Chen Edrei (ABD) My research is focused on the emergence of a unique Jewish genre - the Hasidic narrative, during 1860s in Eastern Europe. As a community that was represented in literature merely by its opponents, Hasidism started to claim its own voice by printing collections of stories. The goal of this work is to offer a new critical literary framework for reading the Hasidic text, while pointing to its cultural and political role.Using theories concerned with Narratology, Romanticism, Modernity and Nationalism and taking into account the historical background, I argue that the Hasidic text express an alternative path for the development of Modern Hebrew literature. Those text, which were excluded from the critical discourse for being merely "folktales" offer new ways of perceiving the relationships between individual and community and therefore call for reevaluation of values of modernity and rethinking of notions such as Nationalism.
Ruzbeh Jamshidi (ABD) - In the present dissertation I examine two parallel trajectories of representation of Arabs in works of Sadeq Hedayat and Salman Rushdie’s novel, The Satanic Verses (1988). Hedayat uses the metaphor of theatre to create novel forms of Arab representation, first in his plays and then in his short stories. Rushdie exploits the metaphor of cinema to cinematize the spectacle of Arabs he arguably found in the corpus of Orientalist writing. Both writers seek new possibilities to come up with new forms of representation for the Arabs.
Andrea Knowles (second year) - I am interested in exploring themes of displacement (including displacement within language) and home in and through literature. I'd like to examine the ways in which home and belonging and alternatively, displacement, alienation, and marginality are rhetorically constructed and deconstructed in modern and contemporary literature--in particular, in Latin American, Latino/a and Chicano/a literatures.
Ines P. Rivera Prosdocimi (ABD). My dissertation argues that an exploration of the maroon (i.e. the runaway slave) in literature can be a means to acknowledging the connections between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. I argue that agents of change anchor the island in the Black Radical Tradition, challenging the fatal-conflict model and exposing different angles to Hispaniola’s story through their forms of resistance and penchant for transformation.
Steve Rojcewicz (fourth year) - My preliminary plans are for a dissertation that will focus on the classical Latin and Greek influences on Thornton Wilder, and how Wilder adapted classical themes via the mediation of Renaissance, early modern and modern writers. Examples include Greek and Roman comedy, especially for the parasite, a Dolly Levi character; Dante, for Virgil as an inspiration; Molière as modifying Plautus; and Francis Bacon as developing the spread of manure theme from Cato and Cicero.
Niloo Sarabi (fourth year) - A comparative analysis of contemporary Iranian literature and cinema and transnational feminism/cultural theory.
Manon Soulet (3rd year): My research focuses on the works of 19th British and French authors Jane Austen, Matilda Betham-Edwards, and George Sand. I am interested in the way those authors connect the local and the global in their works by using the transnational as a space of creative agency. I argue that, by widening the scope of women’s writing in this way, those authors significantly expand both the geographic and diachronic scale of interpretation required to perform a critical reading of their texts and that, read from a global(ized) perspective, they can be seen as avatars of a larger historical process of globalization in the 19th century.
Nathan Tillman (3rd year) - Nathan studies rhetoric in the writing and work of Western missionaries in Korea at the turn of the twentieth century. He is interested in questions of language, education, colonialism, and cross-cultural encounter. In particular, he wonders how people learn to respect each other despite cultural barriers.
Nancy Vera (1st year) - Nancy’s research interests include the Black diaspora in Latin America—particularly Mexico—and modern Latin American literature that deals with class, race, and gender. Nancy’s past seminar projects (Fall 2016) dealt with the concept of masculinity in Cuban slave narratives and the rigidity of the color line in Nella Larsen’s novel Quicksand.
Tung-An Wei (Miranda) (first-year) is interested in the reception of the ancient Greek classics, especially that of Homeric epics and Greek tragedies, in 20th century English literature. She works in ancient Greek and English.