Language & Literature Dept
Sonia Balasch, who holds a Ph.D. in Spanish/Hispanic Linguistics from the University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM), is currently an Assistant Professor of Spanish and Linguistics in the Department of Language and Literature at EMU. Before joining this university, she had the privilege of teaching at her alma mater as a teaching assistant. Then, after earning her doctorate, she taught at the New Mexico Military Institute (Roswell, NM), the University of Montana (Missoula, MT), Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA) and George Mason University (Fairfax, VA).
Teaching and Research
A key component of her teaching is the appreciation of the linguistic richness of the Spanish language that exists both outside of the United States and within this country as an asset of language vitality in our globally mobile society. Her interest in enabling her students to evolve in a changing world shapes her commitment to create Open Educational Resources (OER) as part of a collaborative project with colleagues who are driven by similar interests in teaching students to become critical thinkers.
Teaching Spanish to heritage speakers has provided her with material for her most recent collaborative research project where the students themselves became researchers in a Latino cross-country project.
Her core linguistic research focuses on natural language variation in Spanish, and the roles of social and linguistic factors in language change. She considers vernacular language usage as the most revealing source of linguistic variation and applies the tools of statistical analysis to its study.
Kirsten serves as director of EMU’s Core Curriculum. She earned her MFA in creative writing at West Virginia University. She is a contributing editor to The Tusculum Review and edited the anthology Tongue Screws and Testimonies: Poems, Stories, and Essays Inspired by the Martyrs Mirror. Kirsten co-chaired Mennonites Writing VI: Solos and Harmonies, a bi-national writing conference, in Spring 2012.
She lives in Briery Branch with her husband, daughters, a bevy of backyard chickens and ducks, several hives of honeybees, and Sophie the cat.
Dr. Vi Dutcher is a professor of rhetoric and composition and teaches writing and speech courses. Prior to coming to EMU, she taught writing and women’s studies courses at Kent State University—Stark Campus. She has also taught at The University of Akron and Cuyahoga Community College. She enjoys linking her courses to community partnerships where students produce a deliverable product for a specified need in an organization. Her research interests are community literacy practices in general and Old Order Amish women’s literacy practices in particular.
Martha Greene Eads grew up in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge mountains and studied literature and theology at Wake Forest University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Durham (UK). Before coming to EMU, she taught at the North Carolina Correctional Center for Women and at Valparaiso University in Indiana, where she held a Lilly Fellowship in Humanities and the Arts from 2001-2003. Her research and teaching interests include twentieth- and twenty-first-century drama, English modernism, and contemporary Southern fiction, and her articles on those topics have appeared in The Carolina Quarterly, Christianity and Literature, The Cresset, Modern Drama, The Southern Quarterly, and Theology.
Chad Gusler received his B.S. in Biblical Studies and Theology from Eastern Mennonite College in 1993. In 1998, he received an M.A. in Religion from Eastern Mennonite Seminary, and in 2007, his M.F.A. in creative writing (fiction) from Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, Washington.
Adriana earned her PhD in Hispanic Studies at the University of Virginia. She also has a BA in Latin American Studies and Literature at American University and an MA in Hispanic Studies at the University of Virginia. She was administrator and instructor for the UVa Program in Peru and selected to teach Hispanic culture for UVa’s Summer Language Institute. She joined the Language and Literature Department at EMU in 2012 where she teaches Spanish language, literature, and film. In 2017 she led nineteen magnificent students on a cross-cultural to Spain.
Adriana’s primary research interests are twentieth century literature and film, Andean literature and culture, trauma and resilience narratives, and Hispanic American women writers. Her dissertation, “From Manchay Tiempo to ‘Truth’: Cultural Trauma and Resilience in Contemporary Peruvian Narrative,” tracks the development of cultural production in postconflict Peru. She explores how contemporary narrative responds to the wound inflicted upon Peruvian national identity in the aftermath of truth and reconciliation and attempts to provide Peru’s population with some measure of closure and healing.
A native of California, Kevin Seidel came to EMU from the University of Virginia, where he received his Ph.D. in English Literature and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. He is working on a book project that uses original research on the eighteenth-century English Bible to open up new ways of thinking about the history of the English novel. He is also actively involved in Scriptural Reasoning. His teaching and scholarship both explore the changing relationship between religion, secularism, and literature.
Carol Snell-Feikema teaches Spanish language, Immigration Issues and community-learning, Latin American Civilization, Spanish Civilization and Spanish Literature. She and her husband, Michael, led the EMU Spain and Morocco Cross-Cultural Semester Fall 2013. A native of Iowa, she has also lived, studied and traveled extensively throughout Mexico and Central America.
She received her Master’s Degree in Spanish from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2004. Her thesis, “The Process of Concientización in Isabel Allende’s De amor y de sombra,” studies the process of spiritual awakening and critical consciousness in the context of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. She studied Globalization and Liberation Theology at Departamento Ecuménico de Investigaciones in San Jose, Costa Rica with professors, human rights workers and missioners from throughout Latin America.
Prior to coming to EMU, she taught Spanish and Service-Learning at South Dakota State University, leading university cross-cultural and study abroad experiences to Guatemala, Mexico, Spain and the US-Mexico border at Nogales. Student service-learning projects have included running a day-camp for children in the shanty towns of Nogales, Mexico, giving out food, blankets and medicine in response to Tropical Storm Agatha in Guatemala, teaching English to Spanish-speaking immigrants, tutoring Spanish-speaking school children, translating at a local food bank, working with homeless people in Granada, Spain, designing and painting a welcome mural on a village guesthouse in Morocco as part of a program for revitalization of rural communities, and helping build a mosque in the Rif Mountains of Morocco.
Andrew White is a native of Western Oregon. After completing a bachelor’s degree, Andrew spent two years doing volunteer work in Eastern Europe – mostly in Bulgaria. Returning to the USA, he went on to earn an M.A. in English at Oregon State University (1999) and a Ph.D. in English at Washington State University (2003).
Before coming to EMU in August 2008, Andrew taught at the American University in Bulgaria, an American-style residential, liberal arts college in the Balkans. His research interests include early American literature (esp. religion), ethnic studies, and Balkan studies. Andrew teaches courses in literary studies (including Shakespeare and ethnic literatures), first-year writing, and speech.
Barbara began her role as office coordinator in March, 2016, after teaching ESL at Eastern Mennonite High School for 5 years. She has an elementary education degree from Messiah College and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from EMU. In her spare time Barbara loves to knit and crochet, read, watch funny movies with her family, and plan her next excursion somewhere in the world. She and her husband Owen are active members at Weavers Mennonite Church.