J Finley

J Finley teaches courses focusing on black expressive practices, identity, feminism, and popular culture at Middlebury. She received her BA from Hampshire College and her MA and PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. Her current research looks at the history of black women’s humor, particularly how stand-up comedy has come to be a place where black women challenge and expand traditional narratives of resistance, redress, and feminist politics.

Will Nash

William Nash is professor of American studies and English and American literatures at Middlebury. He received his BA from Centre College of Kentucky and his MA and PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has taught at Middlebury since 1995. The author of Charles Johnson's Fiction and coeditor of Charles Johnson: The Novelist as Philosopher, he has also published scholarly articles and reviews in African American Review and Callaloo. His current research explores individual and collective uses of scrapbooks in the movement to end American chattel slavery. His teaching interests include contemporary representations of African American enslavement and issues of space and place in 19th- and 20th-century African American culture.

Michole Biancosino

Michole Biancosino is a professional director, writer, and producer whose work has been presented in theatres all around New York City, regionally, and internationally. As the cofounding artistic director of the award-winning Project Y Theatre Company, she has developed and directed new work in Washington, D.C., in New York City, and internationally for 20 years. As the founder and producer of New York’s Women in Theatre Festival, she has presented and produced the work of over 150 women theatre artists. Biancosino is a recipient of the prestigious SDC Sir John Gielgud Fellowship for classical directing and has received numerous grants in support of her work.

Christal Brown

Christal Brown is the founder of INSPIRIT, Project: BECOMING; the creator of the Liquid Strength training module for dance; and the chair of dance and faculty director of MiddCORE at Middlebury College. She earned her BFA in dance and minor in business from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and her MFA in new media art and technology from Long Island University. Combining her athleticism, creativity, love for people, and knack for teaching, Brown continues to teach and create works that redefine the art of dance and the structure of the field.

Rian Brown


Rian Brown is an award-winning independent filmmaker, visual artist, and associate professor of cinema studies at Oberlin College. She grew up in Boston, studied visual art at Massachusetts College of Art, and received her Masters of Fine Arts in film from the University of California, San Diego. For the past two decades, she has written, produced, and directed many short films and documentaries focusing on women’s issues, social justice, and art. With Geoff Pingree, she cofounded in 2009 and currently directs the Apollo Outreach initiative, a media education program that works with urban youth in the Cleveland area.

Shatavia Knight

Shatavia Knight is a rising junior from Newark, New Jersey. She is pursuing a double major in economics and American studies, and serves as copresident of the Black Student Union.

Geoff Pingree

Geoff Pingree is an Emmy Award–winning documentary filmmaker, photographer, writer, and professor of cinema studies at Oberlin College. He earned both master’s and doctoral degrees in English and American literature and film studies at the University of Chicago and, before coming to Oberlin, worked in public television in Washington, D.C., where he also directed Catholic University’s Program in Media Studies and George Washington University’s Institute for Documentary Filmmaking. In addition to other collaborations with Rian Brown—most recently, The Foreigner’s Home—he cofounded and directs the Apollo Outreach Initiative, a media education and community outreach program housed in Oberlin’s historic Apollo Theatre.

Nia Robinson

Nia Robinson is a senior sociology major from Chicago. For her final year, she will be president of the Student Government Association, a manager at Crossroads, and a Senior Admissions Fellow. When she isn’t running around, you can find her writing poems, looking for postgraduation employment, or just trying to figure it out. Nia is excited for her final year and all it has to offer her.

Matthew Taylor

Matthew Taylor is assistant professor of music at Middlebury College. He is an award-winning composer and saxophonist whose music has been performed across the United States and Europe. He has also collaborated with visual artists and dancers on a series of graphic scores. He has been artistic director of such festivals as Vanguard Miami and Counter-Programming and is a board member and composer in residence with Festival Baltimore. His most recent project, New Century | New Voices, is a concert series in Middlebury celebrating the continued contributions of women and composers of color to the classical music canon.

Larry Yarbrough

Larry Yarbrough is the Tillinghast Professor of Religion at Middlebury. A scholar of the New Testament, early Christianity, and early Judaism, he is the author of Not Like the Gentiles: Marriage Rules in the Letters of Paul (Scholars Press, 1984), coeditor of The Social World of the First Christians: Essays in Honor of Wayne A. Meeks (Fortress Press, 1995), and editor of Passion: Contemporary Writers on the Story of Calvary (Orbis, 2015) and Engaging the Passion: Perspectives on the Death of Jesus (Fortress, 2015). The last two collections, which include essays by 16 Middlebury authors, began as one of the Scott Symposia Yarbrough organized at the College.

Dana Yeaton

Dana Yeaton is a playwright and teacher of dramatic writing and oratory at Middlebury College. His full-length drama Mad River Rising received the Moss Hart Award, and his musical Swing State, with composer Andy Mitton ’01, was a featured production at the New York Musical Festival. His most recent work for the stage is My Post-Traumatic Cruise Ship Cabaret, with music by the Grift. Yeaton is also director of Oratory Now, a program that trains Middlebury students to speak, listen, and coach their peers in all forms of oral expression.