Diane Chiriani Russo, Ph.D.

Diane Chiriani Russo Headshot
Distinguished Lecturer
Co-Director of Writing Across the Curriculum

English Department
College of Arts and Sciences

Ph.D. in English, University of South Carolina
Major Field: Twentieth-Century American Literature
Minor Field: Southern Literature
Dissertation: A Gathering of Voices: Dialogic Interplay in the Fiction of Ernest J. Gaines

M.A. in English, Indiana State University

B.A. in English, Manhattan College

About Diane

I believe that true learning derives from inquiry, which, in my discipline, focuses on the craft of human expression-- whether it be a literary text, the image in a graphic novel, a business report, a blog, or an academic essay.  I teach students not necessarily to find definitive answers but to pose informed questions that yield insights into the texts shaping our lives.  In my own work, I pursue inquiries that focus on interplay: the ways in which forms of expression from various contexts, media, traditions, and communities engage with one another and operate within a text. This inquiry into expressive interplay shapes my teaching and study of American literature, the work I have done on writing for digital environments such as ePortfolio, and my teaching of writing courses at diverse levels and across disciplines (first-year composition and  professional writing).  By encouraging students to inquire about the dynamics of interplay, I strive to make students more adept at crafting their own expression to get results, engage in the textual conversations of their workplaces and communities, and inspire.


Whitemouth’: A Bakhtinian Reading of Narrative Voice in Ernest J. Gaines’s Transitional Novel Of Love and Dust.” New Criticisms on the Works of Ernest J. Gaines: Man of Letters, special issue of Studies in the Literary Imagination, vol. 49, no. 1, 2016, pp.93-111.

Selected Conferences

"Defining Old Horizons and Drawing New Ones: Teaching the Graphic Novel Course," College English Association Conference 45th Annual Conference, Baltimore, MD, March 27, 2014.

"The Nature of the Nurturer: Representations of Mothering in Modernist Writing," College English Association   Conference,  Savannah, Georgia, April 2, 2013

"Sustaining and Assessing Shared Learning through ePortfolios," co-authored with Drs. Jerry Allen and Ronald Nowaczyk.  Presented at the16th Annual National Learning Communities Conference, Chicago, IL, November 4, 2011

"From Fortunate Sisterhood to Unfortunate Rivalry: the Transformation of Female Relationships in American Women's Writing and Historical Documents" presented with Dr. Pamela K. Asmus, College English Association Conference, St. Petersburg, FL, April 1, 2011

"‘Woman’s Work’: Frances E. W. Harper’s Models of Female Sanctioned Authorship," South Atlantic Modern Language Association Conference," Atlanta, GA, November 6, 1999

"Voices of a Southern Community: The Language of the Quarters in Ernest Gaines’s Fiction," Southern Writers, Southern Writing: Graduate Conference, Oxford, MS, July 24, 1999

"Giving Voice to the Visions of the Past: The Composition of A Gathering of Old Men," Southern Humanities Council Annual Conference, Charleston, SC, April 18, 1998

"Rewriting and Righting the Past: Narrative Representations of Justice in A Gathering of Old Men," Southern Humanities Council Annual Conference, Huntingdon College, March 21, 1998

"The Blend of Objectivity and Subjectivity in a Realist Novel: William Dean Howells’s A Hazard of New Fortunes," National Social Sciences Association Midwest Conference, St. Louis, MO, March 15, 1991

Selected Panels

"Power of Gender" Panel at Reawaken: Sigma Tau Delta International Convention, Moderator and Discussion Facilitator, New Orleans, LA, March 1, 2012

Jump Start Your Semester Faculty Panel for Academic Probation Students, University of New Haven, January 18, 2012.

Fireside Chat on Freshman Common Read, Making the Impossible Possible, University of New Haven,September 2011.

"Breaking Silences," University of New Haven’s Common Read Discussion Panel on The Kite Runner, University of New Haven, October 8, 2008

Service Highlights

Founding Faculty Co-Sponsor of Alpha Sigma Theta, the University of New Haven chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, English Honor Society

Administrative Role

Coordinator of ePortfolios for the College of Arts and Sciences, 2009-2011


  • Chair of English Department's Assessment Committee, 2013-present
  • Member, Freshman Writing Program Review Committee, 2011-2012
  • Member, ePortfolio Task Force for College of Arts and Sciences, 2009-2011
  • Member, College of Arts and Sciences Learning Community Steering Committee, 2008-2009
  • Member, Ad Hoc Core Committee, 2007-2009
Courses Taught
  • ENGL 1105 Composition
  • ENGL 1110 Composition & Literature
  • ENGL 2214 Modern American Writers
  • ENGL 2220 Writing for Business & Industry
  • ENGL 4477 American Literature between the World Wars
  • ENGL 4481 Special Topics: Graphic Novel
  • ENGL 4478 Contemporary American Literature
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