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The purpose of the Humanities Council is to enhance support for and recognition of Humanities scholarship throughout the University and to encourage interdisciplinary research and communication among scholars from different areas of expertise. Through its varied programming initiatives, the Humanities Council aims to promote understanding of work in the Humanities, its relationship to other fields of inquiry, and the important role it plays at our university and in our world. The Humanities Council is a site where the values of interdisciplinarity and the liberal arts are promoted to the benefit of students, the College, and the University.

We invite you to explore our website and revisit often since its content will be regularly updated. Here you’ll find announcements of upcoming events, spotlights on Humanities research at the University, an archive of past events, information about current Council members, resources for support of research in the Humanities, and a place where you can send us your feedback.

 2017-2018 Humanities Council Members


Nancy Sue Love Nancy Love


Nancy Sue Love joined the faculty at Appalachian State in 2009.  She is a Professor in the Department of Government & Justice Studies and the former Director of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program. She received her PhD in 1984 and MA in 1981 from Cornell University and an AB degree in 1977 from Kenyon College.  Her teaching and research emphasize political theory, especially critical theory, democratic theory, and feminist theory. She has extensive experience with public humanities programs and previously served on the Humanities Council. She is the author of Musical Democracy (2006), Understanding Dogmas and Dreams:  A Text, 2nd ed. (2006), and Marx, Nietzsche, and Modernity (1986), the editor of Dogmas and Dreams:  A Reader in Modern Political Ideologies, 4th ed. (2010), and the co-editor of Studying Politics Today:  Critical Approaches to Political Science (2014) and Doing Democracy:  Activist Art and Cultural Politics (2013).  She has also published numerous articles and book chapters.  She recently completed a six-year term as the co-editor of New Political Science:  A Journal of Politics and Culture. When Dr. Love is not working, she enjoys playing with her dogs, tending her chickens, and sharing the beauty of the Blue Ridge mountains


Council Members 

Laura Ammon Laura Ammon


Laura Ammon is an Assistant Professor of Religion and member of the Graduate Faculty. She held positions at University of California, Riverside and University of North Florida before joining the ASU faculty in 2010. She earned her BA in Liberal Arts from Webster University and has an MA in Religion from the University of Chicago. She received her PhD from the Claremont Graduate University in Los Angeles. Her areas of research are Religion and Colonialism; Early Modern Christianity in Latin America; and Religion and Science Fiction. She is the author of Work Useful to Religion and the Humanities: A History of the Development of the Comparative Method in Religion from Bartolomé Las Casas to Edward Burnett Tylor. Pickwick Studies in the History of Religion, Eugene: Pickwick Publications, (2012) and has published articles in the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History and Implicit Religion.

Jennifer Burris


Jennifer L. Burris is the associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences and an associate professor in the Physics & Astronomy Department. She joined the faculty at Appalachian State University in 2007. As associate dean, she is interested in supporting the humanities, social sciences, and STEM and is working on several initiatives to help broaden communication between disciplines. Dr. Burris is a 2016 graduate from the ACE Spectrum Aspiring Leaders program, was the 2015 recipient of the Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching, a 2014 graduate of the BRIDGES Academic Leadership for Woman Program, and the 2013 recipient of the Harvey R. Durham Outstanding Freshman Advocate Award. She currently sits on the BRIDGES advisory board and is a past assistant editor and current editorial board member of The Physics Teacher. Her research interests include biophysics and optical sciences ( She received her Ph.D. in Physics from Colorado State University.

Craig Caldwell Craig Caldwell


Craig Caldwell is an Assistant Professor of History specializing in the ancient Mediterranean world. A native of Bristol, Tennessee, Caldwell is a graduate of Furman University, where he majored in history with a concentration in classical studies, and he received his Ph.D. in history from Princeton University. His graduate training included specializations in late antiquity and Roman law. Before coming to ASU, he taught at Samford University, the University of Georgia, and Furman University. His professional interests include ancient and medieval coinage, military history, and European law and legal history. His current book manuscript uses civil wars to explore the decline of the later Roman Empire in the Balkan region.

Karen Fletcher 

Karen Fletcher is Director of Grants Resources & Services in the Office of Research.  Fletcher earned her MBA from Coastal Carolina University and her BA in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations from the University of Hartford.  She received her Grant Writing Certificate from the University of South Carolina.  Before joining Appalachian State University in 2015, Fletcher created a proposal development program in the Office of Research Services at Coastal Carolina University and coordinated a 501(c)(3) Newspaper in Education program addressing K-12 learning methods with The Sun News’ daily newspaper.  She is past chair of the Horry County Literacy Council and past president of Myrtle Beach Kiwanis.  Fletcher has co-authored a blog about South Carolina’s Lowcountry: Adventures with Karen and Kelly, and has written for Grand Strand Magazine.  She is a member of the National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) and the National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP).

Louis GallienLouis Gallien


Louis B Gallien Jr. is a Professor of Educational Leadership in the Doctoral Program in Leadership at Reich College of Education. Before arriving at ASU, Gallien was Dean of the School of Education and Human Services at Oakland University. He holds two degrees in African American history, religion and culture and is an Ordained Deacon in the Episcopal Church of America. His latest publications are two chapters in books on Afropentcostalism and Religion and Social Justice in NYU and Blackwell-Wiley Presses respectively. He is currently working on a book on the precarious nature of HBCU's, women's colleges and evangelical Christian colleges (Oxford University Press). He is also on the board of the American Education Research Association and is on the editorial board of several interdisciplinary journals. He has held six residential fellowships from the following institutions: Rackham Scholar, University of Michigan, Visiting Scholar, Oxford-Brookes University, Pew Fellow, Wheaton College, NEH Fellow, Haverford College, Wye Institute Fellow, Wye Island, Diaconal Fellow, Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University.  

Sarah Beth HoptonSarah Beth Hopton


Sarah Beth joined the Technical and Professional Writing program in the English Department at Appalachian State University in 2015. Her research focuses on digital humanities methodologies, stakeholder engagement, and scientific controversies like Agent Orange. She is a graduate of Mercy College's MA program in Literature and Lancaster University’s Creative Writing program, and holds a BA from Florida Southern College in Journalism. She was the 2000-2001 Rotary Ambassadorial scholar from district 6890. Prior to entering the academy, she was managing partner in a successful public affairs firm in Tampa ( and is an avid runner and nonfiction writer, with a forthcoming book about the British murderess Mary Pearcey published with Mango Books, UK.





Clark MadduxImage of Clark Maddux


Harry Clark Maddux is the Director of Watauga Residential College.  He earned his Ph.D. in American Studies from Purdue University in 2001, and his area of specialization is Puritan Studies. He taught at Tennessee State University and Austin Peay State University before coming to ASU. He has published articles and book chapters on Puritan poetics, biblical hermeneutics, and early modern thought in journals such as Early American Literature, as well as in collections of essays.  He is also a contributor to the Dictionary of Early American Philosophers.  A volume editor of Cotton Mather’s Biblia Americana (Mohr Siebeck), his annotated edition of Mather’s commentary on Ezra through the Psalms will be released in November of 2013.  He is also co-editing, with Rick Kennedy, Mather’s notes on John and Acts, scheduled for publication in 2017.  He has received research fellowships and stipends from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, Germany, the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, and the Beinecke Library in Yale.   

Alex McAllister 


Alex McAllister is an Assistant Professor and Humanities Librarian for the Belk Library & Information Commons. He is a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, where he majored in Journalism and Mass Communication. He also holds two master’s degrees from the University of South Carolina at Columbia: an MM in Music History and an MLIS. While working on his music history degree, he wrote a thesis titled: The Lute in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Brothels: A Study of Selected Genre Paintings. He is interested in interdisciplinary studies involving music and art, especially from the Baroque era. In addition to his research, Alex teaches many information literacy classes working with students and faculty from the Art, History, English, Theatre and Dance; and Cultural, Gender and Global Studies departments. 



Bradley Nash, Jr.Bradley Nash, Jr.


Bradley Nash, Jr. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Appalachian State University. He is also a member of the Appalachian Studies Faculty. His broad research interests include the epistemological foundations of social science, the history of social thought, and policy analysis. He also conducts historical and comparative research on labor unions and related social movements. A recent interest has been on labor in the Southern United States, particularly in the Appalachian region.




Mark Nunes Mark Nunes

Mark Nunes is a Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and Chair for the Department of Cultural, Gender, and Global Studies. He earned his interdisciplinary Ph.D. in the Culture, History, and Theory program of Emory University's Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts. He also holds a Master of Arts Degree in English from the University of Virginia, and a Master of Arts in Psychology from Columbia University, where he also earned his undergraduate degree. He is the author of Cyberspaces of Everyday Life (Minnesota, 2006). He is also editor of and contributing author for a collection of essays entitled Error: Glitch, Noise, and Jam in New Media Cultures (Continuum, 2011). His ongoing research focuses on the cultural impact of new media on contemporary society.

Chris Osmond 


Chris Osmond PhD is Associate Professor of Leadership & Educational Studies, Reich College of Education, Appalachian State University. He received his B.A.from Wesleyan University in English and Spanish, his M.A. from Stanford University in Curriculum Studies and Teacher Education, and his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Culture, Curriculum, and Change. He is trained in curriculum theory, and tend to favor arts-based, autobiographical, resolutely qualitative approaches to issues. He cares most deeply about the preparation of caring professionals for long, thriving careers, especially teachers. He is interested in what the humanities have to offer the formation of caring professionals, and works to bring insights from other fields - most notably medical education - into interdisciplinary work at App. Read more here.


Lisa RunnerLisa Runner


Lisa Runner joined the Hayes School of Music faculty full-time in 2006 after serving as a part-time instructor since 2000. A Virginia native, she 
holds degrees from Milligan College (B.A., Music, Education), East Tennessee
 State University (M.A., Media Services/Instructional Technology), and
 Appalachian State University (Ed.D, Educational Leadership). Her teaching responsibilities include music courses in the general education curriculum and music methods courses for
 both music education and elementary education majors. Previous teaching experiences include work at Milligan College and
 East Tennessee State University and seven years as an elementary school general
 music teacher in public school systems in northeast Tennessee.

 She serves as the
 coordinator for the Hayes School of Music's Orff-Schulwerk certification program and is also the campus coordinator for the Silver Burdett/Pearson national summer music workshop held annually at Appalachian State. An active accompanist, she currently collaborates with the ASU Men's Glee Club as well as The Civic 
Chorale, a regional auditioned choir based in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Christina Verano SornitoChristina Sornito


Christina Verano Sornito is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Appalachian State. She earned her Ph.D in Anthropology from Columbia University in 2015. She also holds a Master's of Arts in Anthropology from Columbia (2005), and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociocultural Anthropology and Interpretation Theory from Swarthmore College, (2000). Some of her interests include magic and sorcery; anthropology of media/technology; visual anthropology; anthropology of sound; ethnographic/experimental film; and ethnographic surrealism. She has done fieldwork in the Czech Republic with the Czech Slovak Surrealist group, engaging broader themes of Central European avant-gardes, nationalism, and alchemy. She has also done long-term fieldwork in various regions of the Philippine Islands, and is currently working on a book manuscript about spectral forces that haunt material and social life in a developing community of the central Philippines, entitled, In the House of Santa Regla: Specters of the Postcolonial Philippines. She also at work on a short film about taboos and colonial history, called Asocena: A Culinary Cookbook of Taboo and Transgression.


 Kin-Yan SzetoPhoto of Kin Yan Szeto


Dr. Kin-Yan Szeto is Professor of Theatre and Dance at Appalachian State University. She teaches courses in critical theory, theatre, literature and performance studies. She is a director and choreographer whose recent productions at Appalachian’s Valborg Theatre include Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People and the Nobel Prize winning writer Gao Xingjian’s The Other Shore. Szeto’s research interests include theatre, dance, film and media, East Asian studies and global studies. Her scholarly work has appeared in various journals and edited volumes. Her book The Martial Arts Cinema of the Chinese Diaspora analyzes how a distinct “cosmopolitical awareness” enables directors, choreographers and performers to act in today’s transnational environment of media production. Szeto serves on the Executive Board of the Dance Studies Association, an international organization with members in more than 40 countries. At Appalachian, she is a recipient of the 100 Scholars Research Award and the College of Fine and Applied Arts Award for Outstanding Scholarship and Creative Activity.



Howell Keiser 


Howell Keiser serves as our Graduate Assistant to the Humanities Council. Howell is pursuing his Master's in General History, with a focus in American Military History. He received his undergraduate degree in History from the University of Alabama. Upon graduation in Spring 2019, Howell hopes to continue his education to a Ph.D program. 





Nancy Sue Love, Ph. D.
Humanities Council Coordinator
Department of Government & Justice Studies
2038 Anne Belk Hall
ASU Box #32107

Howell Keiser
Council Assistant
Humanities Council Office
106 I.G. Greer Hall


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