New Faculty Profiles


Brueggemann.jpgBrenda Brueggemann, Aetna Endowed Chair of Writing at the University of Connecticut, teaches rhetoric, creative nonfiction, and pedagogy. In the past decade, she has concentrated her research on disability studies and deaf studies, authoring books such as Deaf Subjects: Between Identities and Places (New York UP, 2009), Lend Me Your Ear: Rhetorical Constructions of Deafness (Gallaudet UP, 1999), and the SAGE Reference Series Arts and Humanities on Disability: Key Issues and Future Directions (SAGE Publications, 2012). She is a former editor of Disability Studies Quarterly and now the president of the Society for Disability Studies. Recent projects include an oral history and documentary film project with the Council on Developmental Disabilities, an educational blog on the Nazi Aktion T-4 program, and an epistolary biography of Mabel Hubbard Bell. Brueggemann will teach two courses this summer that align seamlessly with her academic interests: Writing, Rhetoric, Teaching traverses the history and connections between those three foundations of learning and communication, while Disability in Anglophone Literature explores concepts and issues central to the emerging field of disability studies through the reading of texts from Francis Bacon to Mark Haddon.

In her essay (with Stephanie Kerschbaum), “Disability, Representation, Disclosure, Access, and Interdependence” in How to Build a Life in the Humanities (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), Brueggemann addresses how the study of disability in literature, art, and history has influenced the ways she teaches and writes:

Throughout my 23 years as a university faculty member—a period that aligns almost directly with the passage of the ADA—I have written about my deaf (and female) body. Rather than aiming to be an inspiration or letting myself and my story be wrangled into the ‘narrative normalcy’ of the disability-overcoming story, I have endeavored to explore how disability can enable insight. I enact ‘deaf gain’ rather than ‘hearing loss.’ To do this, I use myself, and my ‘hearing loss’ as a ‘deaf gain’ move that asks us all—in collaboration—to take shared ownership for discussion and listening in my classroom. For example, I rely heavily on small-group discussion, and then encourage the small-group discussions to unfold into whole-class discussions, with one of the groups always taking the lead. Not only does this distribute the ownership of class conversations, but it takes all the discussion-hearing pressure off of me! Likewise, I often ask a couple of students to come to the front of the classroom and record the major points of the discussion (i.e., take notes), which are displayed on a projector screen. I ask them to do this in pairs and so, once again, the burden of listening can be shared. (And too, I am relieved of being ‘The Big Ear’--that organ that traditional classrooms tend to place on teachers as the conduit through which all the classroom voices must come and go.) One thing that happens always—yes, always—in my classrooms is that, through the use of real-time captioning (which I usually project on a second screen or a wall so that I can roam throughout the classroom and see it from any vantage point), my students soon notice how much they are learning through the ‘accommodation’ seemingly afforded only for me. We are all then immersed in deaf gain and disability as insight (191).


Susan Choi’s first novel, The Foreign Student (Harper Collins, 1998), won the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction. Her second novel, American Woman (Harper Collins, 2003), was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize, and her third novel, A Person of Interest (Viking, 2008), was a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award. In 2010 Choi received the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award. Choi’s most recent novel is My Education (Viking, 2013), which received a Lambda Literary Award. Currently teaching fiction writing at her alma mater, Yale University, Choi began her literary career as a fact-checker at the New Yorker. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. At Bread Loaf Choi is offering a fiction-writing workshop in which students will also study short stories by exceptional authors.

What kinds of subjects are you drawn to as a fiction writer?

I’m often compelled to write about what I think of as history’s backstage scenes, the people or things that don’t make it into the headlines. My second novel, American Woman, was inspired by the story of a young Japanese-American radical who was arrested alongside Patty Hearst in the 70s. She became a footnote to the Patty Hearst story, which made me want to put her at the center of a book. My third novel came out of my preoccupation with what private life must have been like for Wen Ho Lee and other high-profile ‘persons of interest’ falsely accused of sensational crimes. I’m always interested in outsiders, and in characters who make colossal mistakes—whether funny, tragic, or both. 


Prior to his appointment as Pardon Tillinghast Professor of Religion at Middlebury College in the fall of 2015, Shalom Goldman was professor of religious studies at Duke University. He has also taught at Dartmouth College, Ohio State University, Tel Aviv University, St. Andrews University, and Emory University. Goldman’s research interests include Christian-Jewish-Muslim relations, Christian Hebraism, and Christian Zionism. His most recent book is Jewish-Christian Difference and Modern Jewish Identity (Lexington Books, 2015). His books include Zeal for Zion: Christians, Jews, and the Idea of the Promised Land (UNC Press, 2010) and God’s Sacred Tongue: Hebrew and the American Imagination (UNC Press, 2004). Goldman also wrote the libretto of Philip Glass’ opera Akhnaten, which will be performed by the LA Opera in November of 2016. In addition to teaching Middlebury College courses on The Ten Commandments and Middle East political religion during the fall 2015 term and a course on the Arabian Nights for the January term, Professor Goldman has engaged with the larger campus community. Last fall, he served as guest DJ for WRMC’s Stacks & Tracks, providing commentary for a special radio show on a half-century of rock, reggae, folk, and punk music inspired by biblical stories. He also presented a popular series of lectures on world religions. Goldman will teach his Arabian Nights: Storytelling, Orientalism, and Islamic Culture at Bread Loaf/Vermont this summer. In the course, students will study the influence of the Arabian Nights (or, The Thousand and One Nights Entertainment) on Middle Eastern and Western art and literature. The course will place the Nights in the context of world traditions of storytelling.


Renowned as an authority on Jane Austen and Mary Wollstonecraft, Claudia L. Johnson joins Bread Loaf/Vermont to lend her expertise to a course on Austen and the Brontës. Now the Murray Professor of English Literature, Johnson joined the faculty at Princeton University in 1994 and served as chair of the English department from 2004-2012. She has received NEH and Guggenheim Fellowships to further her specialized research in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century literature, with a particular focus on the novel. Johnson is the author of numerous books, including The Cambridge Companion to Mary Wollstonecraft (Cambridge, 2002), The Blackwell Companion to Jane Austen, edited with Clara Tuite (Blackwell, 2005), and Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures (Chicago, 2012), which won the 2013 Christian Gauss Award. Her critical editions of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park (Norton, 1998), Sense and Sensibility (Norton, 2002), Northanger Abbey (Oxford, 2003), and, with Susan Wolfson, Pride and Prejudice (Longman, 2003) are respected classics in their own rights. Johnson’s research interests extend to eighteenth-century music and culture, voice, mysteries and narrative theory, Yiddish story, and American Songbook of the 1930s and 40s. She is currently coauthoring a book with Clara Tuite titled 30 Great Myths about Jane Austen. She is preparing books on the controversial “Rice Portrait” of Jane Austen and on the critical advancement of the novel as monument of high culture. The Bread Loaf course, which she is coteaching with Tyler Curtain,will probe the narrative art, form, and language in key novels by Austen and the Brontë sisters, while also examining the cultural and historical moments in which these authors wrote.

How would you characterize the current ‘cults and culture’ of Jane Austen?

The short answer is love. I am interested in how and why people—“common readers” and scholars alike—love particular authors and in how that love conditions their reading and shapes their lives.


New Mexico

Hammer, Langdon.jpgLangdon Hammer
, professor of English and American Studies and chair of the English department at Yale, is also poetry editor of the American Scholar. His interests include modern and contemporary poetry, biography, and literary theory. He is the author of the critical biography James Merrill: Life and Art (Knopf, 2015) and Hart Crane and Allen Tate: Janus-Faced Modernism (Princeton UP, 1993), and editor of The Collected Poems of May Swenson (2013) and Hart Crane: Complete Poetry and Selected Letters (2006) for the Library of America. His work on the Merrill biography was supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship. Currently, Hammer is coediting The Selected Letters of James Merrill (with J.D. McClatchy and Stephen Yenser) and writing a critical biography of Elizabeth Bishop. At Bread Loaf he will teach a course on American modernism, focusing on poetry and fiction within its artistic and cultural context during the period from the 1913 Armory Show of modern art to the 1929 stock market crash. He will also teach a course on the life of the author, from Samuel Johnson to Virginia Woolf, as represented in various forms, from fiction to biography and letters to diaries.

Your research into the life of James Merrill has taken you to Greece, where Merrill visited often and lived for approximately 20 years. To what extent does your work as a biographer benefit from entering the physical and/or mental spaces of your subjects?

So much to say to that! Since I spent fourteen years doing that entering into, including a semester as writer-in-residence in James Merrill’s house in Connecticut, writing about him at his desk. That sounds too close for comfort but in fact I found that looking into his life firsthand, so to speak, allowed me to develop my own take—helped me to see his life and work from the inside, while establishing my own perspective, which was inevitably from the outside, as it should be. At the same time, when I listened to music or read a novel he loved, or visited a place important to him, such as Santa Fe, there was always a revelation and enlargement. Standing where someone stood shows you things—about your subject, but also about the world—that you couldn't see from any other perspective.


Cruz .pngAs assistant professor of rhetoric and composition at Santa Clara University, Cruz Medina focuses on digital writing and multicultural rhetoric, with particular interest in issues of social justice, race, and pedagogy. Medina teaches courses on digital publication, social justice and literacy, and critical thinking and writing. His course at Bread Loaf, Multimodal Writing Literacy in a Digital Age, will explore new media literacy, changing conceptions of “good” writing in the digital age, and implementation of multimodal practices in writing pedagogy. Medina’s book Reclaiming Poch@ Pop: Examining the Rhetoric of Cultural Deficiency (Palgrave, 2015) addresses Latina/o citizenship, education, and politics in the U.S. He is currently at work coediting a collection on representations and misrepresentations of race and technology.

YouTube, Twitter, and podcasts have changed the way we communicate. What do you see as most important about those changes?

I incorporate the composing of digital projects such as YouTube videos in all levels of writing courses because digital writing environments support genres that potentially connect with broader, public audiences. My classroom use and research with Twitter has looked at how the information communication technology creates networked support systems, collaborative knowledge building, and media to express experience. In my Bread Loaf course, I will also ask students to consider the affordances of technology such as podcasts that incorporate oral modes for the aural reception by audiences, keeping in mind the efficacy of different modes for various literacies. Before digital technologies, writing has always been multimodal, so I continue to assess how technologies scaffold onto current understanding of writing processes while reassessing evolving definitions of new media.



Schoonover headshot.pngKarl Schoonover’s research investigates the relationship of cinema aesthetics to political change and the engagement of film theory with questions of realism, temporality, excess, obscenity, and the photographic image. He serves on the advisory board for Routledge’s Remapping World Cinema book series and cofounded the scholarly interest group CinemArts within the Society of Cinema and Media Studies. The associate professor of film and television studies at the University of Warwick in Coventry, England is widely published in a range of areas including film theory, slow cinema, the representation of toxic waste, photographic hoaxes, 1970s stardom, and Italian cinema. He is the author of Brutal Vision: The Neorealist Body in Postwar Italian Cinema (University of Minnesota Press, 2012) and coeditor of Global Art Cinema (Oxford UP, 2010) with Rosalind Galt, with whom he also recently completed Queer Cinema in the World (Duke UP, forthcoming). Schoonover’s current research on how cinema uses waste to redefine cultural production and value will undoubtedly inform his Bread Loaf course, Theories of Waste and its Aesthetic Management. Students in this course will examine how writers, thinkers, and artists address the political and social issues that overproduction and waste raise.