Texas Tech University

American Literature - Faculty Profiles

Cordelia Barrera (Ph.D. University of Texas San Antonio, 2009) spercializes in Latina/o literatures and the American Southwest, as well as U.S. border theory, third space feminist theory, popular culture, and film. She writes movie reviews for the borderlands journal LareDOS, and has published articles and reviews in The Quarterly Review of Film and Video and the Journal of Popular Culture. She is working on a book project that explores cyber technologies, social justice, and forms of oppositional consciousness in borderlands science fiction.

Michael Borshuk (Ph.D. Alberta, 2002) specializes in African American literature and cultural studies. He is the author of Swinging the Vernacular: Jazz and African American Modernist Literature (Routledge, 2006), for which he received the President's Book Award in 2008, and various essays, reviews, and encyclopedia entries on African American literature, music, and American modernism. He has co-edited two special issues on the city and urban culture for Studies in the Literary Imagination, and for ten years, from 1999 to 2009, was a regular contributor on jazz to Coda masgazine. His current book project addresses jazz, performance studies, and visual culture. He is also currently co-editing a special issue of Popular Music and Society on the work of Randy Newman, and will be a contributor to the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to the Singer-Songwriter. In 2011, he won the President's Excellence in Teaching Award at Texas Tech.

Daniel De Paula Valentim Hutchins (Ph.D. University of Rochester, 2014) specializes in the literature and culture of the early Atlantic World. His teaching and research program draws from colonial literatures in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese as well as the literature and culture of the early United States republic. Other research and teaching interests include literary theory, Border Studies, Native American Studies, 19th century American literature, Brazilian literature and contemporary speculative fiction.

John Samson (Ph.D. Cornell, 1980) focuses on historical and theoretical approaches to 19th- and 20th-century American literature. He is the author of White Lies: Melville's Narratives of Facts (Cornell UP, 1989) and articles and book chapters on American fiction, nonfiction, and criticism, in such journals as American Literature, American Quarterly, and Intertexts. For nine years he wrote the “Melville” chapter for American Literary Scholarship (Duke UP, 1995-2003). His latest publication is “The Critical Response to Herman Melville” in Critical Insights: Herman Melville, ed. Eric Link (Salem Press, 2013).

Yuan Shu (Ph.D. Indiana, 1999) is the director of the Asian Studies Program at Texas Tech University. He teaches contemporary American literature and culture, focusing on postmodern American literature, Vietnam War literature, and Asian American literature. His teaching repertoire also encompasses critical theory, particularly transnational and globalization discourses. He has published articles in journals varying from Cultural Critique to Journal of Popular Film and Television, from College Literature to MELUS. He is now finishing his book manuscript on “Empire and Cosmopolitics: Technology, Discourse, and Chinese American Literature,” and co-editing one essay volume on “American Studies as Transnational Practice” and another volume on “Oceanic Archives and Transnational American Studies.”

Sara L. Spurgeon (Ph.D. Arizona, 2000) works in literatures of the American West/Southwest, as well as nature/environmental writing, gender studies, and ecocritical, frontier, and postcolonial theory, and directs the graduate concentration in Literature, Social Justice, and Environment (LSJE). She is editor of the critical anthology Cormac McCarthy: All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men, The Road (2011), author of Exploding the Western (2005), the monograph Ana Castillo: Western Writers Series (2004), and co-author of Writing the Southwest (1995, revised 2nd edition 2003). She has published essays in the journals Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, Western American Literature, Southwestern American Literature, and Intertexts, and was 2012 President of the Western Literature Association.

Elissa Zellinger (Ph.D. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) specializes in lyric poetry and liberal political philosophy and the way this connection has been fostered by the conflation of poet and poem, specifically in nineteenth-century American women's poetry. Her book project, Lyrical Strains: Lyric, Liberalism, and Women's Poetry, 1820-1920, examines how poetry by women allowed writers and readers to “strain” against and thereby clarify the assumptions of liberal selfhood in the U.S. during this period. Her interest in exploring how poetic communication inflects the formation of political identities has also inspired a second project examining the poetic performance of Native American identities from contact to the modernist era. Dr. Zellinger received her Ph.D. in nineteenth-century American Literature from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Before joining TTU she was a Lecturer in the Department of Languages, Literature, and Philosophy at Armstrong State University in Savannah, GA.

American Literature


For more information about the American Literature division, please contact us by emailing Dr. Michael Borshuk or by calling the English Department at 806.742.2500.

For general information about graduate study in English, please contact Dr. Kanika Batra, Director of Graduate Studies, by email or by phone at 806.834.8033.