MemberUsree Bhattacharya

My research is inspired by questions of diversity, equity, and access in multilingual educational contexts, especially as they pertain to the circulation of English as a “global” language. It combines the analysis of educational policy and practice with methods from the fields of applied linguistics, second language acquisition, linguistic anthropology, and literacy studies. A primary aim of my work is to illuminate the role of discourses, ideologies, and everyday practices in the production and reproduction of hierarchical relations within educational systems. In terms of research projects, I have been conducting ethnographic research on the language and literacy socialization of young boys at an anathashram (orphanage) since 2007 in suburban New Delhi, India. A newer project examines safety and educational rights of adolescent underprivileged girls in suburban Mumbai, India.

MemberJason Heppler

Dr. Jason Heppler is the Digital Engagement Librarian and Assistant Professor of History (by courtesy) at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where he leads initiatives in digital humanities, research data services, and digital community engagement. His first book, tentatively titled Suburban by Nature: Silicon Valley and the Transformation of American Environmental Politics, explores the postwar growth of the cities of Silicon Valley and the ways that their growth not only led to ecological disaster but introduced social inequality. While Silicon Valley’s high-tech companies were imagined as a clean and green alternative to industrialization, the growth, manufacturing, and economic activity introduced challenges to the region’s wildlife and its residents. Suburban by Nature looks at how local communities confronted these challenges and offers a case study for other high-tech regions seeking to balance nature and city. He earned his PhD in History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and has held positions at Stanford University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Digital Research and UNL’s Center for Digital Research in the Humanities.

MemberDeborah Sugg Ryan

…BA (Hons) History & Theory of Art, University of Essex, 1986 (Class I)

PhD, ‘The Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition and Suburban Modernity, 1908-51, Department of Cultural Studies, University of East London, 1995…

I have been Professor of Design History and Theory and Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries at University of Portsmouth since 2016. I was previously Associate Professor of History and Theory of Design and Head of Histories and Theories in the Fashion and Textiles Institute at Falmouth University. I started my career as a curator at the V&A Museum in 1987 and curated ‘Ideal Homes’ for the Design Museum in 1993. I went on to lecture at University of Wolverhampton, University of East London, University of Ulster and Loughborough University, joining Falmouth University in 2007. I have also held a Leverhulme Research Fellowship in Cultural and Historical Geography at Royal Holloway. I was academic convener of ‘The Politics of Design’, the Design History Society annual conference, University of Ulster, 2004. I was a member of the editorial board of The Journal of Design History from 2004-2010. I am a member of the AHRC’s Peer Review College. My research is on the experience of modernity in the twentieth century, with a particular emphasis on design and visual culture, spectacle, space, performance and communities. I am currently working on Kitchen for Reaktion’s Objekt series. My monograph Ideal Homes, 1918-39: Domestic Design and Suburban Modernism was published by Manchester University Press in 2018. I was awarded a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship to support this research in 2012-13, for which I also undertook a programme of knowledge exchange activities with Media 10 Limited, owners of the Ideal Home Show. I have published several articles on the revival of historical pageants and spectacle in Britain, the US and the British Empire in the twentieth century, mainly focusing on the work of pageant master Frank Lascelles. My most recent paper on this subject ‘Spectacle, the Public and the Crowd: Pageants and Exhibitions in 1908’ is in The Edwardian Sense: Art, Design and Spectacle in Britain, 1901-1910, eds. M. Hatt & M. O’Neill, Yale University Press, 2010. I am currently developing a research project on vintage brands, events and subcultures.

MemberPhillip Boda

My work focuses on the intersections of theories of cultural politics and identity more broadly as they influence STEM education contexts. In turn, I also investigate the impact novel educational technologies can have on diverse students’ learning, attitudes, and perceptions of relevant content. Finally, these two lines of work are synthesized in my commitment to study these learning experiences as sites where new learning theories can be developed by design – infusing a Design-based Research methodological goal and process within my work and in my collaborative projects.

I have over 10 years working on the ground in urban, rural, and suburban educational contexts spanning elementary grades up to graduate school as an aid, lead instructor, consultant, curriculum developer, grant writer, and student-teacher supervisor. Past professional experiences critically inform my research on equity; specifically, I investigate how the contexts within STEM disciplines support, stifle, or inhibit teaching and learning. In this way, my work sits at the overlapping intersections of disability/cultural studies and STEM education with a focus on teacher education to inform how STEM teacher education, teaching practices, and student learning of content application and design-based skills can be contextualized to produce inclusion for all students. 

MemberKyle Riismandel

…Under Siege: The Suburban Crisis in American Culture, 1975-2001 (forthcoming from Johns Hopkins University Press)

“‘Say You Love Satan’: Teens and Popular Occulture in 1980s America,” in Growing Up America: Youth and Politics since 1945, Sara Fieldston, Susan Eckelman, and Paul Renfro, eds. Available for pr…

I am an historian of culture, media, place, and technology in postwar America.

MemberYair Solan

…nd Unreliable Spectatorship.” Modernism/modernity 25.1 (2018): 161-184.

“Housebreakers and Peeping Toms: Voyeurism in John Cheever’s Early Suburban Stories.” Journal of the Short Story in English 66 (2016): 303-321.

“‘Striking Stereopticon Views’: Edith Wharton’s &#…

I recently received a Ph.D. in English with doctoral certificates in American Studies and Film Studies from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and currently teach at Queens College, CUNY. I specialize in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature, film and media studies, and the interrelations of literary and technological culture. My articles have been published in Modernism/modernity, the Journal of the Short Story in English, and Studies in American Naturalism. At present, I am working on a book project that examines U.S. writers’ critical engagement with the screen from pre-cinematic media to early motion pictures.

MemberDavid Melbye

My recent book, Irony in The Twilight Zone (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), explores the thematic use of irony in the original Twilight Zone anthology series and similar television programs, with reference to concurrent Cold War science fiction films and literature. As in my first book, my work here historicizes methods of social critique, this time according to irony’s philosophical groundings in Schlegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Derrida, and Rorty. Embarking from this trajectory, I argue the series functions as an aggregate system of ironic communication, whose metaphysical, moral universe mobilizes a critique of 1950s America’s characteristic fears and weaknesses. Instead of perpetuating popular patterns of reception, Irony in The Twilight Zone seeks to re-contextualize the series specifically in terms of irony, since more than any element of science fiction or fantasy, irony becomes the most formulaic aspect of the episodes’ diverse narratives, and even in cases where no climactic twist occurs at all. In other words, Twilight Zone episodes always feature ironic circumstances, wherein characters and/or events turn out to be something other than what was expected, but, otherwise, the series’ eclectic range of contexts ultimately defies genre classification. Also, the show’s host and creator, Rod Serling, referred to as television’s “last angry man,” sought to preserve his aggressive agenda for social consciousness by couching his and other contributors’ critiques in unrealistic scenarios that would evade any censorial scrutiny. Thus, this study probes the larger relationship between irony and social critique, even considering the philosophical legacy of ironic communication, in order to affirm how the former served in The Twilight Zone to mobilize the latter, toward exposing the shortcomings of postwar American culture. Another fundamental aspect of The Twilight Zone too often overlooked is its overarching moral universe, which establishes itself through ironic, often metaphysical circumstances. This study, then, repositions the classic series as an aggregate system that uses ironic circumstances to project an idealized society, resistant to technologization, Cold War paranoia, suburban mythmaking, and other ills of postwar America. Each of several chapters focuses on a particular such aspect, so that the series’ breadth of attention is systematically subdivided and clarified. Ultimately, this is a book providing fresh insight into the richness and complexity of The Twilight Zone, perhaps the greatest of all anthology television series, which really hasn’t had the thorough consideration it deserves until now. The book is peer-reviewed favorably in Journal of American Culture.      My previous book, Landscape Allegory in Cinema (Palgrave Macmillan 2010), explores the topic of landscape in avant-garde and mainstream cinema from the silent era to the present. I specifically identify cases where natural settings transcend their conventional roles as backdrop and become outward manifestations of inner subjective states. Such a range of films includes Nanook of the North, La chute de la maison Usher, Duel in the Sun, L’avventura, Dog Star Man, Lawrence of Arabia, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Apocalypse Now, Fitzcarraldo, and James Benning’s El Valley Centro. The study examines the critical history of landscape depiction in literature, painting, and photography, from medieval allegories like Roman de la Rose to the European Sublime, and from the American Hudson River School and Poe’s landscape sketches to Steichen’s Pictorialist images. Eventually, I illustrate the appearance of psychological landscapes in culturally cathartic films of the 1960s and ‘70s, such as Zabriskie Point and El Topo, and chart the decline of this tendency. My research first appeared in the article, “The Life and Death of the Contemplative Landscape,” in Spectator. I also continue to present my research on landscape-oriented media at academic conferences, including the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and Film & History.  Landscape Allegory in Cinema provides a systematic overview of landscape-oriented films across the history of the medium, showing specifically how and when natural settings function as characters. The study also explores a larger cultural context for the narrative representation of landscape across the humanities, by tracing cultural trajectories of landscape depiction through time. For example, I argue that 17th century Dutch schools of Naturalist and Italianate painting evolved into a modern cinematic context where realistic and idealized settings are coterminous. Eventually, the study analyzes the use of landscape allegory as a means for social critique, particularly in films targeting Western imperialism, such as Aguirre: The Wrath of God and The Man Who Would Be King. The book was nominated for Theatre Library Association’s Wall Award, and is peer-reviewed favorably in Film & History.

MemberDavid Banash

…and the Blair Witch Controversies. Eds. Jeffrey Weinstock and Sarah Higley. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 2004. 111-24.


“Introduction: The Ironies of Suburban Studies.” The Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies. 1.3 (2003): 1-10. (co-authored with Anthony Enns).


“Writers and Radicals: Selections f…

David Banash teaches courses in contemporary American literature, film, and popular culture. He is the author of Collage Culture: Readymades, Meaning, the Age of Consumption (Rodopi 2013), co-editor of Contemporary Collecting: Objects, Practices, and the Fate of Things (Scarecrow 2013), and editor of Steve Tomasula: The Art and Science  of New Media Fiction (Bloomsbury 2015). His essays and reviews have appeared in American Book Review, Bad Subjects: Political Education for Everyday Life, Eye: The International Review of Graphic Design, Literature/Film Quarterly, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Science Fiction Studies,  Paradoxa, PopMatters,  Postmodern Culture,  Reconstruction, and the Iowa Review. He is currently writing a new book manuscript tentatively entitled American Signs/American Icons.