Spring 2018 COH Faculty Hires

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The College of Humanities is pleased to welcome nine new tenure-eligible faculty members for the upcoming academic year.

“These are outstanding scholars who represent the breadth and diversity of Humanities scholarship and teaching,” said Dean Alain-Philippe Durand. “Their expertise in languages and cultures around the world will further our mission of graduating students equipped with the skills they need to succeed on the global job market.”

Heng Du, Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies

Department of East Asian Studies

Heng Du is a book historian and a scholar of Early China, focusing on the transformations of textual and literary cultures during the formation of early empires from 300 BCE to 100 CE. Her dissertation, “The Author’s Two Bodies: Paratext in Early Chinese Textual Culture,” adapts “paratext" as an analytical tool for the study of early authorship and textual identity. She is currently working on a Chinese translation of book 6 of Ovid’s Fasti as part of the “Translating the Complete Corpus of Ovid’s Poetry into Chinese with Commentaries” project. For her future research, she is interested in the comparative study of literary cultures in early Chinese and ancient Roman empires. Heng Du received her Ph.D. from the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University, and a M.A. in Chinese literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder. As an undergraduate, she double-majored in classics and comparative literature at Cornell University.

Brett Esaki, Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies

Department of Religious Studies and Classics

Brett Esaki has a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and he has extensive teaching experience at Central Michigan University and Georgia State University. His first book is Enfolding Silence: The Transformation of Japanese American Religion and Art under Oppression (Oxford University Press, 2016). Dr. Esaki has a broad range of specialties within the field of religious studies, Asian American Studies; Ethnography of Art; Sustainability; Masculinity; and Hip Hop Studies (especially Asian American Hip Hop). 

Benjamin Fraser, Professor and Head of Spanish and Portuguese

Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Benjamin Fraser is joining the Department of Spanish and Portuguese as Professor and Head effective 16 July 2018. An experienced administrator, he comes to UA from East Carolina University (NC), where he was Professor of Hispanic Studies and served as Department Chair of Foreign Languages and Literatures. He has previously held faculty positions at Christopher Newport University (VA) and the College of Charleston (SC). A researcher specializing in contemporary culture, Fraser explores literature, film, visual art, popular culture, comics and urban space from an interdisciplinary perspective. He is the author of some eighty articles and book chapters published across the fields of Hispanic Studies, Cultural Geography, and Disability Studies. He is the author or editor of sixteen published or contracted books, including titles with Gallaudet UP, Bucknell UP, U of South Carolina P, U of North Carolina P, Liverpool UP, U of Toronto P, U of Texas P, Wallflower P/Columbia UP, and UP of Mississippi. In 2017, Fraser was inducted into the Order of Don Quijote, the highest honor conferred by Sigma Delta Pi and one whose previous honorees include Carlos Fuentes, Carmen Laforet, Domnita Dumitrescu and Janet Pérez. In 2018, Fraser became the thirteenth Editor-in-Chief of the flagship journal of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, Hispania (founded in 1917).

Kris Aric Knisely, Assistant Professor of French

Department of French and Italian

Kris Aric Knisely joins the University of Arizona in the role of Assistant Professor of Intercultural Competence and French after three years at the University of South Dakota as an Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies and French and the Francophone Studies Program Director. He earned his PhD in French and Educational Studies from Emory University in 2015. His research on language learning, motivation, and identity has been published in journals such as Gender and Language, Contemporary French Civilization, The French Review, and The Journal of Applied Measurement. He is currently completing several new projects on intercultural personhood, gender inclusivity in the second-language classroom, as well as social networks and second-language acquisition.

Janice McGregor, Assistant Professor of German

Department of German Studies

Janice McGregor completed her PhD in German Applied Linguistics at Penn State in 2012. She comes to us from the Department of Modern Languages at Kansas State University, where she has coordinated the German language sequence and taught in the MA program in Second Language Acquisition since 2012. Her research focuses on the construction of learner beliefs & language ideologies in study abroad, authenticity in language learning & intercultural communication, and qualitative methods in study abroad research.

Joshua Schlachet, Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies

Department of East Asian Studies

Joshua Schlachet specializes in the cultural history of Japan. His research focuses on intersecting histories of food culture, everyday life, medicine and health, material culture, and textual production. Joshua is completing his Ph.D. in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University and received his M.A. from the University of Michigan. He has taught Japanese and East Asian history at Columbia University and Baruch College before joining the University of Arizona.

Kristy Slominski, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies

Department of Religious Studies and Classics

Kristy Slominski has a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and she has extensive teaching experience at Georgia State University and the University of Mississippi. Her forthcoming book is Teaching Moral Sex: An American Religious History of Sex Education (under contract with Oxford University Press). Dr. Slominski’s areas of specialty include the interaction of religion and science in U.S. history; the history of sex education in the United States; and the impact of religion on U.S. public health discourses. Dr. Slominski recently completed a term on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Religion.

Lucy Swanson, Assistant Professor of French

Department of French and Italian

Lucy Swanson comes to the University of Arizona from Lafayette College in Easton, PA, where she was Visiting Assistant Professor of French. She has also taught at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, and at Pacific University in Oregon. She received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.

Daisy Vargas, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies

Department of Religious Studies and Classics

Daisy Vargas is a doctoral candidate in history at the University of California Riverside, with an M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Denver. Her current project, Mexican Religion on Trial: Race, Religion, and the Law in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands traces the history of Mexican religion, race, and the law from the nineteenth century into the contemporary moment, positioning current legal debates about Mexican religion within a larger history of anti-Mexican and anti-Catholic attitudes in the United States. Daisy serves as ethnographic field researcher for the Institute for the Study of Immigration and Religion, and has served as an educational programming intern for the California Museum of Photography. She serves as co-chair of the Latina/o and Latin American Religion section for the American Academy of Religion-Western Region, and a steering committee member for the Religions in the Latina/o Americas unit for the American Academy of Religion at the national level.  In 2017, Daisy was awarded a Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.

Ania Wroblewski, Assistant Professor of French

Department of French and Italian

Ania Wroblewski (Ph.D. Université de Montréal) is a specialist in contemporary French literature, art, and visual culture. She comes to the University of Arizona after a postdoctoral fellowship at Université du Québec à Montréal, where she was affiliated with the Department of Art History and Figura, a research center focusing on text-image relations. She is the author of a number of articles and book chapters on contemporary women’s writing, the history of feminism in museums, and recent literary controversies in France. Her first monograph, La vie des autres. Sophie Calle et Annie Ernaux, artistes hors-la-loi (Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal), was a finalist for the Canada Prize in the Humanities and Social Sciences 2017.