NEASA Council


President ~ Rachel C. Kirby, Harvard University

Rachel C. Kirby is a Lecturer in History & Literature at Harvard University, where she teaches courses on interdisciplinary humanities, food, archives, and the U.S. South. Rachel holds a PhD in American Studies from Boston University and an MA in Folklore from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on the visual and material culture of the American South, with a particular interest in the relationships between identity, history, and sense of place. Her current project analyzes the production and circulation of agricultural imagery in  advertisements, souvenirs, and art since the mid-nineteenth century to trace how various people and organizations have used representations of consumable southern commodities to negotiate and promote ideas of the region. You can find her work in Contingent Magazine and Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art. Twitter: @kirbyrachel 

Vice President ~ Grace McGowan, Boston University

Grace McGowan is a final year PhD candidate at Boston University in the American & New England Studies Program. She took her undergraduate degree in English Language and Literature from University of Oxford in 2017. Her work explores how Black women writers use the classical tradition from Ancient Greece and Rome in their writing, specifically iterations of the “Black Venus”. Her article “I Know I Can’t Change the Future, But I Can Change the Past: Toni Morrison, Robin Coste Lewis, and the Classical Tradition” was published in Contemporary Women’s Writing under OUP in 2020. Her article “In ‘Rumors’, Lizzo and Cardi B Pull From the Ancient Greeks, Putting a New Spin on an Old Tradition” was published in both The Conversation and The Boston Globe. She completed an internship with the Massachusetts Historical Society in which she created educational resources for researchers, students, and educators on Phillis Wheatley Peters in 2022. Grace was recently awarded the Women’s Council New England Women’s College Award for her work in gender studies and will serve as a Boston University Center for the Humanities Dissertation Fellow in 2024. 

Communications Officer ~ Jonathan D. Fitzgerald, Regis College

Jonathan D. Fitzgerald, or Fitz, is an Assistant Professor of Humanities and General Education at Regis College in Weston, MA. He’s the author of How the News Feels: The Empathic Power of Literary Journalists, a re-consideration of the genre of literary journalism with a focus on the role that women writers played in its nineteenth century origins, and how that influence shaped the genre as it evolved into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Fitz’s research fields include literary journalism, media studies, American studies, religion, and literary history, and he’s a collaborator on the Viral Texts Project and former research assistant with the Women Writers Project. Fitz has published articles and essays in publications such as The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, and others. Links to some of those are here. Fitz earned his PhD in English from Northeastern University and he’s taught writing and journalism at several colleges and universities in Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey.

Treasurer ~ Charles Park, Berkshire Community College

Charles Park is a professor of English at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, MA, where he has taught classes in multiethnic literature, the 1960s, and deconstructing whiteness in the US. He holds a Ph.D. from Purdue University and his research interests include individualism and the American Dream, comparative ethnic studies, and the present state of higher education-industrial complex. 

Council Members

AnnMarie DeMichiel, University of Rhode Island

AnnMarie DeMichiel is a Ph.D. candidate in the English Department at the University of Rhode Island, where she is a Teaching Assistant, Writing Tutor, and instructor of record for various English and Writing courses. Originally from Connecticut, she received her B.A. in English from Albertus Magnus College and her M.S. in English from Southern Connecticut State University. AnnMarie’s Master’s thesis focused on the figure of the doppelgänger in the literature of Jorge Luis Borges, relating Borges’ presentation of the doppelgänger to the mid-twentieth century television show The Twilight Zone; her Doctoral dissertation will focus on materiality, domesticity, and feminism in the works of Shirley Jackson. AnnMarie has served as a Graduate Liaison and TA Trainer for the English Department at URI, and she currently serves as a Regional Delegate to the New England and Eastern Canada region of the Modern Language Association in addition to her work on the NEASA Council.

Hannah Noel Haynes

Hannah Noel Haynes holds a Ph.D. in American Culture from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is an Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, faculty union president, and co-director of the Honors Program at a small public liberal arts college in New England. She is the author of Deflective Whiteness: Co-Opting Black and Latinx Identity Politics published by The Ohio State University Press (2022). Her articles and chapters on race, critical theory, and ethnic studies have appeared in The Routledge Companion to Latinx Media (Routledge, 2019), White Supremacy in the US Media (Routledge, 2021), Kalfou, and Diálogo, to name a few.

Jonathan Silverman, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Jonathan Silverman is a professor and chair of English and director of the American Studies program at UMass Lowell.  He is the editor of the collection, Astros and Asterisks: Houston’s Sign-Stealing Scandal Explained (University of Texas Press, 2023). He is the co-author with Michael Hinds of Johnny Cash International: How and Why the World Loves the Man in Black (University of Iowa Press, 2020), which won the 2023 Peggy O’Brien Book Award. And he is the author of Nine Choices: Johnny Cash and American Culture (University of Massachusetts Press, 2010); the co-author with Dean Rader of The World Is a Text: Writing, Reading, and Thinking about Culture and Its Contexts (Pearson/Broadview, 2002-2018, five editions); and the co-editor with Meghan Sweeney of Remaking the American College Campus (McFarland, 2016). He has served as the Fulbright Roving Scholar in Norway (2007-2008) and was a John H. Daniels fellow at the National Sporting Library (2013-2014).  

Anton Smith, Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Dr. Anton L. Smith is an Associate Professor of Humanities at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy where he teaches courses in African American literature, American literature, and first year writing. He graduated with a Ph.D. in American Studies and Ethnicity from the University of Southern California in 2010. He is the author of “Southern Comfort in the Age of Jim Crow: Representing Soul Food in Ralph Ellison’s Juneteenth and Beyond” (forthcoming in Significant Food in American Literature, edited by Robert C. Hauhart and Jeff Birkenstein, University of Georgia Press).Currently, Dr. Smith is preparing a book manuscript, In the Pursuit of Faith: Profiles in African American Literature, Religion and Spirituality, 1935-1965, that examines how religiosity is negotiated, constructed, and contested through various symbolic resources including soul food, the blues, and nature.

Simon Sun, Peking University

Simon H. Sun received his PhD in American Studies from Harvard University in 2021 and is an assistant professor at the School of Government, Peking University, where he teaches and researches American political development and history of American political thoughts. He has published a couple of essays, including one on the Boston merchants Thomas and John Hancocks’ tea trade and origins of the American Revolution, and many book reviews in places including Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, and Renaissance Studies. A seven-year resident of New England, he has many beautiful memories about the area. He can be reached at

Lydia Willsky-Ciollo, Fairfield University

Lydia Willsky-Ciollo is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the American Studies Program at Fairfield University.  She is an American religious historian specializing in the “long” nineteenth-century, particularly the religious thought of New England religious traditions, new religious movements, and the intersection of “liberal” religion and gender. She is the author of American Unitarianism and the Protestant Dilemma: The Conundrum of Biblical Authority (Lexington Books, 2015) and co-author, along with Eugene V. Gallagher, of New Religions: Emerging Faiths and Religious Cultures in the Modern World (ABC-CLIO, 2021). She is currently at work on a book project titled Wild: Henry David Thoreau and the Making of an American Theology.

If you are interested in joining the council please email with a brief bio and statement of interest.