Faculty

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Joan Hepburn hepburn@stolaf.edu
(English, African American Literature, & Drama)

Presently the Director of Africa and the Americas, Joan Hepburn obtained her B. A. from New York University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Brown University.  Before coming to teach in the English Department at St. Olaf College in 1987, she taught in an array of institutions of higher education, including Fordham University.  Having studied contemporary drama and especially West African drama in English, she has published work in such anthologies as the Norton Critical Edition on Wole Soyinka.  In addition, she has taught on and off campus, whether required courses for the English major, Theater in New York, or Theater in South Africa.  Administratively, she has also directed the program of American Racial and Multicultural Studies and served as faculty advisor for programs in both east and west Africa.

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Torin Alexander alexandt@stolaf.edu

Torin has degrees from Vanderbilt University (BS in Physics and Mathematics); University of California, Berkeley (MA in Physics); Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York (M.Div.), and Rice University (MA and PhD in Religious Studies). His teaching and research areas include American Christianity, African American religion and religious experience, and theory and method for the study of religion. He is the author of several encyclopedia articles, book reviews, and is co-author with Stephen C. Finley of a chapter in Faith in America (Praeger Publishers, 2006). In addition, he is a former editorial assistant for Religious Studies Review and The Council of Societies for the Study of Religion Bulletin and an assistant editor for The Encyclopedia of African American Religious Culture (ABC-CLIO).

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Mary S. Carlsen, MSW, LISW carlsen@stolaf.edu

Professor of Social Work
Director, Social Work Program
Chair, Department of Social Work and Family Studies

Mary Carlsen received her B.A. degree in Social Work from St. Olaf College in 1979, and a Master’s Degree in Social Work in 1983 from the University of Washington, Seattle, with specializations in health care and aging. She has worked in medical social work for twenty-eight years, in hospital, nursing home, hospice and home care settings.

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Mike Fitzgerald  fitz@stolaf.edu
Holland Hall 532
Phone 507-786-3162

Michael Fitzgerald obtained both his B. A. and Ph.D. from UClA, where he specialized in African American, Civil War and Reconstruction, and Southern history.  Fitzgerald is the author of the book The Union League and Social Change in the Deep South During Reconstruction, as study of African-American grassroots politics and its impact on the plantation system.   His second book was study of class in the urban African American community in the decades after slavery ended.  The title was Urban Emancipation: Popular Politics in Reconstruction Mobile.  His most recent book is Splendid Failure: Postwar Reconstruction in the American South.  His current project is a full-scale history of the Reconstruction era in Alabama.

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David Hagedorn hagedord@stolaf.edu
(Music)

In the Music Department at St. Olaf College, David Hagedorn teaches percussion, jazz  studies,and world music. He studied African drumming with Abraham Adzenyah at the Banff Centre for Fine Arts in Canada, was a charter member of the Lila Muni gamelan at the Eastman School of Music, and studied Cuban hand drumming and Brazilian samba with Michael Spiro and Dane Richeson at Bjorklunden in Door County Wisconsin.

He has recorded with the George Russell Living Time Orchestra on Blue Note Recordings, jazz singer Debbie Duncan on Igmod Recordings, and also with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra on Teldec Recordings. Hagedorn regularly performs in the Twin Cities with jazz groups such as the Phil Hey quartet, Apex, Meantime, Low Blows, and the JazzMn Orchestra.

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Abdulai Iddrisu iddrisu@stolaf.edu
(African History, Muslim Societies, and Women in Africa)

Abdulai Iddrisu obtained his Ph.D. in the areas of African history, history of Islam in sub-Saharan Africa, and gender and colonialism from the University of Illinois, Urban Champaign. His publications include “The Growth of Islamic Learning in Northern Ghana and its Interaction with Western Secular Education” Africa Development Vol. XXX, Nos. 1 & 2, (2005), pp. 20-34; “The Ghana Public Records and Archives Administration Department-Tamale: A Guide for Users” History in Africa: A Journal of Method, Vol. 27 (2000), pp. 449-453.  He has also published in various journals including the Canadian Journal of African Studies, Islam Et Societés Au Du Sahara, The Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, and the Journal for Islamic Studies among others. His article on “Education Colonial and Missionary” appeared in Vol. 4 of Koninklijike Brill’s Encyclopedia of Women in Islamic Cultures: Family, Body and Health, (2006) edited by Suad Joseph and Afsaneh Najmabadi and “Zangina” in the Dictionary of African Biography, edited by Henry Louis Gates Jn. and Emmanuel K. Acheampong (Cambridge University Press, 2011) Abdulai is the author of Contesting Islam in Africa: Homegrown Wahhabism and Muslim Identity in northern Ghana, 1920-2010 (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2012).

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Joseph Mbele  mbele@stolaf.edu
(English, post-Colonial and Third World literature)

After earning a Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin and before coming to St. Olaf College in 1990 to teach post-colonial and third-world literature, Joseph Mbele taught in the Literature Department of the University of Dar es Salam, Tanzania.  He specialized in folklore and the connection between folklore and literature.  He has published work on tricksters, outlaws, and epic heroes, collected tales, and done fieldwork in Kenya, Tanzania, Israel, Uganda, and the United States.

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Jonathan Naito naito@stolaf.edu
(English Department)

Jonathan Naito received his Ph.D. from UCLA and his B.A. from Reed College. In both his research and his teaching, Professor Naito is deeply interested in race, ethnicity, and other forms of identity in, among other places, Britain, the Caribbean, Africa, South Asia, and the United States. Examples of his past courses include Black and Asian British Literature, Transatlantic Anglophone Literature (a course on Anglophone literature of Africa and the Caribbean), Postcolonial Studies and Beyond (a 300-level seminar with a focus on postcolonial, diaspora, transnational, and globalization theory), and Transnational Literature (a course that addresses postcolonial and ethnic American literature and select theoretical approaches that bridge the fields). His past publications include “Samuel Beckett and the Black Atlantic” in The Black and Green Atlantic (Palgrave) and “Cruel and Unusual Light: Electricity and Effacement in Stephen Crane’s The Monster” in Arizona Quarterly.

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Ted Thornhill thornhil@stolaf.edu

Ted Thornhill joined the Department of Sociology and Anthropology in fall 2011 after teaching at American International College in Springfield, MA and the University of Massachusetts–Amherst. A native of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Ted earned his B.A. in sociology and ethnic studies with honors from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL. He holds an M.S. in applied social research from Florida State University and completed his Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst. His dissertation focused on the role of family and education on black college students’ racial ideologies.

His research interests include racism and antiracism; critical race theory; racial socialization; African American history and culture; social class inequality; crime and social control; and American Evangelicalism and New/Alternative Religions.

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Mary Titus titus@stolaf.edu
(English, American literature)

Mary Titus is Professor of English and Director of American Studies. She acquired her B. A. from Skidmore in New York and her M.A. and Ph.D. from North Carolina. Currently, she is interested in collecting and has enjoyed giving papers at the American Culture Association Convention on such topics as the House on the Rock, junk drawers and other miscellaneous collections, and hoarding.   In the past, her scholarship was primarily on 19th and early 20th century American literature, especially literature of the American South. She remains interested in the relationships between literary texts and popular culture and has published essays on such topics as slave narratives, food and race, and myths of Southern womanhood.