Ph.D. Students-Department of English - Carnegie Mellon University

Aqdas Aftab

Aqdas Aftab

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: aaftab@andrew.cmu.edu

I received my B.A. in English Literature from Smith College, MA, where I became interested in examining subaltern subjectivities and modes of resistance. My research interests at Carnegie Mellon University revolve around the intersections of postcolonialism, feminism(s) and queer theory. I study how colonialism, neo-imperialism and transnationalism have affected women and queer subjects; I also examine how non-normative gender performances have informed anti-colonial struggles. In addition, I am interested in issues of women’s migration and transnational labor. While I focus mostly on 20th century texts from South Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, I also study literature of the Empire. I teach in the First Year Writing program at CMU.

Amanda Berardi Tennant

Amanda Berardi Tennant

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: aberardi@andrew.cmu.edu

I received my B.A. in English with a specialization in professional writing and editing from West Virginia University and my M.A. in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon. My research focuses on matters of intercultural communication and public engagement. More specifically, I question how members of multicultural communities are drawn to public spaces to address common problems and build shared knowledge through discussion.  My research interests are driven by my own academic and professional experiences working with people of various cultural and economic backgrounds. I would like my research to contribute to an increased understanding of how opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue can be facilitated and how talking across difference can result in a more inclusive discussion of public issues.

David Cerniglia

David Cerniglia

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: dcernigl@andrew.cmu.edu


Marisa Colabuono

Marisa Colabuono

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies


Carolyn Commer

Carolyn Commer

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: ccommer@andrew.cmu.edu

My research examines the rhetoric of liberal education, specifically how the liberal arts are argued for in institutional and public policy settings. My work is informed by my own liberal arts background and seeks to understand: How do educators argue for the value of the liberal arts when economic concerns dominate institutional and public policy agendas? To answer this question, I draw from concepts in rhetorical and argument theory, such as dissociation, as well as public sphere theory, to examine the way that defenders of the liberal arts shape and circulate their discourse in different public settings. It is my hope that this research can contribute not only to our understanding of argument theory and the rhetoric of public policy, but that it also sheds light on how the study and teaching of rhetoric (itself part of the liberal arts) is argued for in higher education.

Education

B.A. Liberal Arts, The Evergreen State College, 2007

M.A. Rhetoric, Carnegie Mellon University, 2008

M.A. Liberal Arts, St. John's College, 2009


Ana Cooke

Ana Cooke

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: acooke@andrew.cmu.edu

My work explores rhetorical, literate, and discursive practices in online environments, including the discourse of online communities, interactions in collaborative environments, and the uses of digital media for the development of reading and writing skills. I am interested both in how we theorize online interactions, particularly the implications of digital media for theories of genre and rhetorical agency, and also in the affordances and constraints of such environments for literacy and composition pedagogy. For example, in recent projects I have investigated how writers approach audience while annotating in a collaborative reading environment, and have analyzed the relationship between adoption of group discursive practices and network centrality in an online community. My current work traces the enactment of social and discursive norms in Wikipedia. I hold a B.A. in English from Reed College and an M.A. in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon; prior to coming to CMU, I taught ESL writing to adults and worked as a professional textbook editor.

Tim Dawson

Tim Dawson

Ph.D. Candidate, Rhetoric

Email: jtdawson@andrew.cmu.edu

I earned degrees in English and Theater from Slippery Rock University and an M.A. in Writing from DePaul University. My research focuses on the public work of rhetoric, involving university-community partnerships related to  community literacy, deliberative democracy, and the arts as civic engagement. In addition to my research, I am the founder of The Art of Democracy, a community engagement consultancy that works with citizens, community groups, and public officials to facilitate opportunities for informed and inclusive public engagement that engages difference as a resource for civic innovation. In Pittsburgh, I have worked with organizations such as the Kingsley Association, the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Human Rights City Alliance, and the Urban Green Growth Collaborative.

I have also worked with the Mayor's Office and various departments within the City of Pittsburgh to organize Deliberative Community Forums. Formerly, I was a program manager at Carnegie Mellon University's Program for Deliberative Democracy and the director of community outreach programs for Pittsburgh's Unseam'd Shakespeare Company. I regularly speak and conduct workshops at national and international conferences, including recent presentations at the American Democracy Project/The Democracy Commitment, Frontiers of Democracy, the International Conference on Arts in Society, and the Pittsburgh Humanities Festival. In the English Department I have taught 76-100 Reading and Writing in an Academic Context, 76-101 Interpretation and Argument, and 76-270 Writing in the Professions. For the Humanities Scholars Program, I designed and taught New Horizons in the Humanities: Performance Studies course (with Dr. Kristina Straub). For the School of Drama, I have taught Foundations of Drama I.



Daniel Dickson-LaPrade

Daniel Dickson-LaPrade

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: ddickson@andrew.cmu.edu

I received my B.A. in Psychology and my M.A. in English, specializing in Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy, from the University of Oklahoma.

I am currently studying the figures and tropes, and also the extent to which scientific creativity may be better understood through the theoretical lens of rhetorical invention. I hope to combine these interests in my dissertation, which I will begin drafting in January of 2012.


Emily Ferris

Emily Ferris

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: eferris@andrew.cmu.edu

In my work, I ask how marginalized persons (particularly those with disabilities) advocate for themselves in public forums and represent themselves/are represented in interactions with institutions. I am motivated by the social concerns of how rhetoricians can support rhetors who lack institutional power, can incorporate experiential knowledge and informal strategies (such as ethos and aesthetics) into formal forums and models, and can mediate theory into meaningful practice for real-world deliberators. I am also motivated by related theoretical concerns, such as the possibility of a post-modern rhetorical agency; the methodological challenges of reception studies; the continued development of the phenomena of materiality and embodiment within the discipline; and the potential for the study of subaltern discourses and practices to inform, challenge, and expand rhetoric, particularly at moments of controversy and social change. I hold a BA in Professional Writing and an MA in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon.

Mary Glavan

Mary Glavan

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: mglavan@andrew.cmu.edu


Jacob Goessling

Jacob Goessling

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: jgoessli@andrew.cmu.edu

My interest in literary and cultural studies lies in both twentieth century American culture and cultural theory. Broadly, I focus on issues related to the development of the American landscape during the rise and collapse of industrialism as a dominant mode of production.

More specifically, I study how underlying currents of environmental consciousness intersect with labor issues in rural and working class communities. Before entering Carnegie Mellon’s doctoral program, I earned a B.A. in Philosophy and an M.A. in English at the University of Louisville, where I also taught first-year composition.

Maggie Goss

Maggie Goss

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: mgoss@andrew.cmu.edu

I am interested in the ways public figures represent themselves to an audience and the ways in which those figures then come to be represented in the United States’ media. In consideration of discourse analysis and the notion of intertextuality, I am above all captivated by the heteroglossic nature of discourse as it travels through various networks of communication. Given this, my research is currently motivated by the following questions: In what ways is public speaking discourse recontextualized through the art of an utterance? Under what circumstances are certain discourse taken up by an audience, particularly the United States’ media, and in what ways does dialogism work to encourage the exigency and participation of texts with other texts? I hold a BA in English from The College of Wooster and an MA in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon University.

Steven Gotzler

Steven Gotzler

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: sgotzler@andrew.cmu.edu

My research centers on the study of intellectuals and their publics. While I maintain an interest in 20th century intellectual and cultural history generally, I am particularly interested in exploring the culture and politics of intellectual life in the US and Europe during the immediate post-war period (1945-65). In this vein, I have related interests in mid 20th century political economy, literary history, film studies and musicology. My research is also informed by an engagement with, and concern for, the politics of academic life. More specifically, I am interested in examining the history of cultural studies itself as both a unique field of study, and a site of intellectual and political struggle. Originally from California, I graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz with a B.A. in American Studies and received my M.A. in Literary and Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon University.

Kate Hamilton

Kate Hamilton

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: khamilton@cmu.edu

Kate Hamilton is a Ph.D. student in the English department at Carnegie Mellon University, focusing on eighteenth-century British literature and gender studies. In particular, her research interests include celebrity, theatrical performance, urban culture, and modes of gender and sexuality as represented in the eighteenth-century novel. Her dissertation explores how the novelist and diarist Frances Burney (1752-1840) discusses gendered models of celebrity in her life writing, novels, and plays. She has published articles in The Burney Letter (Fall 2014), Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture (2013), The Eighteenth-Century Intelligencer (2013), and the Burney Journal (2011). She is also the recipient of the Catharine Macaulay Prize from the American Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS) (2012) and the Hemlow Prize in Burney Studies (2009).

Kate has taught 76-101 (Interpretation and Argument) since 2009. Her course topics include Gender and Media, The Politics of Genocide, Privacy and Technology, and most recently, Etiquette in Context. She has also taught an upper-level course on Gender and Sexuality in Eighteenth-Century British Literature and Introduction to Gender Studies. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Connecticut (2009) and a M.A. in Literary and Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon (2010). Her CV can be found at: https://carnegie-mellon.academia.edu/KateHamilton

Eric Hanbury

Eric Hanbury

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: ehanbury@andrew.cmu.edu


Derek Handley

Derek Handley

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: dghandle@andrew.cmu.edu

I received my B.A. in English Arts from Hampton University and my M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. At CMU, my research interests revolve around African American rhetoric, rhetoric of place, and narrative theory. My research interests are rooted in making a difference in my community and discovering ways to translate theory into practice.

Jessica Harrell

Jessica Harrell

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: jbharrel@andrew.cmu.edu

I received my B.A. in English from Belmont University. While working toward my B.A., I studied abroad in Florence, Italy where I developed an interest in stories about place. During my time away from academia and through the year I completed my M.A. in Rhetoric at Carnegie Mellon, I have pursued interests in narrative, oral history, and the discourse surrounding urban renewal. My research currently focuses on how narratives of personal experience, primarily oral histories, become a valuable resource in the construction of collective memory.


Alex Helberg

Alex Helberg

Ph.D. Student, Rhteoric

Email: ahelberg@andrew.cmu.edu

The driving force behind my work in the field of rhetoric stems from what some might call a “generative dichotomy” between ideal normative theories of discursive practice (such as Habermas’s Theory of Communicative Action) and the myriad accounts of how discursive interaction actually occurs in everyday life. To me, this dichotomy is definitively a generative one in that it allows us – as both analysts of discourse and participants in discourse – to achieve a deeper understanding of the ways in which we interpellate (and are interpellated by) language, rhetoric, and their many extensions.

In particular, I am interested in examining the ways activist and advocacy groups attempt to enact social change through linguistic practice. With my previous work, I have explored the rhetorical strategies latent in the responses of online activist groups to major events in the world, as well as the ways in which local public advocacy organizations circulate discourse and develop subversive terminologies to plant the seeds of social change.

I hold a Bachelor of Science in Secondary English Education from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and a Master of Arts in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon University.


J.D. Ho

J.D. Ho

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: jho1@andrew.cmu.edu

I am interested in how readership and print culture affected scientific writing in the eighteenth century, more specifically how members of literary circles read, discussed, and helped to disseminate scientific ideas and how, on their side, those performing research and experimentation tried to create believable narratives in order to provide evidence for what was not previously known or understood.

Before attending Carnegie Mellon, I received a B.A. in English from Williams College and an M.F.A. in Writing from the Michener Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

Kate Holterhoff

Kate Holterhoff

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: kholterh@andrew.cmu.edu

Kate Holterhoff is a Ph.D. Candidate in Carnegie Mellon University’s Literary and Cultural Studies program. Her research focuses on the ways in which evolutionary science impacted Victorian and fin-de-siècle romantic fictions. Holterhoff has published several scholarly essays including “The Reception and History of Charles Darwin's Hypothesis of Pangenesis” (The Journal of the History of Biology, 2014); “Beauty As a Terministic Screen In Charles Darwin’s The Descent of Man” (Victorian Network, 2010); and “Liminality and Power in Bram Stoker’s Jewel of Seven Stars” for Critical Essays on Victorian Gothic and Sensation Fiction from Wollstonecraft to Stoker (McFarland, 2009).

She co-edited with Deborah T. Meem critical editions of Eliza Lynn Linton’s The Autobiography of Christopher Kirkland (Victorian Secrets, 2011) and Sowing the Wind (Victorian Secrets, 2015). In 2015 Kate is co-editing with Nicole Lobdell a special edition of Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies on the topic of “Illustration and Gender.” She is also the editor of Visual Haggard: the Illustration Archive, a digital archive intended to preserve, centralize, and improve access to the illustrations of popular Victorian novelist H. Rider Haggard.


Robert Kilpatrick

Robert Kilpatrick

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: rkilpatr@andrew.cmu.edu

My work on contemporary American literature seeks to address both broad trends (genre-bending, representations of 9/11) and individual authors (Jonathan Franzen, Jonathan Lethem, Sam Lipsyte, David Foster Wallace). I am currently building a study of family narratives set across the postwar period—from Richard Yates' and John Updike's portrayals of suburbia to the post-9/11 familial depictions found in novels by Don DeLillo, Jonathan Safran Foer, and Ken Kalfus, among others. Additionally, I have a burgeoning interest in science fiction, and am keen to understand generic conventions and concerns both in terms of the theories and practices of science fiction studies and in relation to the piecemeal adoption of the genre by so-called literary authors (e.g., Margaret Atwood, Michael Chabon, Jennifer Egan, Gary Shteyngart). Born and raised (for the most part) in Switzerland, I am a graduate of McGill University (B.A. in English) and Carnegie Mellon University (M.A. in Literary and Cultural Studies).

Ari Klein

Ari Klein

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: azk@andrew.cmu.edu

In my dissertation, I am exploring the intersection of the traditional theoretical boundaries between artistic (i.e., discourse-based) and non-artistic (i.e., non-discursive) conceptions of ethos. In particular, I am interested in how some ethotic qualities that, traditionally, may have been understood as existing prior to and outside of discourse—for example, the authority that a speaker possesses by virtue of a recognized position of power—might in part be discursively constructed by the speaker over time. To analytically pursue this interest, I draw upon a case study of 142 speeches by members of the United States Federal Reserve. Methodologically, I combine qualitative and quantitative approaches—corpus-based rhetorical analysis, discourse analysis, and statistical analysis—to examine the extent to which the Chairman’s and others’ discourse invents the Chairman’s authoritative ethos as a means of rhetorically influencing the Federal Open Market Committee’s “consensus” on monetary policy decisions.  

As a Ph.D. student, I have taught 76-101: Interpretation and Argument and 76-270: Writing for the Professions, and I worked for three years at CMU’s Software Engineering Institute, where I applied concepts and approaches in argumentation theory to software assurance cases—an argumentation-based method for demonstrating properties of software-reliant systems (e.g., safety, security)—in an effort to develop a framework for understanding and assessing “confidence” in assurance-case claims. Currently, I am working with Professor Chris Neuwirth on developing computer modules for teaching basic principles of prose style writing, and researching the effect of the modules on student learning. I hold a B.A. in Creative Writing, with an additional major in Philosophy, from CMU, and an M.A. in Rhetoric from CMU.

Matthew Lambert

Matthew Lambert

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: mmlamber@andrew.cmu.edu

I received my B.A. in Literature at the University of North Carolina-Asheville and my M.A. in English at the University of South Alabama.  In my current work, I am focusing on how American writers and filmmakers of the 1930s appropriated the pastoral mode to explore intersections between a nascent environmentalism and issues of social justice concerning class, race, and gender during the period.   My interest in pastoralism includes its use in a variety of different geographic landscapes—from the urban and rural to the suburban, wild, and frontier.  I am also interested in science fiction and hard-boiled fiction and have taught courses on the American road film and the African American crime novel. 

Justin Mando

Justin Mando

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: jmando@andrew.cmu.edu

I situate my work at the intersection of rhetoric of place, environmental rhetoric and public sphere theory by analyzing local-level environmental disputes with a focus on place as an argumentative resource. I am particularly interested in the concept of proximity, both in how physical distance affects discourse and how proximity can be created in discourse. For my methodological approach to these issues, I draw from traditions in rhetorical analysis and discourse analysis.

I have also been fortunate enough to teach in a variety of places and contexts; from Pittsburgh to Slovakia to Qatar and from university classrooms to multinational corporations to correctional facilities. At Carnegie Mellon, I have taught 76-101: Interpretation and Argument focusing on issues of urban development, 76-100: Reading and Writing in an Academic Context for non-native speakers of English and 76-386/786: Language and Culture. Prior to my time at Carnegie Mellon, I taught English as a Second Language. I hold a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Vermont and a M.A. in rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon.

Daniel Markowicz

Daniel Markowicz

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: dmarkowi@andrew.cmu.edu


Ryan Mitchell

Ryan Mitchell

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: rmitchel@andrew.cmu.edu

Broadly, my work examines the fluidity of social meanings and categories that emerge when communities are caught in the throes of internal controversy. My thinking about controversy is guided by theories and methods taken from argument, narrative, and public sphere theory. I am motivated by an interest in how rhetors use community language and narrative to strengthen the believability of their arguments, establish communion with their audiences, and construct stable community identities. My current work attempts to outline the argumentative strategies enacted by gay men in the earliest years of the AIDS epidemic (1980-1984) as they negotiated private behaviors like sexual health and safety with public concerns such as prevention, medical research, and governmental funding. I hold a B.A. in English Writing and Rhetoric from St. Edward’s University and an M.A. in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon.

Matthew Nelson

Matthew Nelson

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: mrnelson@andrew.cmu.edu

I'm a Ph.D. Candidate in the Literary and Cultural Studies program. My field is 20th/21st century American literature and culture with a particular focus on mid-century and contemporary texts. My dissertation is a literary and cultural history of the American sports novel from 1980 to the present. In addition, I'm interested in the relationship between fiction and history, how space and place shapes identity, and contemporary developments in gender studies. I've presented work in these areas at a variety of conferences. I've taught courses on a wide range of topics including: The Politics and Discourse of Genocide, The Culture of Sports Fandom, Where are you from?: Space, Place, and Identity, and Introduction to Gender Studies. Outside of research and teaching, I've been involved with planning and coordinating guest lecturers, serving as a workshop leader for the Odyssey program, and working as a tutor at the Global Communication Center.

Previous Degrees
BA with majors in English, American Studies, minor in Anthropology from the University of Iowa
MA in American Studies from California State University Fullerton


Will Penman

Will Penman

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: wpenman@andrew.cmu.edu

I study how people change over time when they have an "aspirational" rhetoric, which is any way of communicating that might not come naturally. For my dissertation, I'm working with white Christians volunteers from a church-led urban farm as they aspire to rhetorical practices that counter white privilege with servanthood, in-group attachment with hospitality, and assumptions of knowledgeableness with relationships. I also have academic interests in the modes of communication that people use, and how technology shapes these modes. I earned my B.A. in English Literature from the University of Florida, and my M.A. in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon University. I teach introductory academic reading and writing skills, in general sections and sections specifically for multilingual students.

Doug Phillips

Doug Phillips

Ph.D. Candidate, Rhetoric

Email: dgphilli@andrew.cmu.edu

Broadly, my work seeks to contribute to our understanding of the ways that arguers use iconic language in public discourse. Specifically, I am interested in how people invoke whole narratives and index particular ideologies through iconic language related to decisive moments in history, and what assumptions speakers or writers make when they use language in this way. I draw on concepts from narrative theory, argument theory, and discourse analysis to examine how politicians or other public figures condense events -- or, rather, series of events -- into ‘moments' that are then picked up and recontextualized in subsequent discourses. I also seek to understand what is lost in this process. In other words, what does speaking or writing about a series of events as a moment leave out? I hold a B.A. in English from The Ohio State University and an M.A. in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon.


Calvin Pollak

Calvin Pollak

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: cpollak@andrew.cmu.edu

I earned a B.A. in Professional Writing and Philosophy from Carnegie Mellon, completing a senior honors thesis on wartime rhetoric. After graduation, I moved to Beijing, China, where I worked as an English teacher and copy editor for a few years. My current research is motivated especially by my stint in China, when I became fascinated by the speed and scale of changing international power dynamics. How is English, as perhaps the world's foremost "global language", increasingly becoming a site of contestation for competing geopolitical interests? Specifically, how is the US-China relationship being actively negotiated and constituted through English texts intended for global audiences? How (and why) are terror groups and other non-state actors using English-language online media to argue for violent and nonviolent resistance to the policies of predominantly English-speaking countries?

Finally, what are the implications of widespread digital surveillance for healthy dissent and public debate in liberal democracies? My work harnesses rhetorical analysis to interrogate the intersecting forces of neoliberal economic expansion, technological change, and geopolitical conflict.


Maria Poznahovska

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: mapoznah@andrew.cmu.edu


Juliann Reineke

Juliann Reineke

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: jreineke@andrew.cmu.edu

I am a PhD Candidate in Literary and Cultural Studies.  I received my B.A. and my M.A. in English from The Ohio State University. My dissertation explores how the sailors were depicted in 18th century British literature and culture. I examine a variety of texts, including sea songs, poems, novels, plays, treatises, and broadsheets in order to create a complex view of the many perspectives of sailors and sailing and how those views changed over the course of the long 18th century. I am also interested in how space influences identity, particularly how the space of the ship affects performance of a sailor identity and the eventual stereotyping of men who went to sea. My teaching experience includes 76-101 Interpretation and Argument, 76-809 Writing Research for Graduate Students, 76-270 Writing for the Professions, and 76-203 Pirates and Prostitutes in the 18th Century. Last but not least, I am Assistant to the Director at the Global Communication Center where I have the pleasure to train new tutors and help clients refine their communication skills.

Ryan Roderick

Ryan Roderick

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: rroderic@andrew.cmu.edu

My research focuses on the transfer of rhetorical knowledge—a process whereby individuals or groups adapt prior experiences, skills, and abilities to negotiate communications in new contexts. I am currently studying the role that metacognition plays in enabling students to cross boundaries of rhetorical expertise within the university. This work has implications for writing pedagogy, curricular design, and communication across the disciplines more generally. 


D.J. Schuldt

Ph.D. Candidate, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: dschuldt@andrew.cmu.edu

My primary research interest is the importance of the seventeenth-century English Revolution for understanding literary production and political discourse in the early Romantic period. Specific figures of interest for my research include the writings of John Milton, James Harrington, Algernon Sidney, John Toland, William Godwin, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Joseph Priestley, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. I am also interested in the cultural evolution of comic books, from their birth as a medium to the economic structures of distribution. I enjoy balancing my research with my teaching. I have taught 76-240: Milton and Popular Culture, 76-327: Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings, and I have taught numerous sections of 76-101: Interpretation and Argument, one of which is on the comic book in American culture. I am also the Assistant Director of the Pittsburgh Consortium for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and sit on the Student Advisory Council to the university's libraries. I hold a B.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire and an M.A. in Literary and Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon University.


Salita Seibert

Salita Seibert

Ph.D. Candidate, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: sseibert@andrew.cmu.edu

By the end of the seventeenth-century a newly coherent discourse of economic theory had developed. The economic discourse played an important role in defining the proto-class structure of eighteenth-century England. My project examines the formation of criminals in eighteenth-century England as a discrete class with a distinct population of people characterized by their perceived and actual relationship to forms of labor and social hierarchies. The poor and the criminal-the express subjects of social control-play a central role in the texts I examine. My work starts with the Restoration period and end in the 1750's. There are several questions that this project asks including who was criminal? What did it mean to be criminal? When was criminality understood as an experience within poverty and when was it not? How were poverty and criminality theorized as economic problems, social problems, or class problems? At what moments and in what sorts of texts do these problematics overlap? The first conclusion I have come to based on the texts I have examined at this point is, economic exigencies implicitly or explicitly inform all articulations of the problem. My second conclusion is that the fundamental connection between criminals is the relationship to labor. The poor are valorized for being industrious-laboring to support the state, however, criminals are condemned because their industry directly benefits informal economies and only indirectly the state.


Kristin Shimmin

Kristin Shimmin

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: kshimmin@andrew.cmu.edu

I am interested in the way that scientific discourse informs political discourse in the long eighteenth century. In this period, scientific practice shifts from a private, elite practice of the royal court to a more public, more democratic practice of the educated. And, these shifts in scientific practice coincide with substantial shifts in political theory toward modern notions of democratic sovereignty, and with influential political revolutions in England, America, and France. By investigating the rhetorical intersections of these changing fields, I seek to explore how emerging scientific discourse influenced emerging democratic discourse and how the eighteenth-century intersections these two discourses shaped ethics of democratic citizenship that influence our ethics today. To this end, I am specifically interested in studying rhetoric within four contexts: the early Royal Society, scientific culture in early America, eighteenth-century political theory, and eighteenth-century educational theory.

Kitty Shropshire

Kitty Shropshire

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: kshropsh@andrew.cmu.edu

Before joining Carnegie Mellon’s Literary and Cultural Studies PhD program, I did my undergraduate work at Smith College in Northampton, MA and at the University of South Carolina, ultimately receiving a BA in History with a focus in Cultural History. While there, I developed my interest in participatory and consumer cultures. I am particularly interested in how readers/viewers/users interact with and appropriate text. My work considers how race, sexuality, gender, and class intersect with our understandings of and relationships with mediated texts (both “new” and “traditional”) and their forms.  


Jamie Smith

Jamie Smith

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: jmatty@andrew.cmu.edu

I have received degrees from John Carroll University (2009, B.A. in English Literature and Writing) and Boston College (2011, M.A. in English Literature) where I first became interested in eighteenth-century British literature, history and culture. My dissertation explores the intersections between religious and gendered identity in British novels of the 1790s, particularly works that engage in revolutionary ideology and rhetoric. Specifically, I consider how an interdisciplinary approach between performance studies and religious studies can reveal vexed notions of gendered identity in the revolutionary period. My research and teaching interests additionally include the Gothic, Shakespeare, and trends in commercial and popular literature.


Garrett Stack

Garrett Stack

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: gstack@andrew.cmu.edu

I received a B.A. in Journalism with an emphasis in Biology from Indiana University and a M.A. in Rhetoric and Writing Studies from San Diego State University. As a result of this varied educational background, my research interests lie in several directions. Currently, I am focusing on environmental rhetoric in all of its various forms and functions, but specifically the ways in which the language humans use to describe the natural world has changed (and continues to change) over time. As our day-to-day practices grow increasingly digital and removed from the natural world, this understanding becomes more vital rhetorically, as does the need to pass on sound environmentally-focused communicative practices. To me, these areas of study are important, and as environmental awareness and sustainability become increasingly exigent, so too will be the need for analysis in order to better understand our own social and environmental history, and how these ideologies have influenced and continue to affect our decisions for the future.


Craig Stamm

Ph.D. Student , Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: cstamm@andrew.cmu.edu


Natalie Suzelis

Natalie Suzelis

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: nsuzelis@andrew.cmu.edu

I’m interested in utilizing interdisciplinary methods and frameworks to investigate economic and social shifts in the early modern period, including the digital humanities, postcolonial theory, the history of books, Marxist theory, globalization studies, gender, sexuality, and performativity studies, as well media studies and investigations of the public versus the private. Currently my work centers on the cultural effects of converting from use to exchange value in the early modern transition from feudalism to capitalism, and the long-term cultural consequences of emerging bourgeois values winning out over Tudor and Stuart aristocratic values.

Susan Tanner

Susan Tanner

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: stanner@andrew.cmu.edu

My research focuses on legal rhetoric and moral philosophy, and includes analyses of political discourse, dialogic models of democracy, and Supreme Court decisions. To this end, I am interested in locating and examining the space within which rhetoric can and/or should operate in a legal communication. Additionally, I am interested in best practices for teaching Legal Research and Writing and Professional Writing. I studied English at Arizona State University, and earned my J.D. from Indiana University, Maurer School of Law.

Pavithra Tantrigoda

Pavithra Tantrigoda

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: pkt@andrew.cmu.edu

I received my B.A. in English at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka and my M.A. in Literary and Cultural Studies at Carnegie Mellon University. My research is committed to a transverse examination and interconnected understanding of law, human rights, ecosystems and socio-political-economic contexts to reveal concealed hindrances to achieving social and ecological justice.

My dissertation is informed by postcolonial approaches to the Anthropocene debate and examines how hegemonic, as well as alternative discourses on human rights and ecological justice inform legal doctrine and postcolonial aesthetic discourses. More specifically, I examine how human rights discourses in European juridical thinking collude with scientific and philosophical discourses of ‘green imperialism’ in producing the taxonomy of man and nature and the ways in which literature by South Asian novelists contests this process by reincorporating nature as a subject of rights and trope for human rights abuses. Additionally, I am interested in issues of gender and class in a context of globalization.


Bret Vukoder

Bret Vukoder

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: bvukoder@andrew.cmu.edu

I received a B.S. in Business Administration with majors in Public Administration, English, and Political Science and a minor in Cinema Studies at the University of Tennessee. Continuing at Tennessee, I earned a Masters in English Literature. Broadly, my research concerns film—particularly American film—and the extent to which it forms, reinforces, and disseminates cultural practice. More specifically, I am interested in both Hollywood and state-sanctioned/produced films that were constructed and appropriated as ideological weapons during the Cold War, the conditions of production behind many of these films, and the channels by which they were conveyed.

Christopher Wike

Christopher Wike

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: cwike@andrew.cmu.edu

I am a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University (2010, M.A. in Literary and Cultural Studies) and Clarion University of Pennsylvania (2009, B.A. in English). My areas of research interest are modern and contemporary American literature, the institutional position of literature and the role of English studies in canon formation, and the American university. Currently, I am working on expanding research I conducted during my Masters year which ties together my interests in contemporary American fiction and the institutional position of literature in an attempt at updating Richard Ohmann's "The Shaping of a Canon: U.S. Fiction, 1960-1975." In this project, I am attempting to construct a descriptive, rather than a prescriptive, canon of contemporary U.S. fiction by examining the course syllabi from the U.S. News and World Report's list of the top graduate programs in literature.

Pierce Williams

Pierce Williams

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: mpwillia@andrew.cmu.edu

I received a B.A. in English with specializations in the philosophical tradition and history from the University of Texas Arlington in 2008. I earned my M.A. in English Literature and Language from Loyola University Chicago, with a focus on material culture and textual criticism, in 2013. I am interested in the intersection of literature, science, and technology in the transatlantic eighteenth century.

Jessica Wilton

Jessica Wilton

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: jwilton@andrew.cmu.edu

I came to Carnegie Mellon's Literary and Cultural Studies Program after earning my B.A. in Writing, Literature, and Publishing at Emerson College in Boston, MA. My interests are situated broadly in the field of British and American literary and cinematic modernism. My research examines the historical intersections of modernist literature, design, and film.  The question of how these fields contributed to the development of an economy based on creative labor drives my inquiry into this history. I specifically want examine the effects of modernist aesthetic and economic ideals on contemporary corporate ideals of streamlined and individualized design, autonomous labor, and the democratization of creativity. These interests allow me to incorporate a broad range of authors and texts into my work such as Bertolt Brecht, Ralph Ellison, Steven Soderbergh, and Steve Jobs. I have taught several music and film-related topics in 76-101, Interpretation and Argument. I have also taught Introduction to Film Studies and more specialized upper-level film studies courses. I am in involved in several community organizations in Pittsburgh, primarily targeting educational reform and public art.