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PhD News 2017-18

A roundup of our doctoral student and alumni accomplishments
May 30, 2018

Dissertations Defended

Katelin Krieg, “The Victorian Mind’s Eye: Perception as Form in Literature and Science" (advisor: Andrew Elfenbein).

Adam Lindberg, "Playing Badly: The Heroic Cheat and the Ethics of Play” (advisor: Jani Scandura).

Barbara Schulman, “Blackface Minstrelsy: Instructional Guides for the Amateur, 1899-1921” (advisor: Josephine Lee).

Jeffrey Squires, "The Exculpation of the Desperate: Comforting the Desperate in Early Modern England, 1580-1680" (advisor: Nabil Matar).

Students

Elisabeth Alderks presented “Beyond ‘Absolute, Infinite Negativity’: Literary Irony as the Foundation for Social Transformation” at the Midwestern Modern Language Association conference, Cincinnati, Ohio, November 2017.

Amanda Alexander won the Hans Aarsleff Fellowship for summer 2018 for research in the British Library and the National Library of Scotland. She presented “‘And Kill that Thing—Kill It’: Human as Gothic Thing in ‘The Thing on the Doorstep’ and Its Adaptations,” at the Pop Culture / American Culture National Conference, Indianapolis, Indiana, March 2018. She passed her PhD preliminary exams.

David Andrews presented “Stefan Themerson on a Time-Chart” at the Wounded Galaxies Festival, Bloomington, Indiana, February 2018.

Bridget Bergin passed her PhD preliminary exams.

Clara Biesel was admitted to the Andrew W. Mellon Summer Institute on English Paleography. The program will be directed by Heather Wolfe at the Folger Shakespeare Library, June 4-28, 2018. She presented “Dido, the Audience, and the Gods in Christopher Marlowe’s Dido Queen of Carthage” at the Blackfriars Conference, Staunton, Virginia, October 2017. She passed her PhD preliminary exams.

Amy Bolis presented “Desdemona: Creating an Internationally Successful Collaborative Adaptation” at the Blackfriars Conference, Staunton, Virginia, October 2017.

Christopher Bowman received a Department Research Grant for spring-summer 2018 for research on Dust Bowl migration in the San Francisco Bay area. He passed his PhD preliminary exams.

Ashley Campbell presented “Find Home Through Comedy: Stephen Colbert on Richard Mourdock” at the Film and History Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, November 2017.

Yuan Ding was awarded a Guangzhou Fellowship for summer 2018. She presented "The City and Its Refugees: The Geopolitics of Non-Places in Mohsin Hamid’s How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia and Exit West,” at the American Literature Association Conference, San Francisco, May 2018, and “Super Immigrants: Narratives of Asian Exceptionalism under Global Capitalism,” at the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the US (MELUS) Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, May 2018. She also co-hosted a book-reading and fishbowl conversation with local Hmong writer Mai Neng Moua, sponsored by the Asian American Studies program and the Immigration History Research Center, Minneapolis, November 2017.

Abhay Doshi presented “The Promise of ‘Tomorrow’: The God of Small Things as a Humanist Text,” at the Midwestern Modern Language Association Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio, November 2017.

Jennifer Easler presented “Fleshless Infants and Dwarfish Monks: The Mother, the Virgin, and the Self in Guibert of Nogent’s Monodies,” at the Vagantes Conference on Medieval Studies, Minneapolis, March 2018.

Amy Fairgrieve received a Graduate School Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship for 2018-19 for her dissertation “I’ve Got a Bad, Bad Feeling: Rethinking Negative Affect in Literary Studies.” She presented “‘For this the rage of torturing furnace bore’: Anti-Victimhood in Anna Laetitia Barbauld’s ‘The Groans of the Tankard’” at the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism Conference, Ottawa, Canada, August 2017. Read about her research travels last summer.

Sara Farah chaired a panel at the Great Transition Conference in Montreal, Canada, May 2018. She was a keynote speaker at the CLA Dean's Spring Reception, May 2018. She also presented “Political Economy as Theology: Rethinking Marx’s Theory of Alienation” at the Marx & Philosophy Society conference, London, June 2018.

Katherine Ferraro passed her final Masters Exam.

Delaney Fitzpatrick, masters student, was selected as the University Libraries’ Publishing Services Graduate Intern.

Anne Floyd presented "(Re)defining the Mid-Twentieth Century African-American Protest Novel: Racialized Sexual Myths in The Street and Native Son" at the Roots Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference, St. Paul, Minnesota, April 2018.

Jonas Gardsby was awarded a summer 2018 Graduate Research Partnership Program grant for his project “Unsettling Religion at the Dawn of the Essay” (faculty project advisor: John Watkins).

Elizabeth Howard received a Department Research Grant for spring-summer 2018, for research on Gerard Manley Hopkins in London and Oxford. She presented “When ‘Green Goshen’ Is ‘Not Goshen’: The Veiled Persistence of Canaan’s Landscape in ‘A Soliloquy’” at the Northeast Modern Language Association Conference, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, April 2018.

Jennifer Jodell presented "Bodies Must Move: The Siren of Capitalism in Mid-Century SF" at the Pop Culture / American Culture National Conference, Indianapolis, Indiana, and "Talking About Science Fiction in the Classroom Without Modeling Othering" at the Minnesota Writing and English Conference, Minneapolis, both in March 2018. In May, she presented "Bodies Must Tremble: The Film and Virtual Reality Actress in Mid-Century SF" at the Embodiment in SF and Fantasy Interdisciplinary Conference, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Melissa Johnson presented “A Woman Is to Be My Downfall: Adapting Macbeth for Young Female Audiences” at the Blackfriars Conference, Staunton, Virginia, October 2017. Read about her research travels last summer.

Hannah Jorgenson won a Huntington Library-Florida Atlantic University Libraries Joint Fellowship for 2018-2019.

Marc Juberg presented “‘Our scene begins to cloud’: Reconstructing the Experience of (Mis)understanding” at the Blackfriars Conference, Staunton, Virginia, October 2017. Read an interview.

Katelin Krieg won the Best Arts and Humanities Dissertation of 2017-18 at the University of Minnesota, for “The Victorian Mind’s Eye: Perception as Form in Literature and Science” (advisor: Andrew Elfenbein). She also received a travel grant from the North American Victorian Studies Association, November 2017. She published a review of Benjamin Morgan's The Outward Mind: Materialist Aesthetics in Victorian Science and Literature in Configurations 26.2 (spring 2018). She delivered a public lecture on "The Literary Bob Dylan" at Or Emet Minnesota Congregation for Humanistic Judaism, October 2017. She also presented “James Clerk Maxwell’s Imaginary Fluid and the Power of Scientific Language" at the North American Victorian Studies Association annual meeting, as part of a panel she organized on “The Preserves of the Imagination in Victorian Science,” Banff, Canada, November 2017. Finally, she was selected as one of six Big 10 Emerging Scholars. Read an interview.

David Lemke was awarded a summer 2018 Graduate Research Partnership Program grant for his project “Imagining Reparations: African American Utopias and the Visions for a Just Society” (faculty project advisor: Nathaniel Mills). He presented "Frederick Douglass and the Search for the Space of Black Emancipation" at the Society for Utopian Studies conference, Memphis, Tennessee, November 2017, and "Neoliberal Utopias" at the American Comparative Literature Association Convention, Los Angeles, March 2018. He was selected for the inaugural RIGS (Race, Indigeneity, Gender and Sexuality Studies) Dissertation Writing Retreat.

Jenna Lester received a summer 2018 Graduate Research Partnership Program grant for her project “Prison Shakespeare for Women: Combating Early Modern Misogyny” (faculty project advisor: Katherine Scheil). She presented “Connecting Faculty, Schools, and Communities through Shakespeare” at the Shakespeare Association of America Convention, Los Angeles, March 2018.

Charlotte Madere won a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship to study Urdu in Lucknow, India, summer, 2018. She also received a Thesis Research Travel Grant to do archival research at the National Library of Scotland and the British Library May-June of 2018. She presented “‘Another Argument in Favour of their Hindoo Origin’: Indo-Scottish Kinship in Elizabeth Hamilton’s Translations of the Letters of a Hindoo Rajah (1796)" at the British Women Writers Conference, Austin, Texas, April 2018. Read about her research travels last summer.

Katelyn McCarthy was awarded a Ruth Drake Dissertation Fellowship for fall 2018. She presented “Impossible Chastity and Myth of the Good Wife in The Tragedy of Mariam” at the Midwestern Modern Language Association Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio, November 2017.

Melissa Merte presented “A Precarious View: Miss Matty’s Tea Shop and the Narrowing Economic Spaces of Cranford” at the Nineteenth Century Studies Association Conference, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 2018.

Saeide Mirzaei received an Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship for 2018-19 (advisor: Ellen Messer-Davidow).

David Moberly published "'Once more to the breach!': Shakespeare, Wikipedia's Gender Gap and the Online, Digital Elite" in Broadcast Your Shakespeare, Stephen O'Neill, ed. (Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, 2018).

Caleb Molstad presented “'Beorht Bēacen Godes': Sunlight and the Monstrous Creatures of Beowulf" at the 2018 Vagantes Conference, Minneapolis, March 2018, and "Philosophical Romance: Manifestations of Love in The Knight’s Tale" at the International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 2018.

Cole Nelson passed his final Masters exam.

Amanda Niedfeldt was awarded a Department Research Grant for spring-summer 2018, for research on Cold War philanthropic foundations and writers in Berlin, as well as a Department Travel Grant for research in the Peter Paul Read archives, Leeds, UK. She also received a Modern Studies Association Research Travel Grant. She presented “The Ford Foundation’s Cultural Cold War: A Lesson from Berlin” at the Historians of the Twentieth Century United States (HOTCUS) Conference, Cambridge, UK, June 2018.

Asa Olson received the Department of English Graduate Student Teaching Award for PhD candidates. Read an interview.

Jacqueline Patz won Outstanding Instructor of the Year from the First-Year Writing program. She presented “The Serial ‘I': Brian Reed's S-Town Podcast and the Literary Nature of First Person Memory” at the American Literature Association Conference, San Francisco, May 2018. She passed her PhD preliminary exams.

Kristina Popiel received the Garner-McNaron-Sprengnether Fellowship for summer 2018. She presented “Hap, Species-being and Mitsein: What the Humanities Can Teach Us about Happiness” at the Midwest Modern Language Association Conference, “Critique as Reconstruction: Imagining Future Possibilities in Literature and Humanist Theory” special session, Cincinnati, Ohio, November 2017.

Zoe Rodine won the Darwin Patmode Fellowship for summer 2018. She presented “The Flesh is Next: Black Embodiment as Knowledge in Ishmael Reed’s Mumbo Jumbo / Race and Materialisms” at the American Comparative Literature Association Convention, Los Angeles, March 2018.

David Rodriguez-Martinez was awarded the Beverly and Richard Fink Summer Fellowship for summer 2018. He passed his PhD preliminary exams.

Laura Rothgeb presented "Disembodiment and the Limits of Narrative Drama in Samson Agonistes" at the University of Wisconsin Theatre and Drama Studies Spring Conference “Materiality and Invisibility in Theatre and Performance Studies,” Madison, Wisconsin, April 2018.

Shavera Seneviratne received a summer 2018 Graduate Research Partnership Program grant for her project “British Romanticism and the Performance of Imperialism” (faculty project advisor: Brian Goldberg). She presented "Pedagogy through Performance: Joanna Baillie's The Bride and Colonial Conversion in Ceylon" at the British Women Writer's Conference 2018, Austin, Texas, April 2018. She passed her PhD preliminary exams.

Aleisha Smith presented “On the Road: Complicating Slavery through Liminal Spaces in Edward P. Jones’s The Known World” at the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the US (MELUS) Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, May 2018. She passed her PhD preliminary exams.

Yon Ji Sol won a Jerome L. Joss Graduate Student Research Grant from the Center for Jewish Studies, in addition to a Union Pacific Research Grant to conduct dissertation research. She presented “An Irish Gentleman and the British Military in Maria Edgeworth’s The Absentee” at the Midwestern Modern Language Association Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio, November 2017.

Anne Marie Spidahl presented “Rethinking Depth Psychological Education through a Trans-Disciplinary Lens” at Stillpoint Spaces, Berlin.

Jeffrey Squires presented “‘Call it not Patience […] It is Despair’: Trump’s Marriage, Gendered Silence, and the Stigma of Despair” at the Blackfriars Conference, Staunton, Virginia, October 2017. Read an interview.

Ali Zimmerman presented “‘Dumbledore’s Army, Now Recruiting’: Harry Potter, Social Justice, and the 2016 Presidential Election” at the Popular Culture / American Culture Association National Conference, Indianapolis, Indiana, March 2018, and "The Meaning of Marn: Reclaiming Feminine Monstrosity in The Plague of Doves" at the American Folklore Society Conference, Minneapolis, October 2017. She passed her PhD preliminary exams.

Alumni

James H. Brownlee (PhD 1994) is Interim Dean of the College of Theology, Arts & Sciences at Malone University. The Professor of English also is a Senior Fulbright Scholar, having spent a year in Moscow teaching and studying. He joined the Malone community in 1999.

Christopher Flack (PhD 2013), a Minneapolis police officer, was awarded a Medal of Valor for bravery in the line of duty for participating in the response to the Minnehaha Academy August 2 natural gas explosion. Flack was sworn into the force December, 2016.

Julie Eckerle (PhD 2002) won the University of Minnesota, Morris Faculty Distinguished Research Award; she is a professor of English there. Read a feature on Eckerle.

James Gallant (ABD 1965) published the novel Whatever Happened to Ohio?, an ebook by Vagabondage Press available from amazon.co. Gallant’s website is jamesgallantwriter.com.

Nick Hengen-Fox (PhD 2011) published Reading as Collective Action: Texts as Tactics with the University of Iowa Press.

Kat Howard (PhD 2009) published her second fantasy novel, An Unkindness of Magicians (Saga, 2017).

Trent Olsen (PhD 2014), Assistant Professor of English at Brigham Young University-Idaho, received the 2017-2018 Idaho Humanities Council Research Fellowship—the IHC's most competitive award. The $3,500 grant will provide research and writing support for Olson’s book project "Entangled Influence: Wordsworth, Darwin, and the Struggle for Literary Survival."

Joshua Mabie (PhD 2012) was promoted to Associate Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater.

Lynette Reini-Grandell (PhD 1992) published the poetry collection Wild Verge with Holy Cow! Press.

Sharin Schroeder (PhD 2011) was promoted to Associate Professor at the National Taipei University of Technology.

Rebecca Weaver (PhD 2011), after a three-year Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellowship at Georgia Institute of Technology, is now Assistant Professor of English at Perimeter College (Atlanta).

In Memoriam

Michael Cavanagh (PhD 1975) died on August 26, 2017, at age 74. He began teaching at Grinnell College in 1971 and retired in 2005. In 2003 he was named the Orville and Mary Patterson Routt Professor of Literature. He published Professing Poetry: Seamus Heaney's Poetics (The Catholic University of America Press, 2009), as well as poems in such journals as The Sewanee Review, The South Carolina Review, Rattle, The Heartland Review, The South Dakota Review, and others. He wrote his dissertation under the direction of George T. Wright, who remarked upon Cavanagh’s death that he "was a fine man and an excellent scholar." Thanks to Matthew Brennan (PhD 1984), Professor Emeritus of English at Indiana State University, for this information.

Michael M. Levy (PhD 1982) died April 4, 2017. He began teaching English at the University of Wisconsin Stout in 1980, where he remained for his entire career, teaching courses in Composition, Children’s literature and Science Fiction and serving as Chair of the English Department for approximately seven years. A noted expert on children’s, young adult, and science fiction/fantasy literature, he served as President of both the Science Fiction Research Association and the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts. He was an editor for the journal Extrapolation starting in 2006 and served as an editorial board member of The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts from 2010 onward. With Farah Mendlesohn, he co-wrote Children’s Fantasy Literature: An Introduction (Cambridge University Press, 2016); he also published Portrayal of Southeast Asian Refugees in Recent American Children’s Books (2000), among others.

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