Executive Committee

Aimee Arias 

Associate Dean and Associate Professor
Department of 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 (University 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
Department of Sociology

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.

Eric Berlatsky

Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and
Director of the Ph. D. Program in Comparative Studies

Eric Berlatsky is the author of The Real, The True, and The Told: Postmodern Historical Narrative And The Ethics of Representation (The Ohio State University Press, 2011) and the editor of Alan Moore: Conversations (University Press of Mississippi, 2012). The Real, The True, and The Told explores the intersections of postmodern theory, narrative theory, historiographic theory, and contemporary fiction. Articles on similar topics preceded the book. Alan Moore: Conversations is a collection of interviews with the co-creator of Watchmen, V for Vendetta, From Hell, and Lost Girls. Berlatsky is slowly working on a critical volume devoted to Moore's work. He has also recently published articles on Watchmen, Posy Simmonds' Gemma Bovery, Hanif Kureishi's The Black Album, and early Superman comics. He teaches twentieth century British literature, literary theory, postcolonial literature, postmodern literature, and comics.

Alan Berger

Endowed Chair
Raddock Family Eminent Scholar-Chair for Holocaust Studies
Jewish Studies Program

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.


Ann Branaman

Professor and Chair
Department of Sociology

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 ot Phase (2000). She is also the editor of Intentional Community: An Anthropolotical Perspective (2001). Dr. Brown has also published many book chapters and articles in scholarly journals such as Studies in the Humanities, Americanana, Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Journal of Caribbean Studies, Communal Societies, and Critical Review. Dr. Brown was recently awarded the Distinguised Scholar Award at the Communcal Studies Assocition Conference in Pennsylvania. This award honors people who have contributed grearly 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 Comparative Studies 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 Quarterly, Source: 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.

Mary Ann Gosser-Esquilin

Professor of Spanish and Caribbean Literature
Department of Languagues, Lingustics, and Comparative Literature

Mary Ann Gosser-Esquilín is a Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature. She completed her A.B. degree in French at Bryn Mawr College, PA; her license and maîtrise in Comparative Literature at the Université de Provence I, Aix-en-Provence; and her doctorate in Comparative Literature at Yale University. Her areas of interest encompass the literatures of the French- and Spanish-speaking Caribbean. She has taught at Rutgers University; at Denis Diderot, Université de Paris VII; and at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica, as a visiting Fulbright Scholar.

Renat Shaykhutdinov

Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Political Science

Renat Shaykhutdinov came to Florida Atlantic University in 2007 from Texas A&M University where he received his PhD. He earned his BA degrees in Political Science and International Relations, and Sociology from the University of Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey. His teaching and research interests include comparative and international politics, ethnic conflict, research methods, power-sharing arrangements, decentralization, and the politics of the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe. Renat Shaykhutdinov is a native of the East European city of Kazan located in the Middle Volga Region and is fluent in Tatar, Russian, and Turkish.

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.

Karen Leader

Associate Professor
Department of Visual Arts & Art History

Karen Leader is Associate Professor of Art History, and Faculty Associate in the Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Florida Atlantic University.   She received her BA from the University of California, Berkeley and her MA and Ph.D. at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Her areas of interest include art and popular culture in the 19th and 20th centuries, feminist theory, and the history and future of the discipline of Art History. She has also recently produced a film, Stories on the Skin: Tattoo Culture at FAU. 

Chris Robe

School of Communication and Media Studies

Chris Robe’s primary research concerns the use of media by various activist groups in their quest for a more equitable world. In the twenty-first century, media does not simply offer a representational platform for disenfranchised voices, but more importantly serves as a material practice to engage in collective struggles for equity, justice, and more sustainable systems. Dr. Robe has written about U.S. radical film culture in the 1930s in his book Left of Hollywood: Cinema, Modernism, and the Emergence of U.S. Radical Film Culture (University of Texas Press, 2010) and have published numerous articles on media activism within various journals like Cinema Journal, Jump Cut, Framework, Journal of Film and Video, and Film History. Professor Robe’s recent book, Breaking the Spell: A History of Anarchist Filmmakers, Videotape Guerrillas, and Digital Ninjas, explores the emergence of anarchist-based video activism. Chris Robe and his colleague Stephen Charbonneau have a forthcoming collaboration tentatively called InsUrgent Media: A Media Activism Reader, slated for publication in Spring 2020 (Indiana University Press). 

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."

Michael Hamilton

Assistant Professor of Linguistics
Department of Languages, Linguistics, and Comparative Literature

Michael Hamilton is an Assistant Professor of Linguistics in the Department of Languages, Linguistics, and Comparative Literature at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. I was previously a Diversity Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the  Department of Linguistics at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, USA. I received my PhD from the Department of Linguistics at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  My research focuses on morphosyntax, syntactic theory, the syntax-prosody interface, and language documentation. I am interested in understudied and endangered languages, with a specialization in Algonquian languages. My dissertation (`The syntax of Mi’gmaq: A configurational account’) investigates the underlying syntactic structure of Mi’gmaq (Eastern Algonquian) and the effect of discourse on the syntax and prosody. I employ various methodologies to gather data, including experimental methods and elicitation in a variety of fieldwork settings. My main language of study is the Listuguj-dialect of Mi’gmaq. I began working with speakers in September 2011 as a part of a field methods course, and began fieldwork in the community in Summer 2012. Together with a team of students and professors, we have entered into a partnership with a team of language educators in the community to develop teaching materials in the language. You can follow some of the work we are doing at http://migmaq.org/. I also have experience working with East Cree (Central Algonquian), a dialect of Cree spoken in the James Bay region of Northern Quebec, with Marie-Odile Junker at Carleton University. You can follow see some of the work being done with this language at http://www.eastcree.org/.