Executive Committee



Aimee Arias 
Associate Dean and Associate Professor
Political Science

Aimee Arias is an Associate Dean for the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters. Dr. Arias received her Ph.D. in International Studies from the University of Miami in 2001. She was formerly the Associate Director of the Miami European Union Center, serving also as an editor, research associate, and program consultant. Dr. Arias' interests include comparative politics and international relations, particularly in the areas of Europe and Latin America. She has published several works including “European Union External Relations with the Andean Community: A Governance Approach,” in Joaquín Roy and Roberto Domínguez (eds.), The European Union and Regional Integration: A Comparative Perspective and Lessons for the Americas (U of Miami, 2005); “La Convención Europea: ¿Una Constitución para Europa?” in Alejandro Chanona, Roberto Domínguez, and Joaquín Roy (coordinators), La Unión Europea y el TLCAN (México: UNAM, 2003); “La institucionalidad del MERCOSUR,” in Roberto Domínguez Rivera, Joaquín Roy, and Rafael Velázquez Flores, Retos e Interrelaciones de la integración regional: Europa y América (México: Plaza y Valdés, 2003); and with Joaquín Roy, “ Spain and Portugal : Partners in Development and Democracy,” in Eleanor E. Zeff and Ellen B. Pirro (eds.), The European Union and the Member States: Cooperation, Coordination and Compromise (Lynne Rienner, 2001); and España y Portugal en la Unión Europea (México: UNAM, 2001).

Laura Backstrom
Assistant Professor
(561) 297-3270

Laura Backstrom is an assistant professor at Florida Atlantic University. As a microsociologist, her research examines the cultural meanings of bodies in social interaction, and she uses the body as a site to investigate the interplay of gender, sexuality, and deviance.  In 2012, she published (along with co-authors Elizabeth A. Armstrong and Jennifer Puentes) an article in the Journal of Sex Research which explored how college women’s negotiation of oral sex varied by relationship context.  Body size is also central to her research. In “From the Freak Show to the Living Room: Cultural Representations of Dwarfism and Obesity” (published in Sociological Forum), Backstrom used content analysis of reality television programs to examine how cultural representations of deviant bodies varied based on the historical legacy of stigmatized groups and contemporary cultural narratives of bodily difference.  She found that the disparate presentations of extremes in height and weight in contemporary reality shows have remarkable parallels to their freak show predecessors. Specifically, contrasting dwarfism to obesity indicates how extreme shortness is constructed as a disability, whereas extreme body weight remains stigmatized.




Alan Berger
Endowed Chair
Raddock Family Eminent Scholar Chair for Holocaust Studies
Jewish Studies

Among Dr. Alan Berger's books are Crisis and Covenant: The Holocaust in American Jewish Fiction (1985), Children of Job: American Second-Generation Witnesses to the Holocaust (1997) and Trialogue and Terror: Judaism, Christianity and Islam Respond to 9/11 (2012). Among the numerous books he has edited or coedited are Judaism in the Modern World (1994), Second-Generation Voices: Reflections by Children of Holocaust Survivors and Perpetrators (2001) (winner of the 2002 B'nai Zion National Media Award), Encyclopedia of Holocaust Literature (Book List Best Reference Book of 2002 and Outstanding Reference Source of the ALA), The Continuing Agony: From the Carmelite Convent to the Crosses at Auschwitz (2004), Jewish American and Holocaust Literature: Representation in the Postmodern World (2004), Jewish-Christian Dialogue: Drawing Honey from the Rock (2008), Encyclopedia of Jewish American Literature (2009) and Studies in American Jewish Literature V31.2: Festschrift in Honor of Daniel Walden (2012). He has lectured on the Holocaust; Jewish American literature; theology; and Christian/Jewish relations throughout America and in Europe, Australia, South Africa and Israel. His classroom lecture on Art Spiegelman's MAUS was shown on C-Span in January 2014. Dr. Berger edits the series "Studies in Genocide: Religion, History, and Human Rights" for Rowman and Littlefield. He is on the Reader's Committee for the Elie Wiesel's Prize in Ethics Essay Contest. Dr. Berger was awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters Honoris Causa from Luther College.

Adam Bradford
Director, Comparative Studies Program
Associate Professor
Department of English

Adam Bradford received his PhD from the University of Iowa and teaches courses in early American literature. He has published several scholarly articles and a monograph: Communities of Death: Whitman, Poe and the American Culture of Mourning (University of Missouri Press, 2014). This book investigates the social rituals and practices of mourning that influenced literary production in 19th century America — rituals and practices that also bind the sentimental poetry of women writers such as Lydia Sigourney and Harriet Gould to that of Walt Whitman and Edgar Allan Poe. He is currently researching a project that focuses on Walt Whitman’s influence on late 19th century Irish literature. 

Ann Branaman
Professor and Chair 

Ann Branaman's research focuses on identity processes in 'emerging adulthood', a term other scholars have used to refer to a developmental phase between adolescence and adulthood. Drawing upon her background in social theory, Branaman analyzes how the experience of 'growing up' has changed as a consequence of broader changes in society, culture and political economy. This research involves intensive interviewing and analysis of autobiographical narratives of young, middle-aged and older adults from varied social backgrounds. 

Branaman's research of the past two decades has covered a broad range of topics in social theory, including: the social theory of Erving Goffman and Kenneth Burke; psychoanalytical social theory; interaction and inequality; emotions and human rights; feminist social theories of identity; Zygmunt Bauman's theory of gender and sexualities in 'liquid modernity'.  



Susan Love Brown
Department of Anthropology

Dr. Susan Brown's published books include Meeting Anthropology Phase to Phase (2000). She is also the editor of Intentional Community: An Anthropological Perspective (2001). Dr. Brown has also published many book chapters and articles in scholarly journals such as Studies in the Humanities, Americana,Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Journal of Caribbean Studies,Communal Societies and Critical Review. Dr. Brown was recently awarded the Distinguished Scholar Award at the Communal Studies Association Conference in Pennsylvania. This award honors people who have contributed greatly to the scholarly study of communal societies, both past and present, concentrating on those in the United States. She served as the Director of the Ph.D. program from 2006 to 2008.

Frédéric Conrod 
Associate Professor 
Department of Languages, Linguistics and Comparative Literature

Dr. Frédéric Conrod's area of expertise is the correspondence between the Spanish Golden Age and the French Enlightenment. He is the author of  Loyola's Greater Narrative: The Architecture of the Spiritual Exercises in Golden Age and Enlightenment Literature  (2008) and the novel El hijo de Hernández (2012), which was adapted into a film that was released in January 2013. He also edited Beyond Hate: Representations of the Parisian Banlieue in Recent French Film and Literature (2012). Dr. Conrod is the director of the "Madrid Creacción" Study Abroad Program.





Sika Dagbovie-Mullins
Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
Department of English

Sika Dagbovie-Mullins received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. She teaches African American literature, twentieth century American literature, and literature of the African Diaspora. Dagbovie-Mullins's book, Crossing B(l)ack: Mixed Race Identity in Modern American Fiction and Culture (University of Tennessee Press, 2013), challenges conventional claims about biracial identification by analyzing assertions of a black-centered mixed race identity that do not divorce a premodern racial identity from a postmodern racial fluidity. Her articles have appeared in journals such as African American Review,The Journal of Popular Culture, and The Mississippi Quarterly.

Meredith A. B. Ellis
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology

Dr. Ellis's research focuses on human skeletal remains from archaeological sites.  Specifically, she focuses on historical sites and on the remains of children (subadults).  Her research asks questions about how people lived in the past, and what their bodies can tell us about their daily lives and about life in a family and a community.  She is interested in the intersection of the social and the biological, and how those two come together in the human skeletal system.

For each skeleton Ellis examines, she establishes a biological profile:  age, sex, ancestry, pathology, trauma, and unique identifiers.  That is then incorporated with other lines of evidence to establish a life history for the individual.  Her work draws on skeletal analysis, archival research, and historical archaeology to tell a story about a life in the past.  Ellis is particularly interested in nutrition and disease, and how evidence for illnesses and for dietary patterns in skeletal remains can tell us about social relationships, environmental conditions, and social norms in a time and place.  Thus far her research has focused on sites in the 19th century United States, including the subadults from the abolitionist Spring Street Presbyterian Church in New York City, and trauma and starvation processes from the Donner Party camp in California and from the China Gulch Chinese mining camp in Montana.

Emily Fenichel
Assistant Professor 
Department of Visual Arts & Art History

Emily Fenichel received her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. Dr. Fenichel’s research focuses on the interaction of art and religion in the Renaissance, particularly in the art of Michelangelo. Her essays have appeared in Renaissance QuarterlySource: Notes on the History of Art, and Artibus et Historiae.  She is currently completing a book manuscript on Michelangelo’s late sculpture, poetry, drawing and collaborations. This project examines these works as reactions to contemporary criticism of the artist’s Last Judgment fresco in the Sistine Chapel (1541) and against the backdrop of Counter-Reformation Rome. Dr. Fenichel is also the Co-Director of a Digital Humanities initiative entitled the The Arquin Slide Collection Digitization Project. This project aims to create an interactive, searchable database of FAU’s collection of Florence Arquin’s 25,000 slides of Central and South America, which were a product of Arquin’s employment by the State Department and her research on Diego Rivera.




Anthony Guneratne
Associate Professor
School of Communication and Multimedia Studies

Dr. Anthony Guneratne researches the role that film, literature and other artistic media play in cultural interactions, as well as the interrelations of written and spoken language, images and music. His publications include a book, Shakespeare, Film Studies, and the Visual Cultures of Modernity (2008) and the edited anthologies Rethinking Third Cinema (2003) and Shakespeare and Genre: From Early Modern Inheritances to Postmodern Legacies (2012), as well as articles and book chapters on the literature and films of postcoloniality and about contemporary interpretations of history and of Renaissance culture. He is a filmmaker and concert recitalist (baritone), as well as an organizer of exhibitions and film retrospectives.

Mehmet Gurses
Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Political Science

Mehmet Gurses (PhD in Political Science, University of North Texas, 2007) is an associate professor of Political Science at Florida Atlantic University. His research interests include ethnic and religious conflict, post-civil war peace building, post-civil war democratization, Kurdish politics, and the emergence and evolution of the Islamist parties in the Middle East.

He is the author of Anatomy of a Civil War: Sociopolitical Impacts of the Kurdish Conflict in Turkey (University of Michigan Press, 2018) and co-editor of Conflict, Democratization and the Kurds in the Middle East: Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). He has published extensively in journals including: International InteractionsSocial Science QuarterlyDefense and Peace Economics, International Studies PerspectivesParty PoliticsConflict Management and Peace SciencePolitical Research Quarterly, and Comparative Politics. His work on transnational ethnic kin and civil war outcomes was awarded Honorable Mention for Best Article in 2015 by the Political Research Quarterly. He is comparative politics and international relations editor of the journal Politics and Religion.​

Taylor Hagood
Department of English 

Dr. Taylor Hagood teaches American literature, with specialization in the writing of William Faulkner, African American literature, and the literature and culture of the United States South. His scholarship examines literary and cultural production with an approach informed by postcolonial theory, theorizing of social interaction via secrecy as a cultural item, and disability studies. He has written Faulkner's Imperialism: Space, Place, and the Materiality of Myth (2008); Secrecy, Magic, and the One-Act Plays of Harlem Renaissance Women Writers (2010); and Faulkner: Writer of Disability (2015). He also edited the recently published Critical Insights: The Sound and the Fury (2014). Additionally, he has published articles and reviews in numerous journals, including African American Review, College Literature, European Journal of American Culture, Faulkner Journal, Literature Compass, Southern Literary Journal, Studies in Popular Culture, and Walt Whitman Quarterly Review. After receiving a Fulbright fellowship to Germany in 2012, Dr. Hagood was selected to serve as a research ambassador for the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for 2013-14. DAAD is the German national agency for the support of international academic cooperation.


Michael J. Horswell
Dean and Associate Professor
Department of Languages, Linguistics and Comparative Literature

Dr. Michael J. Horswell specializes in Latin American colonial and post-colonial literature and studies and gender and sexuality studies. He is the author of the book Decolonizing the Sodomite: Queer Tropes of Sexuality in Colonial Andean Culture(2005) and the co-editor of Submerged/Sumergido: Cuban Alternative Cinema (2013) . He has published articles and book chapters on Latin American literature and film and is working on a new book project tentatively titled Desiring Pizarros: Colonial, National and Transnational Appropriations of the Conquistador in Spain and Latin America.


Ilaria Serra
Associate Professor
Department of Languages, Linguistics, and Comparative Literature

Ilaria Serra was born in Venice, Italy. She is an Associate Professor of Italian and Comparative Studies. She earned her Ph.D. at Florida Atlantic University. Her research covers Italian cinema, Italian literature, Italian song and the history of Italian immigration to the United States. She also leads the FAU Study Abroad Program in Venice, Italy, where she also teaches the course "Venice and Its Reflections".


William Trapani
Associate Professor
School of Communication and Media Studies

Bill Trapani's research and teaching are informed by rhetorical theory and criticism and critical/cultural studies. His principal areas of scholarly interest include the rhetoric of visual culture, national identity and citizenship studies, and the theorization of contemporary protest and social activism. His work primarily explores the rhetorical construction and consequence of varying figurations of the American national character. Trapani's current manuscript is an examination of the discourse surrounding inter-Native American identity disputes, which has been used to thwart minority enfranchisement and the lofty goals of multiculturalism. His most recent essay is included in Rhetoric, Materiality, and Politics , an edited volume theorizing the force of rhetoric in contemporary life.