Please join us in welcoming seven new faculty to the UCI School of Humanities:

Larisa Castillo, associate professor of teaching, Humanities Core

Dr. Larisa Castillo has served as writing director of Humanities Core since 2012. Her work on Victorian literature, the history of intellectual property, and theories of sovereignty has been published in Nineteenth-Century Literature and the edited volume Provocations to Reading. At Pomona College, she taught courses in Victorian literature, British Modernism, and critical theory.

Her efforts in Core have refocused the curriculum to include writing in multiple genres and mediums. Having conducted a year-long assessment of this pedagogical approach, her current work focuses on the relationship between genre and authorship and on writing in collectivities.

Concurrently, she has established and cultivated mentorship programs and opportunities for undergraduates, graduates, and faculty. These include a Peer Tutoring Lab for Core undergraduates; teaching and professionalization workshops for Mellon Fellows; mentoring visiting assistant professors in conducting formal assessments; and collaborating with the Office of Inclusive Excellence on developing trainings that increase awareness of the challenges facing marginalized students.

Castillo received her Ph.D. in English from UCI, with an emphasis in critical theory. She received her B.A. in English and a Certificate of Composition Studies at CSU Sacramento.

Fun fact: Outside of her work, Larisa enjoys gardening, ikebana, and meditation. If she were a color, she would be blue; if she were a tree, she would be a redwood; if she were an animal, she would be a squirrel (but wishes she could be Rosie, her dog).

Christopher Fan, Assistant Professor, English

Dr. Christopher Fan joins us from the UC Riverside department of English where he was a UC Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow. Fan's research focuses on Asian/American fiction, racialization, and US-Asia geopolitics. His writing has appeared in The Journal of Transnational American Studies, American Quarterly, The Journal of Asian American Studies, Post45: Peer Reviewed, Public Books, and The New Inquiry. He is currently working on a book about racial form in Silicon Valley fiction. He co-founded the Asian American culture and politics magazine Hyphen, and now serves as a senior editor there.

Fan earned his Ph.D. in English from UC Berkeley, M.A. in humanities and social thought from NYU, and A.B. in English from Cornell University.

Fun fact: In his spare time, Chris loves to ride his road bike and swim with his kids.

Simcha Gross, Assistant Professor, History

Dr. Simcha Gross earned his Ph.D. from Yale University and recently taught at Stanford University. Gross specializes in Ancient Jewish and Christian history, currently concentrating on Jews and Syriac Christians living under Sasanian Persian and early Arab-Muslim rule. He is also interested in the co-formation of Judaism and Christianity in antiquity. One of his current projects is to study Jewish and Syriac Christian historiography not as unproblematic accounts of the past, but as reflections of their authors' present imperial context. He recently co-authored the book The 'History of the Slave of Christ': From Jewish Child to Christian Martyr.

Fun fact: Simcha has three cats. Let me rephrase. Simcha is the humble servant of three terribly spoiled and demanding, but adorable, cats.

Bambi Haggins, Associate Professor, Film and Media Studies/Visual Studies

Dr. Bambi Haggins joins us from Arizona State University's Department of English where she was associate professor of film and media studies. Haggins is the author of Laughing Mad: The Black Comic Persona in Post Soul America (Rutgers University Press, 2007), which received the 2008 Katherine Singer Kovács Book Award for outstanding film and media studies scholarship from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. Her articles have appeared in Cinema Journal, Flow, Framework, Velvet Light Trap, Ms., and New York Times. Her research interests include Blackness and comedy in film, television, digital media and performance, television history, comedy as social and political discourse and issues of representations in American film, television and digital media. She is currently working on her next book project, Black Laughter Matters: Comedy and Blackness in the Age of Obama and Beyond, and editing the collection, TV Memories: Love Letters to our Televisual Past.

Haggins earned her M.A and Ph.D. in film and television from UCLA and her M.A. in education and her A.B. in American studies from Stanford.

Fun fact: Bambi has been a TV girl from a very young age: one of her most prized possessions is her diploma from Romper Room, the television kindergarten series with Miss Mary Ann in its LA iteration of the series. To this day, it is the only diploma she has framed.

Joan Malczewski, Associate Professor, History

Dr. Joan Malczewski joins us from New York University where she was an associate professor of history and education. Malczewski specializes in American political development, and focuses specifically on the relationship between education, philanthropy, and state building. Her recent book, Building a New Educational State: Foundations, Schools and the American South (University of Chicago Press, 2016), explores the development of public education for rural blacks in the American South in the early twentieth century.

Malczewski earned her Ph.D. in history and education from Columbia University, an M.A. from Teachers College at Columbia University, and a B.A. in economics from the University of Michigan.

Fun fact: Joan started out as an accountant before she earned her doctorate in history. She was licensed as a CPA in New York and worked for a major accounting firm and then in real estate finance.

Rick Snyder, assistant professor of teaching, Classics and Humanities Core

Dr. Richard Snyder’s research explores intersections of poetry and political theory, with a special focus on the relation of poetic forms to conceptions of community. His critical essays on contemporary poetry and translation have appeared or are forthcoming in Radical Society, Jacket, and Occasion. He is also the author of one full-length collection of poetry, and his poems and translations of Latin poetry have appeared widely in literary journals. He has taught Latin and courses on ancient literature in translation at USC and the University of Rochester.

Snyder received a Ph.D. in comparative literature from USC and a B.A. in English from Indiana University.

Fun Fact: Rick is an avid fan of the New York Mets.

Hector Tobar, Associate Professor, English/Literary Journalism & Chicano/Latino Studies

Hector Tobar is an acclaimed author and journalist whose 2014 book, Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of Thirty-Three Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, was a Silver Medal California Book Award winner, one of Publishers Weekly’s Best 10 Books of the Year, and a New York Times Notable Book and Bestseller for eight weeks running. It was also a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award. His prior book, The Barbarian Nurseries, a novel, earned a Gold Medal California Book Award, the Southern California Independent Booksellers Award for Fiction, and was a New York Times Notable Book. His short stories and essays have appeared in The New Yorker and Best American Short Stories 2016, and he has a piece forthcoming in Tales of Two Cities, an anthology on inequality in the U.S. He’s also the co-editor of a forthcoming book called The Wandering Song, an Anthology of Central American Writing.
Tobar earned his M.F.A in creative writing, fiction, from UCI and bachelors degrees in Latin American studies and sociology from UC Santa Cruz.

Fun fact: Hector is a lifelong Dodger fan.

Humanities Core
Film and Media Studies
Visual Studies