College Interim Chair Announcement for fall 2019

Starting on July 1, Dr. Martial K. Frindéthié and Dr. Thomas B. Ellis will begin interim department chair positions in their respective departments. Frindéthié will serve as chair for the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures for the next academic year, and Ellis will chair the Department of Philosophy and Religion for the fall 2019 semester.

Frindéthié is a professor of Francophone/French languages, literatures and cultures and of visual studies. He holds a B.A. in applied linguistics from the Université d’Abidjan in Côte d'Ivoire, Africa, an M.A. in linguistics from Saint Cloud State University in Minnesota and a Ph.D. in culture studies and comparative literature from the University of Minnesota. He joined Appalachian in 2004 after years of teaching at the University of Maryland and consulting at the State Department and the World Bank.

His research interests are in Francophone/French intellectual movements (postcolonial theories, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, schizoanalysis and feminist theories), film and media studies and the intersection of literature, contemporary literary theory and the political-ideological imagination. 

Some of his publications include “From Lumumba to Gbagbo: Africa in the Eddy of the Euro- American Quest for Exceptionalism” (McFarland, February 2016), “Globalization and the Seduction of Africa’s Ruling Class: An Argument for a New Philosophy of Development” (Jefferson: McFarland, 2010), “Francophone African Cinema: History, Culture, Politics and Theory” (Jefferson: McFarland, 2009) and “The Black Renaissance in Francophone African and Caribbean Literatures” (Jefferson: McFarland, 2008).

Frindéthié’s awards include two Fulbright fellowships, two Choice Magazine’s Outstanding Academic titles and four Richard T. Barker Friends of the University Library honors. As a Fulbright professor, he lectured at the Université de Bamako in Mali, the Teachers’ Training College of the Université de Nouakchott in Mauritania and the University of Mauritius.

Ellis, a professor of religious studies, earned his B.A. in religious studies from the University of South Carolina. He holds an M.A. in Asian and Middle Eastern studies and a Ph.D. in religious studies, both of which were awarded by the University of Pennsylvania.

After spending two years as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Religion at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and another year as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of South Carolina, Ellis came to Appalachian in the fall of 2005. He was awarded tenure in 2011 and promoted to professor in 2016.

Ellis’ research focuses on the psychological and biological bases of religious belief, behavior and experience. His current project examines the role that infectious disease ecologies play in the evocation and transmission of religion.


About the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures
The Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures offers courses that enhance students’ understanding of other cultures and languages as well as their own, making them prepared for lifelong learning in a multicultural world. Learn more at

About the Department of Philosophy and Religion
The Department of Philosophy and Religion invites students to explore the world, examine beliefs, understand a diversity of worldviews, and challenge the ideas and values that instruct our lives. The department offers a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and a Bachelor of Arts in religious studies, as well as a minor in both of these areas. Learn more at

Ellen Gwin Burnette
May 10, 2019

Left Dr. Martial K. Frindéthié, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures and right: Dr. Thomas B. Ellis, Department of Philosophy and Religion. Photos by University Communications.
Published: May 10, 2019 11:01am