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Spring 2021 Commencement

On behalf of the faculty and staff of the Department of English, I warmly welcome you.

We join you in celebrating this extraordinary achievement. We also wish to express our sympathies to you, your friends, and family members for the struggles and losses of the past year.

Curiosity and inventive, bold thinking brought you to us. Today you are pioneers forging a path in an unknown world. You will distinguish yourself by your sensitivity to the diversity of the human condition, ability to adapt to shifting circumstances, and commitment to creative approaches to unforeseen challenges.

We are so proud of you. What you have learned during your time with us is all you need to make the world a better place.

Amanda Bailey
Chair, Department of English

English Commencement Program PDF

Congratulations to our Graduates

Comparative Literature Ph.D. Graduates

Keisha Allan

Keisha Allan’s dissertation, “Alternative Worlds of Female Desire: Women
Reimagining the Nation in Caribbean Fiction,” interrogates how selected women
writers from the Francophone, Anglophone, and Hispanophone Caribbean create
fictional worlds that have the effect of critiquing and commenting on patriarchal
perspectives and paradigms in their postcolonial societies. As Allan points out, her
three chosen writers, Nalo Hopkinson, Zoé Valdés, and Marie Chauvet also script
protagonists who use art (specifically writing or poetry in performance) to
challenge societal norms. While this might suggest a blurring of the boundaries
between writers and fictional characters, the effect is more focused on an
interrogation of society and artistic responsibility, with women presented as
creatively engaged in revolutionary activities aimed at reshaping ideas and
perspectives in the national imaginary. In a thoughtful analysis of how Caribbean
women fiction writers imagine and interrogate the participation of women in
national development, Allan grounds her analysis in notions of “exisle”
(geographical and psychological exile), perspectives offered by feminist
scholars like Carole Boyce-Davies, Katherine McKittrick, and Elaine Savory-Fido,
and interrogation of various theories of revolution and societal transformation.
—Professor Merle Collins and Professor GerShun Avilez, Dissertation Co-Directors

Manon Louise Ehrlich

In nineteenth-century Europe up to the beginning of the twentieth century,
despite being relegated to the private sphere and excluded from the realms of
national and international politics, women were increasingly exposed to the effects
of global movements. Novels written by women, however, while generally
dismissed because of their narrative emphasis on domestic matters, constitute
important literary tools to reevaluate the historical processes of globalization
through a female lens. In connecting the texts of English novelist Jane Austen,
French author George Sand, and Russian writer Isabelle Eberhardt to
contemporary global dynamics, Manon Ehrlich's dissertation, “At Home in the
World: Transnationalism in the Works of European Women Writers in the Long
Nineteenth Century,” registers expressions of transnational mobility in their
writings and argues for the formation of a cosmopolitan consciousness in
women’s literature during the long nineteenth century. In learning to feel at home
in the world, but also to navigate the tension between the social pull of the
domestic sphere and the centrifugal desire to transcend the limits to their gendered
experience, Ehrlich demonstrates that these writers show us that literature is more
relevant than ever and can help us cope with the complexities and challenges of
living between the national and the global in the twenty-first century by offering us
keys to negotiate in-between spaces and conflicting orientations.
—Professor Caroline Eades, Dissertation Director

Noah Fabricant

The rather modest title of Noah Fabricant’s dissertation, “An Editor in Israel: The
Periodicals of Ahad Ha’am in the Development of Modern Hebrew Literature,”
belies the radical insight and critical perspicacity that Fabricant brings to the study
of Hebrew letters and thought at the turn of the twentieth century. In this work,
Fabricant delves into one of the most complex and pivotal debates within the
formative years of Jewish nationalism: an intergenerational intellectual
conflagration over the place of writing and literature in the life of the emerging
nation. Ahad Ha’am, one of Zionism’s great polemicists and, for many years, an
important editor of political and cultural periodicals, triggered an argument over
the function of literature that, some might aver, continues to this day in Israel,
with various intellectuals still taking sides. What Fabricant deftly accomplishes is a
radical recontextualization of the debate by applying theoretical principles from
periodical studies that ask us to rethink the ways meaning emerges from the
network of voices published in a journal or magazine. In Fabricant’s hands, this
study of Ahad Ha’am’s work wonderfully recasts the entire world of Hebrew
intellectualism at a crucial moment in its development, and lets us see much more
clearly how polemic, debate, and dialogue all contribute to the formation of ideas
about culture and politics. —Professor Eric Zakim, Dissertation Director

Andrea Elizabeth Knowles

Andrea Knowles’s dissertation “Undocumentary Poetics: Twenty-First Century
Hemispheric Poetry by Women and Non-Binary Poets” is an original, elegantly
argued, and important contribution to our collective understanding of
contemporary poetry, of political and intellectual currents across the Americas, of
the lived experience of sex and gender, and of the role language plays in shaping
our sense of what’s possible. In it, Knowles focuses on what she calls an
undocumentary poetics, which for her are poems and poets that “defy easy
categorization, formally or otherwise” in order to imagine “a whole world with
more nuanced and fluid, and less rigid, forms.” The project studies an impressive
list of recent works by prominent women and non-binary poets from different
parts of the hemisphere whose writings seek to remember the past and center
voices of the disempowered, even as they grapple with the difficulty of both tasks.
The list includes: Gina Franco’s The Keepsake Storm (2004), M. NourbeSe Philip’s
Zong! (2008), Roció Cerón’s Tiento (2010), Jenni(f)fer Tamayo’s Red Missed Aches
Read Missed Aches Red Mistakes Read Mistakes (2011), Sara Uribe’s Antígona González
(2012), Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric (2014), Vanessa Angélica
Villarreal’s Beast/Meridian (2017), and Raquel Salas Rivera’s while they sleep (under the
bed is another country) (2019). These are poets who experiment on the page with
image, sound, layout, speaker, genre, and more. Through close readings of these
poetry collections, Knowles shows us how the act of reading can help us as
individuals and as communities to better connect the past to the present and to
create spaces of freedom at a moment of increasing unfreedom across the globe.
—Professor Randy Ontiveros and Professor Ryan Long, Dissertation Co-Directors

Tung-An Wei

Why are some modernist texts by authors like James Joyce so difficult? Tung-An
“Miranda” Wei explores this complex issue under the framework of
“recalcitrance” in her dissertation, “Resisting the Reader: Textual Recalcitrance in
British Novels, 1917 to 2011.” The idea of the recalcitrant text is a very recent one,
having been formulated by scholars who use the idea to refer to texts that actively
resist or preclude the complete interpretations they provoke. What Wei has done is
to systematically analyze recalcitrance at many different textual levels and to trace
its major incarnations in British fiction for nearly a century, from modernism to
late modernism to postmodernism. Her work focuses on a different kind of
recalcitrance in each chapter, including reading protocols, characterization,
emplotment, narrative gaps, endings, and social contradictions. Her subjects
include seminal figures like Joseph Conrad, Elizabeth Bowen, and Samuel Beckett
as well as those who deserve to be better known such as Anna Kavan and Ann
Quin. Altogether, her analyses constitute a singular accomplishment that adds to
our understanding of British fiction and the nature of narrative interpretation.
—Professor Brian Richardson, Dissertation Director

English Ph.D. Graduates

Aqdas Aftab

How might we think about trans identity without focusing primarily on the body?
Aqdas Aftab takes up this question and offers a set of provocative answers in
“Trans Worlding Within: Decolonial Examinations of Trans of Color Interiority.”
Aftab argues that interiority is a vital strategy for evading the colonial gaze in trans
of color art. The emphasis on the trans body in media and the public imagination
can verge on spectacle. Aftab responds to this dilemma by turning our attention to
interiority even as political calls for visibility maintain their significance. Examining
texts ranging from postcolonial classics and contemporary Igbo diasporic novels
to Dalit speculative fiction, Aftab demonstrates that while the corporeal is
surveilled, the interior offers the possibility of world-making practices that are
protected from the violence of spectacle. Aftab’s research reveals how Black and
Dalit exclusions from the modern Western scientific and brahman Human create
the possibility of trans becoming. In other words, colonial violence forcibly
constructs transness, an experience that Black and Dalit artists use strategically as a
decolonial tool for dismantling Western ontology.
—Professor GerShun Avilez and Professor Alexis Lothian, Dissertation Co-Directors


Kyle Jon Bickoff

With his dissertation “Container Technologies as Logistical Infrastructure,” Kyle
Bickoff rewrites the history of twentieth century media—typically one of links and
networks—through the logic of modularization, compartmentalization, and above
all what he terms containerization: the way in which varied containment technologies
structure modern life, global capital, and the invisible infrastructures that sustain
both. Bickoff’s case studies range from the surprising history of the humble
Hollinger box (used by the vast majority of archives to store their documents) to
Marie Kondo to the digital containment system known as Docker. All of these are
knitted together through a fourth exemplar, The Container Store, which offers you
and me a consumer front-end to the logic of containerization, and whose website,
where you can purchase both Hollinger boxes and KonMari products, runs on
Docker. In as much as these may seem like unlikely subjects for an English Ph.D.,
Bickoff renders them central to current discussions around cultural memory and
the quest for a more just world—thinking outside the box in a most profound
way. —Professor Matthew Kirschenbaum, Dissertation Director


Joseph Good

Two Mid-Atlantic capital cities, both with clear visions for economic
redevelopment. Why did political leaders’ policy plans for Albany, New York, lead
to fiscal revitalization while the mayor and city council pushed Harrisburg,
Pennsylvania, into bankruptcy? Joe Good pursues answers to these questions in
his dissertation, “Deliberation and Legitimacy in Economic Development Policy,”
which analyzes how policy problems and solutions are defined in public debates
about economic development. To carry out his extended rhetorical analysis, Good
examines materials in city and state archives as well as speeches, newspaper
articles, and advertisements in order to understand who does and does not get to
participate in deliberations about economic development projects, to determine
how the vision for development projects gets composed and articulated, and to
explore how various publics’ criticism of development projects does or does not
get heard and used. Good’s analysis prompts readers to attend not only to the
material effects of policy implementation but also to the cultural and social
meanings written into policy texts, and he teaches readers how to attend to the
discursive tactics through which these social meanings of economic development
policy get made. —Professor Scott Wible, Dissertation Director

Kayla Harr

In “The Multistable Material of Modernism: Perception, Objects, and Identity,”
Kayla Harr breaks new ground by showing how modernist writers channeled an
emerging concept in perceptual science into politically charged literary practices
whose goals continue to reverberate in current antiracist and decolonial theory. In
the first half of the twentieth century, psychologists used the concept of
‘multistability’ to explain human perception and captured this concept in
paradoxical images that appear first as one thing and then another, through a shift
in what we perceive as the figure and the background. Scholars have charted
modern visual art’s appeal to multistable imagery, but Harr newly unpacks how
modernist writers adapted multistability into literary practices that sought to
dismantle the bounds of patriarchal, imperialist, and anthropocentric hierarchies.
Harr examines works by H.D., Virginia Woolf, Amos Tutuola, and Wilson Harris
to show how they infuse their representations of perception, objects, and power
with a multistability that ceaselessly troubles the divide between subject and object
and its related structures of social exploitation. Moreover, Harr places these
writers’ efforts to expand what counts as a subject or agent alongside recent
theories of extra-human ontologies that seek empowering alternatives to the
exclusions of Western subjectivity—ultimately offering a compelling link between
modernist literary experiment and contemporary antiracist and decolonial theory
about objects, identity, and ecology. —Professor Christina Walter, Dissertation Director

Hillary Roegelein

What are we to make of the figure of the unemployed woman writer in works by
American women writers from the 1830s to the early twentieth century? In her
timely dissertation, “The Art of Unemployment: Nineteenth-Century American
Women Writers and the Search for Work,” Hillary Roegelein provides a new
understanding of the conflict between success and failure in accounts of
nineteenth-century women’s authorship and prompts a larger consideration of
what it means to be unemployed. Just as important, Roegelein presses us to think
about connections between women’s writing and women’s work. Was a poet like
Emily Dickinson, for example, “employed” while writing her poems? Was she
really working? As Roegelein deftly shows in chapters on Dickinson, Louisa May
Alcott, Fanny Fern, and other American women writers, these questions and
concerns informed the works of a number of American women writers of the
period. At a time of pandemic and high unemployment, Roegelein’s dissertation
prompts us to rethink what we mean by work and unemployment in the literary
sphere and beyond. —Professor Robert S. Levine, Dissertation Director


Graduate Student Awards

Carl Bode Dissertation Prize..................................................Setsuko Yokoyama
Alice Geyer Dissertation Prize.....................................................Emilee Durand
John Kinnaird Essay Award, Master’s......................Kymberly Maria Drapcho
John Kinnaird Essay Award, Doctoral.....................................Rachel L. Stroup
Katherine McKittrick Book Award..................................................Keisha Allan
Robinson Award for Excellence in Teaching..................Garth Taylor Libhart
Robinson Award for Excellence in Teaching.........Kerishma Vidya Panigrahi
Robinson Award for Excellence in Teaching...................Brittany Noelle Starr

Undergraduate Student Awards

Henrietta Spiegel Creative Writing Award………………Caitlin Muire Ann Lee-Hendricks
Sara Ann Soper Service Award............................................Mary Elise Murdock
Houppert Memorial Shakespeare Prize..........................Kathryn Mary Worden
Mike Angel Award.............................................................David Lee Hendershot
Sandy Mack Honors Award.............................................Maura McGinnis Beste
Joyce Tayloe Horrell Award........................................William Longhsiao Wong

Academic Excellence Awards

Drew Hiller Brown
Michal Herman
Lauren Nicole McNerney
Sam A. Moyer
Paige Lydia Munshell
Chidinma Uchechi Opaigbeogu
Sandra Jennifer Roper
William Longhsiao Wong
Jacy Liang Zhang

Honors Graduates

English Honors

Nathaniel Jackson Ament, “The Twelfth-Century Creation of the French and
English Arthurian Literary Traditions”
Advisor: Professor Thomas Moser

Maura McGinnis Beste, “Reorientations”
Advisor: Professor Elizabeth Arnold

Drew Hiller Brown, “The Language of Impairment: Securing Protections for
Trans People Through Disability Nondiscrimination Laws”
Advisor: Professor Jessica Enoch

Grace Elizabeth Chubb, “Better Off Unwed: Breaking of the Marriage Plot in
Millenium Hall and Villette”
Advisor: Professor Laura Rosenthal

Malcolm Aaron Ferguson, “The Cyclical Nature of Black Aesthetics”
Advisor: Professor GerShun Avilez

Augustin Joseph Gonzalez, “Reading Compression and Dispersal in the Poetry of
Lorine Niedecker”
Advisor: Professor Joshua Weiner

Amelia Claire Huppert, “Encouragement of Reader Understanding and Economic
Literacy: An Analysis of Economic Journalism in The Wall Street Journal
Surrounding the Dot Com Boom”
Advisor: Professor Sara Wilder

Conor Andrew James, “Join Me in the Chorus: Unifying Contradictory National
Sentiments Through Music”
Advisor: Professor Scott Trudell

Min Suh Lee, “Providence”
Advisor: Professor Michael Olmert

Caitlin Muire Ann Lee-Hendricks, “she/her”
Advisor: Professor Joshua Weiner

Michael Robert Marinelli, “Childhood Metaphor in the American Occupation of
Advisor: Professor Linda Coleman

Lauren Nicole McNerney, “Feminism Unacknowledged: Citational Politics,
Jane Austen, and U.S. Judicial Opinions”
Advisor: Professor Tita Chico

Mary Elise Murdock, “Transformation Fantasies and Myths of Upward
Mobility: A Comparative Exploration of Pygmalion and Pretty Woman”
Advisor: Professor Laura Rosenthal

Nina Ydalia Page, “Singleness Tradition and the Collective: A Literary Analysis
of for colored girls”
Advisor: Professor Mary Helen Washington

Sandra Jennifer Roper, “Queer Inheritance: Interrogating the Role of
Intergenerational Visibility in Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the
Advisor: Professor Sharada Balachandran Orihuela

Casey Elizabeth Schreck, “‘ill-heard ill-murmured ill-heard ill-recorded’: Human
Narrativity in Samuel Beckett’s How It Is”
Advisor: Professor Brian Richardson

Joshua Paul Senderling, “Other, Virtual Ways to Be: Analyzing and Interpreting
Video Game Playable Character Being”
Advisor: Professor Matthew Kirschenbaum

Lyla Uttamsingh, “Stereotyping Terror and the Counter-Narrative to the 9/11
Novel: The Association of Small Bombs”
Advisor: Professor Sangeeta Ray

Brandon Michael Vittetoe, “Metaphors for CRISPR Genome Editing: How
Metaphorical Language Influences our Understandings of CRISPR and
CRISPR Genome Editing”
Advisor: Professor Sara Wilder

William Longhsiao Wong, “Imprisoned by Orthodoxy: Religion in Dune”
Advisor: Professor Michael Olmert

Zoe Anna Zavrotny, “Fight Me Like a Man: Joyce, Masculinity, and British Colonialism”
Advisor: Professor Brian Richardson

Master of Arts

Katelyn Huggins Baird
Rebecca Anne Cawthorne
Kymberly Maria Drapcho
Amina Hamdy Farahat
Alexander Gustavo Garcialuna
Nicoletta Mollie Kern
Michael J. Lockwood
Dana Erin Maller
Jacqueline Anne Mueck
Caitlyn Rachel Roberts
Angelica Beatriz Rolon

Master of Fine Arts

Hannah Nicole Beilenson
Maiasia Daesse Grimes
Alannah Hensley
Max Gregory Lasky
Elizabeth A. Nonemaker
Hunter Ann Parsons
Claudia Vanessa Rojas

Bachelor of Arts

Zarafsha Ahmed (CL, ST)
Hussein Ahmed Aladdin
Zachary Thomas Alexander
Ann Marie Aluise (ST)
Nathaniel Jackson Ament (CL, HN)
Emmanuel Milton Anderson
Adwoa Tawiah Andoh
Daniel Peter Arze
Duran Sameh Aziz
Jacob Reid Berry
Maura McGinnis Beste (HN)
Samuel Peter Blum
Briana Ashley Briscoe
Drew Hiller Brown (HN)
Johanna Claire Bulley
Leidy Michelle Calderon
Jordan Julio Castro
Molly Elizabeth Cavanagh
Jacqueline Elizabeth Chase
Grace Elizabeth Chubb (HN, ST)
Samuel Ethan Cohen
Malcolm Aaron Ferguson (HN, ST)
Mark Andrew Filipov (ST)
Natalie Rose Filipov
Emily Grace Gilman (ST, PK)
Destiny Raine Goldsmith
Augustin Joseph Gonzalez (HN)
Stephon Anthony Green
Maya Baker Gujral
Linda Elizabeth Guzman
James Ivan Hanmer
Grace Anne Hattery
David Lee Hendershot
Michal Herman MC, (PK)
Michael Wayne Holland
Amelia Claire Huppert (HN, ST)
Conor Andrew James (HN, PK)
Junie Nancy Joseph
Jessie Kwon (ST)
Angela Pagan Lambert
Daniel Akinkunmi Layeni
Min Suh Lee HN
Caitlin Muire Ann Lee-Hendricks (HN)
Korin Man
Lauren Nicole McNerney (SC, HN)
Katherine Georgia McNinch
Gabriella Noelle Melendez
Sam A. Moyer
Paige Lydia Munshell
Mary Elise Murdock (MC, HN)
Cesar Enrique Nava
Colleen Hien Nguyen
Peyton Marshall Oakes
Abigail Leigh Olshin (CL)
Kemi Mojisola Omisore
Nkemdirim Andrea Onokala
Chidinma Uchechi Opaigbeogu
Olivia L. Outlaw
Nina Ydalia Page (HN, PK)
Anthony Francis Price
Emily Isabel Ray (ST)
Austin Hoyt Reed (PK)
Jason Ernesto Rivera
Erica Marie Roach
Sandra Jennifer Roper (MC, HN, ST, PK)
Stewart Ruiz
Jazmin Feliciana Salmeron-Lopez
Shayan Sarmadi
Alan Kevin Segovia-Reyes
Joshua Paul Senderling (HN, PK)
Damien Alexander Singelmann
Won Jun Song
Taylor Charis Spriggs (ST)
Michael Anthony Todd
Alia M. Trannon (PK)
Lylah Uttamsingh (HN, PK)
Samantha Grace Osborne Van Terheyden (CL, PK)
Glendy Vasquez Hernandez
Andrea Alia Vasquez
Brandon Michael Vittetoe (HN)
Rachel Janine Walsh
Emily Zuxiao Wang (CL)
William Longhsiao Wong (SC, HN)
Jason Christopher Wright
Shylee Yachin (MC, ST)
Balbina Jeong-Yeun Yang (SC, ST)
Samantha Rose Young
Zoe Anna Zavrotny (HN)
Ivy Zhang (ST, PK)
Jacy Liang Zhang (CL, PK)

Honors Key   CL = Cum Laude MC= Magna Cum Laude        SC = Summa Cum Laude         
HN = English Honors     ST = Sigma Tau Delta    PK = Phi Beta Kappa

Creative Writing Minor

Caroline Xin-En Adkins
Hussein Ahmed Aladdin
Raymond J. Argueta
Claire Asenso
Duran Sameh Aziz
Tori Nina Bergel
Maegan Elayne Berger
Anna Frances Carandang
Grace Elizabeth Chubb
Kavya Suhrud Dagli
Audrey Racey Decker
Samuel Charles Giedzinski
Augustin Joseph Gonzalez
Ting-Wei Hsu
Samuel Vernon Kattner
Caitlin Muire Ann Lee-Hendricks
Olivia Maryam Majedi
Korin Man
Daniel Louis McGee
Katherine Georgia McNinch
Gabriella Noelle Melendez
Sara Kate Miller
Melissa Marie Guise Olisse
Joanna Kirstin Omestad
Anthony Francis Price
Aysha Qazi
Emily Isabel Ray
John Merchant Richards
Jack Harrison Rubin
Stewart Ruiz
Mason Derek Trippe

Professional Writing Minor

Amanda Taylor Allen
Chloe Evelyn Baerwald
Adam Dreyfuss
Phillip Joseph Eichensehr
David Mark Esser
Min Suh Lee
Daniel Thomas Longest
Caitlyn Elizabeth Loux
Lucas Shane Miller
Charles Hampton Nyonga
Chloe Sun Ober
Alicia Marie Shipley
Katherine Valiente
Francesca Vanegas
Jacy Liang Zhang

Rhetoric Minor

Isha Rajesh Angadi
Cara Grace Carlson
Katherine Emiko Coyle
Parker Gage Furman
Destiny Raine Goldsmith
Adam Thomas Harrington
Colleen Rose Herrmann
Katherine Georgia McNinch
Gabriella Noelle Melendez
Mary Elise Murdock
Juliette Teixeira Nash
Ari David Neugeboren
Carly Shae Polejes
Timothy Steven Rivard
Ashley Morgan Rosenstack
Paige A. Smith
Andrea Alia Vasquez
Alice Deng Wei
Zoe Anna Zavrotny