Welcome, new faculty!

This fall, the English department is pleased to welcome seven new faculty in the literature and writing programs. 


Lucy AlfordLucy M. Alford, Assistant Professor, Literature

Before joining our department, Lucy was Collegiate Assistant Professor in the Humanities Division and Harper-Schmidt Fellow in the Society of Fellows, and affiliated faculty in the Departments of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago. She specializes in twentieth- and twenty-first-century American poetry and poetics, with additional foci in modern and contemporary transnational literatures in English, Arabic, French, and German. She completed her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Stanford University in 2016.  Her first book, Forms of Poetic Attention, was published by Columbia University Press in December 2019. Lucy will teach “Precarity Poetics: Writing in the Ruins of the Future” and “20th- and 21st-Century American Poetry: Politics, Identity, Change” this fall.


Brenna CaseyBrenna M. Casey, Visiting Assistant Professor, Literature

Brenna M. Casey specializes in American Literature and Visual Culture. Her current book project—situated at the intersections of Ethnic Studies and Gender Studies—traces the visual surveillance of national borders and citizen bodies during the first hundred years of photography. She holds a Ph.D. in English with a Certificate in Feminist Studies from Duke University, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Notre Dame, and B.A.s in English and Hispanic Studies from Boston College. Brenna is the recipient of the Stephen Horne Award for Teaching Excellence and was ranked one of the Top Ten Professors at Duke University by OneClass in 2018. Her academic work has appeared or is forthcoming in African American Review, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance, and Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies. Her popular essays have appeared or are forthcoming at Bitch, Hyperallergic, Ploughshares, Public Books, and more. This fall she is teaching “Studies in American Lit: Latinx Literature: and “American Short Stories.”


Professor Matthew GariteMatthew Garite, Assistant Teaching Professor, Literature

Matt joins the English Department as a permanent faculty member after two years teaching for us as a Visiting Assistant Professor and previously at High Point University and Drake University. He received his Ph.D. from SUNY Buffalo in 2013 and specializes in post-World War II American literature. He teaches introductory literature courses on topics including “Inner Spaces and Altered States: Literature and Consciousness” and “Hippie Modernism.”



Derek LeeDerek P. Lee, Assistant Professor, Literature

Before joining our department, Derek was a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow at Georgia Tech. As a former biochemistry researcher and now a scholar of twentieth- and twenty-first century Anglo-American literature, his research and teaching interests are in modernist and contemporary culture, science and technology studies, and multiethnic fiction. He has articles published or forthcoming in Critique, James Joyce Quarterly, Journal of Literature and Science, Journal of Modern Literature, and MELUS. His book project, Parascientific Revolutions, examines the concept of paranormal cognition as a historical and epistemological phenomenon in twentieth-century literature and science. He will teach “The Ghost” and “Cyborgs and Sorcerers: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Multicultural America” this fall.


Photo of Professor Alisa RussellAlisa LaDean Russell, Assistant Professor, Writing

Alisa received her Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Kansas. Her research, administrative, and teaching interests in writing across the curriculum (WAC), rhetorical genre studies, and public writing explore how identities, power, and cultures are inscribed through genres as social action. She has published articles in The WAC Journal, Pedagogy, The Clearing House, and Composition Forum. In fall she will teach a Writing 111 seminar and Academic Research & Writing.



Corey WalkerCorey D. B. Walker, Wake Forest Professor of the Humanities, Literature and Interdisciplinary Humanities 

Corey D. B. Walker is the Wake Forest Professor of the Humanities at Wake Forest University. His research and teaching interests include Africana philosophy, critical theory, ethics, social and political philosophy, and religion and public life. His scholarship and public speaking attracts a broad audience and he provides informed commentary to a number of media outlets.

He is the author of A Noble Fight: African American Freemasonry and the Struggle for Democracy in America, co-editor with Melody C. Barnes and Thad Williamson, Community Wealth Building and the Reconstruction of American Democracy: Can We Make American Democracy Work, editor of the “Theology and Democratic Futures” special issue of the journal Political Theology, and associate editor of the award-winning SAGE Encyclopedia of Identity. He has published over sixty articles, essays, book chapters and reviews appearing in a wide range of scholarly journals and co-directed and co-produced the documentary film fifeville with acclaimed artist and filmmaker Kevin Jerome Everson. He also served as book review editor and associate editor of The Journal of the American Academy of Religion, generally considered the top academic journal in the field.

He has held faculty and academic leadership positions at Brown University, University of Virginia, Virginia Union University, and Winston-Salem State University and visiting faculty appointments at Friedrich-Schiller Universität Jena, Union Presbyterian Seminary, and University of Richmond. He was also a non-resident fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University.

Dr. Walker will begin teaching in spring 2021. 


Guy Witzel

Guy Witzel, Assistant Teaching Professor, Writing

Guy joins the Writing Program in the English Department as a permanent faculty member after two years as a Visiting Assistant Professor. He also taught at High Point University and SUNY Buffalo. He earned his Ph.D. in 2014 from SUNY Buffalo. He specializes in the environmental humanities and ecocomposition pedagogy and teaches first-year writing courses on topics such as “Weird Nature” and “Tech Troubles.”

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