MaryEllen (Ellie) Higgins, PhD

Penn State Lion Mark
Associate Professor, English
Executive Committee Member, Teaching International
Office Phone
Office Location
Main Building, 203
Tue - 10:30am-12:00pm
Thur - 10:30am-12:00pm
By Appointment
Penn State Greater Allegheny, 4000 University Drive, McKeesport, PA 15132

MaryEllen (Ellie) Higgins teaches comparative literature, writing, and film studies courses at the Pennsylvania State University, Greater Allegheny. Her books include The Western in the Global South (an edited volume with Rita Kerestezi and Dayna Oscherwitz, Routledge, 2015) and Hollywood’s Africa After 1994 (Ohio University Press, 2012). She has published articles on African cinema and literature in the journals Research in African Literatures, African Literature Today, African Studies Review, Tydskrif vir Letterkunde, and Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, among other scholarly venues. She is an executive producer of Kivu Ruhorahoza's film Europa: Based on a True Story (2019), and associate producer of two films by Jean-Pierre Bekolo: Mudimbe’s Order of Things (2015) and Naked Reality (2016). Her next project is a book on the expansion of the terms of trauma in African cinema. She is the Honors Program and Undergraduate Research Coordinator at Penn State Greater Allegheny.

Teaching Interests:
Comparative literature, English, and film studies

Research Interests

African cinema

African literature

writing and human rights

international trauma theories

curatorial approaches to film


“The Ghostly Matter of Asylum in Kivu Ruhorahoza’s A Tree Has Fallen.” Tydskrif vir Letterkunde, 56(1), University of Pretoria, 2019

“Speculative Migration and the Project of Futurity in Sylvestre Amoussou's Africa Paradis.” In Cajetan Iheka and Jack Taylor (Eds.), African Migration Narratives: Politics, Race, and Space. Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2018.

“At the Intersection of Trauma, Precarity, and African Cinema: A Reflection on Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s Grigris.” In Kenneth W. Harrow and Carmela Garritano (Eds.), The Companion to African Cinema. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, 2018.

“The Silt of the Archives.” Presentation at the Curating the Global Film Archive Symposium in Glasgow, Scotland. Africa in Motion Film Festival, 2016

“The Winds of African Cinema.” African Studies Review, 58(3), Cambridge University Press, 2015.


University of Texas at Austin, Ph.D., Comparative Literature

Course Schedule
Spring 2020 Semester:
Greater Allegheny
COMM/SOC 290N-001 Cinema and Globalization
Main Building 204
T Th 01:35pm-02:50pm
ENG 202A-001 Writing in the Social Sciences
Main Building 204
T Th 09:05am-10:20am
ENG 495-001 INTERNSHIP: Editorial Assistant
By Appointment