Division of Humanities
Linda Britt teaches Spanish language and culture, creative writing, and workshops in literary translation. She holds a PhD in Peninsular Spanish Literature from the University of Virginia, where she wrote her dissertation on García Lorca. She has published on Lorca, Cervantes, and Carmen Naranjo, and two books of translations of Argentinean and Costa Rican fiction. Also a playwright, her play about Senator Margaret Chase Smith, “Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington,” continues to tour venues in Maine. Selections from her collection of one-acts, “Americana,” have been performed in Maine and in New York. “Aiken Pond” received a staged reading in 2012 in Massachusetts, and "What If..." was the featured full-length play in the 2014 Maine Playwrights Festival. She wrote the book for "The Last Ferryman," a new musical in Stonington Maine in August, 2014. She is also a Moss Hart award-winning director with Out of the Box Theater Company.
Kristen Case teaches courses in American literature, environmental writing, and the intersection of 20th- and 21st-century American literature and philosophy. She has published essays on Henry David Thoreau, Robert Frost, Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, and William James, and is the author of American Pragmatism and Poetic Practice: Crosscurrents from Emerson to Susan Howe (Camden House, 2011). Her poetry collection, Little Arias (New Issues, 2015) won the Maine literary Award for Poetry. She is co-editor of the volumes Thoreau at 200: Essays and Reassessments (Cambridge UP, 2016) and 21|19: Contemporary Poets on Nineteenth-Century American Texts (forthcoming, Milkweed Editions). She directs Thoreau’s Kalendar: A Digital Archive of the Phenological Manuscripts of Henry David Thoreau and The New Commons Project, a public humanities initiative sponsored by the Mellon Foundation.
Dr. Cohen has published articles on a wide variety of topics, including "Nietzsche's Musical Construction of Time," "Philosophy is Education is Politics: A Reading of the Dramatic Interlude in the Protagoras," "Some Jewish Reflections on Locke's Letter Concerning Toleration," "Nietzsche's Fling with Positivism," "What's Bad About Death Is What's Good About Life," "The Roots of Perspectivism," "Fasting, Breakfast, and the Relationship Between Body and Soul," "No Sour Grapes for Nietzsche," and "Born to Affirm the Eternal Recurrence: Nietzsche, Buber, and Springsteen." His book, Science, Culture, and Free Spirits: A Study of Nietzsche's Human, All-Too-Human, was published in 2010 by Humanity Books. He is currently working on a philosophical travel memoir tentatively entitled In Nietzsche's Footsteps. His hobbies include biking, sailing, cross-country skiing, Torah reading, and rooting for Philadelphia sports teams.
Christine Darrohn has always been a devoted reader--as a little girl she refused to take her naps unless she could take a book to bed. Today Christine is devoted to guiding her students to become strong readers of literature who can explore the meanings of the very smallest of textual details. In her scholarship, Christine also examines texts closely in relation to a variety of cultural contexts, such as the Great War, early twentieth-century auditory technologies, and attitudes towards empire. More fundamentally, she is interested in writers' representations of the possibilities and difficulties of forming human connections across social barriers. Holding an MFA in creative writing in addition to a PhD in literature, Christine is a published fiction writer and is currently working on a novel. Christine also coordinates the First-Year Seminar and Writing Seminar program, which facilitates students' academic transition to college.
Dr. Donaldson teaches courses in French, English, and International & Global Studies. Before joining UMF in 2015, she taught at Beloit College, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Virginia Tech, and Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan. Prior to completing the PhD, she was a volunteer TOEFL teacher with the Peace Corps in Benin, West Africa. She loves working with students of all ages and backgrounds and has taught everything from first-year seminars and world literature, to French and English language, to women's health and HIV/AIDS awareness. Her teaching and research interests include Francophone studies, postcolonial studies, migration studies, gender studies, transnational feminisms, social justice, service learning and study abroad. She and her family value the sense of community they've found in Farmington, and they enjoy exploring the many outdoor offerings in the region.
Philip Francis grew up on a boat yard in Georgetown Maine. He learned to philosophize in that salty mix of lobstermen pragmatists and back to the lander idealists. After painting the bottom of many a boat, he took his questions on the road: to liberation theology base camps in Nicaragua, ashrams in India and monasteries in Greece. He settled down at Harvard Divinity School where he completed his doctoral work in religion and aesthetics. Before coming to UMF, he taught at Carleton College and Manhattan College. In 2016, he was a Mellon Fellow in the Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania. In March 2017, his book, When Art Disrupts Religion: Aesthetic Experience and the Evangelical Mind, was published by Oxford University Press. At UMF, he will teach a range of course in religious studies, as well as boat building 101.
Matthew Freytag has written on contemporary ethical theory, ancient philosophy, social and political philosophy, American philosophy, moral psychology, biomedical ethics, and the relationship between personal identity and the notion of organic complexity. He’s taught at the University of Richmond, Humboldt State University, Sweet Briar College, Whitman College, the University of North Carolina Medical School, and Duke University, as a Mellon Fellow.
He’s worked as a driver in New York City, an oilfield roughneck in Texas, New Mexico, California, Colorado, and Lousiana, a shake-splitter in Washington State, a deckhand on the Mississippi and the SAG canal in Chicago, a development miner in molybdenum and lead & zinc mines in Colorado, and a parent in North Carolina and Maine. He’s a member of the East Vassalboro Grange.
Daniel Gunn has taught at UMF since 1980, offering courses in the English novel, the theory of the novel, the eighteenth century, Shakespeare, James Joyce, and many other areas. During his time at UMF, he has served as Faculty Senate Chair, Chair of the Humanities Division, Acting Dean of Arts and Sciences, and Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. He has published critical essays on Jane Austen, George Eliot, James Joyce, Samuel Richardson, Henry James, and other novelists in distinguished academic journals, including Narrative, Nineteenth-Century Literature, James Joyce Quarterly, and Eighteenth-Century Fiction. He has also published occasional essays in the Georgia Review, the Iowa Review, the Ohio Review and other magazines. He won a fellowship to the National Humanities Center in 1988, a Trustee Professorship in 2003, the Theo Kalikow Award in 2014, and the Award for Outstanding Teaching in Honors in 2016.
Michael Johnson teaches courses in American literature, literary theory, multicultural literature, and African American literature. Recent courses include African American Literature and Culture, Popular Genres, The Splendid Drunken Twenties, and Contemporary Native American Literature and Film. He has also taught courses on the topic of The Walking Dead and claims to be the English Department’s resident expert on surviving the Zombie Apocalypse. Dr. Johnson’s primary research area is African American Literature. His publications include Black Masculinity and the Frontier Myth in American Literature and Hoo-Doo Cowboys and Bronze Buckaroos: Conceptions of the African American West. His current work in progress is a biography of African American singer Taylor Gordon, tentatively titled Can't Stand Still: Taylor Gordon and the Harlem Renaissance.
Ann Kennedy came to the University of Maine-Farmington in 2007 from the University of Houston-Downtown. She holds a joint appointment in Women’s and Gender Studies and in First-Year Composition. She regularly teaches first-year writing seminar and Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies. She also teaches Contemporary Feminist Thought, The Female Body in Western Culture, and Gender and the Cultures of Globalization. She is a member of the Humanities Division and the Women’s and Gender Studies Council and has served on the Interdisciplinary and General Education committee. Her research areas include media and new media studies, feminist theory, race and ethnicity, gender and globalization, and U.S. literature and culture. Dr. Kennedy has recently published an article in the journal New Global Studies. She is working on a book, currently titled Moving Past It: Postfeminist and Postracial Discourse in U.S. Culture.
Dr. Klein came to UMF after completing her doctoral work at Purdue University in 2008. Since then, she has taught multiple classes investigating the evolving relationships between settlers and Native Americans in the colonial era. However, her teaching interests are diverse, ranging from memory, history, and trauma in American literature to graphic novels to American intellectual history. She has published articles in Early American Literature and Early American Studies, and presented her work at multiple conferences and symposia. She is currently working on a book project that addresses the critical gap between transatlanticsm and Native American studies in Colonial America.
Misty Krueger teaches long 18th-century literature, early British literature, Shakespeare, Romantic literature, literary interpretation and analysis, and first-year writing at UMF. She specializes in 18th-century women writers and Jane Austen. She is currently editing a scholarly collection of essays on transatlantic 18th-century women travelers. She is in the early stages of a book-length project on Jane Austen’s juvenilia and adolescence. She has published articles and essays on Austen's Northanger Abbey, History of England, Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility, and an adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. Additional publications address Shakespearean adaptation, Restoration and 18th-century drama, Romantic literature, and literary pedagogy. In her spare time, she enjoys blogging and playing tabletop games.
Gretchen Legler’s environmental nonfiction includes On The Ice: An Intimate Portrait of Life at McMurdo Station Antarctica (Milkweed Editions, 2005) and All The Powerful Invisible Things: A Sportswoman’s Notebook (Seal Press, 1995). Her essays have appeared in anthologies, magazines, and journals including Orion, the Georgia Review, Gifts of the Wild, A Different Angle, Isle, Matter, and Brevity. Her scholarly work in eco-criticism has appeared in journals and anthologies including Eco-Man and the Polar Journal. She received a National Science Foundation Artist and Writers Program Fellowship to spend six months in Antarctica in 1998, and received a 2012 Fulbright Fellowship to the Kingdom of Bhutan. Her writing has been awarded the Association for Literature and Environment environmental creative writing award. Her current work explores living in rural Maine, and the quest for Happiness. Writer’s Website: gretchenlegler.com
I deeply enjoy working with groups of students as well as working individually with them, and have spent the past ten years both within and outside of institutions doing just this. This work has shaped my own writing and thinking, especially as it encounters institutions themselves, and has intersected with my experiences as an immigrant to focus my writing/research and my teaching on issues of justice. My research and teaching interests are most lively where they find sites of dense intersection between and among disciplines: places where history/ies, theory, philosophy, cultural studies, art, science, and literature mix and inform one another. My book-length publications (Music for Landing Planes By, 2007; Her book, 2013; both with Milkweed) are in poetry; I have recently completed a draft of a collection of essays, and am working on another long-form prose object. I was a 2016 NEA Fellow in Prose Literature.
Kristin received her PhD in Religious Studies from the University of Ottawa, Canada, where she studied the social, historical and religious implications of intercultural encounter in North America. Kristin first became interested in studying inter-cultural and inter-religious issues while participating in a cultural exchange with Indonesia. This led her to expand her research into the areas of Islamic nationalism and Muslim immigration to North America. Her work has been published in the journals Social History, Studies in Religion, Historical Papers of the Canadian Society of Church History, and the edited volume, The History of Immigration and Racism in Canada: Essential Readings (Toronto: Canadian Scholars' Press, 2008). In the classroom, Kristin encourages student involvement in dialogue and discussion, and critical reflection upon representations of religion in popular culture.
U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine has called Wesley McNair “one of the great storytellers of contemporary poetry.” The author of nine volumes of poems, including Lovers of the Lost: New and Selected Poems, he has held grants from the Fulbright and Guggenheim foundations, two Rockefeller Fellowships, two NEA fellowships, and four honorary degrees for literary distinction. In 2006 he was selected for a United States Artists Fellowship of $50,000 as one of “America’s finest living artists.” Other honors include the Robert Frost Award, the Theodore Roethke Prize, an Emmy Award, and the Sarah Josepha Hale Medal. He was recently invited for the second time to read his poetry at the Library of Congress, and he has served four times on the jury for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry. McNair's latest book, his eighteenth, is The Words I Chose, a memoir telling the story of how he became a poet. He is the Poet Laureate of Maine.
A native New Jerseyan, Bill Mesce is an award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction, as well as a produced screenwriter and playwright. Recent works include THE RULES OF SCREENWRITING AND WHY YOU SHOULD BREAK THEM and NO RULE THAT ISN'T A DARE: HOW WRITERS CONNECT WITH READERS, the novels LEGACY and Eric Hoffer Award category winner A COLD AND DISTANT PLACE, and the children's picture book A BIG HUG FOR LI'L FOX. He also spent 27 years in various capacities in the Corporate Communications area of pay-TV giant Home Box Office, and the last 7 years as an adjunct at a number of New Jersey universities and colleges.
George Miller worked for a number of years in New York doing children's theatre and experimental theatre before returning to school and becoming an academic philosopher. He is currently teaching courses on environmental philosophy, philosophy of language, and the meaning of life. He is also writing an article about how we experience time, and a book about the meaning of life. His classes are discussion based, and he makes students revise their essays many, many times. (He is convinced that they understand things better at the end of this process.) You can find an essay of his on the internet, about Ralph Waldo Emerson, by googling "Emerson's optimism Miller".
Patricia O'Donnell directs the BFA Program in Creative Writing. Her short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Agni Review, The North American Review, Prairie Schooner, Short Story, American Literary Review, and other journals and anthologies. Her novel Necessary Places was published in 2012; her memoir Waiting to Begin in 2016; and her short story collection, Gods for Sale, won the Serena McDonald Kennedy Award and was published in 2017.
Ming-Ming Pu teaches courses in linguistics and first-year composition. She specializes in psycholinguistics. Her research interests lie mainly in exploring the fundamental relationship between language and cognition, especially how universal cognitive factors of memory and attention constrain the way we use language, and what general cognitive strategies we employ to facilitate language processing. She has been conducting empirical studies as well as comparative discourse analyses between Chinese and English, which have demonstrated that these two historically unrelated languages share common characteristics in discourse processing regardless of their morphosyntactic differences. In addition to her book Discourse Anaphora, she has published in linguistic journals such as Discourse Processes, Chinese Language Studies, Cognitive Linguistics, Canadian Journal of Linguistics and contributed chapters in numerous books.
Carey Salerno is the executive editor of Alice James Books, a nationally-renowned indie press that publishes eight books of poetry a year. Her first book, Shelter, was published in 2009, and she is the editor, along with Anne Marie Macari, of the anthology Lit from Inside: 40 Years of Poetry from Alice James Books (2013). Salerno teaches courses in poetry writing for UMF and also currently serves as a literary curator for Pen + Brush. You may find her creative work and news regarding her professional work in journals in print and online.
André Siamundele teaches French and courses on African Cinema and Postcolonial studies. He has presented papers and published articles on the question of Identity in Africa and the Diaspora. His works include: « Decolonizing the Mind : Language and Identity Dialogue » in New Frontiers in the Teaching of African and Diaspora History, « Stratégie littéraire et voie culturelle du développement : Sony Labou Tansi, V.Y. Mudimbe» in Communication et dynamiques de globalisation culturelle, "Colonial Memory vs. Postcolonial Discourse: Identities and Alterities in Postcolonial Francophone Africa” in Postcolonialism:Formation as Representation/ Representation as Formation.
Jeffrey Thomson is the author of four books of poems, including Birdwatching in Wartime, winner of both the 2010 Maine Book Award and the 2011 ASLE Award in Environmental Creative Writing, and Renovation. Birdwatching in Wartime is currently being translated into Spanish and Russian. His translations of the Roman poet, Catullus, are forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. In 2012 he was the Fulbright Distinguished Scholar in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Poetry Centre at Queen’s University Belfast. His website is www.jeffreythomson.com.
After earning a bachelor's degree in Philosophy, and before getting his law degree, Frank Underkuffler studied Philosophy at Oxford University. He is an active member of the North American Kant Society and he has been at the University of Maine at Farmington for the past twenty-six years. Three years ago, he started the Philosophy Department's reading group by leading a year-long study of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. Composed of students and faculty, the group meets biweekly at the Honors Center for lively discussion of challenging philosophical works and pizza. In his other life Frank serves as legal counsel to Franklin County and nine municipalities, including the Town of Farmington.
Luann Yetter is the author of three works of creative nonfiction: Portland's Past, Remembering Franklin County and Bar Harbor in the Roaring Twenties. She is advisor to the student newspaper, The Farmington Flyer, and writes a blog at luannyetter.wordpress.com. For her first-year writing seminars, she likes to use rock and roll themes such as The Beatles and Bob Dylan. She also enjoys traveling to Italy with UMF students for study abroad courses.
Shana Youngdahl's first full-length collection of poems, History, Advice and Other Half-Truths (Stephen F. Austin State University Press) was a finalist for the 2013 Maine Book Award. She is also the author of two chapbooks Winter/Window (Miel Books 2013), Of Nets (Gendun 2010) which recieved a grant for completion from the Iowa Arts Council and a nomination for the Pushcart Prize, and Donner: A Passing (2008). Her individual poems have been published widely in journals such as Third Coast, The Briar Cliff Review, and Shenandoah. Her short-short fiction appeared in the anthology Blink Again: Sudden Fiction from the Upper Midwest.