate in research projects of public interest with partner organizations.   Following from his 2017 book Wild Nights: How Taming Sleep Created Our Restless World, Prof. Reiss worked with a group of health science researchers to publish an editorial in Sleep Medicine on the role of structural racism in sleep-related health disparities.  He has an essay on “Sleep” in the forthcoming volume Keywords for Health Humanities, edited by former Emory faculty member Sari Altschuler, Jonathan Metzl, and Priscilla Wald. 

Dan Sinykin, Assistant Professor of English
Together with Prof. Laura McGrath of Temple University, Prof. Sinykin edited a series of essays in Public Books called “Hacking the Culture Industries.” He will shortly be joining Public Books as a section editor.  Additionally, Prof. Sinykin was interviewed by Jewish Currents about the Penguin Random House vs Department of Justice trial: and he wrote an essay for the Los Angeles Review of Books about Danielle Steel.  Over the summer, Prof. Sinykin led a group of 12 undergraduates in the English department’s internship program in collaboration with Plympton: A Literary Studio, in which they contributed to a database of prize-winning short fiction and learned about the rapidly evolving publishing industry and its connections to the entertainment world.
Nathan Suhr-Sytsma, Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies
Prof. Suhr-Sytsma published an article, “Forms of Interreligious Encounter in Contemporary Nigerian Fiction,” in the African Studies Review. Thanks to a recent agreement between Emory Libraries and Cambridge University Press, the article is available open access.

Joonna Trapp, Associate Teaching Professor, Director of Emory Writing Program
Prof. Trapp published a creative on-fiction Essay, “A Meditation—Why Teach?” in JAEPL (Journal of Expanded Perspectives on Learning), vol. 27, 2021-2022

Graduate Students and Post-Doctoral Fellows

Julian Currents, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Writing Program
Over the summer, Dr. Currents had their first scholarly essay, “Symbolic Ecologies: A Conch Shell Poetics for the Haitian Imaginary,” published as the lead article in the Journal of Haitian Studies Fall 2021 issue (they’re behind due to Covid). Currents also received their first paid publication over the summer with Islandia Journal, a small circulation visual art and writing publication out of Miami, Florida that primarily “deals with the themes of myth, folklore, ecology, history, paranormal activity, and cryptozoology as they pertain to Florida & the Caribbean.” An accomplished artist, Currents’ linocut print entitled “Impression of a Fertile Valley: Not Hidden” was originally made for and included in their recently-filed dissertation and is inspired by the poetic work of Marion Bethel.
Em Nordling, Graduate Student
Nordling recently received a Student Travel Grant from the Nineteenth-Century Studies Association Conference, based on their paper “Punch-drunk Mr. Brooke and the Carnivalization of Political Discourse in Middlemarch.. The NCSA then featured their profile in their 19 Cents Blog (25 April 2022).  Nordling also presented “Uncovering the ‘World-Chimera’: Toward a Quantitative Analysis of Crowds in 19th Century British Literature” at the UC Berkeley Digital Humanities Fair.

Karlié Marie Rodríguez, Graduate Student
Rodríguez received a fellowship to The Book Project to complete work on a memoir under the mentorship of Vauhini Vara at Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop. You can find the official announcement here. Rodríguez encourages other graduate students who are interested in Creative Writing to reach out to them if they would like to explore similar fellowship opportunities.


Anikka Jordan, Class of 2023, Double majoring in Psychology (BS) & English (BA)
Emory QuestBridge Scholars, Co-President
Lullwater Review, Treasurer
Anikka recently published two poems in Rainy Day, (found on pages 18 and 19), a literary magazine out of Cornell.
Matthew Buxton, Class of 2023Double majoring in Chemistry and Creative Writing
Matthew is currently applying to MFA programs for poetry and hopes to find a career where poetry writing, reading, and sharing are at the forefront of his life whether in an editorial, academic, or other position. 
Matthew’s poem titled “i-15” has been published in the literary journal Court Green. Court Green is a literary magazine edited by David Trinidad, Tony Trigilio, and Aaron Smith. It is named after the property where Sylvia Plath lived and wrote her most famous work, the Ariel poems. They publish twice a year.
Diana Kerolos, Class of 2023, Double majoring in English Creative Writing and Psychology B.A.
Diana’s poem, colorful body was published in Sonder Magazine Issue 2 in March 2022. The poem explores multiple levels of child abuse and the complexity of family dynamics. The poem in the publication is not public online, it’s only sold. A link to the issue with Diana’s poem is here