The College of Arts and Humanities at Fresno State is the largest college on campus, encompassing nine departments, and the Armenian Studies Program.

Of the 60 new faculty members at Fresno State this fall, about 22% of the new hires are in the College of Arts and Humanities. These new faculty bring innovative research, diverse disciplines and technical expertise to our college, strengthening our programs across many of our disciplines.

Over the next few weeks, we will introduce you to these new faces, by department.

Department of English

English Professor Dr. J. Ashley FosterDr. J. Ashley Foster joins the Department of English as an assistant professor, coming to Fresno State from Haverford College in Pennsylvania.

Foster is an assistant professor of 20th- and 21st-century British literature with an emphasis in digital humanities. She received her Ph.D. in 2014 from The Graduate Center, City University of New York.

Working at the intersection of literary studies, digital humanities, peace studies and women’s studies, Foster’s scholarship and teaching employs digital tools to trace the relationships between artistic and activist networks of the long 20th century and to facilitate intertextual readings between literature and archives. Foster’s book project, “Modernism’s Impossible Witness: Peace Testimonies from the Spanish Civil War,” illuminates a concern for peace and social justice in the study of modernism.

Recent peer-reviewed articles include the co-authored “Changing the Subject: Archives, Technology and Radical Counter-Narratives of Peace” in Radical Teacher (2016) and “Writing in the ‘White Light of Truth’: History, Ethics, and Community in Virginia Woolf’s ‘Between the Acts’” in the Woolf Studies Annual (2016).

Question: What are you most looking forward to here at Fresno State?

Answer: Getting to know the students and faculty, expanding my approaches to scholarship and teaching.  

Q: Can you tell us how you became involved in your specialty area?

A: I fell in love with the modernist era as an undergraduate student in English literature and philosophy. There was one lecture in particular that discussed Virginia Woolf’s “To The Lighthouse” that changed my life — the experimentation and the politics of such radical ruptures in form seemed to me beautiful in its artistry. My passion for literature opened onto my passion for digital scholarship. I am enthusiastic about digital humanities because it offers many paths for creativity, facilitates students’ entry into the academic discourse community and allows scholars to render in innovative ways the multiple dimensions and interlocking nature of texts and archives.    

Q: What will your distinctive background do to elevate the English Department offerings here at Fresno State?

A: I look forward to sharing my enthusiasm for teaching and scholarship in British literature and the digital humanities with the Department of English. As a new faculty member, I am eager to get to know the department better to see where my particular talents can make a contribution.

Q: What are you reading?

A: I always have at least one book for fun that I am reading. Right now, I am just starting “A Tale for the Time Being: A Novel” by Ruth Ozeki.

Q: What is a book you think everyone should read?

A: “Three Guineas” by Virginia Woolf

Q: What’s a fun fact that people might not know about you?

A: I used to be a classical ballet dancer and I still enjoy social dance, such as Lindy Hop.  

Q: When are your office hours?

A: 11 a.m. to noon Mondays and Wednesdays and 4-5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?

A: I have a dedicated yoga practice.  

English Professor Dr. Alexander Adkins JaramilloDr. Alexander Adkins Jaramillo joins the Department of English as an assistant professor, coming to Fresno State from Rice University in Houston, Texas, where he earned his Ph.D. in English.

Jaramillo teaches courses in contemporary British and postcolonial literature, the prison-industrial complex and satire.

Jaramillo’s current book project examines the function of satire as a response to political cynicism in the developing world. He has published articles in The Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry and in Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction.

Question: What are you most looking forward to here at Fresno State?

Answer: I’m most looking forward to learning with and about Fresno State students. I just taught my first class here and y’all are wonderful!

Q: Can you tell us how you became involved in your specialty area?

A: I was very interested in social justice issues as an undergraduate, but sometimes felt the pressure to be very grim and serious when studying and talking about the material. I found that postcolonialism and satire were genres and fields of inquiry heavily invested in questions of social justice, but in a way that I found much more playful and liberating.

Q: What will your distinctive background do to elevate the English Department offerings here at Fresno State?

A: I’m hoping that my interest in satire and postcolonial theory and film will mesh well with the department’s diverse offerings.

Q: What are you reading?

A: Right now I’m reading some Georges Bataille, a French author known for his grotesque short stories and influence on surrealist writers and thinkers.

Q: What is a book you think everyone should read?

A: Steven Pressfield’s “The War of Art” is a quick read for those interested in overcoming the fear and anxiety often associated with writing and other creative endeavors. We could all use it!

Q: What’s a fun fact that people might not know about you?

A: I grew up skateboarding and doing martial arts. I don’t really follow any sports except for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and grappling — but I’m fanatical about them!

Q: What is your biggest pet peeve in the classroom or a mistake students tend to make?

A: My biggest pet peeve is when students clam up during class. Students almost always have interesting and valuable things to bring to the table. The best and most worthwhile classes are student-driven and involve lots of discussion!

Q: When are your office hours?

    A: My office hours are 10-11 a.m. and 2:30-3:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays.

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?

    A: Please reach out to me if you want to chat!