Faculty and Staff
Director of Fellowships and Scholarships, Associate Professor of English, and Associate Director of the Center for Southern Studies.
Office: Honors House 101
Office telephone: 478.301.2358
Originally from Butler, Georgia, David A. Davis attended Emory University (B.A. 1997) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Ph.D. 2006). He taught at Wake Forest University before coming to Mercer in 2008.
He studies southern literature and culture, and he teaches courses in American literature and southern studies. He has published essays and review essays in African American Review, American Quarterly, Journal of American Studies, Mississippi Quarterly, Modern Fiction Studies, Mosaic, Southern Quarterly, Southern Literary Journal, and other journals. He edited a reprint of Victor Daly's novel Not Only War: A Story of Two Great Conflicts (Charlottesville: U of Virginia P, 2010) and a reprint of John L. Spivak's novel Hard Times on a Southern Chain Gang: Originally Published as Georgia Nigger (Columbia: U of South Carolina P, 2012). He co-edited Writing in the Kitchen: Essays on Southern Literature and Foodways with Tara Powell (Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 2014). Currently, he is writing books on World War I and southern modernism and on sharecropping and southern literature. He is chair of the Sidney Lanier Prize for Southern Literature committee.
Chester J. Fontenot, Jr.
Baptist Professor of English; Director of Africana Studies
Office: Willingham 204
Office telephone: 478.301.2345
Chester J. Fontenot, Jr. is the Baptist Professor of English and Director of the Africana Studies Program at Mercer University. He earned a B.A. in Theoretical Math and Political Science from Whittier College in 1972, a Ph. D. in Comparative Cultures from the University of California at Irvine in 1975, and Post Doctoral study at Yale University, and Christian Theological Seminary. He came to Mercer in 1999. He is the author or editor of 8 books, including two works in the influential series, Studies in Black American Literature, and the first book-length study of racial theorist Frantz Fanon. He has also published over 60 articles, and numerous book reviews and newspaper articles. Dr. Fontenot was a founding member and first chair of the Modern Language Association African-American Literature Section and editor of the Black American Literature Forum. He has received numerous awards, including Who's Who Among Black Americans, The Directory of American Scholars, Contemporary Living Authors, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the 21st Century, Who’s Who in American Education, Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, and his biography is included in the National Biographical Center in London, England. He has earned a national and international reputation in his fields of academic research and has lectured at more than 40 universities in the United States and as a visiting scholar at 6 universities in 4 countries abroad. He is the general editor of the Mercer University Press book series, “Voices of the African Diaspora”. He has also served as a consultant for more than 30 years for multiculturalism, diversity, and inclusiveness efforts by institutions.
Benjamin W. Griffith, Jr. Professor; Chair, Department of English
Office: Willingham 306
Office telephone: 478.301.2587
Glance earned an A.B. in English at Davidson College (1983) and an M.A.(1986) and Ph.D. (2001) in English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He came to Mercer in 1992. Glance was trained as a Victorianist and has pursued diverse interests while at Mercer. He regularly teaches INT 101, English 264, English 237, and 347 (Romantic Poetry and Prose) and 349 (the English Novel) in alternating years. He has offered English Special Topic courses on Web Design for Humanities Majors, the Gothic in Fiction and Film, Austen and Dickens in Fiction and Film, and Dickens's Works and World. Scholarship has included analysis of literary dreams in 19th-century British novels, as well as the supernatural on the 19th-century stage. His recent work in the field of adaptation studies examines the screenplay's importance in the process of adapting a source text into a film, analyzing John Huston's The Man Who Would Be King. Glance forrmerly served as Director of the First Year Seminar program and as the first Writing Director of the College of Liberal Arts. He and his wife Cindy have two children, Carlyle and Ellyson.
Office: Groover 118
Elizabeth Harper is assistant professor of English at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and previously taught at the University of Central Arkansas for four years. Dr. Harper received her doctorate in medieval English literature from the University of North Carolina, a MA in English from the University of North Carolina, and a BA in English and philosophy from Wheaton College (Illinois). Her publications include “Pearl in the Context of Fourteenth-Century Gift Economies,” The Chaucer Review 44, no. 4 (2010) and “‘A Tokene and a Book’: Reading Images in Dives and Pauper,” The Yearbook of Langland Studies 28 (2014), as well as book reviews and articles about teaching medieval literature to undergraduates. Dr. Harper’s book manuscript, “Gifts and Economic Exchange in Late Medieval Religious Writing,” examines how three Middle English writers and one early English reformer use the language of gift-giving to imagine alternatives to the competitive cultures of English court and marketplace during the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries. Her other research interests include medieval culture, religion, and intellectual history, as well as Chaucer, Hoccleve, romance, and early Reformation intellectual history. When she is not reading, writing, or teaching, Dr. Harper likes to garden, read mystery novels, and hike with her family.
Professor; Director, Creative Writing Program
Chair, Ferrol A. Sams, Jr. Distinguished Writer-in-Residence Committee
Office: Willingham 304
Office telephone: 478.301.2588
Johnston was born in Warner Robins, GA and grew up there and in Dearing, GA. He earned a B.A. from Shorter College (1989), an M.A. in British literature and creative writing from the University of Georgia (1991), and a Ph.D. in American literature (Modern and Contemporary Fiction and Poetry and Creative Writing) from the University of Georgia (1995). He came to Mercer in 1996. He is a poet, essayist, and fiction writer who teaches literature. Interests include modern and contemporary fiction (especially the short story) and poetry, linguistics, wilderness writing, creative nonfiction, contemporary art, anagama pottery, Native American mythology, prehistory, and culture, canoeing, hiking, birds, and World War II. Some of his favorite writers: Thoreau, Annie Dillard, Barry Lopez, Thomas Merton, Wendell Berry, Alice Munro, Tolkien, Tim O'Brien, Flannery O'Connor, Tobias Wolff, Charles Baxter, Pattiann Rogers, Stephen Dunn, William Stafford, Rodney Jones, Judson Mitcham, Andre Dubus, Walker Percy, J.M. Coetzee, Cormac McCarthy, Gwendolyn Brooks, W.S. Merwin, Louise Erdrich, Elizabeth Bishop, Seamus Heaney, Richard Hugo, Kazuo Ishiguro, Dostoevsky, Rumi, Charles Frazier, Gerald Stern, Margaret Gibson, W.H. Auden, Yeats, Scott Russell Sanders, Ralph Ellison, William Ong, Albert Camus, John Berger, and Thich Nhat Hahn. Johnston's regularly offered courses are creative writing, Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Poetry, Wilderness and the American Mind, the Study of Fiction, the Study of Poetry, Senior Capstone: Art and Society, and First Year Seminar. He has recently directed studies and honors theses on individual writers: novelist Tim O'Brien, poets Derek Walcott, Ted Hughes, playwright Samuel Beckett, and composer John Cage. Furthermore, he has directed honors portfolios in poetry and fiction writing.
Mary Alice Morgan
Professor; Senior Vice-Provost for Service Learning
Office: Willingham 205 & Godsey Administration Building, 401
Office telephone: 478.301.2571 & 478.301.5422
Morgan earned a B.A. from Duke University (1977), and an M.A. (1979) and a Ph.D. (1992) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She came to Mercer in 1997.
Morgan's training is in 19th-century American literature, especially in those writers whose works comment on the social issues of the period such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Frederick Douglass, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Upton Sinclair, and the subject of her dissertation, novelist William Dean Howells. In addition to teaching the English courses covering these periods (ENG 352, 353, and 354), she also teaches a senior seminar (ENG 480) about changes in the American literary canon and general education courses such as ENG 224 (Theme in Western Heritage) and the American literature survey (ENG 265).
Morgan also has training in Women’s Studies and is a former chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies Department where she developed service learning courses on violence against women and sex trafficking.
She currently serves as Senior Vice Provost for Service Learning and has been recognized for her work, being named a finalist for the national Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award that recognizes outstanding leadership in fostering community partnerships, conducting community-based research, and enhancing higher education’s contributions to the public good. An advocate for social justice both on campus and in the community, she has initiated projects to raise awareness about issues such as violence against women, sex trafficking, LGBT rights, poverty and racial inequality. She has co-led a Mercer on Mission trip to work in townships in Cape Town, South Africa multiple times. She and her husband have two children.
Office: Ware 110C
Office telephone: 478.301.2984
Richardson earned a B.A. (1971) and an M.A. (1975) from Northeast Louisiana University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1983. He came to Mercer in 1983. His interests include 19th-century Irish and Irish-American drama, 18th-century literature and culture, and the Harry Potter books.
Associate Professor; Director of the Writing Program
Office: Groover 103
Office telephone: 478.301.2566
Trained as a classical ballerina before attending graduate school, Senasi earned B.A. degrees in English and Dance Performance at Birmingham-Southern College (1993), an M.A. at the University of Alabama (1996) and a Ph.D. from the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies at the University of Alabama (2003). She came to Mercer in 2007. Dr. Senasi's scholarship has appeared in The Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, Religion and Literature, and the book collection, Desire of the Analysts: Psychoanalysis and Cultural Criticism in the New Millennium (SUNY 2008). Some of her recent and upcoming conference presentations include a study of gendered silences and the law in Tudor England at the 2008 Modern Language Association and an exploration of the visual rhetoric of the self from medieval heraldry to polymer preserved bodies for the 2009 South Atlantic Modern Language Association meeting. She is currently completing a book on gendered performance, material culture, and the name in early modern England. Her research and teaching interests include sixteenth and seventeenth century British literature and culture, in particular the works of Shakespeare, Middleton, Donne, and Milton. She also works in the areas of Humanist pedagogy, Renaissance law, the lives of early modern women, and literary theory, in particular gender and performance theory and psychoanalysis. Other interests include Victorian literature, especially the works of Dickens and Rossetti. Dr. Senasi teaches the following courses: ENG 332 (Shakespeare I: Comedies and Histories); ENG 333 (Shakespeare II: Tragedies and Romances); ENG 335 (Milton); ENG 342 (Seventeenth-Century Literature); ENG 301 (Introduction to Literary Studies); ENG 263 (Survey of British Literature: Beginnings through the Eighteenth Century); ENG 235 (Study of Poetry); FYS 101 (First Year Seminar: Composing the Self); FYS 102 (First Year Seminar: Engaging the World); ENG 108 (Composition I); and ENG 109 (Composition II).
Page Morton Hunter Professor
Office: Willingham 305
Office telephone: 478.301.2564
Silver was born in the Bronx, New York, and grew up a few minutes south of the city in North Jersey, then considered the armpit of the nation. He earned a B.A. in Religion, with a minor in English, from The George Washington University (1991); and Ph.D. in English from Emory University (1997). He came to Mercer in 1998. Areas of interest include 19th-century American Literature, Southern literature, religion and literature, drama, and Russian literature Silver regularly teaches FYS 101 & 102, Christianity and Literature, Introduction to American Literature, Introduction to Drama, American Renaissance, Realism and Naturalism, Modern Drama, Contemporary Drama, Southern Literature to 1945, and English capstone. He dreams of teaching on the sitcom from The Honeymooners to South Park, and on graphic novels and comic books Silver has written two plays, Combustible/Burn and The Disciples, both of which have been produced and staged at Mercer's Backdoor Theatre. Publications include Minstrelsy and Murder: The Crisis of Southern Humor, 1830-1930 (LSU Press, 2006), and an essay on "Pluralism at a Baptist University"; in addition, he was one of the editors of The Mercer Reader. Presentations include Mercer's 2007 Baccalaureate Address and a Georgia Public Broadcasting interview on sex trafficking. Silver was selected as Georgia's Professor of the Year (2003), his play Combustible/Burn was nominated for Georgia Book of the Year, and he was nominated for Daddy of the Year.
Office: Groover 210
Office telephone: 478.301.5641
Born in Swarthmore, PA, she received a B.A. in English with a creative writing concentration from Haverford College. Silver's undergraduate thesis examined The Lowell Offering, a 19th century literary journal written and edited by women working in the Lowell textile mills. After graduating, She taught English for a year in a Mississippi public high school as a member of the Mississippi Teacher Corps, and then spent a year working in the National Geographic Society library in Washington, D.C. She missed the classroom and decided to return to graduate school at Emory University, where she earned a Ph.D. in English literature with a specialization in Victorian literature and additional interests in children’s literature, women’s studies, and poetry. Since then, she has been lucky enough to teach at Mercer (since 2000) and spend her days reading and talking about literature. She is married to fellow Mercer English professor Andrew Silver; they have one son, Noah, who enjoys visiting Jack Tarver library and the UC with his parents. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, writing poetry, being a member of St. Francis Episcopal church, and doing yoga. Among the courses that Silver regularly teaches at Mercer are FYS, Children’s Literature, Study of Fiction, Survey of British Literature, Victorian Poetry and Prose, Images of Women in Literature, Modern Poetry, Multicultural Women Writers, and Feminist Theory. Silver has published a book of literary criticism, Victorian Literature and the Anorexic Body (Cambridge UP) and has a book of poetry, The Ninety Third Name of God, forthcoming (Louisiana State UP). She has also published poetry in numerous journals, including Image, Christianity and Literature, The Christian Century, The Anglican Theological Review, Crab Orchard Review, and many others. In academic journals, she has published essays on Christina Rossetti’s poetry, the Victorian children’s writer Lucy Lane Clifford, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, and the film The Stepford Wives. An essay about her experiences being pregnant with breast cancer is forthcoming in A Cup of Comfort for Breast Cancer Survivors.
Senior Administrative Assistant, Department of English, Department of Mathematics, Department of Africana Studies.
Office: Willingham 201
Office telephone: 478.301.2562, 478.301.2814
Born in the Canary Islands, Spain, she came to the United States in 1984 and has lived in Arizona, Alaska, Georgia, and Florida. Interests: Exercising, dancing, music, spending lots of time with her family.