Faculty & Staff

  • Martin Brückner
    Professor, English; Co-Director, Center for Material Culture Studies
    Martin Brückner is Professor at the University of Delaware where he teaches in the English Department and serves as the Director of the Center for Material Culture Studies. He is the author of The Geographic Revolution in Early America: Maps, Literacy, and National Identity (Chapel Hill, 2006), which received the 2006-2007 Louis Gottschalk Prize in Eighteenth-Century Studies. He is editor of two volumes, Early American Cartographies (Chapel Hill, 2011) and American Literary Geographies: Spatial Practice and Cultural Production, 1500-1900 (UDP, 2007). His published essays have appeared in journals as different as American Quarterly, English Literary History, Winterthur Portfolio, and American Art, as well as in numerous essay collections that explore early American literature and culture. Upon revising his forthcoming monograph The Social Life of Maps in America, 1750-1860 his next projects revolve around the spatial imagination, object narratives, and the role of literary things. Professor Brückner earned his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Mainz in American Literature and Cultural Geography in his native Germany, and his doctorate in English and American Literature from Brandeis University in the U.S. Working recently as Visiting Curator at the Winterthur Museum, he prepared the 2013 exhibition Common Destinations: Maps in the American Experience (available at http://commondestinations.winterthur.org/) which documents how American maps informed material culture and the decorative arts between 1750 and 1876. A recipient of the Francis Alison Younger Scholar Award (2002) and the Society of Early Americanists Essay Prize (2007), he has held grants and post-doctoral fellowships from various institutions, including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (2001-2002), the National Endowment for the Humanities (Spring 2009), and the Program in Early American Economy and Society at the Library Company of Philadelphia (Spring 2010). Professor Brückner regularly teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on American literature, material culture studies, literary geography, and the history of reading and print culture.
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  • Siobhan Carroll
    Associate Professor & Director of Graduate Studies, English
    Siobhan Carroll specializes in British literature from 1750-1850 – the turbulent historical period called the “Romantic Century” – and in modern science fiction and fantasy. She is interested in the ways that literature has shaped our understanding of empire, community, and the natural world. Her book, An Empire of Air and Water: Uncolonizable Space in the British Imagination, 1750-1850 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), was runner-up for the British Association for Romantic Studies First Book Prize. She is currently at work on a new project on environmental agency in the 19th Century Anthropocene. Professor Carroll’s teaching interests include 18th and 19th century British literature, imperialism, nationalism, the environmental imagination, game studies, marine studies, and science fiction and fantasy literature.
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  • Jesse Erickson
    Assistant Professor, English; Coordinator of Special Collections and Digital Humanities; Associate Director, Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center
    Dr. Jesse Ryan Erickson is a bibliographer and researcher in the study of special collections, print culture, and book history. He received his certification in descriptive bibliography in 2009 from the California Rare Book School. In 2010, he graduated summa cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles, receiving his Bachelor of Arts in History with departmental honors in recognition of his senior thesis on the bibliographic history of the Malleus Maleficarum. He earned his Master of Library and Information Science in 2014, specializing in book history and librarianship, and he received his doctorate in Information Studies from UCLA in 2016. Dr. Erickson served as Programs Chair for the Southern California Branch of the American Printing History Association from 2014 and 2016. Previously, he has worked at institutions such as the Getty Center and the Charles E. Young Research Library. In 2013, he curated “The Power of Provenance”—a minor exhibit on the history of Southern California bibliophiles, and, that same year, he completed a full index for the Medieval and Renaissance Manuscript Collection located in the Department of Special Collections at UCLA’s Charles E. Young Research Library. Dr. Erickson’s past publications include a published version of his senior thesis, “The History of Malleus Maleficarum: A Bibliographic Study” and, more recently, the article “Revolution in Black: Black American Alternative Press and Popular Culture at the End of the Twentieth Century” which was printed in the 2011 issue of Publishing History. Other publications include his reviews for Humanism and Libraries: An Essay on the Philosophy of Librarianship by André Cossette and Modern Print Activism in the United States edited by Rachel Schreiber. His primary research interests include ethnobibliography, African American publishing and printing, and American Ouidiana.
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  • John Ernst
    Professor & Chair, English
    John Ernest, Professor and Chair of the Department of English, is the author or editor of twelve books and over forty journal articles and book chapters. His recent books include Liberation Historiography: African American Writers and the Challenge of History, 1794-1861 (2004), Chaotic Justice: Rethinking African American Literary History (2009), A Nation Within a Nation: Organizing African American Communities before the Civil War (2011), Douglass in His Own Time: A Biographical Chronicle of His Life, Drawn from Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by Family, Friends, and Associates (2014), and the Oxford Handbook of the African American Slave Narrative (2014). Recent editions include Narrative of the Life of Henry Box Brown, Written by Himself (2008), J. McHenry Jones’s Hearts of Gold (co-edited with Eric Gardner, 2010), and William Wells Brown’s My Southern Home; Or, The South and Its People (2011). His current book project is Reading While White: The Nineteenth-Century Roots of White Racism. He and Joycelyn K. Moody are general editors of Regenerations: African American Literature and Culture, a series published by West Virginia University Press and devoted to reprinting good editions of undervalued works by early African American writers. Before arriving at the University of Delaware, he was the Eberly Family Distinguished Professor of American Literature at West Virginia University for seven years, and he taught for twelve years at the University of New Hampshire, where he served as Director of Undergraduate Composition, Co-Director of the Discovery Program, and Director of African American Studies. At UNH, he received the Outstanding Assistant Professor Award (1997), the UNH Diversity Support Coalition’s Positive Change Award (1998), the Jean Brierley Award for Excellence in Teaching (2003-2004), and the New Hampshire Excellence in Education Award for Higher Education (2004).
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  • Tanisha Ford
    Associate Professor, Africana Studies & History
    Tanisha C. Ford is Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History at the University of Delaware. She is the author of Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul (UNC Press, 2015), which narrates the powerful intertwining histories of the Black Freedom movement and the rise of the global fashion industry. Liberated Threads won the 2016 Organization of American Historians’ Liberty Legacy Foundation Award for best book on civil rights history.  She served as the AAPHI Director, Spring 2017. She studies social movement history, feminist issues, material culture, popular culture and entertainment, and fashion, beauty, and body politics. Her public writing and cultural commentary has been featured in diverse media outlets and publications including the New York Times, the Root, the New Yorker, Ebony, NPR: Code Switch, Fusion, News One, New York Magazine: The Cut, Yahoo! Style, Vibe Vixen, Feministing, the Journal of Southern History, NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art, The Black Scholar, and New York City’s HOT 97.   A dynamic speaker, she has been invited to give lectures and serve as a roundtable discussant at institutions around the world including: the Brooklyn Museum, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Delaware Historical Society, Parson’s The New School for Design, Ritsumeikan University (Japan), the Black Europe Summer School (Netherlands), and The University of London. She is currently working on two new book projects. The first is a history of black style, from Black Power to #BlackLivesMatter. The second centers on the black women activist-socialites of the mid-twentieth century who hosted lavish galas, fashion shows, and pageants in cities such as New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Paris, and Berlin to raise funds for the burgeoning Black Freedom movement. Her research has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Ford Foundation, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Center for Black Music Research, among others.
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  • P. Gabrielle Foreman
    Professor, English, Africana Studies & History
    Gabrielle Foreman is an award-winning teacher and scholar of African American studies and nineteenth-century literary history and culture who has published extensively on issues of race, slavery and reform with a focus on the past’s continuing hold on the world we inhabit today. She is the author of several widely known books and editions including Activist Sentiments: Reading Black Women Writers as well as a score of highly-regarded articles and book chapters. She is known for her collaborative work including a Penguin Classics edition of Harriet Wilson’s Our Nig in which she and her co-editor “managed to pick up one of the coldest trails in nineteenth-century African American studies.” The radio tour that followed reached millions of listeners. At UD, Foreman has collaborated on dance/poetry performance pieces based on her research on Wilson as well as on David Drake, or “Dave the Potter,” Frances Harper and the Colored Conventions. Her current project is entitled The Art of DisMemory: Historicizing Slavery in Poetry, Performance and Material Culture. She is the Ned B. Allen Professor of English with appointments in History and Africana Studies and is a Senior Library Research Fellow. She is the founding faculty director of the prize-winning and NEH supported Colored Conventions Projects. She and CCP co-founders, UD graduate students Jim Casey and Sarah Patterson, are co-editing the forthcoming volume, Colored Conventions in the Nineteenth Century and the Digital Age. Her 2013 state of the field essay about how Blacks and other underrepresented communities are increasingly becoming tokens in scholarly areas in which they are the subjects of study calls for deliberate protocols to be implemented to address this ongoing trend by universities, leading repositories and professional organizations.
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  • Tiffany Gill
    Associate Professor, History and Africana Studies
    Past AAPHI Program Director, Fall 2017.  Tiffany M. Gill is an Associate Professor of Africana Studies and History at the University of Delaware. She is the author of Beauty Shop Politics: African American Women’s Activism in the Beauty Industry (University of Illinois Press, 2010) which was awarded the 2010 Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Prize by the Association of Black Women Historians. Dr. Gill’s research has been supported by fellowships from the American Association for University Women, the Newcomen Society, as well as the John Hope Franklin Center for Documentary Studies. Before joining the faculty of the University of Delaware in 2013, she taught at the University of Texas at Austin and was a recipient of the 2010 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award for excellence in undergraduate education.
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  • Kasey Grier
    Professor, History; Director, Museum Studies Program
    Katherine C. (Kasey) Grier joined the Department of History as a full professor and Director of the Museum Studies Program in September 2008. A graduate of Princeton University (B.A. 1975), the Cooperstown Graduate Program in Historical Museum Studies (M.A. 1980), and the University of Delaware (Ph.D. American Civilization, History, 1988), Dr. Grier is a specialist in material culture studies whose research interests lie in the history of everyday life in America, especially household routines, domestic interiors, and foodways. Her most current book, Pets in America: A History (University of North Carolina Press, 2006) grew out of a developing interest in the history of animal-human interaction. Her current research interests in this field include the development of the pet food industry, the lives of animals in American cities, and selective breeding of small animals for ornamental purposes. Dr. Grier is also the curator of “Pets in America: The Story of Our Lives with Animals at Home,” a traveling exhibition that has been touring the United States since 2006.
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  • Laura Helton
    Associate Professor, English
    Laura Helton specializes in American literature and history of the twentieth century, with an emphasis on African American print culture and public humanities. Her research and teaching interests include archival studies, memory and material culture, gender and sexuality, and literary practices of the black freedom struggle. Her current book project, Collecting and Collectivity: Black Archival Publics, 1900-1950, examines the emergence of African American archives and libraries to show how historical recuperation shaped forms of racial imagination in the early twentieth century. Professor Helton is the co-editor of a special issue of Social Text on “The Question of Recovery: Slavery, Freedom, and the Archive” (December 2015). She has held fellowships at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia (2013-2015) and at the Center for Humanities & Information at Penn State (2015-2017). In 2016, she was awarded the Zuckerman Prize in American Studies from the McNeil Center of the University of Pennsylvania, awarded for the best dissertation connecting American history to literature or art in any period. Professor Helton’s interest in the social history of archives arose from her earlier career as an archivist. She has surveyed and processed collections that document the civil rights era, women’s movement, and American radicalism for several cultural institutions, including the Mississippi Digital Library, Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, CityLore, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. She has also worked with arts organizations as a grant writer and curator.
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  • Cheryl Hicks
    Associate Professor, Africanna Studies and History
    Cheryl Hicks holds a B.A., University of Virginia; M.A., Princeton University; and a Ph.D., Princeton University.  Her research interests include: Late nineteenth and twentieth-century African American and American history. Urban, gender, and civil rights history.  Her publications include:  Talk With You Like a Woman: African American Women, Justice, and Reform in New York, 1890-1935 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010).

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  • Sandy Isenstadt
    Professor and Chair, Art History
    Professor Sandy Isenstadt teaches the history of modern architecture, concentrating on developments in Europe and the United States, but including as well courses on the global spread of modernism. His writings span post-World War II reformulations of modernism by émigré architects such as Richard Neutra, Josep Lluis Sert, and Henry Klumb; visual polemics in the urban proposals of Leon Krier and Rem Koolhaas; and histories of American refrigerators, picture windows, landscape views, and real estate appraisal.
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  • Tracy Jentzsch
    Program Coordinator, IHRC
    Working in tandem with the IHRC Director and Associate Director as well as the Faculty Director of the African American Public Humanities Initiative (AAPHI), Tracy serves as the Program Coordinator for the IHRC and provides support for AAPHI.   She serves as liaison to Faculty Commons, the Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning, and the Library’s Multimedia Design Center and Digital Scholarship Center as well as to external organizations that provide training opportunities for graduate students and faculty in public humanities, digital scholarship and pedagogy.   Tracy teaches workshops on technology, branding, digital footprints and social activism, including DelPHI Summer Institute and the Mandela Washington Fellows. Tracy also maintains the program website and social media.  She holds an BA in Communications from Notre Dame of Maryland University,  a certificate in Marketing Strategy from New York University’s School of Continuing Ed, an MA in Liberal Studies and a Certificate in Museum Studies from the University of Delaware, and is currently pursuing her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership with a focus on higher ed administration at the University of Delaware.
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  • Julie McGee
    Associate Professor, Africana Studies & Art History; Director, Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center
    Julie L. McGee is an art historian with specialties in African American art and contemporary African art, has published widely on contemporary African American art and South African art, with particular focus on artist and museum praxis. She joined the University Museums of the University of Delaware as curator of African American art in 2008 after a dozen years on the faculty of Bowdoin College and a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. McGee has written and lectured extensively on African American art and contemporary art in South Africa. She has curated exhibitions for the David C. Driskell Center, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Maine, the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey and Guga S’Thebe Community Arts Centre in Langa (Cape Town), South Africa. With Vuyile C. Voyiya, McGee co-produced the documentary film The Luggage is Still Labeled: Blackness in South African Art. In 2011-2012 she held the Dorothy Kayser Hohenberg Chair of Excellence in Art History at the University of Memphis.
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  • Alison Parker
    Professor and Chair, History
    ​Alison M. Parker is the Chair and a Professor of History at the University of Delaware. She has research and teaching interests at the intersections of gender, race, disability, citizenship and the law in U.S. history. She majored in art history and history at the University of California, Berkeley and earned a PhD from the Johns Hopkins University. In 2017-2018, Parker was an Andrew W. Mellon Advanced Fellow at the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference at Emory University, where she worked on her current book project, a biography of the civil rights activist and suffragist Mary Church Terrell. Unceasing Militant: The Life of Mary Church Terrell is forthcoming with the University of North Carolina Press in its John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture. Parker is the author of two historical monographs, Articulating Rights: Nineteenth-Century American Women on Race, Reform, and the State (2010) and Purifying America: Women, Cultural Reform, and Pro-Censorship Activism, 1873-1933 (1997). She has also co-edited three anthologies and authored numerous articles and book chapters. While a faculty member at the State University of New York, College at Brockport, Parker was awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity (2012). Her next book project is a study of the civil rights activist, Mary Hamilton, the first female field director for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Parker serves as the founding editor of the Gender and Race in American History book series for the University of Rochester Press. As Chair of the History Department at the University of Delaware, Parker is committed to building a coalition of students, faculty, and staff promoting a wide-ranging anti-racism agenda. She is trained to lead antiracism and racial justice workshops and community conversations and will work to recruit and retain a diverse community of faculty and students.
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  • Yasser Payne
    Associate Professor, Sociology and Africana Studies
    Yasser Arafat Payne is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice and the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Delaware. Dr. Payne completed his doctoral work at the Graduate Center-City University of New York where he was trained as a social-personality psychologist. Also, Dr. Payne completed a postdoctoral fellowship funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIH-NIDA) whereby he worked on a re-entry and intervention based research project in New York City’s largest jail, Rikers Island—a project designed to reduce: (1) recidivism, (2) drug use, and (3) other risky behavior leading to HIV/AIDS.  Dr. Payne has organized a street ethnographic research program centered on exploring notions of resilience and resiliency with the streets of Black and Brown America using an unconventional methodological framework entitled: Street Participatory Action Research (Street PAR)—the process of involving street-identified persons or members of this population in the process of activist-based research. Street identified populations are typically framed in a monolithic way and Dr. Payne through his research has found great emotional, psychological and developmental variation. His work seeks to break through stereotypical barriers and images of Black and Brown people in the criminal justice system, so that transition back in the community and opportunities for upward mobility are successful.
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  • Tim Spaulding
    Associate Professor, English and Africana Studies
    Tim Spaulding received his B.A. from Fordham University, College at Lincoln Center (1991) and his M.A. (1994) and Ph.D. (1999) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of Re-Forming the Past: History, The Fantastic, and The Postmodern Slave Narrative (Ohio State University Press, 2005). He has also written articles on Charles Johnson, Ishmael Reed, James Weldon Johnson, and Ralph Ellison. He is currently at work on a book-length project on African American Literature and the Jazz Aesthetic. Professor Spaulding teaches courses on African American literature, 20th-century Literature, Literary and Cultural Theory and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Africana Studies.
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  • Margaret Werth
    Associate Professor & Director of Graduate Studies, Art History
    Professor Margaret Werth received her M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. She taught at Barnard College, Columbia University, before com​ing to the University of Delaware in 2001. Her area of interest is art and visual culture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and her research and teaching are interdisciplinary and intermedial. Her book The Joy of Life: The Idyllic in French Art, circa 1900, published in 2002, explores dreamlike representations of mythic community, individual fantasy, utopianism, and joie de vivre in French painting from 1890 to 1917. Artists such as Henri Matisse, Paul Signac, Puvis de Chavannes, Paul Cézanne, and Henri-Edmond Cross figure prominently in her book and are discussed in relation to contemporary political, literary, psychological, and philosophical discourses.
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  • Owen White
    Associate Professor & Director of Graduate Studies, History
    Owen White specializes in the history of modern France and the French colonial empire, with particular research interests in French West Africa and Algeria. The author of a book about the mixed-race population of French West Africa and articles on a variety of aspects of French colonialism, he has also published two edited volumes: one (with J. P. Daughton) on French missionaries, the other on social organization in modern empires. He is now writing a history of wine production in French Algeria. He received his B.A. from the University of Exeter and his doctorate from the University of Oxford.
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