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English and Writing Arts Faculty

English Department Faculty


Axel Hildebrandt |  Interim Chair, Department of English & Writing Arts; Professor of German

Office location: Comenius 405
Office phone: 610-861-1395

B.A. equivalent, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
M.A., Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Research Interests
20th and 21st-century German-speaking literature, culture and politics, film, drama and philosophy; questions of memory and transnational studies.

Headshot of John Black

John R. Black, Professor

Office location: Zinzendorf 306
Office phone: 610-861-1390

B.A., M.A., Ph.D., University of North Carolina

Research interests and expertise
Old and Middle English literature, language, and culture; British Renaissance literature and culture; medieval saints' lives in text and image; sacred landscape/space; history of the English language

Dr. Black’s specialty is medieval English literature and culture. His particular interests are Old and Middle English literature, hagiography, constructions of sanctity, sacred landscape, and the interplay of text and image in medieval art. At Moravian, Dr. Black teaches courses in medieval English literature and culture and in the history of the English language, as well as the department's ‘gateway’ course in English Studies for majors and minors. He has published on Old English homiletic writing, on accounts of the saints in Old English, Middle English, and medieval Latin narratives, and on the interplay of text and image in medieval hagiography. In his professional community, Dr. Black is a member of the Medieval Academy, the Modern Language Association, the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists, the International Center of Medieval Art, the Delaware Valley Medieval Association, and the Southeastern Medieval Association.

At Moravian, Dr. Black regularly participates in the shared governance of the University through his service on various committees and on other projects in support of the University. He also serves as Co-Director of the Medieval Studies Program, an academic advisor for majors in the English/Education program and for first-year students, and a mentor in Honors and Independent Study projects. He is active in promoting opportunities for students to engage in undergraduate research, study abroad, and extra-mural learning.

Dr. Black has participated in a summer National Endowment for the Humanities seminar for research and teaching in hagiography at the University of Cambridge (2006) and in a summer program in early Irish language and culture (Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, Ireland; 2011). At Moravian, he has received the Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching (2007) and the Omicron Delta Kappa Award for Excellence in Teaching (2008). He shared an Impact Award (2007, with Prof. Sandy Bardsley in History), presented in recognition of his work in organizing the inaugural Moravian University Undergraduate Conference in Medieval and Early Modern Studies. The Conference has become an annual event, attracting more than 200 participants to the University each December since 2006. In recent summers, Dr. Black has done volunteer work on the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona, participated in an archeological expedition in Israel/Palestine, biked on Orkney, taken ‘writing retreats’ in San Francisco and Vancouver, made a conference presentation and done research in the North of England, and hiked in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

With respect to teaching and learning, Dr. Black writes, “I have enjoyed working with students in a wide variety of courses in a diverse range of classroom settings – from courses in medieval literature and college writing for undergraduates at Moravian, Georgetown, and UNC-Chapel Hill; to Old English language and literature with graduate students at North Carolina State University; to a summer bridge program at UNC-Chapel Hill; to ESL with college students and adults in Shijiazhuang, China; to the standard range of subjects with fifth-graders on the Hopi Reservation in northeast Arizona. In the whole of my experience working with students, while the situations and individuals have varied widely, one theme seems common enough: a successful teacher must first meet the challenges of working creatively and resourcefully to engage students ‘where they are’ in order to help them question and explore a new range of ‘destinations’ with regard to mastery of content and application of critical thinking and writing skills. This ‘bridge’ metaphor is as challenging as it is obvious. Such an approach to learning is most often a matter of daily re-commitment - the bridge is under perpetual renewal - but I build and maintain this bridge because I want to motivate students to discover and develop their power to create and invest their lives and their communities with meaning. Much of what ‘is,’ is constructed - too often not for the best – and can therefore be reconstructed in ways that better reflect our ideals. Learning should, among its many goals, prepare students with the skills, experiences, and convictions necessary for the formation of their own roles in promoting a society in which all persons may live fully and graciously.”

Headshot of Andrew Crooke

Andrew Crooke, Lecturer


Office location: Zinzendorf 104
Office phone: 610-625-7864; 610-625-7977

B.A., Cornell University
M.A., Ph.D., University of Iowa

Research interests and expertise

American literature, regionalism, modernism, contemporary fiction, multiethnic studies, place-based writing, photo-textual representations of poverty

Dr. Crooke grew up on a dairy farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Cornell University and the University of Iowa. In addition to teaching at Moravian University, he has also taught at East Stroudsburg University, Temple University, Widener University, and the University of New Jersey. His main field is American literature from 1865 to the present, with special interests in regionalism, modernism, contemporary fiction, multiethnic studies, place-based writing, and transnational photo-textual representations of poverty. He has published several parts of his dissertation, In Praise of Peasants: Ways of Seeing the Rural Poor in the Work of James Agee, Walker Evans, John Berger, and Jean Mohr.


Theresa DougalProfessor 

Office location: Zinzendorf 301
Office phone: 610-861-1389

B.A., Boston College
M.A., Ph.D., University of Chicago

Research interests and expertise
Early nineteenth-century British literature; Early nineteenth-century American literature; Environmental sustainability and the humanities

Dr. Dougal teaches courses in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British literature, nineteenth-century American literature, the study of poetry, and "literature and the moral life," with an emphasis on environmental issues. She has also taught courses on travel writing and women's diaries, reflecting her scholarly interest in life writing and in the intersection between gender and genre. Dr. Dougal is advisor to the Zinzendorf Literary Society and is a recipient of the Lindback Teaching Award and the Golden Apple Award for leadership and excellence in teaching.

"I am always seeing myself in my students. Different students, different aspects of myself, from various stages of my life. So in every classroom situation I try to imagine how I would be perceiving the event, as a learner, and I adjust my tactic accordingly. I am particularly sensitive to the need to create an environment in which all students feel comfortable sharing their responses to the material at hand. If I can make what I teach seem relevant to my students, then they are more likely to become enthusiastic about the literature we read together, its beauty and the human truths it evokes and reveals. I find that students are particularly open to analyzing a wide variety of both canonical and non canonical literary and cultural texts, so together we push the boundaries, examining the works of people of different races, classes, ethnicities, genders, often viewing them in the light of pressing social concerns. I have found that an interdisciplinary approach to English Studies has enhanced our efforts."

Headshot of Crystal Fodrey

Crystal N. Fodrey, Associate Professor and Director of Writing

Office location: Zinzendorf 202
Office phone: 610-861-1511

B.A., M.A., Western Kentucky University  
Ph.D, University of Arizona

Research interests and expertise
Writing Across the Curriculum Program Administration (First-Year Writing, Writing in the Disciplines/Writing-Enriched Curriculum Development and Implementation; Faculty Development); Writing Transfer Studies; Rhetorical Genre Studies; Composition and Creative Nonfiction Theory and Pedagogy; Multimodal Writing in Digital Spaces; Public Rhetoric and Writing; Spatial Rhetoric and Place Writing 

Dr. Fodrey specializes in rhetoric and writing studies and teaches courses in rhetorical theory, digital rhetoric and writing, professional writing, editing and publishing, first-year writing, creative nonfiction, and writing studies. Her research is grounded in her dedication to well theorized and effective teaching and administrative practices in writing courses across the curriculum. Her scholarship on faculty development in the teaching of writing and writing curricular development appears in Across the Disciplines (with Meg Mikovits), Composition Forum (with Meg Mikovits, Chris Hassay, and Erica Yozell), Professionalizing Multimodality (with Meg Mikovits and Erica Yozell), and Writing-Enriched Curricula: Models of Faculty-Driven and Departmental Transformation (with Chris Hassay). 

Dr. Fodrey has given talks on writing pedagogy, writing teacher training, and writing across the curriculum program development at the Conference on College Composition and Communication (here, often with undergraduate researchers), the International Writing Across the Curriculum Conference, the Council of Writing Program Administrators Conference, and the Small Liberal Arts College Writing Program Administrators Conference, among others. She is also an active member of each of the aforementioned professional organizations.

Regarding her approach to teaching, Dr. Fodrey writes, “Whether I am teaching academic writing, technical writing, or a creative nonfiction course, fostering the development of facilitas—Quintilian’s term for the ability to communicate effectively and ethically in any form, in any situation—remains the primary tenet of my teaching. I believe that compositions spanning the spectrum from literary to lab report, from primarily alphabetic to multimodal, can be taught, practiced, understood, and improved. All students are capable and need not wait for inspiration from muses in order to have valid ideas and produce writing of value to both themselves and others. With an understanding of how to analyze, enact, and occasionally disrupt conventions of audience, purpose, and genre in particular, students can best work toward becoming autonomous writers with the agency to communicate effectively in myriad forms and effect positive changes in the communities for which they write. What does my approach say about me as a teacher? It says I understand that a good rhetorician should be able to navigate multiple roles and discursive situations within a single day all while remaining true to her convictions and ethical in her presentation. It says I value my students’ experiences. I value their cultures. I value their differences. I value their understandings of what successful compositions look like and do in the world. And I believe in their abilities to rise to writing challenges that extend past the classroom and into the various communities and publics that comprise their realities. My students are writers first, and I—a fellow writer—am their guide through the vast and ever-changing landscape of composition.”

Headshot of Liz Gray

Liz Gray, Associate Professor

Office location: Zinzendorf 203
Office phone: 610-861-1392

BFA, New School University; MFA, Vermont College of Fine Arts

Research interests and expertise
poetry, creative nonfiction, flash fiction, literary translation, multicultural and transnational literatures, hybrid identities and publishing

Professor Liz Gray holds an MFA in Poetry and Literary Translation from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a BFA from Parsons School of Design. She has studied Multicultural and Transnational Literatures at East Carolina University. Her special interests include hybrid identities and creative nonfiction. She publishes under the name “Liz Chang.”

Chang was named the 2012 Montgomery County Poet Laureate. Her poem “On Jolly Holiday” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Exit 7 in 2022. Her poems have appeared in Verse Daily, Rock & Sling, Schuylkill Valley Journal and Stoneboat Literary Review, among others. She has published four collections of poetry, most recently the chapbook Museum of Things with Finishing Line Press (out of Kentucky) in early 2023. Her translation of French surrealist poet Claude de Burine’s poem “It is Late” was anthologized in 2022 in Paris in Our View from l’Association des Amis de Shakespeare & Company in Paris. Her poetry and flash fiction have been published internationally (through Opia, the London Reader, and River Paw Press), and her essay “Follow that Yellow Bird!” recently appeared in Oyster River Pages. More information about Liz’s publications and upcoming appearances can be found at

Professor Liz advises the Moravian literary magazine The Manuscript and co-directs the Moravian Writers’ Conference with Professor Kate Brandes.

Headshot of Robert LaRue

Robert LaRue, Associate Professor 

Office location: Zinzendorf 307
Office phone: 610-625-7862

B.A., M.A., and Ph.D., University of Texas at Arlington

Research interests and expertise
Queer studies; Gay and Lesbian literature; Postcolonial studies; Multi-ethnic Literatures of the US; mid- and late-twentieth and twenty-first-century African American literature, culture, and theory; Literature of the African Diaspora; World literatures 

Dr. LaRue teaches courses in contemporary multi-ethnic queer culture, sexuality studies, and global literatures—with a particular interest in global African experiences. He has also taught courses on perceptions of success, on the notion of authority, on celebrity culture, and on film as social commentary. His courses seek to inspire reconsiderations of those things that have become so commonplace that they escape recognition. In regards to his teaching, Dr. LaRue writes that “when it comes to teaching texts, whether it is a novel, a film, or a music video, I try to help students see beyond the text itself. I believe that each text contains its own lessons about life and society, if only we look closely enough. To this end, rather than provide students with the correct answers, I try to inspire students to see the multitude of possible answers available and help them come to the answers that most accurately reflect their own ideas.”

At the core of his teaching philosophy, which is guided by his research interests, rests a deep investment in questions of difference. It is this investment in difference that has led to his most recent writing projects on Martin Luther King, Jr., the television show Empire, and Tyler Perry’s filmic adaptation, For Colored Girls.

Currently, Dr. LaRue is working on a book project which interrogates the relationship between U.S. and European notions of queerness, and queerness as it is lived and experienced in postcolonial nations. Rather than working to locate postcolonial queerness as either a colonial import or a continuation of an “authentic” African culture, the book works to situate postcolonial queerness in its present-day context. Focusing on contemporary sub-Saharan African writings that directly address the presence of queerness in the region, the book questions the effectiveness of applying the politically-oriented brand of queerness claimed by U.S. and European scholars and queer activists to postcolonial experiences of queerness, while exploring articulations of African queerness as expressed by queer African voices.


Headshot of Christopher Shorr

Christopher Shorr, Associate Professor

Office location: Arena Theater, HUB
Office phone: 610-861-1489

B.A., Drew University
M.F.A., Virginia Commonwealth University

Research interests and expertise
Playwriting; Stage Directing; Theatre Design; Public Speaking; Arts Management; Theatre and Community

Christopher Shorr directs the Theatre Program on campus and is the Artistic Director of the Moravian University Theatre Company. In the English Department, he teaches Public Speaking, Art of Theatre and Playwriting.

He moved to Bethlehem from Petersburg, Virginia, where he was the founding artistic director of Sycamore Rouge—a professional, non-equity theatre and arts center. While in Virginia, he served as a panelist for the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and on the boards of the Southside Virginia Council for the Arts and the Petersburg Arts Council. In Pennsylvania, in addition to his work at Moravian University, he is an Ensemble Associate with Touchstone Theatre.

Primarily a stage director, designer and playwright, Shorr has also worked as an actor and composer for theatre. His work has been seen in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, and internationally in Romania, Hungary, Italy and the Czech Republic. Through his work, he strives to prevent audiences, students, collaborators, and himself from succumbing to complacency. He is particularly interested in creating new theatre pieces and in aggressively re-working classic texts. He holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Drew University, and an MFA in Stage Directing from Virginia Commonwealth University.

As a director, Pennsylvania productions include the world premieres of The Pan Show: A Cautionary Tale and The Pan Show: In Pan We Trust (Touchstone Theatre), the world premiere of the jazz opera The Real Book of Gig (Moravian University), East Coast professional premiere of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and the world premieres of The Whitman Piece and A Resting Place (Touchstone/Moravian co-productions), as well as Oedipus, Transdition, Betty’s Summer Vacation, The Clean House, Proof, Jesus Christ Superstar and the world premieres of Exhibit A, Superstory, and his own Faust in France (Moravian University).

As a playwright, his documentary play Tribute: September 11 (commissioned in 2002 by the AmeriCulture Arts Festival to mark the first anniversary of 9/11) was revived for the tenth anniversary and performed at Moravian University and at the University of Baltimore. Rina, his two-person, one-act re-working of Chekhov’s The Three Sisters was produced at New York’s “Chekhov Now Festival.” His play Clytemnestra’s Daughters, a reimagining of the Greek tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, was workshopped at the Southampton Writers Conference, prior to a reading at Touchstone Theatre. Faust in France, his World War One adaptation of Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, was produced in 2012 at Moravian, and then workshopped in residence at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre on Cape Cod.

In addition to his work as a solo writer, he has co-authored multiple plays. With James Jordan (Artistic Director of Touchstone Theatre), he co-wrote the musicals The Pan Show: A Cautionary Tale, and The Pan Show: In Pan We Trust (both produced at Touchstone Theatre and named “best original play of the year” by the Bethlehem Press) and a musical adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey called Ulysses Dreams. Together, they conceived, wrote and designed Dear Tamaqua—In a New Light, which used language, music and light to turn a mile of city streets in the Pennsylvania coal-region borough of Tamaqua into a transformative community experience. Most recently, they co-wrote Bhudoo with the Touchstone Theatre ensemble, which completed a European tour in Summer, 2016.

Working with Touchstone founder Bill George, he co-wrote Journey from the East— combining the mythic Chinese Journey to the West with the mythic American Western—premiering in Spring 2015 with a large-scale outdoor production in Bethlehem, PA. His play Exhibit A, written with Moravian student Sam Weinberg, performed at Moravian University in Fall 2015 and explored issues of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and disability.

"Theatre brings together the resources of many parties to create a single work that, in turn, brings a community together in a collective experience. In a college environment, this sort of collaboration can involve students and/or faculty coming together from different departments, and can be incredibly rewarding—adding texture, depth and new perspectives to their academic work. I want theatre at Moravian to build bridges. It should bridge the gap between different segments of our campus community, and between the college and the wider community of Bethlehem. It should also test boundaries. It should raise questions, stimulate discussion, and challenge preconceptions. Through it all, theatre at a liberal arts college needs to focus on the growth and development of the student participant. Our work should take our audiences and our artists on a journey that enriches them.”

Belinda Waller-Peterson

Belinda Waller-Peterson, Associate Professor

Office location: Zinzendorf 303
Office phone: 

B.S. Nursing, Widener University
M.A., Bucknell University
Ph.D., Lehigh University

Research interests and expertise
African American literature and culture; Black Feminist and Womanist theory; Health Humanities

Dr. Waller-Peterson teaches courses in African American literature, Black Femiist Theory, and culture and the Health Humanities. She specializes in women’s health issues, maternity and illness narratives. She is also a licensed Registered Nurse in the state of Pennsylvania. Her nursing experience and English literature background allow her to explore multiple intersecting areas of study including the Health Humanities, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality, and Africana Studies. She is President of the African American Literature and Culture Society. 

Dr. Waller-Peterson has published articles and presented conference papers on womb imagery and wellness in Black women’s literature. Her most recent publications include: “The Art of Death Book Review” in the Journal of Medical Humanities, “‘Nobody Came/Cuz Nobody Knew’: Shame and Isolation in Ntozake Shange's ‘Abortion Cycle #1’” in CLA Journal, and “‘Are You Sure Sweetheart, That You Want to be Well?’ The Politics of Mental Health and Long-Suffering in Toni Cade Bambara’s The Salt Eaters” in Religions. She has presented at the American Literature Association Conference, International Health Humanities Consortium Conference, National Women’s Studies Association Conference, and others. 

For Dr. Waller-Peterson, learning is the dynamic exchange of ideas and questions that leads to intellectual growth. She is particularly concerned with helping students begin the process of asking larger questions about the literature we engage in order to cultivate meaningful and informed opinions as well as the language to discuss their positions. She says, “While I encourage students to pose questions, I also underscore the process of critical thinking in order to arrive at an unusual answer or an unresolved conclusion.” Her classroom is a site of empowerment and transformation for students where they can discover the significance of their own voices and those of their peers.

Adjunct Faculty

Mary Ellen Alu

Office location: Zinzendorf 104
Office phone: 610-625-7864; 610-625-7977

Teaching Areas

News and feature writing

Mary Ellen Alu’s lengthy career in journalism includes her role as an editor for AOL’s online news service, Patch; as an editor and reporter for The Morning Call daily newspaper in Allentown, Pa.; and as a reporter for The Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. She holds a Masters of Liberal Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. from Wilkes University. She is the recipient of numerous writing and reporting awards. She is currently an assistant editor in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs at Lehigh University, where she plays a key role as writer and editor for several of the university’s publications and online news center.


Mark Harris


Office location: Zinzendorf 201

B.A., Stetson University
M.A., University of Chicago

Research interests and expertise

Environmental journalism, natural burial, place studies, creative nonfiction

Mark Harris is a former book editor and environmental columnist with the Los Angeles Times Syndicate. An award-winning freelance journalist, his is the author of the acclaimed book on natural burial, Grave Matters, and speaks nationally on issues related to funerals and burial in America. A Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow, Harris is currently at work on a book that examines notions of home and place.

Grave Matters

Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows


Ethan Joella

Teaching Areas: Creative writing 

Naimah Ward

Teaching Areas: Public speaking  


George Diamond, Emeritus Professor


B.A., Allegheny College
M.A., New York University
Ph.D., Lehigh University

Dr. Diamond is a specialist in the Renaissance, American realism and contemporary literature, including science fiction, and playwright Eugene O’Neill. His interests are wide ranging. In 1988 Dr. Diamond had a Mellon Foundation grant to study the Dead Sea Scrolls which he later taught in translation. In 1998 he participated in a National Endowment for the Humanities Institute in Post-Colonial Literature and Theory.  His course in Post-Colonial Literature is one of the offerings of the English Department.  In Fall 2005 he offered Science Fiction, Science Fact, and the Contemporary World, in response to the category of The Social Impact of Science of the LinC Curriculum.  Dr. Diamond serves as advisor to the English Honor Society (Sigma Tau Delta).

"Robert Frost called poetry a 'stay against confusion,' and I like to think that this is also the role of other literary genres and, in fact, the universe of art. In recent years scientists have formulated a theory of chaos. They have put into words what we all see and experience a good deal of the time. Art, especially literature, has a way of ordering and organizing experience so we can understand the world without suffering its full effect. To read Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage is to feel what it might have been like for a raw recruit in the Civil War without having to dodge real bullets. In addition, and here comes Frost again, literature is a well spring of wisdom-never a quality in plentiful supply: 'People forget but poetry makes you remember what you didn't know you knew,' or 'So when at times the mob is swayed/To carry praise or blame to far,/We may choose something like a star/To stay our minds on and be staid.' Literature can remind us about our obligations, 'I have promises to keep,' or suggest new ways or seeing and engaging the world: 'Try to be one of the people on whom nothing is lost,’ Henry James advises us. Although practical considerations force the teacher of English to focus on a relatively narrow area of work, there is a vast and exciting literary world beyond one's field of concentration, and that is what has led me into study of the Dead Sea Scrolls, post-colonial Literature, and science fiction.  My philosophy of literature is, simply, to try with all of the skills that I may have to get each of my students to respond to, understand, and embrace--in a large or even small way--this rich, dense, and wonderful world of literature."

Martha Reid


Martha Reid, Emeritus Professor


B.A., M.A.T., Harvard University
M.A., Ph.D., Tufts University

Research interests and expertise
Shakespeare and other dramatic literature; Twentieth-century British and American literature; English education

Dr. Reid joined the English Department faculty on a full-time basis in 1999 after serving Moravian University for 19 years in various administrative positions, including Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the University. She regularly teaches courses in 20th-century literature, the British novel, and British drama, and she loves Shakespeare and murder mysteries. English majors pursuing certification in secondary education are supervised by Dr. Reid during their student-teaching semester and attend her seminar on secondary English curriculum and instruction. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and several honorary societies: Alpha Psi Omega (theatre), Alpha Sigma Lambda (continuing education), Omicron Delta Kappa (leadership), and Kappa Delta Pi (education).

“Although my practice of teaching has changed a lot during more than 40 years in the classroom, my philosophy of teaching has always been based n a love for literature, and my first goal with students is to transmit that enthusiasm to them. Trained in the “New Criticism’ and won over by the ‘New Historicism’, I, nevertheless, believe that questions are more important than answers and try to ‘teach the differences’ of critical approaches. In practice, my teaching mixes lecture, discussion, group work, and student presentations.”


Joel Wingard, Emeritus Professor


B.A., Muskingum College
M.A., Old Dominion University
Ph.D., Louisiana State University

Dr. Wingard has published on Southern American literature, contemporary American poetry, and composition. In 1996, his introductory college literature textbook/anthology, Literature: Reading and Responding to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and the Essay was published. From his teaching of Twentieth Century British/Irish Literature, Wingard has developed a growing interest in Irish life and literature, particularly the work of W.B. Yeats. He offered a seminar in Yeats’ poetry in 1995 and led a May Term trip to Ireland that year. He also retains a strong interest in the life and work of H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), the Modernist poet who was born along Church Street in historic Bethlehem and is buried there, too. Wingard, who has worked as a newspaper reporter and copyeditor, also taught courses in Journalism and Editing.