Distinguished Alumni

Charles Bazerman, PhD’71

Since graduating Brandeis, Professor Bazerman has taught English and composition at various institutions, from Baruch College in New York to the National University of Singapore to Cornell University (among others). He currently teaches in the Education Department of the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he has chaired the department since 2000.

Professor Bazerman has authored nineteen books, among them Writing Across the Curriculum (2004); The Languages of Edison's Light (1999); All of Us: Cross-Cultural Reading Skills Handbook (1999); Involved: Writing for College, Writing for Your Self (1997); Constructing Experience (1994); and Shaping Written Knowledge: The Genre and Activity of the Experimental Article in Science (1988). Three of his volumes have been translated into Portuguese.

Professor Bazerman has also served as editor for several textbooks on writing, including The Handbook of Research of Writing: History, Society, School, Individual, Text (2007); What Writing Does and How It Does It (2004); The Activity of Writing, the Writing of Activity (1997); and Textual Dynamics of the Professions (1991).

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Sharon Cameron, PhD’73

Professor Cameron has taught at the University of California (Los Angeles and Santa Barbara branches) and Boston University since graduating from Brandeis. She is now a Professor of English at John Hopkins University. She lectures frequently at institutions across the U.S.

Professor Cameron is the author of seven books: 2007's Impersonality: Seven Essays; Beautiful Work: A Meditation on Pain (2000); Choosing Not Choosing: Dickinson's Fascicles (1993); Thinking in Henry James (1989); Writing Nature: Henry Thoreau's Journal (1985); The Corporeal Self: Allegories of the Body in Melville and Hawthorne (1981); and Lyric Time: Dickinson and the Limits of Genre (1979). Her articles or book chapters have been published in numerous academic journals.

Professor Cameron is a distinguished member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. 

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Peter Elbow, PhD’69

In his academic career, Professor Elbow has taught at a variety of institutions, with MIT, SUNY Stony Brook, and the University of Hawaii among them. While a professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, he became the director of the university's writing program. Currently, Professor Elbow serves as a professor emeritus in the English department there.

He is the author of eleven books, including Writing About Media: Teaching Writing, Teaching Media (2008); Everyone Can Write: Essays Toward a Hopeful Theory of Writing and Teaching Writing (2000); What is English? (1990); Embracing Contraries: Explorations in Learning and Teaching (1986); Oppositions in Chaucer (1975); and Writing Without Teachers (1973).

Professor Elbow has served as an editor for academic collections or journals many times. More recent projects include an issue of Writing on the Edge (2000); Writing to Learn: Strategies for Assigning and Responding to Writing in the Disciplines (1997); Landmark Essays on Voice and Writing (1994); an issue of Pre/Text: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Rhetoric (1990); and Nothing Begins with N: New Explorations of Freewriting (1990).

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David Greven, PhD’02

Since graduating from Brandeis, David Greven has published six books and numerous articles, including anthologies. He works as an Associate Professor of English at the University of South Carolina.

Professor Greven's books include Intimate Violence: Hitchcock, Sex, and Queer Theory (2017); Ghost Faces: Hollywood and Post-Millennial Masculinity (2017); Gender Protest and Same-Sex Desire in Antebellum American Literature (2014); Psycho-Sexual: Male Desire in Hitchcock, De Palma, Scorsese, and Friedkin (2013); Men Beyond Desire: Manhood, Sex, and Violation in American Literature (2012); The Fragility of Manhood: Hawthorne, Freud, and the Politics of Gender (2012); Representations of Femininity in American Genre Cinema: The Woman's Film, Film Noir, and Modern Horror (2011); Manhood in Hollywood from Bush to Bush (2010); and Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek: Allegories of Desire in the Television Series and Films (2009).

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Allen Grossman, PhD'60

Professor and poet Allen Grossman stayed at Brandeis upon graduation, working as the Paul E. Prosswimmer Professor of Poetry and General Education. Afterward, he taught English at John Hopkins University until his retirement. Dr. Grossman continues to produce and hone his poetry. He is married to fellow Brandeis alumnus Judith Grossman '68.

Collections by Dr. Grossman include True-Love: Essays on Poetry and Valuing (2009); Descartes' Loneliness (2007); How to Do Things with Tears (2001); The Philosopher's Window and Other Poems (1995); The Bright Nails Scattered on the Ground (1986); And the Dew Lay All Night Upon My Branch (1973); A Harlot's Hire (1961); and others. He has won multiple prizes for his writing, among them the Golden Rose of the New England Poetry Club, the 1988 Sheaffer-PEN/New England Award for Literary Distinction, three Pushcart Prizes and Yale University's 2009 Bollingen Prize. The MacArthur fund gave him a fellowship in 1989, the Guggenheim Foundation gave him a grant in 1982, and he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 1993.

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Judith Grossman, PhD’68

Since receiving her doctoral degree at Brandeis, Professor Grossman has taught writing at Bennington College in Vermont, the University of California at Irvine, and the University of Iowa's MFA program; she has also acted as chairperson for the liberal arts at Mount Ida College. She is married to fellow Brandeis alumnus Allen Grossman '60.

Professor Grossman has written two books of fiction, How Aliens Think: Stories (1999) and a novel entitled Her Own Terms (1988), as well as short fiction in the New England Review/Breadloaf Quarterly; Ploughshares; North American Review; and other journals.

Mark Halliday, PhD’83

A poet and professor of English, Mark Halliday has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Western Michigan University, and Wellesley College among others. Since 1996, he has held workshops on poetry at Ohio University.

Professor Halliday has written five poetry collections: Keep This Forever (2008); Jab (2002); Selfwolf (1999); Tasker Street (1992), which won a Juniper Prize; and Little Star (1987), a National Poetry Series official selection. For his creative writing, Professor Halliday has been awarded the 2001 Rome Prize and, in 2006, a Guggenheim Fellowship.

His critical work includes Stevens and the Interpersonal (1991); and The Sighted Singer: Two Works on Poetry for Readers and Writers (1991) and Against Our Vanishing (1981), both co-authored with fellow alumnus Allen Grossman '60.

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Xue-Fei (Ha) Jin, PhD’93

Since graduating Brandeis, Professor Jin went on to write several books of fiction and poetry. He has taught at Emory University and, in the fall of 2008, served as a Mary Ellen von der Heydon Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. Since 2002, he has taught in the departments of Creative Writing and English at Boston University.

Works of fiction published by Professor Jin include A Map of Betrayal (2015); A Good Fall: Stories (2009); A Free Life (2009); War Trash (2004), with which he became a two-time PEN/Faulkner Award winner; The Crazed (2002); The Bridegroom (2001); Waiting (1999), which won both the PEN/Faulkner Award and National Book Award; In the Pond (1998); Under the Red Flag (1997), which earned him the Flannery O'Connor Prize for Short Fiction; and Ocean of Words (1996), for which he won the PEN/Hemingway Award. Professor Jin has also written five books of poetry, among them Wreckage (2001); Ways of Talking (1996); Facing Shadows (1996); and Between Silences (1990). In 2008, he published his first nonfiction book, a collection of essays entitled The Writer as Migrant.

For his breadth of work, Professor Jin has been the recipient of several honors. In addition to the awards noted above –– and others –– he is a 1999 Guggenheim Fellow and a 2006 Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

More information about Professor Jin may be found on the Creative Writing or English faculty pages of the Boston University website.

Cynthia Lowenthal, PhD’87

Dean Lowenthal works as the dean of the College of Charleston's School of Humanities and Social Sciences, where she also serves as a professor of English.

Dean Lowenthal, a scholar of the Restoration period, has published two books: Performing Identities on the Restoration Stage (2004) and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and the Eighteenth-Century Familiar Letter (1994). She has written numerous articles for academic journals over the years and is regularly invited to give lectures at conferences across the country. In her teaching career, she has won several awards.

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Patricia McKee, PhD’78

Professor McKee currently teaches at in the English department of Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH as the Edward Hyde Cox Professor in the Humanities. She specializes in nineteenth-century American literature, particularly Henry James and Charles Dickens, as well as twentieth-century authors Toni Morrison and William Faulkner.

Professor McKee is the author of three books: Producing American Races: Henry James, William Faulkner, Toni Morrison (1999); Public and Private: Gender, Class, and the British Novel (1997); and Heroic Commitment in Richardson, Eliot and James 1986). She publishes in academic journals frequently, from Modern Fiction Studies to The New Centennial Review to (forthcoming) Arizona Quarterly.

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Theresa Rebeck, PhD’89

Ms. Rebeck has taught at Brandeis and Columbia University in the past, but she is known primarily as a playwright.  She has written sixteen full-length plays and twenty-three one-act shows –– the most recent of which, a commission from the University of Delaware entitled O Beautiful, earned a writeup in the New York Times

Among her other stage shows, she is well-known for Spike Heels (1990); Sunday on the Rocks (1994); Omnium Gatherum (2004), for which she was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize; The Water's Edge (2006); The Understudy (2007); and I'm Glad About You (2016).  Ms. Rebeck does screenwriting as well, and has worked on the films Harriet the Spy (1996); Gossip (2000); A Relaxing Day (2007); and the recent Seducing Charlie Barker (2010), an adaptation of her play The Scene that is currently making the festival circuit.  Television programs that Ms. Rebeck has written for include the upcoming Smash; Canterbury's LawLaw and Order: Criminal Intent; and NYPD Blue, for which she won the Edgar Award and the Writers Guild of America Award for Episodic Drama among others.

Not to be constrained to any genre, Ms. Rebeck has published two novels. The first, Three Girls and Their Brother, was published by Random House in 2008; the second, Twelve Rooms With a View, was printed by Crown in 2010.

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Jeffrey Robinson, PhD’72

Jeffrey C. Robinson, professor emeritus at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he taught for 38 years, is now Professor of Romantic Poetry at the University of Glasgow.

He is the author of nineteen books, including Radical Literary Education: A Classroom Experiment with Wordsworth's Ode (1987), The Walk: Notes on a Romantic Image (1989, rep. 2006), The Current of Romantic Passion (1992), Romantic Presences: Living Images from the Age of Wordsworth and Shelley (1995), Reception and Poetics in Keats (1998), Wordsworth Day by Day: Reading His Work into Poetry Now (2005), Unfettering Poetry: The Fancy in British Romanticism (2006), Poems for the Millennium, Volume Three: The University of California Book of Romantic and Postromantic Poetry, co-edited with Jerome Rothenberg (2009) and winner of the Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award (2010), and Active Romanticism: The Radical Impulse in Nineteenth-Century and Contemporary Poetic Practice, co-edited with Julie Carr (2015). He has also published a volume of poems, Untam'd Wing: Riffs on Romantic Poetry (2010).

A winner of NEH and Guggenheim fellowships, he continues to write and teach about the "radical impulse" in Romantic Poetry and its modern and contemporary avant-garde descendants.

Robert J. Scholnick, PhD’69

After receiving his doctoral degree from Brandeis, Professor Scholnick joined the English Department at the College of William & Mary. In his tenure at William & Mary, he has served in several administrative capacities, the most recent being Dean of Graduate Studies in Arts and Sciences from 1986-1996. In 1982, he founded the College's American Studies Program, which he would go on to direct for four years.

Professor Scholnick is regularly published in a myriad of academic journals, with American Periodicals; American Literature; Walt Whitman Review; New England Quarterly; Journal of American Studies; the publication of the National Endowment for the Humanities; and American Literary Realism among them. In 1991, he founded the Research Society for American Periodicals and served as its first president.

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Ivy Schweitzer, PhD’83

Professor Schweitzer works as a professor of English and the chair of the Women's and Gender Studies department at Dartmouth College. She specializes in early American literature, cultural studies, and women's literature.

Professor Schweitzer has produced several books, including Perfecting Friendship (2006); Heath Anthology of American Literature (2001), for which she edited the sections regarding the period 1500-1800; The Literatures of Colonial America: An Anthology (2001); and The Work of Self-Representation: Lyric Poetry in Colonial New England (1991). Frequently, she publishes articles in academic journals, the most recent of which –– "Foster's Coquette: Resurrecting Friendship from the Tomb of Marriage" –– will be printed in an upcoming issue of Arizona Quarterly.

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Elaine Showalter, MA’64

After receiving her Master's degree at Brandeis, Professor Showalter attended the University of California at Davis for her Ph.D. After that, she began teaching at Rutgers University and, later, at Princeton University. She retired from Princeton in 2003 and holds the position of Avalon Foundation Professor Emerita in the university's English department.

Professor Showalter's long list of publications include, among others, A Jury of Her Peers: American Women Writers from Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx (2009); Faculty Towers: The Academic Novel and its Discontents (2005); Teaching Literature (2003); Inventing Herself: Claiming a Feminist Intellectual Heritage (2001); Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin-de-Siecle (1990); The Female Malady: Women, Madness, and English Culture, 1830-1980 (1985); A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Bronte to Lessing (1977); and Women's Liberation and Literature (1971), for which she edited. She has also written for popular non-academic publications in the past such as People –– where she served as television critic –– and Vogue.

Professor Showalter is perhaps best-known for her development of gynocriticism, a school of literary criticism that considers and studies women writers as an individual literary movement.

Barbara Herrnstein Smith, PhD’65

After graduating from Brandeis, Professor Smith taught at Bennington College in the Languages and Literatures Division. She has since taught at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Toronto, and Yale University, among other institutions. Currently, she maintains two positions at Duke University –– Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Science and Cultural Theory and the Braxton Craven Professor of Comparative Literature and English –– and one position at Brown University, that of a professor of English.

Professor Smith is the author of six books, including Natural Reflections: Human Cognition at the Nexus of Science and Religion (2009); Scandalous Knowledge: Science, Truth and the Human (2005); Belief and Resistance: Dynamics of Contemporary Intellectual Controversy (1997); Contingencies of Value: Alternative Perspectives for Critical Theory (1988); On the Margins of Discourse: The Relation of Literature to Language (1978); and Poetic Closure: A Study of How Poems End (1968). She has served as editor for four books and been published many times over in journals such as Critical Inquiry, the MLA Newsletter, the Times Literary Supplement and more.

For her work, Professor Smith has received numerous accolades, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Rockefeller Foundation. She is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2010, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts.

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Hortense Spillers, PhD’74

Professor Spillers serves as the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English at Vanderbilt University.

Books produced by Professor Spillers include Black, White & in Color (2003); Comparative American Identities: Race, Sex and Nationality in the Modern Text (1991) and Conjuring: Black Women, Black Fiction, and Literary Tradition (1985) as an editor. Frequently she publishes essays in academic journals and anthologies, not least Diacritics; Slavery and the Literary Imagination; Reading Black, Reading Feminist; The Black Scholar; and numerous others. She has published a few short stories as well.

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Claudia Thomas Kairoff, PhD’85

After receiving her doctoral degree, Professor Kairoff worked as a visiting assistant professor at the University of Michigan for a year before accepting a position at Wake Forest University. Since 1986, she has worked her way up through the ranks at Wake Forest to become a full professor of English. Previous posts she has held at Wake Forest University include directing the London and Venice semester abroad programs, as well as chairing the English department from 2007-2010.

Professor Kairoff has produced two books: More Solid Learning: New Perspectives on Alexander Pope's Dunciad (2000), which she co-edited with Catherine Ingrassia, and Alexander Pope and his Eighteenth-Century Women Readers (1994). She serves as a contributing editor to The Scriblerian and an advisory editor to New Perspectives on the Eighteenth Century, as well as publishing myriad articles and essays in scholarly journals and collections. Currently, she is working on two books under contract: The Poems of Anne Finch: A Critical Edition, co-edited with Jennifer Kieth, and Anna Seward and the End of the Eighteenth Century, which will be published by John Hopkins University Press in early 2012.

For her work, Professor Kairoff has been the recipient of numerous honors, both at Wake Forest and across the country. In 2010, the National Endowment for the Humanities offered her a Folger Long-Term Residency Fellowship in addition to a Scholarly Editions and Translations Grant, which runs until 2013.

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Ronald Thomas, PhD’83

In the past three decades, Dr. Thomas has taught at Harvard University, the University of Chicago, and Trinity College, where he later worked as the institution's vice president and acting president. Since 2003, Dr. Thomas has been the president of the University of Puget Sound.

Dr. Thomas has authored three books: Detective Fiction & the Rise of Forensic Science (2004); Nineteenth-Century Geographies (2002), which he co-edited; and Dreams of Authority (1990). He is currently at work on a fourth book, entitled Specters of the Novel.

In his administrative and teaching capacities, Dr. Thomas has garnered distinctions as varied as the Dean Arthur A. Hughes Award in Teaching (Trinity College) and a Mellon Faculty Fellowship in the Humanities (Harvard University).

Rosemarie Garland Thomson, PhD’93

From her graduation from Brandeis until 2001, Professor Thomson taught in the English department at Howard University. Since then, she has worked at Emory University; she is currently a professor in Women's Studies and serves as affiliated faculty of the institution's Center for Ethics, Institute of Human Rights, and Institute of Liberal Arts.

Professor Thomson has authored two books: 2009's Staring: How We Look and Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature (1997), which was declared a Choice Outstanding Academic Book of that year. Books she has assisted in editing include Re-Presenting Disability: Agency and Activism in the Museum (2010); Disability Studies: Enabling the Humanities (2002), another Choice Outstanding Academic Book; and Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body (1996). She often publishes chapters or essays in academic journals, encyclopedias, anthologies, and other publications.

Honors Professor Thomson has received for her work include, among others, the offer of a Fulbright in 2006; two Mellon Fellowships from the Massachusetts Historical Society; and two dissertation fellowships from the American Association of University Women. In 2009, the Utne Reader named her as one of "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World."

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