Panelist Bios

Kenneth Alba is a PhD student studying English at Boston University. Prior to graduate school, he taught English and Philosophy in the New Haven Public School system; he spent and continues to spend his summer teaching video game design. His research interests include modern and postmodern American fiction, especially novels, short stories, and films. He is also interested in philosophy of mind, particularly inasmuch as it interacts with literary theory.

Katie Albany has been teaching writing for CUNY for more than a decade. She holds an Ed.M in English Education from Teachers’ College, an MA in Life Writing from CUNY Grad Center, and is working towards an MFA in Creative Fiction. Her research interests encompass personal narratives, writing as therapy, the challenges of writing the self, and new spins of old myths, among others.

Pablo Amsallem Menendez is currently working as a Teaching Assistant in the French Language department of McGill University, as well as completing a Master’s thesis on the topic of Milan Kundera’s own aesthetics of the novel. He previously earned a B.A. with Honours in Comparative Literature and Philosophy from the University Paris IV-Sorbonne in 2008. He later wrote his Master’s thesis in Philosophy at Paris I-Panthéon-Sorbonne University under the guidance of Professor Christian Bonnet. His thesis explored the concepts of history and subjectivity in the works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
Aside from modern philosophy, his research interests include literary forms (fiction, genre, rhythm, verse and prose theories), the question of literary value, and ethical literature.

Brinae Bain is a Masters student in the Department of Art at the University of Toronto with an affiliation in the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies. Her primary research interests include queer identity in post-war German photography and the sartorial impressions on Nineteenth Century modernity.

Brad Bellatti is a PhD candidate in the department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Screen Studies from Oklahoma State University with a minor in philosophy. His work focuses on contemporary American film, television, and pop culture through the lenses of Kant, Foucault, and Radical pedagogy.

Emily A. Bernhard Jackson is a lecturer in nineteenth-century literaure at the University of Exeter, in England.  She has published articles on Lord Byron, John Keats, Edmund Spenser, and, most recently, the uses of Victorian medical ideas about twins in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. She is currently at work on her second book, a consideration of how author’s disabilities and illness influence their work.

Chloe Blackshear is a fourth-year doctoral student in the department of Comparative Literature (Literature and Biblical Studies) at UChicago. She is interested in biblical Hebrew narrative, its literary afterlives (particularly in late 20th-century and contemporary European and American fiction) and the often provocative links between fictional and scholarly rewritings. Other related interests include critical fictions, character, theories of intertextuality and world literature.

Moira Bradford studies contemporary Anglophone fiction at UNC Chapel Hill. Her research interest is in extra-human agency, myth and emergence theory. She is the fiction editor for the Carolina Quarterly Literary Journal.

Christopher Culp has a Masters of Music in Clarinet Performance and a Masters of Arts in Philosophy. He is currently a PhD Candidate in Musicology at University at Buffalo, defending Spring of 2015, researching issues of Sincerity in Modernist/Postmodernist discourse, Queer Studies, Television Musicals, Philosophy of Music, and the Metaphysics of Musical Drama. His dissertation focuses on Serial Television Musical episodes as a symptom of a possible return to Metaphysics after Postmodernism’s rescripting of sincerity and the Real. He has presented at the American Musicological Society, Society for Music Theory, International Association of the Study of Popular Music (US, UK, and CA chapters), the Popular Culture Association, and Feminist Theory and Music among others.  He has a book chapter on the musical episode of Fringe in The Multiple Words of Fringe and a forthcoming chapter on performativity and simulacrum in Jim Henson and Philosophy and one about the relationship between musical theatre, spontaneous combustion, and existentialist ethics in Singing Death.  A clarinetist of both classical and contemporary styles, he performs solo and with chamber ensembles including the Babel: an Experimental Vocal Ensemble and Slee Sinfonietta. He is also adjunct faculty at Trocaire College, teaching Music and Philosophy. His website is


Shane Denson is a DAAD postdoctoral fellow in the Duke Program in Literature, an associate of the Duke S-1 Speculative Sensation Lab, and a member of the interdisciplinary research unit “Popular Seriality—Aesthetics and Practice” (based at the Freie Universität Berlin). He is the author of Postnaturalism: Frankenstein, Film, and the Anthropotechnical Interface (Transcript-Verlag 2014 / US distribution through Columbia UP) and co-editor of several collections: Transnational Perspectives on Graphic Narratives (Bloomsbury, 2013), Digital Seriality (special issue of Eludamos: Journal for Computer Game Culture, 2014), and Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st Century Film (REFRAME Books, forthcoming). His blog can be found at: See also: ;

Stefanie Dorman is an Australian national currently earning her doctoral degree in English Literature from New York University. She earned her undergraduate degree in English and Philosophy from Sydney University in 2008, and her Master’s degree in English and American Literature from NYU in 2011. Her research interests include postmodernity and postmodern Anglophone literatures, narrative form, epistemology, and the history of criticism. Her dissertation project traces the uptake and development of the concept of “textuality” in the post-war American academy, and links this moment to contemporary efforts to reconceptualize “materiality” and its significance for the study of literature.

Grant Bartolomé Dowling is a Masters Student in Classical Studies at Columbia University. He graduated from the University of Chicago with honors in 2013. He completed a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities with a minor in Classics. His primary field was Platonic Ethics, buttressed by allied fields in Italian Humanism and Modern Art. He was awarded honors for his B.A. thesis supervised by Thomas Pavel which argued that the “technic” of Episode 9 of Joyce’s Ulysses revives Plato’s dialectic. At Columbia, Grant studies ancient philosophy—especially the history of metaphysics, virtue ethics, aesthetics, and their intersection. Some particular interests of his include Plato’s reception of Pre-Socratic tropes, dialectic and other philosophical methods, interpretation theory, and applications for and receptions of ancient philosophy in recent literature, art, and film criticism. He has given talks on Thracian Stereotypes in Ancient Tragedy at Rutgers University, Anaxagoras’ Legacy on Scientific Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, and Justice in the City of Pigs from Plato’s Republic at Cambridge University. Grant teaches for the Petey Greene program. He is writing a Master’s thesis about the distinction between character and intellectual virtue in Aristotle and is currently an assistant for a course called “Plato & Confucius.”

Evan Dwyer earned a double major in Philosophy and English from the University of Connecticut and pursued graduate student in Philosophy at the University of Chicago. He is currently a graduate student in digital forensics and cyber security at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY. His research interests include Formal Logic, 20th Century Analytic Philosophy of Language, Generative Semantics, Modernist Literature, Computer Architecture. He has pictures of Frege and Wittgenstein tacked up next to his computer at work.

Hannah Fox is an Associate Professor of Dance and Theatre at Manhattanville College and the Artistic Director of Big Apple Playback Theatre, a multi-cultural improv troupe that plays back true stories volunteered by audience members ( She conducts dance/theatre workshops world-wide and is the author of Zoomy Zoomy: Improv Games and Exercises for Groups.

Kasra Ghorbaninejad is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at Northeastern University (2011-present). He completed both his BA (2004-2008) and MA (2008-2010) in British literature at the University of Tehran, Iran, and also attended a summer school (2007) in modernist British and Irish literatures as well as creative writing at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Daniella Gáti is a first-year doctoral candidate at Brandeis University. She holds two MAs, in English and Economics, from the University of Bern, Switzerland. Her research focuses on modern and postmodern literature across the Atlantic. At the center of her interests lie questions of literary knowledge, deconstruction and the emergence of the postmodern aesthetic, be it in the arts or in the late capitalist structures of society. Her published paper and her MA thesis were both concerned with the theory of spectrality in both identity formation and as a mode of operation of literary texts. Finally, she likes to use concepts and ideas from critical and aesthetic theory to reflect on events and conditions in the social world – of which her present paper is an example.

Damianos Grammatikopoulos studied German Language and Literature in the University of Belgrade (Serbia), Media Studies in the University of Regensburg (Germany), and holds a Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Regensburg. He offered undergraduate classes on graphic novels in Germany (Department of Media Studies, Regensburg), and German language classes and Expository Writing 101 classes at Rutgers University. Alongside, he organized various workshops on media relating to teaching purposes (Rutgers). His research areas include the theory of intermediality and transmediality, adaptations studies, film studies, comics, and literary criticism. He is currently a PhD candidate in the German Department at Rutgers University (since FS 2010) and a Teaching Assistant at the Rutgers Writing Program. His dissertation project is focused on intermedial and transmedial relations in comics and film adaptations based on Franz Kafka’s work.

Jennifer Haller received her MA in English Literature from Fordham University, where she focused in eighteenth- and nineteenth- century British literature. She is currently working on her PhD in Comparative Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center, where her research interests have grown to include literature and the arts, Continental Philosophy, and twentieth-century German literature. Jennifer has taught in the English department at LaGuardia Community College, and is currently revising a paper on seventeenth-century Dutch landscape painting and English Romanticism.

William Hughes is a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Davis, where he studies Victorian media and culture. He earned his MA in English from Fordham University and has published an article on Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim in Conradiana: A Journal of Joseph Conrad Studies. He has presented papers at the annual conference of the Nineteenth Century Studies Association, the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association, and at the Dickens Universe Winter Conference, as well as at other venues.

Cody Jones is a graduate student in the program in Comparative Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is interested in the intersections of literature, political theology, and representations of the everyday in the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries..

Theodore Kerr is a Canadian-born, Brooklyn-based writer and organizer who focuses on HIV/AIDS, and community and is currently doing graduate work at Union Theological Seminary. He was the Programs Manager at Visual AIDS.

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.

Roshnara Kissoon is currently an MA candidate in Literary Studies in the Draper Interdisciplinary Program at NYU and a library assistant managing the E-Reserve collection at Baruch College, CUNY. She received her BA in English and Economics from NYU in 2007. Her area of interest is late 19th century British literature, particularly: Thomas Hardy, representations of women in Victorian/Edwardian novels, and the relationship between the aesthetics of Victorian/Edwardian popular literature and of silent film. She presented a paper entitled “Lost Treasure: Wealth, Inheritance, and Reproduction in Sherlock Holmes’s Indian Tales” at the Mid-Atlantic Conference on British Studies at Lehman College in 2013.

Katie Lanning is a PhD candidate in the English Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her dissertation studies the material and formal volatility of eighteenth-century literature, exploring the ways in which changing conceptions of nation, gender, and power were registered in the shifting relationship between literary form and print format. Her article on the print history of Jonathan Swift’s A Tale of a Tubwas recently published in Eighteenth-Century Fiction, and her article on the role of Robinson Crusoe in Wilkie Collins’s serial novel The Moonstone was published in Victorian Periodicals Review. Her research and teaching interests include print culture, theories of the novel, eighteenth-century culture, and serial forms in popular literature.

Giacomo Leoni‘s dissertation, which he will defend on April 6th, is titled “‘Inheritance and Legacy’ a Phenomenological Exploration,” and deals with matters of cultural transmission, with a specific interest in the reasons for modern thinkers to read works by past authors. He has been working mainly in the scope of French Phenomenology and Theory of Reception, but he is deeply interested in German Idealism and in its connection to Medieval Mystical Theology. Literature and Philosophy are his main field of expertise, and their connection plays a prominent role in classes he has designed and will be working on in the future.’


Joseph Lurie is a graduate student in the philosophy department at the University of Connecticut. He holds a BS in mathematics and philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh. His primary research interests are in philosophical and mathematical logic, particularly in the justification logics pioneered by CUNY’s Sergei Artemov. He also has extensive experience in interdisciplinary research, primarily with the UConn Logic Group and the Expression, Communication, and the Origins of Meaning (ECOM) Research Group.

Amy Martin is a sixth-year doctoral student at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She’s interested in 17th-century fairy tales and their contemporary adaptations, as well as feminist scholarship, and adaptation and animal studies. Her dissertation will incorporate this research to read the recent appearance of multiple adaptations of Charles Perrault’s “Peau d’âne” as intimately linked to feminist thought and the tale’s (threat of) incest. In addition to her own research, Amy works as a research assistant and copy editor for Dr. Domna C. Stanton, she is teaching French at Fordham University, and she is the Co-Chair for Student Affairs of the Doctoral Students’ Council at the Graduate Center.

Nicholas Olson is a doctoral candidate in the Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center CUNY and teaches at Brooklyn College. He received a B.A. in Writing from the New School. His interests include, among other subjects, aesthetic theory in relation to history and ideology.

Holly Pickett is Associate Professor of English at Washington and Lee University, where she teaches Shakespeare, Renaissance Drama, and the history of drama. She has published articles in SEL and in several edited volumes and is completing a book-length monograph called The Drama of Serial Conversion in Early Modern England.

Valerie Clayman Pye is an Assistant Professor of Dance and Theatre at Manhattanville College, who has worked in both the US and the UK as an actor, director, and educator. She works extensively with heightened language and audience engagement, and has served as a voice and speech coach for film, television, and theatre. Her most recent publication is “Shakespeare’s Globe: theatre architecture and the performance of authenticity” in the journal Shakespeare ( ).

Vicente Muñoz-Reja is a PhD Student in Philosophy at Boston College. He is interested in Ontology and in the History of Modern and Contemporary (Continental) Philosophy.

Nayar Rivera holds a B.A. in French Literature from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. He pursued his M.A. in the Comparative Literature program at The Graduate Center, CUNY, where he will now continue his studies in the PhD. program. He is interested in the research of folktale narratives and their transformations in literature, cinema and other media. His undergraduate thesis is titled La función Perrault en « Le Petit Chaperon rouge » y la invención de la tradición, and he also presented the paper “Shaping Modernity through Fairytales: Charles Perrault as a Trickster” at the 45th Annual Convention of the Northeast Modern Language Association. Before pursuing graduate studies at the Graduate Center, He published several books of essay and poetry in Mexico, including El deshielo, Reglas de urbanidad.

Matthew Schratz is a graduate student at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He studies twentieth and twentieth century American fiction.

Henry Shevlin is a final-year PhD candidate in philosophy at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches a range of philosophy courses at Baruch College. His main research interest is philosophy of mind and philosophy of cognitive science, but he also spends time writing and thinking about aesthetics and the art of storytelling. He maintains a website with various samples of his writing and teaching materials at

Sheila Skaff is the Administrative Director of the M.A. Program the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University, where she is also an associate faculty member. I am the author of the book, “The Law of the Looking Glass: Cinema in Poland, 1896-1939” (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2008), as well as many articles and reviews on Eastern European film and literature. I received a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2004, an M.S. in Journalism from Warsaw University in Poland in 1997, and B.A. in English from Carnegie Mellon University in 1993.

Phyll Smith is a lecturer/researcher at the University of East Anglia.  His research focuses on fringe and ephemeral media, particularly their seriality and discursive functions; this encompasses newsreels, shorts and Serials; film fanzines and unofficial tie-ins; film adaptations in radio, comics and pornography; propaganda, journalism and gossip. He has written extensively on British Sound Serials, and is the author of The Last English Revolutionary: Tom Wintringham 1898-1949 (Sussex Academic Press/London School of Economics) and a forthcoming book Tijuana Bibles and the Pornographic Re-imagining of Hollywood in Comics from the 20s to the 50s. His PhD research is on early Hollywood sound Serials and he co-ordinates the To Be Continued… research network on series, Serials and sequential viewing.

Rebecca Starkins is a PhD candidate in English Literature at New York University. Her dissertation focuses on the professionalization of the literary career in nineteenth century Britain. Other research interests include the serial novel and Victorian representations of artistic “labor.”

Nick Sturm is a PhD candidate at Florida State University, associate editor of the Akron Series in Contemporary Poetics, and the author of How We Light, from H_NGM_N BKS, as well as a number of chapbooks. His poems have appeared widely, including in Black Warrior, Typo, jubilat, PEN, and Best American Nonrequired Reading 2014. His critical interests focus on collaboration and genre in the second generation New York school.

Julia Titus teaches Russian language at Yale University at the Slavic department and is a Ph.D. student in Comparative Literature at The Graduate Center, CUNY. She holds an MA in East European Studies from Yale University and a BA and an MA in literary criticism, cum laude, from Moscow State University. Her research interests include Russian and French literature of the nineteenth century, Dostoevsky and Balzac, translation studies, and Russian language and culture.

Veronika Tuckerova, born in Prague, earned her M.Phil in Comparative Literature from the Graduate Center at CUNY, and PhD from Columbia University in German and Comparative Literature.  She taught as the Texas Chair of Czech Studies at the University of Texas at Austin (2011-2013), before joining the department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University as a preceptor in Czech. She published articles and reviews in the New German CritiqueThe Harvard ReviewThe Aspen ReviewSlavic and East European Performance Review, and Revolver Revue. Veronika edited and co-translated the first bilingual edition of the poems by the Czech poet Ivan Blatný, The Drug of Art (2007).  She is completing a book on the reception of Franz Kafka during communism. Her research interests include Franz Kafka, translation, dissidence, and visual arts.

Justin Vaccaro is a PhD candidate at UC Berkeley. His research interests are genre, history and memory, television, STS, and documentary. He is currently working on a dissertation that combines philosophy of biology with theories of technology and genre as a way to understand new media and seriality. His “Modernity’s Automatization of Man: Biopower and the Early Zombie Film” appeared in Scope.

Christina Vani is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Italian Studies at the University of Toronto, with a thesis tentatively titled Immortal Words: Language and Style in the Modern Italian Vampire Romance Novel. She is a Jackman Junior Fellow and her present and past scholarships include the Guardiaregia Club-Mastrogiovanni Pallotta Graduate Fellowship in Italian Studies (2014), the Senator Peter Bosa Graduate Fellowship in Italian Studies (2013 and 2014), and the Carmine Di Michele Scholarship (2008). Christina has worked as a proofreader; a research assistant; a translator; a “Language Artist,” teacher, and Assistant to the Executive Director at the Art Monastery Project, in Labro, Rieti, Italy; a private tutor; and a freelance writer and copyeditor. At U of T, she has taught Introductory Italian and Intermediate Italian. Christina speaks English, French, Italian, and Spanish and is passionate about coffee, teaching, writing, veganism, music, food, and meditation.

Ian Verstegen is Associate Director of Visual Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a PhD in Italian Renaissance Art History from Temple University, where he worked with Marcia Hall. He works on early modern and modern art, historiography, and theory. He is the author of, most recently, Cognitive Iconology (2014) and co-editor of Giambattista Nolli and Rome (2014).

Daniel Weissglass earned a double major in Philosophy and Psychology from the College of Charleston and an MA in Philosophy from CUNY. His currently an adjunct instructor in the Philosophy Department at the College of Staten Island. While the main thrust of his work lies within more traditional boundaries of philosophical analysis, I have developed a substantial subsidiary project aimed at studying the under-theorized intersection of narrative and play. Both narrative and play appear to be cultural universals, and their interaction is extremely common – perhaps so much so that the narrative play may serve as a cultural universal itself. With this in mind, this project aims to explore certain the role of narrative and play in the biological and cultural evolution of humankind, the nature and cause of their common intersection, and what this intersection reveals about each narrative and play as independent phenomena.

Sarah Yahyaoui is an M.A. student in French Litterature at McGill University. Her current works focus on identity and language through feminism and Nicole Brossard’s Le centre blanc, but also through Dead Obies and Québécois rap. She created a trimestrial reading night of short texts, Speed Reading. She is a born and raised Montrealer.

Janice Yu is a graduate student in the Department of Rhetoric at UC Berkeley. Her research interests include photography, subject formation in western philosophy, and death in visual culture.

Victor Xavier Zarour Zarzar is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Comparative Literature department of the Graduate Center, CUNY. Born and raised in Mexico, he moved to Rome, Italy, in 2009 to study Philosophy, after which he obtained a degree in English Literature from John Cabot University. His research interests are wide, and range from poetry to the nineteenth-century novel.


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