Faculty

American Studies draws faculty from around the University, classes in American Studies' core curriculum are taught by professors from many different disciplines, and cross-listed American Studies classes range across the entire University. Below is a listing of core American Studies faculty. You can click on any person's name to see their entry and get more contact information from Explore Georgetown.

Matthew Tinkcom Matthew Tinkcom, American Studies Director

Matthew Tinkcom is an Associate Professor at Georgetown University and teaches in the Graduate Program in Communication, Culture and Technology and is Associated Faculty with the Department of English.

His research interests comprise the history and theory of film (Hollywood, avant-garde, experimental, national cinemas and American studio film, film spectatorship, fandom, Andy Warhol, Kenneth Anger, and John Waters) and other popular media, critical theory and cultural studies (specifically theories of cultural value and the commodification of contemporary culture) and queer studies (particularly around sex/gender differences and their relation to different modes of cultural production and reception).

Tinkcom's essays have appeared in Cinema Journal and Film Quarterly and anthologies from the Duke University Press, the British Film Institute, and Edinburgh University Press. He is the author of Working Like a Homosexual: Camp, Capital, Cinema (Duke University Press) and co-editor of Key Frames: Cultural Studies and Popular Cinema (Routledge UK). He is currently at work on two projects on contemporary media, one dealing with the digitalization of cinema and the other concerning television reality programming.

Erika Seamon, Professor; CIV I, CIV II, Senior Thesis Seminar, American Studies

Erika B. Seamon is a scholar and professor at Georgetown University in the American Studies Program. Her research interests explore the intersections of American culture, religion, and gender. She is particularly interested in the histories of marriage and education in the United States. Marriage and education, as continually evolving social constructions, challenge artificial divides between private-public and religious-secular spaces, offering a window into dominant narratives associated with religious and gender-based diversity in American life.

Dr. Seamon’s recent book, Interfaith Marriage in America: The Transformation of Religion and Christianity (Palgrave, 2012), uses intermarriage to chronicle the shifting boundaries between and among prominent religious communities throughout U.S. history. She thinks critically about how the slow disintegration of cultural barriers to intermarriage destabilized national and transnational religious traditions and narratives, at different historical moments. As American families (and women in particular) negotiate differences and build bridges among their extended families and communities, they are re-imagining foundational understandings of belief, practice, community, and personal identity.

Currently, Dr. Seamon teaches core courses for Georgetown's American Studies Program, including American Civ I and II and the senior thesis seminar. She also offers upper-level elective courses on religion in American public life. She holds degrees in religious studies, liberal studies, social and public policy, and business administration. Prior to joining the Georgetown community, Dr. Seamon was a Partner at Kuczmarski & Associates, Inc. and taught at the University of Chicago.

Bernard Cook, Associate Dean; Director, Film and Media Studies

Dr. Cook's expertise include film studies, television studies, media history and media industries.

Hall Howard, Associate Dean

When I was a graduate student in English my focus shifted from literature and literary theory to how literature and literary theory are treated, organized, and fretted over in higher education. What is the responsibility of the university to preserve or promote certain values through literature? And has that role shifted recently, as is often claimed in cultural and political debates about higher ed? What is the history of these priorities and practices in colleges?

As an Associate Dean in Georgetown College, my primary role is to advise students. I oversee segments of the curriculum as well, and work with faculty and colleagues to carry out the educational mission of the College. I bring this perspective to my teaching as well, as my courses have leaned heavily on how students experience Georgetown.

I am currently Faculty-in-Residence in Kennedy Hall, Southwest Quad, where I am in constant contact with students, often over dinner. I am married to Susan Howard, and we answer to our 4-year old son, Grady, who answers to our brand new son, Hugh.

Brian Hochman, Assistant Professor, English

Brian Hochman's interests in American Studies and U.S. cultural history span a wide range of fields: 19th- and 20th-century American literatures; race and ethnicity; film and visual studies; comparative media studies and media theory; and the history of communications.

His writings have appeared in American Literature, African American Review, Callaloo, Notes and Queries, and the African American National Biography. He is the author of Savage Preservation: The Ethnographic Origins of Modern Media Technology (University of Minnesota Press, 2014), which examines how turn-of-the-century efforts to preserve disappearing cultures influenced the development of audiovisual media: from the photographic collection of Native American sign languages in the Great Plains, to the phonographic documentation of Afro-Creole slave songs and spirituals in New Orleans, to the cinematic portrayal of tattooing rituals in colonial Samoa. He is currently at work on a second book project on the history of wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping in the United States, tentatively titled The Wiretapped Nation: An American History Overheard.

He received his PhD from Harvard University's program in the History of American Civilization (now American Studies). At Georgetown, he teaches courses in nineteenth- and twentieth-century U.S. literature and culture, and he also serves on the faculties of American Studies and Film and Media Studies. Along with Professor Nathan Hensley, he co-chairs the Georgetown Modernities Working Group.

Ricardo Ortiz Ricardo Ortiz, Associate Professor and Director, Graduate Studies, English

Ricardo L. Ortiz is Associate Professor of US Latino Literature and Culture in Georgetown University's Department of English, where he also served as Director of Graduate Studies from July 2008 to July 2014. He was awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor at Georgetown in 2005.

While Prof. Ortiz specializes in U.S. Latino/a Literatures and Cultures, he is also interested in teaching and research in hemispheric, transnational "Américas" Studies, critical and cultural theory, cultural studies, intellectual history, race, gender and queer theory, political theory, and popular culture.

Prof. Ortiz's first book, Cultural Erotics in Cuban America, was published by the University of Minnesota Press in early 2007; it was awarded Honorable Mention for the Modern Language Association's 2008 Alan Bray Book Prize, which recognizes outstanding scholarly contributions to Queer Literary and Cultural Studies.

His second book project, Testimonial Fictions: Atrocity, Sexuality and Memory in Post-Cold War US Latino Literature is well under way. Since 2010 Prof. Ortiz has published a variety of scholarly, critical and reference pieces in such collections as Imagined Transnationalism: US Latino/a Literature, Culture and Identity (Palgrave, 2010), Gay Latino Studies: a Critical Reader (Duke UP, 2011) and The Routledge Companion to US Latino Literature (2012).

In 2013 Prof. Ortiz also completed tenures of multiple years as Chair of the Standing Committee on Ethnic Studies of the American Studies Association and on the Executive Committee of the Division of Gay Studies in Language and Literature of the Modern Language Association. Between 2009 and 2012 he also directed four major conferences and symposia on the Georgetown campus, two for the Americas Initiative of Georgetown College (2009, 2012) and two for the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice (2010, 2011).

Since 2010 Prof. Ortiz has also been a consultant on matters of US Latino literature, culture and history with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, where he regularly conducts enrichment programming with groups of CHCI Fellows and Interns.

Prof. Ortiz published two journal articles in the 2007/2008 academic year. One, on the Chicano novelist Arturo Islas, appeared in Contemporary Literature in the fall of 2007, and the other, on Celia Cruz and Wyclef Jean's hiphop rendition of "Guantanamera," appeared in Social Text in the spring of 2008. A third article, entitled “Edwidge Danticat’s Latinidad: The Farming of Bones and the Cultivation (of Fields) of Knowledge,” appeared in the collection Aftermaths: Exile, Migration, and Diaspora Reconsidered (Rutgers UP, 2008).

From Spring 2006 through Summer 2007 Prof. Ortiz was on leave from Georgetown while he served as the Director of the American Communities Program in the College of Arts and Letters at the California State University, Los Angeles. At Cal State LA he held the Joseph A. Bailey II, MD, Endowed Chair in American Communities, at the level of Full Professor.

His less recent scholarly publications include: an article entitled “Fables of (Cuban) Exile: Special Periods and Queer Moments in Eduardo Machado’s Floating Island Plays” in the journal Modern Drama (Spring 2005); another article entitled "Hemispheric Vertigo: Cuba, Quebec, and Other Provisional Reconfigurations of Our (New) América(s)" in The Futures of American Studies (Duke UP, 2002); entries on various topics in the encyclopedia Gay Histories and Cultures (Garland, 2000); other published articles include: "Revolution's Other Histories: the Sexual, Cultural and Critical Legacies of Roberto Fernandez Retamar's 'Caliban'" (Co-Winner, Crompton-Noll Prize for Best Essay in Queer Literary Studies), in Social Text, Spring 1999; "L.A. Women: Jim Morrison with John Rechy" in The Queer Sixties (Routledge, 1999) and "Docile Bodies, Volatile Texts: Prison Writing in the Cuban Diaspora" in Annals of Scholarship (1998).

Prof. Ortiz earned his M.A. and Ph.D. (in 1987 and 1992, respectively) from the University of California Los Angeles, and his B.A. in English and Economics from Stanford University (in 1983). And before coming to Georgetown in 1998 he held tenure track positions at San Jose State University and Dartmouth College.

Prof. Ortiz was born in Cuba in 1961 and left with his family in 1966; he grew up in the Los Angeles area and attended Bishop Amat Memorial High School in La Puente, CA, graduating in 1979.

Sherry Linkon, Professor, Faculty Director of Writing Curriculum Initiatives

Samantha Pinto Samantha Pinto, Associate Professor, English

Diana Owen Diana Owen, Associate Professor, CCT

Diana Owen is Associate Professor of Political Science and teaches in the Communication, Culture, and Technology graduate program, and has served as Director of the American Studies Program. She is the author of Media Messages in American Presidential Elections (Greenwood, 1991), New Media and American Politics (with Richard Davis, Oxford, 1998), and American Government and Politics in the Information Age (with David Paletz and Timothy Cook, 2012). She is the co-editor of The Internet and Politics: Citizens, Voters, and Activists (with Sarah Oates and Rachel Gibson, Routledge, 2006) and Making a Difference: The Internet and Elections in Comparative Perspective (with Richard Davis, Stephen Ward, and David Taras, Lexington, 2009). She is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters in the fields of civic education and engagement, media and politics, political socialization, elections and voting behavior, and political psychology/sociology. She has conducted studies funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Center for Civic Education, and other sources. Her current research explores the relationship between civic education and political engagement over the life course and new media’s role in politics.

Caetlin Benson-Allot Caetlin Benson-Allot, Associate Professor, English

Caetlin Benson-Allot is Associate Professor of English at Georgetown University and Core Faculty Member in its Film and Media Studies Program. She is the author of Killer Tapes and Shattered Screens: Video Spectatorship from VHS to File Sharing (University of California Press, 2013) and Remote Control (Bloomsbury Press, Forthcoming January 2015). Her work on film and technology, exhibition history, spectatorship theory, and feminist theory has appeared in the Atlantic, Cinema Journal, South Atlantic Quarterly, the Journal of Visual Culture, Jump Cut, Film Quarterly, Film Criticism, In Media Res, the Quarterly Review of Film and Video, and multiple anthologies. Her dissertation won the Society for the Cinema and Media Studies Best Dissertation Award in 2009. After winning Film Quarterly's 50th Anniversay Review Essay Competition in 2008, she continued to write for the journal and became a regular columnist and contributing editor. She is currentl y working on a special issues of Feminist Media Histories (on "Materialisms")  and the Journal of Visual Culture (on "Horror as Affect and Aesthetic") and a book-length study of special effects and spectatorship that compares the political impact of stunt work and digital visual effects on the automotive spectacles of the 1970s and 200s US car movie cycles. She teaches courses on film history and theory, histories of new media, gender and technology studies, and the horror genre.

Ronald Johnson Ronald Johnson, Professor Emeritus, History

Ronald Johnson is a specialist in nineteenth-century (19th) American cultural history with an emphasis in gender, race, and post-Civil War culture.

He is the co-author (with Abby Arthur Johnson) of Propaganda and Aesthetics: the Literary Politics of African American Periodicals in the Twentieth Century (University of Massachusetts Press, rev. ed. 1992) and is currently working (with Abby Arthur Johnson) on a cultural history of Congressional Cemetery, Washington D.C. as the first national cemetery in the United States. Professor Johnson has served on the American Studies Committee since 1975 and was director/chair from 1979-1985 and 1989-2000.

Professor Johnson officers courses on the America cultural experience, focusing on literary developments, such as his course on "Mark Twain's America, 1870-1900," or technological and reform history as in his "Perfecting America: Reform, Technology, and Soceity, 1830-1900." He also teaches a course on "What Is An American? -- Studies in Cultural Identity in the United States."