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Madison (Madi) Hester

August 24, 2021

Degrees

2018, B.A. English Literature, Colorado Mesa University

2020, M.A. English, Colorado State University

Bio

I am a Ph.D. student and teaching fellow in the Department of English & Comparative Literature. I research recent contemporary American literature from 2000 to present, and am absorbed by questions about mixed-race identity, and how multiethnic and multicultural subjects “rightly” identify themselves and are identified. I also examine what makes writing literary, who creates literature, and how digital media challenges and expands those definitions.


Meleena Gil

July 12, 2021

Degrees

2019, BA English Literature, University of Central Florida

Bio

Meleena (they/she) is a disruptor, PhD student, and teaching fellow in the department of English and Comparative Literature also earning a graduate certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies. Meleena is the administrative research assistant for the Sexuality Studies Program and the co-director of Social Media in the Digital Literacy and Communications Lab. Additionally, Meleena was a recent recipient of the Fall 2021 Latina/o Studies Program teaching affiliate fellowship. Meleena’s research focuses on contemporary LatinX literature, queer theory and sexuality studies, and the environmental humanities. They are interested in the impact of environmental degradation on at-risk communities, debility, and rhetorics of advocacy. Their work is attuned to alternative ways of knowing and botanical epistemologies, specifically looking at what minute lifeforms can teach us about futurity. Also within their scope is the evaluation of sadomasochistic paradigms in the construction and understanding of the sociopolitical subject. Meleena describes their apparently disparate interests as being the connective tissue of their larger project: healing; however, and wherever it can be created. Outside of academia, Meleena is a nature enthusiast, a friend of strays, and a celebrator of quirks and kinks. They aim to create a space for meaningful experiences and mutual acknowledgment.


Teaching Awards

Fall 2021 Latina/o Studies Graduate Teaching Affiliate Fellowship


Krysten Voelkner

October 28, 2019

Degrees

2018, MA English, Wake Forest University

2016, BA English, Drexel University

Bio

Krysten is a PhD student and teaching fellow in the department of English and Comparative Literature. Her research interests reside at the intersection of environmental humanities and contemporary LatinX literature. Topics which she finds exciting relate to the rhetoric of environmental advocacy, the myriad of emotional responses to the threat of climate change, and the ways in which LatinX writers and artists create environmental epistemologies through their works. Outside of the academy, she enjoys nurturing all forms of human and other life through her passion for plants and pets.


Publications:

  • “Memory, Temporality, and Communal Realization: Reading the Nomadic Subject in Rivera’s ...And the Earth Did Not Devour Him.” Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, vol. 45, no. 2, 2020.

Teaching Awards

  • UNC Latina/o Studies Program Teaching Award (Fall 2020)

Awards

  • H. Broadus Jones MA Student Award for Excellence in English (Spring 2018)

emilio Jesús Taiveaho Peláez

April 23, 2018

Degrees

  • 2017, BA Critical Studies in English Cultures, Literatures, and Film, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire
  • 2017, BA Latin American Studies, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire

Bio

emilio Jesús Taiveaho Peláez is a first-generation migrant and a PhD. student—in that order—through the Department of English & Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. As both poet and scholar, their work engages the intersection of aesthetic experience and political discipline, blending critical, creative, and archival inquiry. Focusing on 20th-century hemispheric experimental poetry, their dissertation (tentatively titled Ojos de Hierba: Walt Whitman’s Children & the American Lyric) probes the shared literary and philosophical history of the Américas through the lens of Neobaroque aesthetics, tracing dissonant and dissident relations in the life and work of figures such as Federico García Lorca, Langston Hughes, Allen Ginsberg, Néstor Perlongher, and Cecilia Vicuña. emilio’s first book of poetry, landskips (words are a hard look), a latinX exploration of the sonics and optics of our contemporary American Landscapes, is forthcoming through The Concern Newsstand.


Publications:


Teaching Awards

  • Latina/o Studies Teaching Grant – 2020

Awards

  • 2017 – Present: Mellon Fellow

Marcy Pedzwater

April 23, 2018

Degrees

2017, BA Literature, BA Spanish, University of North Carolina Asheville

Bio

Marcy Pedzwater studies twentieth and twenty-first century North and Latin American literature. Her current research focuses on the intersections of race, gender, and colonialism/imperialism in Post-dictatorship literature of the Americas. She is also interested in the function of memory, archive, and trauma in these texts. She teaches English 105, Spanish 105, and Spanish 203.


Publications:

  • Review of Forms of Dictatorship: Power, Narrative, and Authoritarianism in the Latina/o Novel, by Jennifer Harford Vargas, Chiricú, Fall 2019.
  • “Thinking with José Revueltas and Roberto Bolaño: Philosophical Literary Approaches to Latin America.” Review of José Revueltas y Roberto Bolaño: Formas genéricas de la experiencia by Alejandro Sánchez Lopera, A Contracorriente, vol. 15, no. 3, Spring 2018.
  •  “Not of this World: Divine Radical Inclusivity as a Foil to Worldly Wisdom in Flannery O’Connor’s The Violent Bear It Away,The Sigma Tau Delta Review, vol. 14, Sigma Tau Delta, Spring 2017.