Aaron Plasek holds an MFA in writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and undergraduate degrees from Drake University in physics, astronomy, and English writing. He is currently pursuing an MA in the Humanities and Social Thought program at New York University where he is exploring how the use of non-human models of reading, including historical and contemporary developments in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning, can both facilitate and challenge textual interpretation as practiced by human readers as well as influence, challenge, and constrain models and metaphors of knowledge.

Amanda Brzezowski is a first year graduate student in the Film Studies MA Program at Columbia University. Her thesis is centered on contemporary depictions of mental illness in film and how these trends compare to discourse within the field of psychology. Previously, she attended Ithaca College and received her Bachelor of Science in Cinema and Photography with a minor in Psychology. After finishing her education, Amanda plans to pursue a career as a college professor and continue researching and writing critically about film.

Andrew Santana-Kaplan received his BA in English from the State University of New York at Oswego, and is currently a first year MA student in the Department of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He works on Irish modernism, phenomenology, psychoanalysis, deconstruction, and the contemporary cinemas of Terrence Malick and Charlie Kaufman. He is interested in grounding questions of ethics and politics in the phenomenology of reading, as well as thinking about the relationship between aesthetic judgments and ethico-political ones. This summer (2014), he’ll be participating in Simon Critchley’s seminar, “Tragedy as Philosophy,” at the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell.

Ava Shirazi received a joint BA in Classics and English from the University of Toronto in 2010. Since arriving at Stanford she has continued developing her interest in literature and philosophy, investigating, in particular, questions of aesthetics and self-fashioning. Her dissertation project focuses on modes of thinking about the body and beauty in Classical Athenian discourse. In the summer of 2011 she participated in the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell.

Benjamin G. Edwards was educated at the University of Chicago. He is currently at work on a translation of Pindar’s Odes.”

Ben Roth is a Ph.D. Candidate in Philosophy at Boston University. He previously studied philosophy and English at Williams College. He specializes in the philosophy of literature and continental philosophy, and is finishing a dissertation on narrative and the self, which brings together recent Anglo-American work with an interpretation of Heidegger.

Caroline Vial is a graduate student at Northwestern university in the Comparative Literary Studies program, and at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, France. She holds a Masters degree in Comparative Literature from the Sorbonne-Nouvelle (Paris III), and a B.A. in Philosophy and Italian from Middlebury College. She has translated various academic articles in critical theory, and she is currently writing her dissertation, which is tentatively entitled, “Machines of the Body Politic: The Mechanics of Political Drives from Zola to Visconti.”

Christa DiMarco is a PhD candidate in art history at Tyler School of Art, Temple University. She is writing her dissertation on Vincent Van Gogh’s Paris-period imagery. She considers how the Parisian visual and critical discourse— shaped in part by Charles Baudelaire, Stéphane Mallarmé, G.Albert Aurier and Félix Fénéon—formally and conceptually affected the painter’s imagery. She is also an Assistant Professor at the University of the Arts where she teaches writing and art history.

Christina Lee is a PhD student in English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She studies 19th-century American literature, with a focus on anxieties, trauma, theories of affect and emotion, and psychoanalysis.

Christopher Gontar is a graduate student in the English Department at the University of New Orleans. From 1994 to 2002 Chris served in the marine corps, performing in the band during the second tour of enlistment. He completed a BA in jazz studies at the University of New Orleans. He holds an MA from the University of Chicago’s MAPH, and an MA in philosophy from Loyola University Chicago. Chris has spoken on the music of Bach in Southampton, U.K., and on humor at Colby College, and has published one review essay in the journal SubStance. His research interests include literary theory, psychology, psychoanalysis, Nietzsche, Shakespeare, and Emerson.

Claudia Daventry received a BA/MA in French and Spanish from Oxford University before working as a writer and a poet. She most recently moved from Amsterdam to Scotland, where she is now doing a PhD at the University of St Andrews on translation and poetic version with poets Don Paterson and John Burnside. She has won various prizes and commendations, notably the prestigious international Bridport Prize in 2012. Her most recent publications and work include sequences in The Dark Horse and The Island Review, the Berklee Review, Fusion; lyrics for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games with composer Rory Boyle and (September 1) a collaborative Update of Byron’s Don Juan by Divers Hands from UK publisher Five Leaves Press. 

David Hansen, Ph.D, MA (Heidelberg). Ph.D Candidate at the Department of the Classics, Harvard University. His research Interests: Greek and German languages and literatures, Critical Theory, Political Theory, Law. He is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of the Classics, Harvard University, as well as a Teaching Assistant at German Universities.

David Sugarman is a PhD Candidate in New York University’s Department of English. His research focuses on postwar American fiction and intellectual history. He received his B.A. from NYU Gallatin where he studied philosophy and creative writing.

Earl Yin-Wei Liao is currently a doctoral candidate from the Ph.D. program in English at CUNY Graduate Center. His fields of interest include Asian American literature and cultural critique, postcolonial studies, phenomenology, queer studies and poetics. His dissertation is investigating the alternative mode of temporality that could be conceived through body’s perceptiveness as illustrated from the Asian American literary imagination as well as it’s literary practice. Earl was an adjunct lecturer at York College. 

Erin Glass is a Digital Fellow and doctoral student in English at the Graduate Center at CUNY. She is interested in the forms of resistance, enthusiasm and social change that accompany shifts in media technology. 

Elizabeth Brogden is a PhD candidate in English at Johns Hopkins University, currently completing a dissertation on elusive character in mid-nineteenth to early-twentieth-century American fiction.

Ferdinand Bubacz is a Ph.D. candidate in the German Department at NYU since 2013. He completed his undergraduate in Cultural Studies in Frankfurt (Oder) and Paris and he received his M.A. in German Literature from Humboldt University, Berlin. While pursuing his studies, he worked as German language teacher and was a tutor at NYU Berlin. His research focuses on problems of perception in the 19th and 20th century and the intersection of aesthetics, psychology and literature. His interests also include visual culture, film theory and media studies as well as Jewish Studies.

François Kiper is a doctoral student in the Comparative Literature program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. He received his BA from Washington University in St. Louis. His research interests include Deleuze, Merleau-Ponty, aesthetics, and subjectivity.

Gina A. Dominick is a first-year PhD student in the department of English at New York University, where she specializes in medieval literature with emphases in Chaucer, Langland, aesthetics, ethics, gender, and ancient and medieval philosophy/theology. She received her BA in English and Spanish from Washington & Jefferson College and her MA in English from Georgetown University, where she graduated with distinction for her thesis “‘Be nat agast’: Chaucer, Adorno, and Ugly Aesthetics.” She will present a portion of this work today. Gina also has a strong secondary interest in the affect and aesthetics of horror in art, literature, and film; her article “‘Can’t forget the pleasure, the joy’: The Gothic Negative and Irréversible” was published in Georgetown’s graduate journal The Predicate (2013). 

Harmon Siegel works independently on art history and aesthetics. His research interests include the representation of embodiment and theory of style in 19th century European art and thought. 

Jeffrey Smith’s (The Graduate Center, CUNY) work centers around the blurred boundaries and affinities between literature and philosophy. He is interested in how fiction can be a form of philosophizing about our identity, our relation to the Other, and to the world at large. Hence to know thyself, is to read and write oneself into existence.

Jonathan Buttaci is a doctoral candidate in Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. He earned his BA in Philosophy and Classics at the University of Notre Dame in 2009, as well as a secondary MA in Classics from Pitt in 2013. He is writing on Aristotle’s de Anima, with a focus on the role of images and imagination in intellectual activity. He is interested in ways that Aristotle’s conception of intellect might contribute to more recent debates about the interplay of perception and knowledge. Jon is also interested in the role literature played in Ancient Greek philosophical thought, as well as the engagement between philosophy and literature more generally.

Jordan Schroeder is a PhD student in English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She studies narrative omission and psychological evasion in 20th-century American literature alongside interests in critical theory, film, and the aesthetic possibilities of the fragment.

Joseph Johnson received his M.A. in French Literature from New York University, where he is now a second-year Ph.D. student and Graduate Adjunct Instructor in the Department of French. His research focuses on 12th-century animal literature and philosophical conceptions of Nature, especially in contact with Lacanian psychoanalytic theory.

Lee Norton is a PhD student in English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Poetry Editor of the Carolina Quarterly. His interests include critical theory, the European fin de siècle and the postwar American novel. His current project aims to trace the mobilization of biological metaphorics in 20th-century literary-critical discourse.

Mathelinda Nabugodi is a PhD Candidate at University College London and is currently at Yale University as part of the UCL-Yale Collaborative Exchange Programme. She completed an MA degree in Comparative Literature, also at UCL, and an MA (Hons) degree in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh, including an ERASMUS Exchange to the University of Copenhagen. Previous conference papers include titles such as ‘Invisible Dreams: Walter Benjamin’s Early Politics of Awakening’ (accepted for publication), ‘Ahasuerus’ Story: History as Rhetoric in Percy Bysshe Shelley and Walter Benjamin,’ and ‘Petrifying Gazes: The figure of Medusa in Percy Bysshe Shelley and Walter Benjamin.’ She participated in the founding of the UCL Society for Comparative Cultural Inquiry, is co-organiser of its yearly graduate conference, and acts as editor for the Society’s journal for interdisciplinary inquiry. She has also translated Strindberg’s The Bond for Norvik Press.

Matthew Overstreet is a first-year PhD student in the English department at the University of Pittsburgh. His research involves the intersection of affect, ideology and education. Before coming to Pittsburgh, he worked as an attorney in Kansas City and as an English teacher in China and Saudi Arabia.

Meera Broome Seth is a doctoral student in the Department of Comparative Literature at Princeton University. 

Michał Koza is a doctoral student of the Faculty of Polish Studies at the Jagiellonian University in Poland. His dissertation’s subject is the ethical turn and the problem of ethical reading. Among his major interests are the theory of interpretation, the philosophy of literature, ethics and the contemporary Polish literature. He is the chief editor of “Polisemia”, a paper of literary anthropology students. Michał Koza is also involved in literary criticism and publishes at the “” magazine.

Nan Zhang is a Ph.D. Candidate in the English department at Johns Hopkins University. I work on global modernism, comparative aesthetics and ethics. My current research project traces connections between a strain of modernism and a Burkean and Confucian tradition. I have taught courses on James Joyce, transatlantic modernism, and global modernism.

Natallia Stelmak Schabner is a doctoral candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center, writing her dissertation on Narrativity and Self.  Working with Noel Carroll, she is answering the challenge to the notion of an enduring self and to narrativity posed by Galen Strawson, among others.  She presented a portion of her dissertation, “Narrativity and Action,” at the conference Narrativity, Interpretation and Responsibility, in Leusden, the Netherlands, in October 2012. Pursuing her interest in literature and the phenomena of our mental experience, she also presented papers at Columbia on Sartre’s “What Is Literature?” and at the Modernist Studies Association annual conference 2011 examining how the poetry of Boris Pasternak prefigures the discoveries of neuroscience. Natallia was born in Belarus, and teaches at the City College of New York.

Nicholas Olson is a writer and PhD candidate in the Comparative Literature department at the Graduate Center, CUNY. He received his B.A. in Writing from the New School in 2010. Concentrating in Western European and North American modernism, his work typically focuses on the intersection of history, ideology, phenomenology, politics, and religion.

Palmer Rampell is a 3rd year graduate student in the Yale English Department, where he helps teach courses about the postwar American novel and the Victorian novel. His dissertation, entitled “The Moral of the Story: Ethical Manipulation in the American Novel after Henry James,” examines different literary techniques that 20th century American novelists use to distort ordinary modern moral intuitions. He has published scholarship in New England Quarterly, and he received an A.B. in English from Harvard in 2010. His research interests include the relationship between literature and philosophy, twentieth century American literature and culture, as well as transpacific studies.

Phillip Griffith is a student in the French program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. His research interests are in twentieth- and twenty-first-century French literature and American poetry and the relationship between literature and the other arts. His dissertation is a comparative study of French surrealist Claude Cahun and American poet Hannah Weiner. Phillip teaches French language and literature at City College and Baruch College. 

Rebecca Traynor is a doctoral student in the Philosophy Department at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her research interests include mind and aesthetics. Her dissertation works at the intersection of these two by focusing on mental and artistic representations. She has worked at both Queens and Hostos Colleges. 

Renren Yang is a PhD candidate of Comparative Literature at Stanford University. He received his M.A. (2011) and B.A. (2008) in English and a B.L. (Double Degree, 2008) in Sociology from Peking University. His primary field is modern and contemporary Chinese literature and culture. He has written on Eileen Chang, Zhao Zhengkai (Bei Dao), and Yan Lianke. He is also interested in British modernism (especially Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, and Katherine Mansfield), genre criticism (the novel and the drama), theories of literary heroism and authorship.

Rob Goodman is a Ph.D. student in Political Science at Columbia University, specializing in Political Theory. His interests include rhetoric, classics, and the history of political thought. Before beginning graduate school at Columbia, Rob worked as speechwriter for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Sen. Chris Dodd. He studied at Duke University (B.A., English, 2005) and George Washington University (M.A., Public Policy, 2011). Rob is the co-author of Rome’s Last Citizen, a book on Cato the Younger and the Roman Republic, published in 2012. His academic work has appeared in The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy (forthcoming) and the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal (2010); he has also written for Slate, The Atlantic online, Politico Magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Democracy online, and The Millions.

Santiago Parga Linares is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center. His work focuses in formal experimentation in literature and film during the twentieth century, especially in Italian, Latin American and Anglophone literatures. He is also interested in Modernism, Postmodernism and the ways in which they appear in literature, film, comic books and video games.

Sara Sligar is a second-year PhD student in English at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studies twentieth-century American and British fiction. She received her BA summa cum laude in English and French from Amherst College, and her MPhil with Distinction in Modern European History from the University of Cambridge. She has also held a fellowship at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, France, and is currently spending the semester on exchange at Stanford University.

Sarah Constance Jones is pursuing an M.A. in Humanities & Social Thought at New York University. She has an M.S. in Library & Information Science from Long Island University and holds a reference position at the NYU Library. Her research interests include social identity theory, technophobia, gender and communications media, and the digital humanities. She has published an article titled “When computers read: Literary analysis and digital technology” in the Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

Tavi Meraud is a 3rd year graduate student at Yale in the German Department and is also an artist working mainly with video and installation. Her work focuses on perception, issues of subject-object relationships, and what she’s been calling the “materiality of thought.” Other interests include cinéma verité and video art that focuses on the boundary between documentary reality and “art” reality.

Wendy Byrnes holds a BA (Hons.) in English Literature and Historical Studies from the University of Toronto. Her current work, in the MA program in English and American Literature at New York University, focuses primarily on British Romanticism, but she is also interested in ethics, graphic narrative, and the contemporary novel.

William Kroeger who will be completing an M.A. this spring in English Literature from SUNY New Paltz, where he has also taught first-year composition for two years as part of his master’s program. William is currently teaching a course on the theme of poetry as argument. Research interests include Shakespeare and theory. In 1996, he graduated from Carleton College (Northfield, MN) with a B.A. in philosophy. After working in the legal field, he embarked on a career in academia, first studying to teach high school English and now working toward a more comprehensive knowledge of English literature.

Xhuliana Agolli is a PhD candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center, CUNY, where her research interests include notions of self, subjectivity, representation and rise of the French psychological novel.

Zach Terrell is a second-year MA student in the Humanities and Social Thought program at New York University where he is exploring applications of 20th-century French and German philosophy to issues in bioethics and science and technology studies. He has been an editor at Curator Magazine and is currently teaching at the Geneva School of Manhattan.


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