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

Amanda Berardi

Amanda Berardi

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.

Julie Bowman

Julie Bowman

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: jdbowman@andrew.cmu.edu

My research focuses on early modern drama and the domestic lives of early modern individuals. In my work, I seek to situate the plays in their moment in order with the assumption that historically contextualizing the plays aids interpretation, exposes how early modern audiences (across class and gender) might have experienced the plays, and, finally, suggests how the dramas engage with emerging structures of thought. In other words, I ask how did it feel to inhabit those bodies, in those times, in those spaces, and how does that produce meaning?


Specifically, my dissertation project historically contextualizes the early modern domestic nation, household, and body as a hermeneutic frame for reading the spatial organization of the plays. Reading this way challenges the analogical assumption of the home as a miniature nation-state by literally reading the home space to expose moments of privacy, intimacy, and individual interiority, to various degrees. I contend that  we can see these features of domestic experience--which become more fully developed in later centuries-- in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century through the dramas’ use of domestic space when we read the spaces in conjunction with the period’s political, social, economic, and religious concerns.


My previous degrees include a B.A. in Humanities from Brigham Young University and an M.A. in English from Rhode Island College.


David Cerniglia

David Cerniglia

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: dcernigl@andrew.cmu.edu


Douglas Cloud

Douglas Cloud

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: dcloud@andrew.cmu.edu

My research focuses on the rhetoric of social change, the rhetoric of identity in public discourse and the social implications of argumentative practices. I teach courses in non-profit advocacy, rhetorical theory and first-year writing. I received my BS in journalism at Ohio University and my MA in rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon University.


Marisa Colabuono

Marisa Colabuono

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: mcolabuo@andrew.cmu.edu

I received my BA in languages and literature from Bard College, and my MA in Literary and Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon. I work on early modern literature and culture through the lens of book history and the history of reading, and focus specifically on the circulation and production of information and knowledge in early modern Europe. I have worked on topics relating to natural philosophy, early modern medicine and the Republic of Letters.


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

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 audience, 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. 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. I teach 76-101 Interpretation and Argument, Writing in the Professions, and a Performance Studies course (with Dr. Kristina Straub) for the Humanities Scholars Program. I am interested in community literacy and deliberative democracy projects that involve university-community partnerships, and my research focuses on investigating the arts as civic engagement. In addition to my research and teaching I am the document developer for the Southwestern Pennsylvania Program for Deliberative Democracy, housed at CMU, and I help run the Unseam'd Shakespeare Company, which for sixteen years has attacked works from the classical canon with a visceral wit and no respect whatsoever. 


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 Continental philosophy and material culture. 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. While my undergraduate studies focused on the critical theory of Theodor Adorno, my Master's Thesis utilized Alain Badiou's thought in conjunction with several works of Los Angeles noir literature and film to develop a conception of noir as a spatial ontology. Recently, my interests have branched into posthumanist studies as a method of investigating twenty-first century culture.

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.

David Haeselin

David Haeselin

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: dhaeseli@andrew.cmu.edu

The changing nature of textuality drives my research interests. An increasingly digital age brings with it a host of consequences, not just for books but for study in the humanities more generally. To that end, I'm invested in helping chart the emerging field of the digital humanities, that is, the transcoding of our print archive and the creation of networked scholarly apparatuses while envisioning strategies to salvage the idea and practice of critique in the "late age of print." With specific regard to American literature and culture, my work attempts to construct an alternate history of the novel's relationship to "information," the technical concept promulgated by Post-World War II scientific discourse and cybernetics, the forebears of modern computation. In focusing on attributes that make literature a form of media in its own right, I hope to open up new ways to question the oft-cited contemporary dominance of information and data as opposed to more "literary" categories of knowledge and interpretation.

I have previously taught classes on the contemporary crisis surrounding intellectual property law (and its nefarious double, piracy) and am currently teaching a course that investigates new media's role in defining the so-called "posthuman" condition.


Kate Hamilton

Kate Hamilton

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: khamilton@cmu.edu

After receiving my B.A. in English at the University of Connecticut, I joined the Carnegie Mellon LCS program in Fall 2009. At CMU, I am interested in how issues of identity, gender, and class play out on the global and local stage. My primary focus is 18th century England, but I also examine 19th century and contemporary feminist and postcolonial texts. Specifically, I enjoy studying how women fit into city life—how they confront the commercialization of leisure, the clash between public and private life, and female vulnerability in the male gaze. How do urban culture landscapes affect women's expectations, choices, and experiences? How can the 18th century offer new perspectives on modern culture? Finally, I am interested in marginal subjects, such as prostitutes, servants, and those whom Gayatri Spivak deems the "subaltern." As academics and researchers, how can we truthfully reclaim these lost voices? 


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.


Kate Holterhoff

Kate Holterhoff

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: kholterh@andrew.cmu.edu

I am a Ph.D. student in Carnegie Mellon University's Literary and Cultural Studies program focusing primarily on science, anthropology and aesthetics in the Victorian period. My essay entitled "Liminality and Power in Bram Stoker's 'Jewel of Seven Stars'" was published by McFarland in the anthology "Critical Essays on Victorian Gothic and Sensation Fiction from Wollstonecraft to Stoker" (2009). I was awarded Best Paper in 2008 at Ball State University's Practical Criticism Midwest Conference for her essay "Writing as a Therapy for Mental Illness in Michael Cunningham's The Hours, and Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves." I am also a professional artist, and have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, with a concentration in painting, from the University of Cincinnati's college of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning.


Ashley Karlin

Ashley Karlin

Ph.D. Candidate, Rhetoric

Email: akarlin@andrew.cmu.edu

Broadly, I am interested in the intersection of philosophical interpretation theory, phenomenological hermeneutics, interactive discourse, theories of engagement in language study, and discourse analysis in relation to rhetorical theory. My research currently focuses on the implicit and explicit discursive tactics that speakers employ when attempting to bridge epistemologies. At the moment, I am examining dialogues between self-described Buddhists and scientists. One example would be the recently published dialogues from the Mind and Life Institute between the Dalai Lama, physicists, and cognitive scientists. Another example is the published dialogue The Quantum and the Lotus, between genetic-biologist-turned-Buddhist-monk Matthieu Ricard and physicist Trinh Xuan Thuan. Through a micro-level discourse analysis, I aim to determine the role of identity construction, ethos, and epistemic openness in inter-epistemic dialogue. I have developed and taught syllabi for both Interpretation and Argument and Language and Culture courses. My Interpretation and Argument syllabi have covered arguments on non-violent resistance/conflict resolution and perspectives on the boundary between self and other. My Language and Culture syllabus spans the fields of sociolinguistics, linguistics, cultural anthropology, and psycholinguistics, considering such issues as the Ebonics debate in the mid-90s, American Indian language death, and cross-cultural politeness strategies as fuel for understanding and defining the relationships between language, culture, and thought.

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

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: azk@andrew.cmu.edu


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. As a M.A. student, I became fascinated by proletarian literature and the Popular Front. I've been particularly interested in how the aesthetics of the beautiful and the sublime were appropriated by the Popular Front through various mediums-film, photography, literature, drama, painting, etc.-to perform cultural and ideological work on an American society in economic turmoil and transition. Recently, I've become interested in the critical theory aspects of science fiction (and fact) and plan on extending my critique of radical political culture onto nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first century science fiction novels, stories, and films.

Sheila Liming

Sheila Liming

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: sliming@andrew.cmu.edu

My research begins in the middle of the nineteenth century, when romance and sentiment pervaded American literature, and when industrialization and "progress" formed the basis of American life. I study the shift that occurred during this period from romantic and sentimental writing to realist representation, particularly where women - as producers, consumers, and subjects - are concerned. My dissertation focuses, in particular, on the correspondence between sentimentality and nature, and the slow process by which women, in nineteenth century America, transition from the "natural" to the "social," and become conscious, "real" agents in the eyes of an emerging realist agenda. Writers like Louisa May Alcott, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Kate Chopin, and Edith Wharton figure prominently in that conversation, and their writing underscores my thinking, which is likewise informed by Marxist theory and materialism. I'm also a musician; I play in several Pittsburgh-based bands, and I enjoy having the opportunity to extend my interests in music to my research and teaching. I've taught sections of 76-101 Interpretation and Argument on punk rock, and portions of my dissertation confront jazz music and culture in relation to literature. I'm likewise interested in the connection between music criticism and cultural theory, as in the works of Edward Said and Theodor Adorno, a topic that I have written and presented on in the past. 


Justin Mando

Justin Mando

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: jmando@andrew.cmu.edu

I received my B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Vermont, then took five years to teach English as a Second Language split between the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Pittsburgh. Recently, I have returned to school and received my M.A. from Carnegie Mellon in Rhetoric. For my research, I am interested in the study of rhetoric not only as a persuasive art, but a constitutive one that is integral to the formation of community identity. My research focuses on rhetorics of place, asking how and where community members achieve a "public experience." I ask, what kinds of places allow people to best interact with one another across differences in their role as citizens? How do people learn and practice citizenship? To aid in answering these questions, I have been studying the Chautauqua Movement of the late-19th century and its current incarnation, the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York.

Daniel Markowicz

Daniel Markowicz

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: dmarkowi@andrew.cmu.edu


Matthew Nelson

Matthew Nelson

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: mrnelson@andrew.cmu.edu

I came to the Literary and Cultural Studies program after receiving my B.A. in English and American Studies from the University Iowa, and my M.A. in American Studies from California State University Fullerton. At Iowa, I was a research assistant for both the American Studies Department and the International Writing Program. At Fullerton, I worked as an editorial assistant at the American Quarterly. I also worked as a graduate research assistant for the Associate Dean of Social Sciences and Humanities. I'm currently in my second year of the Ph.D. program here at Carnegie Mellon with interests in contemporary American fiction, road narratives, and regional studies.

Will Penman

Will Penman

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: wpenman@andrew.cmu.edu

I am a first year PhD student in Rhetoric. Since I was an undergrad at the University of Florida and undertook a computationally aided project on the functions of repetition in literature, I have been interested in the ways technology can affect our perception of the world. As citizens who deliberate, technology such as Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging affords us some compositional decisions and not others. And as scholars who analyze, technology like text search, digital archives, and revision history affords some methodological decisions and not others. I see these as two sides of the same coin, as technology affecting people who are sometimes writers and sometimes readers. Currently I'm pursuing the idea that even discussions of technological objects can become fruitful sites of inquiry for public sphere theory and writing instruction.

Doug Phillips

Doug Phillips

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: dwp@cs.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.


Ethan Pullman

Ethan Pullman

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: ethanp@cmu.edu


Juliann Reineke

Juliann Reineke

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: jreineke@andrew.cmu.edu

During my graduate studies at The Ohio State University, I explored how bodies are represented in eighteenth and nineteenth-century novels. I was most concerned with how the passions and sensibility were at the heart of discourse of the body. Currently, I am primarily interested in how scientific discoveries of those time periods influenced constructions of the human body within literature. While at Ohio State, I was able to teach composition and technical writing. I have also taught composition and literature at Greenville Technical College. I look forward to teaching composition within the First-Year Writing Program in Fall 2010.

Ryan Roderick

Ryan Roderick

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: rroderick@andrew.cmu.edu

I received my B.A. in English from Drexel University and my M.A. with a concentration in Composition and Pedagogy from University of Maine. Broadly, I am interested in all the ways texts enable and constrain material and social realities. Specifically, I am curious about how changes in texts alter material and social realities, how such changes occur, and what effects they have on social activity. I focus my research on how newcomers and alternative members of discourse communities shape and are shaped by the texts and social practices they encounter.


Kurt Sampsel

Kurt Sampsel

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: ksampsel@andrew.cmu.edu

My research, reading, and writing focus on the history of the American mass media system.  My dissertation, “The FCC, Media Policy, and American Culture,” intends to treat the Federal Communications Commission both as an agency of media policy and as a cultural institution.  In this study, I am trying to challenge three of our usual assumptions about the FCC: that it is a body of moral guardians protecting us from “indecency,” that it is a bitter antagonist to the media industries, and that it would function as a virtuous defender of the public if only it were not “captured” by business interests.  In order to work past these limiting assumptions, my dissertation considers the FCC from 1934-today not as a monolithic, bureaucratic agency but as an institution made up of real people working in a cultural and economic matrix.  Because the people, the culture, and the economic situation change, the FCC has a varied record, including many righteous advances as well as awkward retreats.

I have taught 76-101 (Interpretation and Argument) and 76-238 (Media and Film Studies).  My 101 course is entitled "Is Popular Culture Ruining Our Children?" and focuses on issues of mass-media anxiety, censorship, and reception.  Students read everything from Anthony Comstock to Tipper Gore, and we often base our discussions around questions like “What do media do?” and “In what ways does popular culture influence our daily lives?”  My 238 course, “Meanings and Functions of Mass Media,” is a class on media interpretation and criticism.  We read works by scholars like John Berger, Dallas Smythe, and Louis Althusser and criticize media from a number of different stances, including aesthetic, technological, ideological, and political economy approaches.

Previous Degrees:

M.A., English, Ohio University, 2007 

B.A., English, Kent State University, 2004


Laura Schmidt

Laura Schmidt

Ph.D. Candidate, Rhetoric

Email: laurasch@andrew.cmu.edu


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.

Jamie Matty Smith

Jamie Matty 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. Particularly, my interest lies in matters of gender identity and sexuality, as well as material culture and fashion during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Though my attention to literary and cultural studies has largely been informed by feminist criticism thus far, I am also intrigued by and eager to explore different fashions of theoretical literary criticism as well, particularly Marxism and postcolonial theory. At Boston College, I was able to teach in the First Year Writing Program and I look forward to teaching at Carnegie Mellon.

Garrett Stack

Garrett Stack

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: gstack@andrew.cmu.edu

I received a B.A. in Journalism with an emphasis on 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 media portrays humans’ relationship with environment. I hope to apply my research to forms of new media and digital communication in order to better understand how human beings publicly construct themselves in relation to the natural world that they inhabit in a society that is becoming increasingly digital and removed from nature. 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.
 

Heather Steffen

Heather Steffen

Ph.D. Candidate, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: hsteffen@andrew.cmu.edu

I am currently finishing my dissertation, "Academic Labor in an Age of Change: Criticism of the U.S. University, 1890-1930," which asserts that to understand our own troubled era, we must look back to the university’s emergence. Early-twentieth-century faculty witnessed troubles much like our own: a contingent, untenurable workforce; limited academic freedom; tense faculty-administration relations; worrying university-industry collaborations; and uneven professionalization. In response, observers like Upton Sinclair, Thorstein Veblen, James McKeen Cattell, and a host of now-forgotten professors produced a vivid corpus of critical texts in scholarly and popular venues. Writers like Owen Johnson, Percy Marks, Willa Cather, and Robert Herrick joined ranks with the critics, and their novels brought the university’s tensions into the public arena. These texts have usually been overlooked by historians of the university and by literary scholars. Thus, my project is half recovery effort and half explication of the intellectual genealogies of key scholarly concepts (academic labor, shared governance, and professionalism, for example). In the record of early university critics’ successes and failures, I argue, we find not only the origins of higher education’s present challenges but also hints at innovative ways to overcome them. Thanks to generous funding from an American Dissertation Fellowship from the American Association of University Women during the 2012-2013 academic year, I am on track to defend during spring 2014.  I also write about contemporary academic labor issues, and have published on graduate education and student internships in the minnesota review, Academe, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Cultural Logic. The Critical Pulse: Thirty-Six Credos by Contemporary Critics, which I co-edited with Jeffrey J. Williams is was published by Columbia University Press in 2012. My teaching focuses on late-19th- and 20th-century American literature, with emphases on realism and naturalism, popular fiction, and literary and cultural theory, as well as the history of the university.  I have also developed 76-101 courses on topics like the "corporate university" and Millennial students, and in 2011 I was honored to receive both the Department of English and Dietrich College Graduate Student Teaching Awards.  Currently I serve as a member of the Modern Language Association's Delegate Assembly, am active in the Adjunct Faculty Association of the United Steelworkers, and administer GradSource, an online resource center for graduate students in English at Carnegie Mellon.



Previous Degrees:

M.A., Literary and Cultural Studies, CMU, 2004

B.A., English, Bowling Green State University, 2003


Natalie Suzelis

Natalie Suzelis

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: nsuzelis@andrew.cmu.edu

During my undergraduate dual studies at Carlow University (B.A. English, B.A. Philosophy, 2010), I found particular fascination in tracing the influence of ancient culture on Medieval and Renaissance ideas. More precisely, the influence of Greek comedy, tragedy, history, and philosophy on the Early Modern age. I am deeply interested in the works of Shakespeare and Geoffrey Chaucer. Comic and tragic convention, or the lack thereof, influences my approach to these works, as well as a character’s struggle for autonomy in either chaotic or seemingly predestined circumstances, and an examination of the cultural and historical conflicts between personal ethics, law, and religious institutions, and the philosophical problems which result from uniting these forces.

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. In my graduate studies, I became interested in theories of globalization, more specifically, the racialization and feminization of labor within the structures of transnational capital. My research examines the spaces occupied by third world women and female migrants within the transnational sites of labor and capital, their embodied relation to work, the physical and mental costs of labor, and their modes of resistance to exploitation. Additionally, I'm interested in poststructuralism and its contemporary applications and, particularly, in the works of Jacques Derrida.


Alexis Teagarden

Alexis Teagarden

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: ateagard@andrew.cmu.edu

Three questions guide my research: How are publics rhetorically enacted, how are policies rhetorically constructed, and how is education rhetorically evaluated. I find these lines of inquiry intersect at charter schools—publically funded but privately run schools that are born from argument. As such arguments proliferate my research draws on both traditional rhetorical methods and computer-assisted corpus analysis. By layering these methodologies I account for both the breadth of nationally publicized discourse as well as the depth of locally situated arguments. Using these two different analytic lenses also brings into focus the dynamic exchange between the national public sphere and its many local publics, showing how arguments locally anchored and diffusely circulated can interact.

I see my research dovetailing with my teaching first-year and prof/tech writing, and a rhetorical perspective grounds my curriculum design. I am also committed to classes that promote transfer of responsible writing practices and academic habits of mind.

I am an alumna of Georgetown University (B.A. in English and Government) and The Johns Hopkins University (M.A.T.) as well as the 2005 Baltimore Corps of Teach for America. I current serve as Assistant Director for the First-Year Writing program. I am also a founding editor and occasional contributor to The Silver Tongue, a blog of rhetorical criticism for engaged citizens.   


Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson

Ph.D. Candidate, Rhetoric

Email: mathomps@andrew.cmu.edu

I am interested in the intersections of rhetorical theory and institutional discourse, looking especially at the ways in which the asymmetric nature of institutional discourse challenges the communicative ideals of citizen participation within deliberative democracies. Currently, I am looking at Congressional testimony given by hostile witnesses and government whistleblowers, interested in the way tropes of emergency serve as a means of bypassing traditional deliberation and how such arguments are used to rhetorically justify invasive institutional practices. In addition, I look at the ways in which institutional documents are created and, when circulated past the stage of invention, represent particular interpretations upon which institutional actions are based and/or justified. It is my goal to bring this research to the classroom, informing technical communication pedagogy from both a pragmatic and ethical perspective. I hold a B.A. in English from the University of Washington, a B.S. in Public Policy from Indiana University and an M.A. in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon University.



Eric Vázquez

Eric Vázquez

Ph.D. Candidate, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: evazquez@andrew.cmu.edu

My research explores points of contact between the geopolitical power wielded by the United States and resulting narrative/cultural forms. More specifically, my dissertation charts the conflict between governmental articulations of unconventional or low-intensity warfare and the attempts by Latino refugees, solidarity activists, and novelists, writing from the United States, to counter these dominant articulations. Exploring this intersection during the Reagan-era proxy wars in Central America my dissertation asks questions about how warfare calls into question distinctions between universal and particular, the function of representation with regard to conflict zones, and the persistence of alternative political visions against violent, seemingly irremediable, historical moments. My other interests include documentary cultural forms, the intellectual history of materialism, and theories of desire.

Prior Education:

B.A. Kenyon College, Major: English, Minor: Philosophy


Bret Vukoder

Bret Vukoder

Ph.D. Student, Literary and Cultural Studies

Email: bvukoder@andrew.cmu.edu

While at the University of Tennessee, I discovered and cultivated an interest in early twentieth-century narratives, particularly those of the American interwar period. In Carnegie Mellon’s Literary and Cultural Studies program, I plan to continue research on the divergent, yet symbiotic relationship between the modernist and classical Hollywood narrative, the dialectic between these narratives and the audience, and their effect relative to America’s increasingly global political and cultural position. Ultimately, I hope to trace how the film and literature of this dynamic time—despite their differences—deeply valued the act of storytelling in both its fundamental and endlessly complex potential.  A few of my tangential interests include the movie theater space (specifically that of the movie palace), ekphrastic storytelling, “Pre-Code” cinema, and the “global vernacular” of early cinema.

As an undergraduate at the University of Tennessee, I received a B.S. in Business Administration (majoring in Public Administration, English, and Political Science with a minor in Cinema Studies).  Also at Tennessee, I earned an M.A. in English Literature, during which time I had the opportunity to teach English 101 and 102, (respectively) themed “The American Political Identity” and “The Golden Age of Hollywood.”

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.

Michael Williams

Michael 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 ideas, applications, and representations of technology, technological innovation across political and geographic venues, and the implications of the "national" on conceptions of natural resources and the privileging of geographic locales. Recently, I have been working on tracing a sort of trajectory from the mid-eighteenth century to the turn of the twentieth in the development of American technological and literary exceptionalism, universalism, and pluralism. This subject is particularly fruitful in conversation with historiographies of the natural and others recounting the transatlantic competition between nations concerning national character, facility with innovation, and cultural and racial differences. My research involves writings on natural philosophy and history, politics, technology, and nation formation--primarily from the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries--from both the New and Old Worlds.

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.


Matthew Zebrowski

Matthew Zebrowski

Ph.D. Student, Rhetoric

Email: mgz@andrew.cmu.edu

My dissertation research focuses on lifestyle branding and how it seeks to constrain, redefine, or otherwise interact with consumer activism. Specifically, I am interested in how links are made between consumption and values, especially when those values are anti-industry or anti-consumption in nature. As a case study, I am using the organic food industry, which throughout the 1990s became increasingly dominated by "big food" while maintaining the cultural association of being an "alternative" to industrial food production. Because my objects of analysis use image, text, and document design all for rhetorical effect, I am also interested in combining methods and theory drawn from discourse analysis and visual rhetoric. In the past, I have done research on global hip-hop and the use of minority dialects in advertising. I hold a BA in English from Wilkes University, and an MA in Linguistics from Temple University.