English (323) 343-4140


Peter Brier

Emeritus Professor of English; Ph.D., Occidental College/Claremont Graduate School

Contact: (323) 343-4289

E-mail: pbrier@calstatela.edu

Dr. Brier’s areas of specialization include British Romantic literature, literary criticism and American and Anglo-Jewish writers of the 19th and 20th centuries. He has published a book on American literary criticism, essays on English Romantic writers and, most recently, a work of cultural criticism: Howard Mumford Jones and the Dynamics of Liberal Humanism. Dr. Brier has been an exchange professor in France

and Germany. His expertise extends to issues affecting higher education in the U.S. and Europe. For many years, Dr. Brier coordinated the annual David L. Kubal Memorial Lecture, bringing scholars of literature

and literary criticism to the Cal State L.A. campus. Dr. Brier was selected as Cal State L.A.’s Outstanding Professor in 1992-93.

Fluent in: German.


Benjamin Bateman

Assistant Professor of English; Ph.D., University of Virginia

Contact: (323) 343-4144

E-mail: rbatema@calstatela.edu

In addition to 20th century literature, Dr. Bateman’s fields of expertise include studies in popular culture and gender and sexuality. He is particularly interested in representations of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism in literature television, film, music and various digital arenas, including weblogs, commercial websites and chat rooms.


Mary Bucci Bush

Professor of English; D.A., Syracuse University

Contact: (323) 343-4174

E-mail: mbush@calstatela.edu

Mary Bucci Bush is a fiction writer who has published a collection of short stories, A Place of Light (William Morrow, 1990), and a number of stories in literary journals. Her novel, Sweet Hope, based on the real experience of her relatives at the turn of the century — the illegal importation of Italians to work on Mississippi cotton plantations alongside African Americans, is under consideration for publication. In addition to writing and publishing, Dr. Bush’s interests include Italian immigrant culture and the relationship between Blacks and Italians. She is also interested in Italian American writers, particularly the work of John Fante, and is co-founder of Italian American Writers of Southern California. For her writing, she has been honored with the PEN/Nelson Algren Award for an unfinished collection, a National Endowment for the Arts Writers Fellowship, and various other awards for individual stories.


Hema Chari

Associate Professor of English; Ph.D., USC

Contact: (323) 343-4294

E-mail: hchari@calstatela.edu

Dr. Chari’s areas of specialization include modern and postmodern British literature, 20th century fiction, colonial and postcolonial writers and theory, Diaspora writers, gender studies/feminist theory, Marxist theory, film theory and cultural studies. Her interests also include Third World literature, film and composition studies. Dr. Chari has published many articles and completed her book, Fabulous Artificer and the Forked Tongue of the Postcolonial Reality.

Fluent in: French, Sanskrit, Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Telugu.


Marilyn Elkins

Professor of English, Ph.D.,University of North Carolina

Contact: (323) 343-4171

E-mail: melkins@calstatela.edu

Dr. Elkins’ fields of expertise are 20th century American literature, especially African American literature, American women writers, and the literature of war. She has published the following books: Metamorphosizing the Novel: Kay Boyle’s Narrative Innovations (1992), Critical Essays on Kay Boyle (1994), and August Wilson: A Casebook (1994)-expanded and updated in 2000. She also edited, and wrote the prologue for the Vietnam diary of her husband, Lt. Frank Elkins, a U.S. Navy pilot listed as missing in action (MIA) in 1966. The book, which was published by W.W. Norton in 1973, was reprinted by the Naval Institute Press with a new epilogue by Dr. Elkins, after her husband’s body was recovered from Vietnam in 1990. The book was a Dell paperback and a Military-Book-of-the-Month selection. In addition, Dr. Elkins has published numerous articles on American modernists, African American playwrights, and the role of fashion in American women’s writing. An internationally recognized expert on holistic scoring and writing assessment, she has worked as a consultant for the Educational Testing Service (ETS) since 1985. From 1999-2003, she was the chief reader for the Advanced Placement English Examination in English Language and Composition, supervising both the design and evaluation of this international examination administered to 160,000 high school students in 2002. As a member of the Test Committee for this examination and as a consultant for the College Board, she has delivered lectures to writing teachers throughout the U.S., Canada, and England. A former director of the Writing Proficiency Examination for CSULA, she serves as a Nationally Certified Consultant for the College Board, addressing audiences throughout the U.S. on issues related to the teaching and assessment of writing. Dr. Elkins has been a Fulbright Scholar, has served as a Distinguished Professor at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, and at the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa. She received the CSULA Outstanding Professor Award in 1995-96.


Michelle Hawley

Assistant Professor of English; Ph.D., University of Chicago

Contact: (323)343-5815

E-mail: mhawley@calstatela.edu

Dr. Hawley’s areas of specialization include children’s literature, 19th century British literature, cultural studies, and poetics. She is completing her book on aesthetics and citizenship in Victorian Britain and is conducting research on the idea of imagined communities in children’s literature. In addition to publishing and teaching, she advises in the English department’s graduate program.


Steven Swann Jones

Professor of English; Ph.D., UC Davis

Contact: (323) 343-4293

E-mail: sjones@calstatela.edu

Dr. Jones’ areas of expertise include folklore, fairy tales and folklore in American literature. His book, Folklore and Literature in the United States, was named “Choice Outstanding Book” in 1984. He also published The New Comparative Method, a book on “Snow White” tales in 1990, and The Fairy Tale, published in January 1995. He is past president of the California Folklore Society.


Jun Liu

Professor of English; Ph.D., University of Massachusetts; Post-graduate Certificate in Translation, United Nations Translation Program in Beijing

Contact: (323) 343-5345

E-mail: jliu@calstatela.edu

Dr. Liu’s fields of expertise include 20th century American literature (particularly Faulkner), 19th century and 20th century European literatures, and critical theory. His recent research and instructional projects include: studies in diaspora (including Asian diasporan literature), cultural translation, Enlightenment modernity and aesthetic modernity in the 19th century, contemporary theory, and Asian American literature. As a published translator and a former translator for the United Nations, he is also interested in questions related to translation, including translation of cultures. He has published book-length studies and essays on various issues.

Fluent in: Chinese.


Caroline McManus

Associate Professor of English; Ph.D., UCLA

Contact: (323) 343-4151

E-mail: cmcmanu@calstatela.edu

Dr. McManus’s areas of specialization include Elizabethan court culture and 16th and 17th century English literature, particularly the works of Shakespeare, Spenser, early modern women writers and Milton. Her first book, Spenser’s Faerie Queene and the Reading of Women, was published in 2002, and she is working on a new book entitled “Wisely Play the Fool”: Women and Fools in the Drama of Shakespeare and His Contemporaries. Her other publications have focused on Elizabethan portraits, Ben Jonson’s Alchemist and the Maundy Thursday ritual, Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth, adaptations of Shakespearean drama, and the teaching of Elizabethan literature.


Lauri Ramey

Professor of English; Director, Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics; Ph.D., University of Chicago

Contact: (323) 343-4165

E-mail: lramey@calstatela.edu

Dr. Ramey is a specialist in poetry and poetics, particularly modern and contemporary. Her interests are American poetry, international poetries, and poetry of the African diaspora, especially African American and Black British. She has expertise in formally innovative poetries, poetry whose use of form is political, and live art and performance poetry. She was the first curator of the world’s only African American Poetry Archive, housed in the African American Art Museum at Hampton University. She was also director of the African American Poets-in-Residence Series sponsored by the Lannan Foundation. From 1999-2004, she was a creative writing program director in the UK, and has close familiarity with contemporary British and Black British poetry. She is also an expert in the teaching of creative writing, and has lectured on this topic, as well as contemporary poetry, throughout the USA and internationally, with invited presentations at reading and writing groups, alumni associations, corporations, government and community groups, religious organizations and universities in the UK, South Africa, Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Isle of Man, Ireland, France and Jordan. She also has extensive expertise in creative writing in community settings, with a long history of designing and implementing creative writing mentorship and development programs in elementary schools, high schools, alternative educational settings and senior citizens’ centers. She is the author of Black British Writing (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Every Goodbye Ain’t Gone: Innovative Poetries by African American Artists (University of Alabama Press, 2005), numerous essays and reviews in American and international journals, and is also a widely published poet. Both Slave Songs and the Birth of African American Poetry (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) and The Heritage Series of Black Poetry 1962-1975, in consultation with Paul Breman (Ashgate, 2008), were selected as the American Library Association CHOICE Recommended Titles.


Arpi Sarafian

Lecturer of English; Ph.D., USC

Contact: (323) 343-4140

E-mail: asarafi@calstatela.edu

Dr. Sarafian’s dissertation involved a study on Virginia Woolf as a modernist/feminist. Sarafian is an expert on Armenian American ethnic writing and actively researches Middle-Eastern literature.

Fluent in: Armenian, French, Arabic.


Timothy Steele

Professor of English; Ph.D., Brandeis University

Contact: (323) 343-4285

E-mail: tsteele@calstatela.edu

Dr. Steele, a nationally-recognized poet and scholar of modern literature, is the author of several collections of poetry, including Sapphics and Uncertainties: Poems 1970-1986 and The Color Wheel, and a highly-acclaimed book of literary criticism, Missing Measures: Modern Poetry and the Revolt Against Meter. His honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Commonwealth Club of California Medal for Poetry and the Los Angeles PEN Center Literary Award for Poetry. He edited The Poems of J.V. Cunningham, and published an historical study of English versification, All the Fun’s in How You Say a Thing (1999). Dr. Steele received Cal State L.A.’s Outstanding Professor Award for 1991-92 and the President Distinguished Scholar Award in 1997-98. He also received the prestigious 2004 Robert Fitzgerald Prosody Award at the tenth annual West Chester Poetry Conference. The Fitzgerald award is unique among literary and academic prizes in recognizing scholars who have made a lasting contribution to the art and science of versification.


Alison Taufer

Professor of English; Ph.D., UCLA

Contact: (323) 343-4152

E-mail: ataufer@calstatela.edu

Dr. Taufer’s background is in comparative literature. Chivalric romance and Arthurian literature are just two of her areas of expertise. Literary periods and genres of literature include Medieval drama and romance, Renaissance drama and Renaissance prose fiction. Among the publications Dr. Taufer has authored are Holinshed’s Chronicles for Twayne’s English Authors Series, “The Only Good Amazon Is a Converted Amazon: The Woman Warrior and Christianity in the Amadis Cycle” and “Memory and Desire: The Search for Community in Louis Chu’s Eat a Bowl of Tea and Bienvenido Santos’ The Scent of Apples.”

Fluent in: Spanish.