Fall 2020 COH Faculty Hires

June 16th, 2020
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The College of Humanities is pleased to welcome new faculty for the upcoming academic year.

“These are outstanding scholars who represent the breadth and diversity of Humanities scholarship and teaching,” said Dean Alain-Philippe Durand. “Their expertise in languages and cultures around the world will further our mission of graduating students equipped with the skills they need to succeed on the global job market.”

Lilia Coropceanu headshot

Lilia Coropceanu, Senior Lecturer
Department of French and Italian

Lilia Coropceanu will join the Department of French and Italian as a Senior Lecturer beginning in fall 2020.  Lilia holds a M.A. in French and Francophone Literatures from University of Arizona and a Ph.D. in French from Emory University, where she taught for the past several years advanced-level courses in French language, literature and culture, as well as the graduate pedagogy methods seminar. From 2011 to 2020, she served as the Director of Undergraduate Studies of the French program. She also regularly taught in the Emory French Studies Summer Program in Paris, and has served as the Program Director and Faculty Associate. Lilia Coropceanu has presented her research on second language acquisition and French literature at multiple regional and national professional conferences. In the area of French literature, her research interests include conceptions and techniques of self-constitution in French novelistic narrative (seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth century literature). She is the author of Faber Suae Fortunae : L’autoformation du sujet chez Mme de Lafayette, Marivaux et Stendhal. (New York: Peter Lang, 2010, in series Currents in Comparative Romance Languages and Literatures).

Brett Esaki headshot

Brett Esaki, Assistant Professor
Department of East Asian Studies

Dr. Brett J. Esaki (Ph.D. in Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara) specializes in Asian American studies, with a focus on spirituality, popular culture, and comprehensive sustainability. He focuses on methods to examine religion on the ground, especially ethnography, cultural studies, and subjugated history. His publications detail how American minorities, including Asian Americans and African Americans, creatively use religion and art to preserve, to reinvent, and to discover a sense of their full humanity. He is the author of Enfolding Silence: The Transformation of Japanese American Religion and Art under Oppression (Oxford 2016). Dr. Esaki's teaching specialties include Asian American religions; religion and popular culture, including hip hop and other embodied arts; and history, ideology, and philosophy of race and in the United States.

Borbala Gaspar headshot

Borbala Gaspar, Adjunct Instructor
Department of French and Italian

Borbala Gaspar received her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona (2020) in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching. She also holds an MA degree in ELL, and a B.A. degree in Teaching Italian as a Foreign language from Szeged, Hungary. Her main research interest is in agency development and learner imagination in relation to foreign language learning. With a special focus on language learners, as a foreign language instructor and researcher, Borbala continues to dedicate her career to better foreign language teaching and learning.

Anastasiia Gordiienko headshot

Anastasiia Gordiienko, Assistant Professor
Department of Russian and Slavic Studies 

Anastasiia Gordiienko holds an M.A. degree in Cultural Studies from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland (2014) and a Ph.D. degree in Slavic Literature, Film, and Cultural Studies from the Ohio State University (2018). Her interests lie in the intersection of Russian politics, history, culture, and identity. Currently she is completing a monograph that covers the progression of the shanson (Russian underworld music) from a subcultural expression to a commercially successful vein of contemporary music and also delves into some manifestations of a paradoxical quid pro quo synergy between the shanson and Putin’s politics. Dr. Gordiienko’s secondary interest embraces the issue of collective remembering: her ongoing empirical study, “Memories of Generations” (Pamiatʹ pokolenii), investigates the role of collective memory in Russian and Ukrainian national self-identity and intergenerational transmission of memories for these nations.

Kaoru Hayashi headshot

Kaoru Hayashi, Assistant Professor
Department of East Asian Studies

Kaoru Hayashi is joining the faculty of the Department of East Asian Studies as an Assistant Professor. She is a scholar of premodern Japanese literature, specializing in classical tales. Her areas of research interest also include premodern Japanese history and religious studies, area studies, and modern film and mass media. Her book project, “Mediating Spirits: Narratives of Vengeful Spirits and Genealogies in Premodern Japanese Literature,” explores the invocation of the angry dead both as a social practice of genealogical imagination repeatedly thematized within premodern Japanese literary texts and as an act whose structure generated a narrative voice integral to the development of classical Japanese narratives. Hayashi received her M.A. and Ph.D. in East Asian Studies from Princeton University and B.A. in East Asian Languages and Literatures from Smith College. Before joining the University of Arizona, she was an Assistant Professor at Texas State University, and spent one year as a postdoctoral fellow at the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University.

Obenewaa Oduro-opuni headshot

Obenewaa Oduro-Opuni, Assistant Professor
Department of German Studies 

Obenewaa Oduro-Opuni is joining the faculty of the Department of German Studies as an Assistant Professor. Prior to coming to Tucson, she received her Ph.D. in Comparative Culture and Language and an African studies Certificate from Arizona State University. She earned her M.A. in German from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and her B.A. in Media and Communication Sciences from the Universität Hamburg in Germany, where she was born and raised. She speaks Twi and Fante. Her research focuses on Black German studies and includes intersectional discussions on transnationalism, colonialism, migration, minority cultures, and multiculturalism. She engages German contexts by drawing on approaches rooted in Black thought and theories as well as Postcolonial studies. In her current project, she explores 18th and early 19th century German-language discourses that articulate a nuanced critique of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade and are indicative of abolitionist currents.