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Emerson Welcomes a Diverse Group of New Faculty Members

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Carrie Fuller
August 12, 2010

What do a Guggenheim fellow, a Kant philosopher, a former staff writer for the New York Times, the screenwriter for Gangs of New York, and a Frederick Douglass Doctoral Scholar have in common? They are all joining the Emerson faculty this fall.

“The search committees invested important time and energy to attract excellent candidates,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs Linda Moore. “The 14 new faculty will bring a wealth of experience, expertise, and professionalism that will complement nicely the good work of those they are joining. Our new hires are, indeed, the best of the best and I am delighted to welcome them to Emerson.”  

Marketing Communication

Joining the Department of Marketing Communication will be Donald Hurwitz as the Interim Chair of the Department and Assistant Professor Mariko Morimoto.  In addition to Hurwitz's academic background, teaching at the University of Illinois and Boston College, he also brings more than two decades of marketing communication experience, working in a variety of businesses. Morimoto’s interests lie in international and cross-cultural advertising, race, gender, and stereotypes in mass media and industries, integrated marketing communication, advertising and social media, and online privacy.

Writing, Literature & Publishing

Professor Steve Yarbrough will assume the duties as Acting Chair of the Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing. Yarbrough was a Professor of creative writing at California State University, Fresno for many years. He is the author of Safe from the Neighbors (2010), The End of California (2006), Prisoners of War (2004), Visible Spirits (2001) and The Oxygen Man (1999).

The Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing also welcomes Associate Professors Jabari Asim and Jerald Walker. Asim is the author of four books for adults and six books for children. His most recent works are What Obama Means . . . For Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Future (William Morrow, 2009) and A Taste of Honey: Stories (Broadway, 2010). He is also the editor-in-chief of The Crisis, the NAACP’s flagship journal, and received a 2009 Guggenheim fellowship in Creative Arts. Walker is the author of Street Shadows: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion and Redemption. His creative nonfiction has appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies, including Best American Essays (2007&2009) and Best African American Essays (2009&2010). Walker previously taught at Bridgewater State University.

Returning to the Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing is Kim McLarin, who previously was a Writer-in Residence at Emerson. She will return this fall as an Assistant Professor. McLarin is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Taming it Down, Meeting of the Waters, and Jump at the Sun, all published by William Morrow. She is also the co-author of Growing Up X by Ilyasah Shabazz. She is a former staff writer for The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Greensboro News & Record,and the Associated Press.

Communication Studies

Pablo Muchnik, Angela Hosek, and Ashley Torrence will join the Department of Communication Studies. Associate Professor Muchnik specializes in early modern philosophy, ethics, and political philosophy. He taught at Siena College from 2003 to 2010 and is the author of Kant’s Theory of Evil: An Essay on the Dangers of Self-Love and the Aprioricity of History (Lexington Books, 2009). Assistant Professor Hosek’s current research explores the ways in which teachers and students manage their social identities and privacy during interactions. Scholar-in-Residence Torrenceis pursuing her PhD in mass communication media studies with a political concentration. Her dissertation will focus on media framing, Strom Thurmond, and the election of 1948.

Performing Arts

Assistant Professor Christina Marín will join the Department of Performing Arts and former part-time faculty member Bethany Nelson will return as an Educator-in-Residence. Marín’s research examines the intersection of theater as pedagogy and human rights education, as well as the use of Theatre of the Oppressed techniques as arts-based qualitative research methodologies. Nelson teaches in the areas of theater education, play making, and multicultural education. She has taught drama and theater in K–12 urban, suburban, and rural settings; and theater education at undergraduate and graduate levels. Her research interests are focused on using Applied Drama and Theatre for meeting best practice in multicultural education with at-risk urban youth.

Jonathan Goldberg will join the Performing Arts faculty as Music Director. Goldberg has taught in the Emerson BFA Musical Theatre program since 2004. Goldberg often works at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, Wheelock Family Theatre, and the Boston Children’s Theatre. He is a four-time IRNE Award winner for his musical direction of Kiss Me, Kate, Grey Gardens, Man Of La Mancha, and A Little Night Music (all at the Lyric Stage).

Visual & Media Arts

Director Jonathan Wacks has been appointed Chair and Professor in the Department of Visual and Media Arts. Asa director, his credits include Fox’s 21 Jump Street starring Johnny Depp; ABC dramas Sirens and Going to Extremes; Orion Pictures’ Mystery Date, starring Ethan Hawke; Ed and His Dead Mother, starring Steve Buscemi and Ned Beatty; Warner Brothers’ Powwow Highway; and the anti-apartheid documentary Crossroads/South Africa, for which he won a student Academy Award. As a producer, he is best known for the cult hit Repo Man, with Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton.

Also new to the Visual and Media Arts Department is Jane and Terry Semel Chair in Screenwriting Jay Cocks and Distinguished Producer-in-Residence Linda Reisman. Cocks has been a movie critic and pop music critic for Time for more than two decades. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair. His screenplays include Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ, The Age of Innocence (Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay), and Gangs of New York (Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay); and Kathryn Bigelow’s Strange Days. His uncredited screenplay work includes Mission Impossible and Titanic. Reisman produced Waking The Dead, which was directed by Keith Gordon and starred Billy Crudup and Jennifer Connelly. She also produced the critically acclaimed Affliction, directed by Paul Schrader and based on the novel by Russell Banks, which starred Academy Award nominee Nick Nolte, Academy Award winner James Coburn, Sissy Spacek, and Willem Dafoe.

Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies

The Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies will welcome two new Scholars-in-Residence. Cara Moyer-Duncan was a visiting scholar at the Centre for African Studies at the University of Cape Town while completing field research for her doctoral dissertation, “Projecting Nation: Cinema and the Creation of a National Identity in Post-Apartheid South Africa.” She was previously a Frederick Douglass Doctoral Scholar and a Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Foundation Fellow. She is currently serving as Chair of the Graduate Student Caucus of the African Literature Association. Claudia Castaneda, who was previously a part-time faculty member in the Institute, will be teaching Women’s and Gender Studies courses on the topics of feminist cultural theory and queer theory, as well as the freshmen Honors courses. Her research interests lie at the intersection of feminist science and technology studies, cultural studies, and post-colonial/global studies.

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