AJ Morey

Dr. Morey came to JMU in 1999 as Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Programs in the College of Arts and Letters. She also served as Director of the Writing Program for two years and program head of the IDLS major for three years during that time. Currently she is Associate Vice Provost for Cross Disciplinary Studies, reporting to the VPAD. 

She is responsible for curriculum development across JMU colleges, and her office facilitates and supports Regional and Area Studies minors with cross disciplinary identities. Her own cross disciplinary interests are extensive and varied, as seen in her books:  

Apples and Ashes: Culture, Metaphor and Morality in the American Dream (Scholars P, 1982); 

Religion and Sexuality in American Literature (Cambridge UP, 1992); 

What Happened to Christopher: An American Family’s Story of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SIUC, 1998) and 

Picturing Dogs, Seeing Ourselves: Vintage American Photographs (Pennsylvania State University Press, Fall 2014).

Morey’s academic appointment is in the English department. Her current activities both on and off campus tilt toward the emerging field of animal studies. In addition to loving dogs, she is certified as an equine specialist for delivering horse-assisted mental health therapies, and she was a co-founder of a non-profit that used horses to deliver therapy to veterans and at-risk youth. Working with veterans brought her to photography and visual studies. SHe is the founder of Free Spirit Photography LLC, and specializes in documenting equine therapies, horses, and anything else that catches her eye. She was a co-instigator of the Madison Caucus for Gender Equality, and her office continues to support the Caucus. With her husband Todd Hedinger, a counselor, she is in thrall to an elderly “tweenie” dachshund, Louie. AJ dotes on her venerable Appaloosa mare, Sophie (age 35 and counting) and she rides her quarterhorse mare Topaz as often as possible. Her children are certain she'll perish in the saddle, and she certainly hopes so, preferably while cantering across an open field.       

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