Second Book Institute
Jacob Rama Berman
Jacob Rama Berman’s scholarship probes the intersections of American Literature, Arab(ic) literature and Arab American literature. His first book, American Arabesque (NYU Press, 2012) works with both English and Arabic language sources to track the influence of Arab and Islamic culture on the production of US national identity in the long nineteenth-century. He has also published on the Arabic literary history of the Gothic, Edgar Allan Poe, cannibal democracy and the visual Orientalism of early twentieth century paintings of the western United States. He is an executive member on the editorial board of the journal Mashriq and Mahjar: Journal of Middle East and North African Migration Studies. His current project examines the dialectic exchanges between War on Terror political speech and War on Terror fiction. An associate professor of English at Louisiana State University, Berman currently resides in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Lauren Coats is Associate Professor of English at LSU. She researches and teaches early and nineteenth-century American literature, with emphases on archives, travel and exploration, the environment, and digital humanities. Coats served as the founding editor of Archive Journal and editor of The Broadway Journal: A Digital Edition, and has had work published in J19, PMLA, Lehigh University Press Digital Scholarly Editions, and more. She is completing a book manuscript on textual practices and genres for mapping the new United States.
Lauren Horn Griffin
Lauren Horn Griffin is assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Louisiana State University. Her research and teaching focus on religion, media, and technology. Her current project investigates how Catholic communities manufacture tradition online.
Dr. Gundela Hachmann is Associate Professor at Louisiana State University where she teaches German, Comparative Literature, and Screen Arts. She received her PhD from Harvard University in 2008 with a dissertation on constructions of time in postmodern novels. Her research addresses the intersections between literature, philosophy, science, and media. She is the lead-editor of Lectures on Poetics: History-Praxis-Poetics (Walter deGruyter 2022), a critical anthology about lectures in which writers and other artists describe their artistic approaches. She is currently working on a monograph with the working title Reassembling Poetics: Creative Networks in Lectures On Creating Art.
Sherri Franks Johnson
Sherri Franks Johnson is an Associate Professor of History. Her research focuses on religion, gender and urban history in late medieval Italy. Her book, Monastic Women and Religious Orders in Late Medieval Bologna (Cambridge University Press, 2014), examined how communities of religious women navigated ecclesiastical institutions and also how they interacted with their local civic context. Her current project examines monastic reform movements in fifteenth-century Italy. These groups revived and connected local religious communities into organized networks in the wake of the Black Death and the Great Schism, showing changing priorities in ecclesiastical and urban governments of the era.
Helen A. Regis (Geography & Anthropology) works at the intersections of culture and commerce, public space and tourism, the grassroots and public policy. Regis is Series Editor and Board President of the Neighborhood Story Project, an organization that creates collaborative ethnographies, exhibits, and events in New Orleans. She has published in Cultural Anthropology, African Arts, Collaborative Anthropologies, and Contemporary Political Theory. Her forthcoming book (with Shana Walton) is Bayou Harvest: Subsistence Practices in Coastal Louisiana. She is co-editing a special issue of Southern Anthropologist on “The Public South: Engaging History, Abolition, Pedagogy, and Practice.”
SBI Principal Investigators
Benjamin Kahan (Co-Director)
Benjamin Kahan is the the Robert Penn Warren Professor of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Louisiana State University. He has held fellowships from Washington University in St. Louis, Emory University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Sydney, the National Humanities Center, the Reed Foundation, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Ray Johnson Estate. He is the author of Celibacies: American Modernism and Sexual Life (Duke, 2013) and The Book of Minor Perverts: Sexology, Etiology, and the Emergences of Sexuality (Chicago, 2019). He is also the editor of Heinrich Kaan’s “Psychopathia Sexualis” (1844): A Classic Text in the History of Sexuality (Cornell, 2016).
Pallavi Rastogi (Co-Director)
Dr. Pallavi Rastogi is the J.F. Taylor Endowed Professor of English at Louisiana State University. Her first book, Afrindian Fictions: Diaspora, Race, and National Desire in South Africa, was published by Ohio State University in 2008. Dr. Rastogi’s second book, Postcolonial Disaster: Narrating Catastrophe in the Twenty-First Century, was published by Northwestern University Press in 2020. She has also published articles on South African, South Asian, and South Asian diasporic literature as well as multiethnic British and American literature in various journals and anthologies. Her co-edited collection of essays, entitled Teaching South Asian Anglophone Diasporic Literature, will be published by the Modern Languages Association (MLA) in 2024. She serves as Associate Editor and Book Reviews Editor of The South Asian Review.
Robert Mann holds the Manship Chair in Journalism at the Manship School of Mass Communication. Before joining the LSU faculty, he served as a senior aide to US senators Russell Long and John Breaux and Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco. In 2015, he was inducted into the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame. He is the author of nine books. His most recent is Kingfish U: Huey Long and LSU (LSU Press, 2023).
In the early 1980s, he covered Louisiana politics as a reporter for the Shreveport Journal and the Monroe News-Star. He has published op-eds and book reviews in many publications, including the New York Times, Washington Post, the Boston Globe, Smithsonian, Politico, Vox, and Salon. From 2013 to 2018, he wrote a weekly politics column for the New Orleans Times-Picayune. He is editor of the Media & Public Affairs Book Series, a joint series sponsored by the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs and LSU Press
Suzanne Marchand is LSU Systems Boyd Professor of European Intellectual History. Marchand obtained her BA from UC Berkeley in 1984, and her PhD from the University of Chicago in 1992. She served as assistant and then associate professor at Princeton University before moving to LSU in 1999. She is the author, most recently, of Porcelain: A History from the Heart of Europe (Princeton UP, 2020). She has received fellowships from the ACLS, Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin, Max Planck Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, and the Guggenheim Foundation, among others, and is now working on a book titled Herodotus and the Instabilities of Western Civilization.
James Nguyen H. Spencer
James Nguyen H. Spencer is Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School at Louisiana State University. He also serves as Professor of Urban & Regional Planning and as an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the East West Center. Prior to this role, he served as Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies and as Department Chair for Planning, Development and Preservation in Clemson University’s College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities.
His scholarship focuses on international urbanization and planning issues, with a particular focus on water supplies, infrastructure and inequality. His research has been published in the Journal of the American Planning Association, Environment and Planning A, the Journal of Urban Health, Economic Development Quarterly, and elsewhere. His (2014) book titled Global Urbanization: The Global Urban Ecosystem is a part of the Rowman & Littlefield series on Globalization. A second book (Anthem Press, 2022) is titled Planning for Water Security in Southeast Asia: Community-based infrastructure during the urban transition, and was also published by Cambridge University Press (Cambridge Core) in 2023. His work has been financially supported by the Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the Social Science Research Council, among others.
Jas M. Sullivan (Ph.D., Indiana University, 2005) is the Russell B. Long Professor of Political Science. He also has faculty appointments in the Department of Psychology, and African American Studies. His research interests explore the impact of race on political and psychological outcomes. He teaches courses on political psychology, research methods, social psychology, and race and politics. He is a co-author of African American Coping in the Political Sphere (SUNY Press, October 2023) and Dimensions of Blackness: Racial Identity and Political Beliefs (SUNY Press: 2018). His work has appeared in Journal of Community Psychology, Social Science Quarterly, Politics and Policy, National Political Science Review, Journal of Black Studies, as well as in other edited volumes.