Literature faculty

Jeff Berglund
Professor, U.S. literature

Office: Bldg 23, Room 319


I’m a Professor of English and the Director of Liberal Studies for Northern Arizona University. I’m also affiliate faculty with Ethnic Studies and Applied Indigenous Studies and have previously served as the Coordinator of The Scholars Academy for the Center for International Education at NAU.

I teach a range of courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including contemporary literature, U.S. literature, southwest literature, American Indian literature, Indigenous film, and multi-ethnic literature. One of my current senior capstone courses focuses on Indigenous films from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. I’m passionate about sharing great Indigenous writers and filmmakers with my students. My favorite authors are Louise Erdrich (Anishinabe), Sherman Alexie (Spokane), Simon Ortiz (Acoma), and Luci Tapahonso (Diné/Navajo). Warwick Thornton (Kaytej Nation) from Australia is a favorite director of mine because of his films Samson & Delilah and Greenbush; Boy, directed by Taika Waititi (Māori); 5th World, directed by Blackhorse Lowe (Diné); and, the short films of Melissa Henry (Diné), Sydney Freeland (Diné); and Sterlin Harjo (Seminole/Muscogee) also make my list of favorites. I am always thrilled to see my students enthusiastically respond to these brilliant writers and filmmakers.

I am the author of articles and chapters on the pedagogy of American Indian literature; the poet Simon Ortiz; the poet Esther Belin (Diné); Diné/Navajo filmmakers; Disney’s Pocahontas; and, the Diné/Navajo punk band, Blackfire. I’ve also co-authored an article on terminology in Comparative Indigenous Studies published in the Australian Journal of Indigenous Education. My current work-in-progress focuses on the performance group and YouTube sensation, The 1491s. I am the editor of Sherman Alexie: A Collection of Critical Essays (Utah UP, 2010) which includes an introduction and another chapter I wrote, “The Business of Writing: Sherman Alexie’s Meditations on Authorship.” I’m also the author of Cannibal Fictions: American Explorations of Colonialism, Race, Gender, and Sexuality(Wisconsin UP, 2006). My newest book, the first of its kind, is the co-edited collection, Indigenous Pop: Native American Music from Jazz to Hip Hop(U of Arizona P, 2016). I’m currently collaborating with other editors on the first-ever anthology of Navajo writing, currently titled The Diné Reader: an Anthology of Navajo Writing.

In 2008 I was honored to be named a President’s Distinguished Teaching Fellow and served on the Teaching Academy at NAU until 2015. In 2007 I received the President’s Award, given for “exemplary contributions to the NAU mission in at least three categories: creativity in teaching, creative use of technology, advising, assessment, recruitment/retention, collaborative research, diversity and service,” and in 2015 I was awarded The Provost Award for Faculty Excellence in Global Learning for my teaching and research.

Since 2010, I have been a member of the Working Group on Emergent Indigenous Identities which has led to numerous grant, research, and teaching-related collaborations with scholars in Aboriginal and Maori Studies in Australia and New Zealand. I have served as writing tutor and mentor during several study tours for Indigenous graduate students in Australia and New Zealand sponsored by Supporting Indigenous Research Excellence and through FIRE: Forum for Indigenous Research Excellence of which I’m a member. I am on the editorial board for the new Journal of Global Indigeneity and am the treasurer of the Association for the Study of American Indian Literatures.

In 2006 I was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend for my project “Remembering the Long Walk to Hwééldi: Diné Memorial Histories” which was awarded a commendation for fulfilling the Endowment’s “We the People” initiative. In 2001 I co-directed the NEH Summer Institute on American Indian Literature for high school teachers. I have regularly presented papers at the annual conferences of the Modern Language Association, the American Studies Association, the Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States (MELUS), the Native American Literature Symposium, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, and the Navajo Studies Conference.

I love living in Flagstaff, Arizona. It’s been an incredible place to watch our two daughters grow up. I went to Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, as a would-be Biology/Pre-Med major. I turned into an English major who then completed a Masters in English at Washington University, St. Louis, and then a Ph.D. in English at The Ohio State University. I taught at four different universities in Ohio, Virginia, and Michigan before finally settling in Flagstaff just below the beautiful San Francisco Peaks, mountains held sacred to thirteen tribal nations in Arizona. I love spending time with my family, traveling, hiking, running, reading, cooking, and, of course, watching great movies and television.


Monica Brown
Professor, U.S. multi-ethnic literature

Office: LA Bldg 18, Room 107

I’m a Professor of English at Northern Arizona University, specializing in U.S. Latino, African-American and Multicultural Literature. I am also a Women's Studies and Ethnic Studies affiliate.I am the author of Gang Nation: Delinquent Citizenship in Puerto Rican, Chicano and Chicana Narratives, and I have published numerous scholarly articles in my field, including chapters in Women’s Studies for the Future: Foundations, Interrogations, Politics and Mediating Chicana/o Culture: Multicultural American Vernacular.  In 2004, I was the recipient of the Rockefeller Fellowship on Chicano Cultural Literacies from the Center for Chicano Studies at the University of California.

In addition to my academic publications, I am also an award-winning children’s author whose work has been translated into seven languages. My books have received numerous starred reviews and accolades. Most recently, I have published Lola Levine is Not Mean! and Lola Levine Drama Queen, a chapter book series from Little Brown & Co; I am also the author of Maya's Blanket/la manta de Maya (Lee & Low), a picture book illustrated by Caldecott-winner David Diaz, recently reviewed in the New York Times. Other award-winning books for children include Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People (Henry Holt), winner of the Américas Award for Children's Literature and an Orbis Pictus Honor for Outstanding Nonfiction, andWaiting for the Biblioburro (Random House), a Christopher Award winner. My picture book Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match/Marisol McDonald(Lee & Low) is the winner of the Tejas Star Book Award, the International Latino Book Award, and a Pura Belpré Honor for Illustration. Marisol McDonald and the Clash Bash/Marisol McDonald y la fiesta sin igual, the second book in the Marisol series, was published in September 2013. 


Margaret Dobbins

Lecturer, Literary Theory, 19th-century British Literature 
Office: LA Bldg 18, Room 312

I received my BA in literature from Bard College and my MA and PhD in literature and certificate in women, gender, and sexuality studies from Washington University in St. Louis. My research focuses on nineteenth-century British literature and women and gender studies, with a particular emphasis on economic history. I am currently working on a book-length project titled Queer Accounts: Victorian Literature and Economic Deviance. In this project, I examine queer forms of socio-economic mobility in texts by Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Mary Seacole, and George Eliot. An article drawn from that project, “Jane Eyre’s Purse: Women’s Queer Economic Desire” is forthcoming in Victorian Literature and Culture. I have published several book reviews on topics in Victorian aesthetic and material culture, especially in the novels and poetry of Thomas Hardy. In my research and teaching, I approach British literature from different theoretical perspectives, exploring, in particular, theories of the novel, feminist and queer theory, cultural materialism, psychoanalysis, and Marxism. I have presented my work at numerous conferences including the British Women Writers Conference, the American Comparative Literature Association, the North American Victorian Studies Association, the Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Conference, and the Symposium for Emerging Scholars at Winterthur Museum.



Jay Farness
Professor, Renaissance literature

Office: LA Bldg 18, Room 102

Jay Farness earned a B.A. from St. Olaf College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He teaches courses in critical reading and writing, ancient and comparative literature, Shakespeare, Renaissance and Romantic British literature, and literary criticism. He has studied with C.L. Barber, Murray Baumgarten, Harry Berger, Jr., Norman O. Brown, Robert M. Durling, Edward H. Friedman, Mary-Kay Gamel, Stephen Greenblatt, Geoffrey Hartman, H. Marsh Leicester, Jr., Frank Lentricchia, John P. Lynch, and Thomas A. Vogler.  His survey, period, and author courses emphasize literary interpretation as a method for culture history. In 1991, Penn State U. Press published Missing Socrates: Problems of Plato's Writing. A textbook he wrote with Peder Jones—College Writing Skills—is in its fifth edition. He has published essays and reviews on Plato, Cervantes, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Coleridge in PMLA, Philological Quarterly, Arethusa, Philosophy and Rhetoric, Shakespeare Studies, Translation Review, and in other journals and collections.

Rebecca Mercedes Gordon
Lecturer, Film Studies, World Literature

Office: LA Bldg 18, Room 135

I received my BA in History, English, and Humanities from Stanford University and my MA and PhD in English, American Studies, and Film Studies from Indiana University (2007). My teaching and research interests include film theory, history, and criticism, world cinema, film and televisual adaptations of literature, transmedia storytelling, gender and cultural studies, affect theory, and Chican@/Latin@ film/literature. Both at the undergraduate and graduate level, I aim to design courses that encourage students to become reflexive thinkers and learners: such skills help undergraduate students learn how to learn, while for graduate students, understanding how one thinks is vital in determining the kind of research and writing to pursue professionally.

Before arriving at NAU I taught at Reed College in Portland, Oregon and was a Fulbright Fellow in Managua, Nicaragua. I am working on two book projects, one on the narrative device of the film within a film, the other on Chican@/Latin@ affect in popular culture – what one critic has called “feeling brown.” My published work includes articles and book chapters on the filmmakers Jane Campion, John Sayles, and Todd Haynes, as well as work on the “comedy/horror” subgenre, while additional work in progress includes articles on the aesthetic of cuteness in Chican@/Latin@ media, teaching cinema in a transnational context, and environmental citizenship in Wall-E. At present I am the Coordinator of the Cinema Studies Minor. 


Mara Reisman
Assistant Professor, British Literature

Office: LA Bldg 18, Room 115E

PhD, (University of Connecticut, 2006)
Special Interests: Women's literature

I received my BA from Wesleyan University and my MA and PhD from the University of Connecticut. My scholarly interests and teaching areas include 20th- and 21st-century British and Irish literature; British, Irish, and American women’s literature; and gothic literature. I am also interested in film and television adaptations of contemporary British fiction. I have published articles and book chapters on Jeanette Winterson, Stella Gibbons, Charlotte Brontë, Jennifer Johnston, Molly Keane, Joan Schenkar, and Fay Weldon. My work on Weldon is extensive and includes an interview in Modern Language Studies, a chapter on food and domestic space in You Are What You Eat: Literary Probes Into the Palate, an article in Women’s Studies on The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, and a book-length project on Weldon’s fiction. I am currently working on a new book project titled Moral Complexities in Contemporary British Literature. The texts I am looking at offer a valuable lens through which to examine the social, historical, political, literary, and cultural climate of Britain from 1980-present. They push key boundaries about nationality, race, gender, sexuality, and identity.


Karen Renner
Lecturer, American Literature
PhD, University of Connecticut, 2010

"My research interests include 19th- and 20th-century American literature and popular culture of all kinds, but I have a special passion for horror. My most recent work combines horror and childhood studies: I edited a collection of essays in 2012 titled The ‘Evil Child’ in Literature, Film and Popular Culture, which was published by Routledge, and I'm currently finishing up a book on the same subject tentatively titled Bad Seeds and Injured Innocents: Evil Children in the Contemporary Imagination, which is under contract with Palgrave. Other recent articles include “The Apocalypse Begins at Home: The Antichrist-as-Child Film,” “Negotiations of Masculinity in American Ghost Hunting Reality Television,” “Millennials, Twenty-First Century Horror, and The Cabin in the Woods," and "Hawthorne’s Pearl: The Origins of Good and Evil in The Scarlet Letter.” 

I try to design classes that challenge students to produce their best writing. Several students have gone on to publish the essays they wrote for my classes: Becca Branstetter's "Scare the Hell Out of Them: Christian Horror in Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker’s House" appeared in Popular Culture Review and David Kingley's "Elm Street's Gothic Roots: Unearthing Incest in Wes Craven's 1984 Nightmare" was published in The Journal of Popular Film and Television. Lately, I've also been exploring how alternatives to the academic essay--such as blogs, podcasts, websites, and animated videos--can facilitate learning while also adding a professional development component to my courses.

In my spare time, I also dabble in photography and creative writing, some of which you can see on my blog at"


Steven Rosendale
Professor, 20th Century American literature, Ecocriticism

Office: LA Bldg 18, Room 128

My teaching and writing focus on 20th -century U.S. literature, including modernism, radical fiction, and environmental literatures. I have edited five books of essays on radical and environmental literature and theory, including The Greening of literary Scholarship (U Iowa P, 2002), Dictionary of Literary Biography: American Radical and Reform Writers (Gale, 2004), and Radical Relevance: Essays Toward a Scholarship of a "Whole Left" (SUNY, 2005), and I have published essays on a variety of U.S. radical and environmental writers. My PhD is from Syracuse University (1997). 

Donelle Ruwe
Professor, Literature, English Education

Office: LA Bldg 18 Room 102

My research interests include 18th- and 19th-century British literature (my Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Notre Dame was on British Romanticism), but I have a special passion for poetry of all kinds as well as the history of children’s literature. My new book British Children’s Poetry in the Romantic Era: Verse, Riddle, and Rhyme(Palgrave Macmillan 2014) explores the first wave of children’s poetry and identifies the qualities and elements of popular children’s verse from 1780 to today.  I’m interested in children’s poetry because I am a poet myself. My master’s degree from Boise State University was in creative writing, and I’ve published two national award-winning poetry chapbooks, Condiments (1996) and Another Message You Miss the Point of (2006). One of my poems, “The Thousandth Night,” is a retelling of the Scheherezade story, and it was selected for The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror Fourteenth Annual Collection (2001). You can read my poetry in the open-access journal Ninepatch. Recently, I’ve grown interested in childhood and performance studies, and I’m co-editing a collection of essays with James Leve called Broadway Babies: Children, Childhood, and Musical Theater for the publisher Ashgate. In 2005, I edited the essay collection Culturing the Child, 1690-1914, and I continue to publish research on women writers and British Romanticism. I am a co-founder and current co-president of a national scholarly organization, the 18th- and 19th-Century British Women Writers Association, and I work with different universities and graduate students across the United States in organizing this association’s annual conference.

I create classes that emphasize student mastery of literary approaches and scholarly vocabulary, and I like to create interesting final projects.  My undergraduate classes might require students to recite poetry or craft a casebook of literary analysis, and since my graduate classes emphasize professional and marketable skills, students often prepare conference papers or publishable essays as their final project. Most of my students have given papers at regional or national scholarly conferences (such as the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association Conference), and every year students have their work accepted for publication. Most recently, Scott Shumaker’s essay on Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth and Cassandra Galentine’s essay on Graham Greene’s The Quiet American have been accepted for publication in The Explicator, and Kathryn Schmitz’s essay on George MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblin has been accepted by North Wind: a Journal of George MacDonald Studies. 


Anne Scott
Professor, Chaucer and the Middle Ages, Native American Literature

Office: LA Bldg 18, Room 329 or COW (Bldg 38) 102

Anne Scott received her BA in English (honors) from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1981, and her PhD in English and American Literature from Brown University in 1988 (with student exchange positions at Harvard University and Emmanuel College, Cambridge University). Her teaching and research specialties are in the areas of medieval literature and Native American literature. Her publications, among others, include essays on Chaucer, saints' legends, Middle English romance, and Native American myths and legends. She is currently co-editing a volume of essays on the subject of "fear and its representations in the Middle Ages and Renaissance." At the undergraduate level, she has taught, and continues to teach, courses in the survey of British literature (800AD to 1750AD), Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, literature of American minorities (Native American emphasis), the genre and comparative literature (multi-ethnic focus). She also teaches in the Honors program. At the graduate level, she teaches Chaucer (early and late works) and will soon be offering a new class in Native American literature. Her areas of interest include medieval literature (religious literature, the fabliau, the breton lai, the romance), Native American literature (myths, legends, testimony, autobiography, novels, orations, contemporary poetry), oral-traditional literature and mentalities, paleography, multi-ethnic literature (including African American and Latino/a authors), and gender studies. Affiliations: Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association (RMMRA), the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS). Dr. Scott has been with Northern Arizona University since 1992.


Timothy Yamamura
Lecturer, Post-colonial, Transnational, and World Literatures

Office: LA Bldg 18, Room 326 

I am a new faculty member in the English department at Northern Arizona University, where I teach classes on post-colonial, transnational, and world literatures. My research and teaching interests include transnational Asian American literary studies, post-colonialism in Asia/Pacific, science fiction studies, and critical race, ethnic, diaspora, and cultural studies.

A San Francisco-native, I graduated with honors with a B.A. in English from Seattle University, earned two M.A.’s in Professional Writing and East Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of Southern California, and recently completed my PhD in Literature at UC Santa Cruz. While a doctoral candidate, I received the UC Pacific Rim Dissertation Research Award for my dissertation, "Science Fiction Futures and the Ocean as History: Literature, Diaspora, and the Pacific War,” a transnational, comparative study on the history of science fiction in the U.S. and Japan. My scholarly work has appeared in the Asian Theatre Journal, the U.S.-Japan Women’s Journal, the Pacific Reader, and as editor and introductionist for Hiroshi Kashiwagi’s Starting From Loomis and Other Stories, published by the University Press of Colorado. I also have an essay, “Fictions of Science, American Orientalism, and the Alien/Asian of Percival Lowell,” in a forthcoming collection on the representation of Asia in science fiction, Bamboo Worlds, published by the University Press of Mississippi.