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Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Affiliated Faculty


Program Director

Thomas Barton

Thomas Barton

Associate Professor, History
(619) 260-4042

Office: KIPJ 266

Office Hours:

Thomas W. Barton, PhD, joined the faculty in 2007. He offers a wide sweep of undergraduate courses, including The Medieval World, The Pacific World, Europe’s Discovery and Conquest of the World, Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Spain, Renaissance Europe, and Historians’ Methods. His research concerns the social history of Europe and contacts between Europeans and non-Europeans in the medieval and early modern periods, with a current focus on the case of eastern Iberia and the western Mediterranean.

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Cynthia L. Caywood

Cynthia L. Caywood

Chair, Department of English
Affiliated Professor of Graduate Theatre
(619) 260-4252

Office: Founders Hall 170B

Office Hours: Tuesdays 2:30-4:30pm; and Fridays 9:00am-12:00pm

Cynthia L. Caywood, PhD, has been a member of the faculty since 1984.  She is currently serves as co-director of the London Summer Program.  In the English department, Caywood offers undergraduate courses on restoration and eighteenth century British literature, world drama, and women's literature and graduate courses in seventeenth and eighteenth century drama.  Her research interests include Aphra Behn, Jane Austen, and August Wilson, with special interests in British and American theatre history, stage production, and feminist theory.

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Maura Giles-Watson

Maura Giles-Watson, PhD

Assistant Professor
(619) 260-4286

Office: Founders Hall 170C

Office Hours: Tu/Th 2:20-3:50pm & 5:30-6:30pm; Wednesdays by appointment

Maura Giles-Watson (PhD-English, U of Nebraska-Lincoln; MA-English, U of Massachusetts-Boston;MEd-Cross-Cultural Education, National Univ.; ALB-Classical Studies, Harvard) is an Assistant Professor of English and Keck Faculty Fellow. She teaches courses in medieval and Renaissance drama and performance culture, mythology, ancient tragedy and comedy, as well as the early British literature survey and courses in Henrician literature and culture. During her graduate studies at UNL, Maura designed curricula and taught British Literature to 1800, Linguistics, Shakespeare, and Rhetoric as Argument; during her MA program at UMass-Boston she taught composition and co-taught both Chaucer and Five British Writers. Maura's pedagogical methods are Socratic and blend interdisciplinarity (esp. in drama, music, visual arts, literature, history, and rhetoric) with progressive approaches such as mastery learning in which students are full creative participants.

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Jerome Hall, PhD

Associate Professor, Anthropology
(619) 260-7865

Office: Serra Hall 218

Office Hours: MW: 11:30am-2:15pm,1:30pm-4:00pm

Before coming to USD, Jerome Hall, PhD, was the underwater archaeologist for Puerto Rico and president of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology.  His current research projects include the excavation of a 17th-century northern European merchant shipwreck off the north coast of the Dominican Republic, as well as the documentation and publication of a 1st-century boat recovered from the Sea of Galilee.

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David Hay

David Hay

Research Associate
(619) 260-7763

Office: Founders Hall 170D

Office Hours: Dr. Hay is not teaching Spring 2016.

David Hay, PhD, came to the university as a co-founder of the MFA Program in Acting, a program he directed for seven years. He has also been the director of the Southeast San Diego Tutoring Program, director of the Undergraduate Theatre Arts Program, and is currently co-director of the London Study Abroad Program.

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Juliana Maxim

Juliana Maxim, PhD

Associate Professor, Art History and Architecture
Architecture Program Director
(619) 260-7636

Office: Camino Hall 33B

Office Hours: Thursdays 10:00am - 1:00pm, and by appointment

Juliana Maxim is an art and architectural historian whose work focuses on the history of modern aesthetic practices – from photography to urbanism – under the communist, centralized states of the Soviet Bloc. She completed her PhD dissertation in the History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture at M.I.T. in 2006.

Maxim was a recipient of the National Council for East European and Eurasian Research Award (2008-2010) and was an American Council for Learned Societies post-doctoral fellow (2012-2013).

Her forthcoming book titled The Socialist Life of Modern Architecture: Bucharest, 1955-1965, explores the remarkably intense and multifaceted architectural activity in postwar Romania and the mechanisms through which architecture was invested with political meaning.

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Molly McClain

Molly McClain

Interdisciplinary Humanities Program Director
(619) 260-4044

Office: KIPJ 279

Molly McClain, PhD, serves as director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Program. Her work in seventeenth-century British history includes a biography of the duke and duchess of Beaufort as well as articles on Queen Mary II. She also publishes work on local history. A ninth-generation San Diegan, she co-edits The Journal of San Diego History.

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Joseph McGowan

Associate Professor
(619) 260-4113

Office: Founders Hall 172B

Office Hours: MW 1:00-2:15pm; F 1:00-3:00pm; and by appointment

Areas of interest: late classical and medieval; history of the English language; textual criticism and historical linguistics.  Recent publications include A History of the English Language (Oxford: Blackwell, 2015) and Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts Housed in Switzerland (Tempe, AZ: Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 2012), and articles in Notes & Queries, Journal of English & Germanic Philology, Mediaevistik, Studia Neophilologica, and The Chaucer Review.

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Lance E. Nelson

Lance E. Nelson

Professor, Theology and Religious Studies
(619) 260-4054

Office: Maher Hall 277

Office Hours: MW: 3:00pm-5:00pm, TTH: 2:15pm-3:45pm, immediately after class, or by appointment.

Lance E. Nelson, PhD, is professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies.  He teaches courses in world religions and religious traditions of Asia.  Nelson’s research specialization is in Hindu religious history, focusing on classical systems of Hindu theology and the relation between Hindu religious practice and environmental concern.

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Susie Paulik Babka

Susie Paulik Babka

Associate Professor, Theology and Religious Studies
(619) 260-2754

Office: Maher Hall 258

Office Hours: MWF: 1:00pm-2:00pm, TTH: 2:00pm-3:00pm

Susie Paulik Babka specializes in the relationship between theological aesthetics and doctrines of the trinity and incarnation. She has published on these areas as well as explorations of popular culture and Christology, examining the meaning of kenosis in Christology, as well as the relationship between kenosis (self-emptying) and sunyata in Buddhist-Christian studies. A forthcoming monograph is Through the Dark Field of the Other: Exploring the Doctrine of the Incarnation in Visual Art, from Liturgical Press. Other research, teaching and speaking areas include: aesthetics as a medium for interreligious dialogue; the problem of catastrophic suffering; feminist and liberation theologies, especially in relation to artistic expression; film and media studies and religion; the relation between science and religion. Dr. Babka has taught at the University of Notre Dame and Catholic Theological Union before coming to the University of San Diego in 2007, excited to participate in Mother Hill’s legacy of providing USD with a mission that intertwines Beauty with Justice. Where Beauty draws us out of ourselves toward something deeper, Justice refers to the practical work of transforming this world into the world intended by God: a world that celebrates the dignity and inherent interdependence of every human being with each other and all creation.

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Linda Peterson

Linda Peterson, PhD

Professor, Philosophy

Office Hours: Retired

Linda L. Peterson, PhD, has been a member of the faculty since 1985.  She routinely teaches classes in thehHistory of medieval philosophy and the philosophy of human nature.  Her research area of specialization is in the history of medieval philosophy with particular emphasis on the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas. Her research focus also includes philosophy of religion and metaphysics.

Peterson enjoys traveling and has traveled extensively including trips to Europe, Asia, Australia, South America, the Arctic Circle and Antarctica.  She particularly enjoys visiting cites of interest to the history of medieval philosophy.  She has traveled throughout Italy, visiting the birthplace of St. Thomas Aquinas and the monastery where he died. 

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Marianne Pfau

Marianne Pfau, PhD

Professor, Music History
(619) 260-4101

Office: Camino Hall 161E

Marianne Pfau, PhD, teaches Western music history courses, with a specialization in music before 1800. Since 2007, she has directed the concert series Angelus: Sacred Early Music in Founders Chapel. Occasionally, Dr. Pfau also teaches graduate seminars at the Musicological Institute of the University of Hamburg, Germany.

Dr. Pfau has published extensively on Hildegard of Bingen, and edits 18th-century music for Baroque Oboe. She leads an active musical life as baroque oboist and recorder soloist, performing and recording in the US and in Europe. She often joins American Bach Soloists, Jubilate Baroque Orchestra and California Bach Society in San Francisco, Trinity Consort in Oregon, Ensemble Rebel in New York, with Musica Alta Ripa, L’Arco Baroque Orchestra Hannover, Corona Musica Kassel, Cythara Ensemble Hamburg, Accademia dell’Arcadia Poznan, and many others. As director of the ensembe Toutes Suites, she has recorded five CDs of newly discovered 18th-century music for Baroque Hautbois Band on the labels GENUIN classic in Leipzig, virtilia in Hamburg, and for Bayerischer Rundfunk in Nuremberg.

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Santiago Rubio-Fernaz

Santiago Rubio-Fernaz, PhD

Director of Placement
Adj. Asst. Prof., Latin and Greek
(619) 260-2776

Office: Founders 144-C

Office Hours: Jan. 25-May 9: M/W/F,1:30-2:30 & 3:30-4:15

Santiago Rubio-Fernaz has been a member of the faculty since 1998. He is a lecturer in Classics and also currently serves as Director of Placement for the Department of Languages and Literatures. In the Languages Department, Professor Rubio-Fernaz offers undergraduate courses on Latin and Greek and occasionally on Spanish. His research focus is Roman and Greek poetry, with special interests in Greek epic poetry of the Hellenistic Age and Roman lyric poetry of the Classical Period.

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Cecilia Ruiz

Cecilia Ruiz, PhD

Associate Professor, Spanish
(619) 260-4072

Office: Founders 136

Office Hours: Jan. 25-May 9: M/W/F, 12:15-1:15; M/W, 2:25-3:25

Maria Cecilia Ruiz, PhD, has been a member of the faculty since 1990.

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Abraham Stoll

Abraham Stoll

Professor, English
Affiliated Professor of Graduate Theatre
(619) 260-7535

Office: Founders Hall 175B

Office Hours: M 1:00-4:00pm; Th 3:00-5:00pm; and by appointment

Abraham Stoll, PhD, specializes in Renaissance and early modern literature, particularly the literature of seventeenth-century England. His recent book, Milton and Monotheism, is on the poetry and theology of John Milton. He also edited the five-volume edition of Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene. Currently, he is working on a study of conscience in the early modern period. Stoll has taught at the University of San Diego since 2000, and was visiting professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 2006-07.

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Stefan Vander Elst

Stefan Vander Elst

Associate Professor
(619) 260-2946

Office: Founders Hall 173C

Office Hours: Dr. Vander Elst is on Sabbatical for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Dr. Vander Elst received his PhD from Princeton University in 2006. Following a Mellon post-doctoral fellowship at the Pontifical Institute for Mediaeval Studies in Toronto, Dr. Vander Elst began teaching at USD in 2009. He specializes in Middle English literature, especially Chaucer and fourteenth-century English romance, literature, rhetoric, and propaganda of the later crusades, and literary representations of medieval politics.

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Michael Wagner

Michael Wagner, PhD

Professor, Philosophy
(619) 260-2968

Office: Founders Hall 166B

Michael F. Wagner, PhD, has been a member of the faculty since 1980.  His administrative appointments have included chair of the Philosophy Department (1988-1998) and director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities major (1987-1993, 2001-2007).  His research interests include several topic areas in Ancient and Hellenistic philosophy, in the classical Neoplatonic tradition, in the philosophy of time and science, and in Platonistic conceptions of eros and their cultural influences.

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