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Derek F. DiMatteo

  • Assistant Professor
    English Department


Greetings! I'm Derek DiMatteo, an assistant professor in the Department of English.

I love teaching and studying literature and culture, so my courses often contain a mix of literary texts and film. I might mix together the Studio Ghibli film Princess Mononoke with, say, Dr. Seuss's The Lorax and William Cronon's essay "The Trouble with Wilderness." Or we might read Jonathan Kozol's Death at an Early Age alongside excerpts from Maria Montessori's classic The Montessori Method and the Jack Black film School of Rock.

I arrived at Gannon in 2020, moving to Erie from Bloomington, Indiana, where I had lived since 2012 while earning a MA and PhD in literary and cultural studies. Although Erie was new to me when I arrived, I was no stranger to Western Pennsylvania – my mother's side of the family is from Pittsburgh and Beaver, which I visited often. However, I grew up in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts and spent most of my youth in New England, including college at Wesleyan University in CT and grad school at Tufts University and additional graduate coursework at Harvard University in MA. 

Growing up, one of my life goals had been to live abroad. I finally achieved this when I moved to Japan in 2003 for a teaching job. I didn't know any Japanese when I moved there, so it was a serious challenge to immerse myself in Japanese culture and learn the language from zero. I thought I might stay for one or two years, but I loved it so much that I stayed until 2012! While there, I taught at Kaichi Jr/Sr. High School and Lakeland University Japan. Living in Japan was an amazing experience. If you are interested in visiting Japan, teaching EFL, or in living abroad in general, come talk to me! 

These days, my interests include playing board games (like Catan and Carcassonne), singing karaoke, gardening, cooking, watching Netflix,  Japanese culture, and training and competing in jiu-jitsu (which reminds me of when I was a high school and college athlete on the wrestling team). 

Recent teaching includes the following courses:
  • Methods of Teaching English (ENGL 389)
  • Literature for Young Adults (ENGL 321)
  • Prose Literature (LENG 241)
  • Critical Analysis and Composition (LENG 112)
  • College Composition (LENG 111)

Previous teaching includes courses such as:

  • "Immigrants, Refugees, and Returnees in Literature," featuring work by Mohsin Hamid, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Jhumpa Lahiri, Caryl Phillips, and Teju Cole. Through their stories, students explored what it means to migrate someplace new, how migration challenges and strains people’s ties to the lands left behind, the function of memory and forgetting, and the difficulty of going “home” again.
  • "Representations of Schooling in U.S. Culture" gave students an opportunity to engage critically with the popular portrayals of education that permeate U.S. culture (e.g. sketches from Key & Peele, The Simpsons, pop music, and films like Rushmore, School of Rock, and Dangerous Minds), analyzing them in conjunction with readings on the theory, practice, and crises of education.
  • Introduction to Fiction: The Uses and Value of Literature
  • Argumentative Writing: Current Debates in Higher Education
  • Professional Writing Skills
  • English Grammar Review


  • Indiana University, PhD in English with a concentration in Literature and a minor in American Studies (2019)
    Dissertation title: “Academic Dissent: US Higher Education Protest Literature, 1985–2015.”
  • Indiana University, MA in English Literature (2014).
  • Tufts University, MAT in English Education (2002).
    Teaching Licensure: Grades 7–12, Massachusetts Dept. of Education.
  • Wesleyan University, BA in English Literature (1997).
  • Assistant Professor, Department of English, Gannon University, Erie, PA (2020~ )
  • Visiting Lecturer, Department of English, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN (2019–2020)
  • Managing Editor, Africa Today, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN (2019–2020)
  • Associate Instructor, Department of English, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN (2013–2019)
  • Instructor, Division of the Humanities, Lakeland University Japan, Tokyo, Japan (2008–2012)
  • Modern Language Association (MLA)
  • American Studies Association (ASA)
  • Society for the Study of Multiethnic Literatures of the US (MELUS)
  • National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
  • Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT)

“‘Know Thyself’: Education and Identity Fashioning in Atlanta and Dear White People.” Greater Atlanta: African American Satire Since Obama, edited by Derek C. Maus and James J. Donahue. University Press of Mississippi, 2022.

Trustees and Officers of Indiana University, Volume III: 1982–2018. Edited by Keith Buckley, Derek F. DiMatteo, Linda Fariss, Kelly Kish, and Colleen Pauwels. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University, 2019.

“In-Service Teacher Development.” The Language Teacher. 31 (7): 65–66. 2007.

“Teacher Portfolios.” The Language Teacher. 31 (2): 42–43. 2007.

“The Thankful Turkey Project.” JALT Applied Materials: Classroom Resources CD-ROM. 2006.

“Study Abroad: Searching the Web for Programs.” The Language Teacher. 28 (12): 62–65. 2004.

My general field is American literature and culture of the 20th and 21st centuries (i.e. post-1945), with particular interests in American Cultural Studies, contemporary African American literature, protest literature, the transnational, the immigrant experience, satire, ecocriticism, poststructuralism, and critical pedagogy. 

My current long-term research project examines higher education protest literature and is based on my dissertation, "Academic Dissent: US Higher Education Protest Literature, 1985-2015." It examines cultural works—ranging from novels to films to sculptures—that protest against the corporatization of US higher education institutions, focusing particularly on representations of academic capitalism. It is a mixed-methods American Studies project in which I analyze cultural works such as life writing by academics, John Singleton’s campus film Higher Learning, and campus novels such as Jane Smiley’s Moo. In particular, I focus on representations of academic capitalism in these narratives and show that they protest against higher education's increasingly private-good orientation, which undermines its democratic citizenship aims and common good mission.

While in Japan, my research focused on EFL pedagogy, authentic materials and activities development, and using literature in EFL.

  • Faculty Development Grant Committee (2021– )
  • University Academic Affairs Committee (2021– )
  • Organizer, CHESS Faculty Writing Groups (2021–  )
  • CHESS Speaker Series Organizing Committee (2021– )
  • Teacher Education Advisory Committee (TEAC) (2020–  )
Derek           F. DiMatteo

Phone: 814-871-7867
Office: PC 3231

Contact Derek DiMatteo