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Dresher Center Staff

Jessica Berman, Professor of English and Director – Lipitz Professor 2019-2020
PAHB 217

Jessica Berman is Professor of English, and Affiliate Professor of Gender + Women’s Studies and Language, Literacy and Culture at UMBC. She is the author of Modernist Commitments: Ethics, Politics and Transnational Modernism (2011) and Modernist Fiction, Cosmopolitanism and the Politics of Community (2001); co-editor of Virginia Woolf Out of Bounds (2001) and the American Comparative Literature Association’s Report on the State of the Discipline (2016); and editor of A Companion to Virginia Woolf (2015) and Purdah and Polygamy by Iqbalunnisa Hussain (reprint, 2018). Jessica also co-edits the Modernist Latitudes book series from Columbia University Press. Her new project investigates global radio in relation to transnational modernism.

A former chair of the UMBC English Department, Jessica has served on the American Comparative Literature Association board, the MLA’s book publication committee, and recently served as president of the Modernist Studies Association. In 2013 she was a Mellon-funded external fellow at the Institute of the Arts and Humanities at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She holds a Ph.D. (with Honors) in Comparative Studies in Literature from the University of Chicago and an A.B. (Highest Honors) in History from Princeton University.

Fan Yang, Associate Professor of Media and Communication Studies and Acting Associate Director
Fine Arts 406

Fan Yang (杨帆) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Communication Studies. An interdisciplinary scholar, Yang works at the intersection of cultural studies, transnational media studies, globalization, postcolonialism/postsocialism, and contemporary China. She is a faculty affiliate in the Asian Studies program, and serves on the Global Studies Coordinating Committee.

Yang is the author of Faked in China: Nation Branding, Counterfeit Culture, and Globalization (Indiana University Press, 2016). (Check out her Interview and Podcast on the book.) Complicating the prevalent story of China’s economic rise from the perspective of cultural change, the book argues that WTO-era China’s contested encounter with the globalizing intellectual property regime illuminates the nation’s cultural dilemma in the twenty-first century.

Yang is currently at work on two new projects. The first, tentatively titled Disorienting Politics: Rising China and Chimerican Media, explores the economic, political, and cultural implications of China’s “rise” from the critical perspectives of transnational media and cultural studies. The second project, Shenzhen: A Media City of the Global South, examines the first Special Economic Zone located in southern China as a media-architectural nexus that straddles globalizations from “above” and “below.”

Yang’s scholarship on such topics as branding, internet censorship, food and media, “fiscal orientalism,” and Shenzhen urbanism has appeared in Theory, Culture & Society, New Media & Society, positions: asia critique, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Verge: Studies in Global Asias, Journal of Asian American Studies, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, antiTHESIS, among others. Yang obtained her Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from George Mason University, where she was the recipient of a High Potential Fellowship. She also holds an MA from the Ohio State University and a BA from Fudan University, Shanghai.

Rachel Brubaker,
Assistant Director for Grants and Program Development
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Rachel Brubaker has developed and managed humanities grants and programs for over 20 years at UMBC and the University of Baltimore. She has also worked in education marketing and design for non-profit and governmental organizations, where she created print, digital, and social media campaigns. She has overseen the development of K12 history education curricular resources, including websites and apps, in collaboration with school systems and historical institutions. Rachel earned an M.A. degree in Historical Studies from UMBC and a B.F.A. degree in Communication Arts and Design from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Timothy Phin,
Senior Lecturer of Ancient Studies and Director of the Humanities Scholars Program
PAHB 442

Timothy Phin is a Roman historian and a specialist in Latin language and literature. He earned his B.A. in Ancient Studies from UMBC in 2004, and completed his graduate work at The Johns Hopkins University in 2016. Tim’s research focuses on the intellectual and cultural history of the Roman empire. He is particularly interested in the formation of Roman identity, the frequent use of authorial personae in Latin literature, and the lives of women, children, slaves, cinaedi, and other marginals on the edge of Roman society. Much of Tim’s work engages with prose authors like Quintilian, Pliny the Elder, and Tacitus, but he admits to being fondest of Martial’s piquant epigrams.

Tim teaches courses on Roman and Greek history, Latin language and literature, mythology and the ancient imagination, children and childhood, gender and sexuality in the ancient world. He was an Honors College faculty fellow from 2012-2014, and again in 2016-2017, when he was named Honors College faculty fellow of the year. He has taught for the Humanities Scholars Program, and is currently serving as Director of the Humanities Scholars Program.

Lindsay DiCuirci, Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Humanities Teaching Labs of the Inclusion Imperative
PAHB 406

Lindsay DiCuirci is an assistant professor of English and affiliate faculty in Language, Literacy, and Culture at UMBC specializing in early American literature and the history of the book. Her book, Colonial Revivals: The Nineteenth-Century Lives of Early American Books (University of Pennsylvania Press, Material Texts Series, 2018) examines the politics of collecting, preserving, and reprinting colonial books and manuscripts in the nineteenth-century U.S. Her research on the ideological work of antiquarianism and early American archives has appeared in Early American Literature and in the edited collection, Urban Identity and the Atlantic World (Palgrave, 2013). She also co-edited a multi-volume primary source collection on the discourse of American Exceptionalism (Pickering & Chatto, 2012) and its manifestations in early American religious writings. Her work has received support from The American Antiquarian Society, the Library Company of Philadelphia, and the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Lindsay teaches courses in early American literature, African American literature, women’s literary history, and critical theory. She is the current director of the English Honors program at UMBC.

Courtney C. Hobson,
Program Coordinator
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Courtney C. Hobson provides operational, logistical, and administrative support to the Center. She completed graduate work in Historical Studies at UMBC where her research focused one enslaved family’s multi-generational attempts to utilize the legal system to obtain freedom. She also received a BS with Honors from Bowie State University where she majored in History and Government. Courtney’s research interests center Black women and their interactions with the judicial system. Her non-academic interests include trivia, editing Wikipedia, cats, baking, and Doctor Who. In addition to work at UMBC, Courtney is a member of the Pop!Farm leadership team, community garden in the Poppleton neighborhood of Southwest Baltimore.

La Atwater, Administrative Assistant
PAHB 215

Priscilla (La) Atwater is a native of Catonsville, MD. She came to UMBC after working for ten years at the business she started with her husband, Atwater’s. Her professional life includes owning an upholstery business and opening several restaurants in Minneapolis-St. Paul and Baltimore but her favorite job has been raising three successful daughters.

Advisory Board

Rebecca Adelman, Associate Professor of Media and Communications Studies

Ana Oskoz, Professor and Chair of Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication

Mejdulene B. Shomali, Assistant Professor of Gender, Women’s, + Sexuality Studies [on leave 2019-2020]

Constantine Vaporis, Professor of History, and Affiliate Faculty in Asian Studies and Gender + Women’s Studies

Lisa Vetter, Associate Professor of Political Science