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Please join us in welcoming the twelve new PhD students joining the Department of English and Comparative Literature this fall! Below you will find their names and research interests:

Anna Blackburn researches the relationship between fear, colonialism, and the Gothic genre. She is interested in how eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British texts use Gothic conventions to stoke fear of colonized peoples as well as how more recent postcolonial texts reclaim these conventions to criticize colonialism. Blackburn has studied the role of spirituality in the colonial and postcolonial Gothic, including British portrayals of Obeah and other Afro-Caribbean spiritualities.

Emma Bradford specializes in early modern literature. Bradford’s research focuses on representations and negotiations of status and identity on the early modern stage.

Kyle Cunningham studies contemporary American literature. He is primarily interested in understanding our contemporary culture and, precisely, the position of cultural expression within it: by what processes and under what ideological pressures are cultures shaped and reshaped, and how does culture both respond to and condition individual acts of expression, be they aesthetic in nature or otherwise?

Jenny Horton focuses on bodily rhetorics and rhetorics of health and medicine. Horton is particularly interested in the language surrounding the treatment of mental and physical health disorders affecting women and the related ways in which women use writing to assert autonomy in literary and popular culture contexts, such as on social media.

Shelby Jackson focuses on Rhetoric and Composition. Primarily, she works to develop interdisciplinary pedagogical research on writing transfer with an emphasis on first-year composition practices. Years as a student of literature led to Shelby’s passion for British Romanticism, especially the work of Blake. During her graduate studies, she developed an interest in Blake’s use of the Bible and concentrated on how biblical notions manifest and evolve in his writings and philosophies.

Rene Marzuk is interested in exploring continuities across languages and cultures. Murzuk is particularly intrigued by literary articulations of marginalized identities and by literary instances of emergence, widely defined. He is drawn to intertextual approaches that reveal the production of knowledge as a collective endeavor spanning times, cultures, and disciplines.

Maggie Miller is interested in prosody and the poetic imagination of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, particularly expressions of theological and philosophical ideas and aesthetics in the poetry of Milton, Donne, Spenser, Vaughan, Herbert, and others. Apart from this focus, Miller enjoys the work of Dostoevsky, O’Connor, Hardy, and many other thinkers in whose work the human condition unites or collides with Logos.

Satoshi Ohnishi studies the relationship between 19th-century American literature and visual media including the camera obscura and the daguerreotype. Also, Ohnishi is currently interested in the representation of aging in American literature and African American literature.

X. Ramos-Lara is primarily interested in the construction of racialized queer identities in performance spaces, especially the American ballroom and drag scenes, as they feature in documentary, literature, and television. She is also interested in viewing HIV as a performing subject in AIDS-era American literature.

Emily Singeisen has taught courses and developed curriculum in literature, film, and classical reception in English literature and popular culture. She is a graduate of the Masters of Liberal Arts program at the University of Pennsylvania where her research concentrations included the ancient novel and its reception, gender and queer theory, and psychoanalysis. Her published work has examined the formation of gendered subjectivity in the ancient novel through the framework of Freud’s female Oedipus complex, and she continues to investigate the ways in which contemporary theory might enrich our reading of ancient literature.

Madison Storrs is interested in the intersections of literature, botany, and art of the long 19th century in Britain. In particular, she considers how women incorporated botanical studies into their writing and art practices. She is also interested in British Romanticism, ecocriticism, ontology, aesthetics, design, and visual culture.

Alex Story explores how trauma, mental illness, and suicide affect intrafamilial and interpersonal relationships. Working with representations of the American generational family in popular media, Story examines the ways by which narrative-based signifying practices in contemporary American culture harness generic discourses of horror and its adjacent genres to reify interpersonal trauma through depictions of extreme violence and negative affect.

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