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English Faculty

Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt - Professor

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TJ Day 313

Education: Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, MN B.A., College of St. Catherine, St.Paul, MN

Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt received her Ph.D. from University of Minnesota in English.  She also holds a M.A. degree is Creative Writing. Her scholarly and creative works have been published in the Journal of Asian American Renaissance, Jouvert: Journal of Postcolonial Studies, Saranac Review and others.  She is the author of the book,  The Postcolonial Citizen: The Intellectual Migrant published in 2010.  Dutt-Ballerstadt’s teaching and scholarly interests are in the areas of postcolonial literature and theory, Transnational feminism, Black British literature and creative writing pertaining to issues of home and belonging, which she speaks about in an interview with OPB.

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Jamie Friedman - Assistant Professor

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B.A., English and French, Whitworth University; M.A., English, Portland State University; M.A., Medieval Studies, Cornell University; Ph.D., Medieval Studies, Cornell University

Jamie Friedman joined the English faculty in 2016 with a PhD in Medieval Studies from Cornell University. Her teaching interests include courses on early British literature, introductory and advanced literary criticism, medieval and modern women writers, racial and religious diversity in medieval literature, LGBT studies, and film studies. She is particularly interested in the intersections between medieval and modern, canon and margin, sacred and profane. Having previously taught at several institutions before coming to Linfield, Dr. Friedman’s teaching has garnered Dean’s Commendations (Whitworth University), a selection as First Lecturer (Westmont College), Knight Writing Institute recognition and the James E. Rice Jr. Prize (Cornell).

Dr. Friedman specializes in the identity politics of fourteenth-century Middle English literature, especially where medieval representations converse with contemporary feminist, gender, sexuality, and race studies. Her book, Grief, Guilt and Hypocrisy: The Inner Lives of Women in Medieval Romance Literature, examines women’s emotional expressions in medieval romance literature. She has also published articles, book chapters, and book reviews on medieval masculinities and femininities, medieval and Early Modern queer desire, and racialized representations of non-Christians in English crusade romance. This last publication was included in the edition of postmedieval that won the 2015 Codex Award from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals for distinctive scholarship in a period before 1500. Her current book project, Bodies of Identity: Race, Religion, and Sexuality in Fourteenth Century English Romance, historicizes the construction of normative racial, religious, and sexual identities in Middle English romance. She is also at work on a second project considering a late-medieval English narrative in the context of transgender theory.

A Portland native, Dr. Friedman is glad to be back among Douglas Firs and urban bike trails.

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Anna Keesey - Assistant Professor

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TJ Day 319

Education: B.A. Stanford University 1984 K-12 Teaching Credential, UC Berkeley, 1986 M.F.A. in Writing, University of Iowa, 1994

Personal Website


Katherine Kernberger - Professor Emerita

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Ph.D., English, UCLA; M.A., English, UCLA; B.A., Scripps College

Katherine Kernberger received her B.A. (ΦΒΚ) from Scripps College in Claremont, California, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles. She spent a year as a Fulbright scholar in Florence, Italy, studying Provençal and Italian medieval literature. She has taught at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon, for over thirty years. While her specialty is the poet Lord Byron and the Romantics, she teaches broadly across the span of British literature, as well as the history of the English language. She also teaches the Greek and Roman classics and medieval and renaissance works in translation. She serves on the board of the Byron Society of America and participates regularly in the annual International Byron Conferences. Dr. Kernberger has produced two volumes of selections from the Journal of Marie Bashkirtseff (1858-1884), published initially as an e-book by Fonthill Press ( in February 2013. Her translation does justice to the realities of the diarist’s life and speaks directly to modern readers. Dr. Kernberger hopes that this beautifully illustrated edition will do as much for Marie’s readers worldwide.

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Daniel Pollack-Pelzner - Ronni Lacroute Chair in Shakespeare Studies

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Day Hall 318


B.A., Yale University, 2001; A.M., Harvard University, 2006; Ph.D., Harvard University, 2010

Daniel Pollack-Pelzner joined the Linfield faculty in 2010 and teaches in English and Gender Studies. He offers courses on Shakespeare and early modern drama that focus on the intersections of gender, genre, and performance. He also teaches a range of topics in British literary history and offers a January-term course on contemporary theater through the Portland campus. An Oregon native, he lectures frequently at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and is the scholar-in-residence at the Portland Shakespeare Project. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard, where he helped to edit the Norton edition of Shakespeare's complete works. He is the recipient of a Graves Award for outstanding teaching in the humanities.

Dr. Pollack-Pelzner’s research explores Shakespeare adaptations: how writers transform Shakespeare’s model into literary forms that speak to their own cultural moment--and shape what we mean by "Shakespeare" today. He is completing a project on representations of interiority in Shakespeare and the British novel, portions of which have appeared in ELH: English Literary History, SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500-1900, and Victorian Studies. His next project asks how gendered assumptions have shaped the canonization of Shakespeare's plays. He is a member of the faculty at the University of California Dickens Project and is the Shakespeare Scholar for the Oregon Psychiatric Physicians Association. He also contributes to The New Yorker.

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Gina Rucavado - Visiting Assistant Professor

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Education: B.A. in English, University of Notre Dame; M.A. and Ph.D. in English, Brown University


Alexander  Runciman - Professor

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TJ Day 320

Education: Ph.D., English and Creative Writing, Univ. of Utah; M.F.A., Creative Writing (Poetry), Univ. of Montana; B.A., English, Santa Clara Univ.

Lex Runciman teaches in both the literature and creative writing majors. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, he has published four college textbooks, two anthologies, and four collections of poems, including The Admirations, which won the Oregon Book Award. A new collection, One Hour That Morning & Other Poems, is due from Salmon Poetry (Ireland) in 2014.

His work has appeared in such magazines and journals as Ploughshares, Southern Review, Terrain, Poetry East, Willow Springs, Northwest Review, and The Gettysburg Review as well as in a number of anthologies, including From Here We Speak (the poetry volume of the Oregon Literature Series from Oregon State University Press) and Alive at the Center, 2013, from Ooligan Press. His work has also been honored with the Kenneth O. Hanson Award and the Silcox Prize. He studied with Madeline DeFrees and Richard Hugo at the University of Montana (M.F.A., 1977) and with Dave Smith at the University of Utah (Ph.D., 1981). For ten years he and his wife ran the small press Arrowood Books.

After eleven years at Oregon State University, he moved in 1992 to Linfield College where his teaching has received the Edith Green Award. Now grandparents, he and his wife, Deborah Berry Runciman, have been married more than forty years.

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Barbara Seidman - Professor Chair

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T.J. Day 302

Education: Ph.D. Literature, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (concentrating in American literature/film studies) M. A. Literature, University of Illinois B. A. State University of New York at Albany (English) Graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa

Barbara Kitt Seidman joined the Linfield faculty in 1983 and is currently a Professor of English and department chair. She earned a BA in English from the University of Albany and her MA and Ph.D. (in literature and film studies) from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She has honed her expertise in U.S. literature to focus particularly on AfricanAmerican, multicultural, and women writers, all areas in which she has published and teaches. While serving as Linfield’s first woman dean of faculty and vice-president of Academic Affairs from 2005-08, she edited the 2007 illustrated history of Linfield College, Inspired Pragmatism, authored by her former boss and long-time dean of faculty/professor of Philosophy Dr. Marv Henberg. She returned to the classroom in 2009 and has expanded her academic repertoire to include a growing expertise in contemporary Canadian multicultural fiction. In 2013-14 she and Dr. Dawn Nowacki of the Department of Political Science are collaborating on a year-long program involving gender and war as part of the college PLACE initiative theme, “Legacies of War.”

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David Thomas Sumner - Professor English/Environmental Studies Director of Writing

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Education: B.A University of Utah M.A Brigham Young University Ph.D University of Oregon

Download Professor's Curriculum Vitae

David Sumner is associate professor of English and environmental studies.  He teaches courses in American Literature, philosophy and literature, American nature writing, and Western American Literature.  He also directs Linfield’s writing program and oversees the Linfield writing center.  Professor Sumner has published in the fields of American literature, literature and the environment, rhetoric, and writing pedagogy.  He has also published a series of interviews with contemporary nature writers such as Terry Tempest Williams, Barry Lopez, and David Quammen.  His most recent article—co-written with Lisa Weidman—looks at the use of the term “ecoterrorism” in current media.  He is currently working on a book about fire-lookout literature.

When not teaching or writing, Professor Sumner likes to wander the wild places of the West with his wife Heidi and his three children, Penn, Camilla, and Silas, and his fly rod.

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Joe Wilkins - Associate Professor

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TJ Day Hall 319


M.F.A in Creative Writing, The University of Idaho, 2007; B.S. in Computer Engineering, Honors, Gonzaga University, 2002

Professor Wilkins teaches creative writing, American literature, and inquiry seminar courses at Linfield, including ENGL 319: Reading and Writing Literary Nonfiction, ENGL 250: Darkness on the Edge of Town: Rural America in Contemporary Literature, and INQS 125: From the Beats to the Beatles: History and Literature of the 1960s; he also advises the student literary magazine, Camas.

Professor Wilkins is the author of a memoir, The Mountain and the Fathers: Growing up on the Big Dry, winner of the 2014 GLCA New Writers Award and a finalist for the 2013 Orion Book Award, and three collections of poems, When We Were Birds, selected by Billy Collins for the Miller Williams Poetry Prize Series; Notes from the Journey Westward, winner of the 2013 High Plains Book Award, and Killing the Murnion Dogs, a finalist for the 2012 Paterson Poetry Prize. A National Magazine Award finalist and Pushcart Prize winner, Wilkins's poems, essays, and stories have appeared in The Georgia ReviewThe Southern ReviewUtne ReaderEcotoneThe SunOrion, and Slate, among other magazines and literary journals. Of Wilkins' work, Deborah Kim, editor at the Indiana Review, writes, “The most striking component of it is its awareness of ‘the whole world.’ What is ordinary becomes transcendent. In places derelict and seemingly unexceptional, Wilkins compels us to recognize what is worth salvage, worth praise."

As the winner of the Boyden Wilderness Writing Residency, Wilkins and his family spent the summer and fall of 2015 living in an off-the-grid cabin along the Rogue River in the Klamath Mountains of southwestern Oregon. He and his family make their permanent home in McMinnville.

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