Molly Bronstein

Molly is a third-year graduate student in Comparative Literature as well as the program in Medieval Studies. She graduated from Vassar College in 2013, where she double-majored in Comparative Literature and Italian. She has also studied at the University of Bologna (2011-12), and has interned at the manuscripts department of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (2013-14).  Molly’s languages are French, Italian, and Latin (and she occasionally dabbles in ancient Greek). » read more »

Keru Cai

I joined UC Berkeley’s Comparative Literature PhD Program in 2014. My research focuses on modern Chinese reworkings of realism(s) from Russia, England, and France. Writers I work on include Lu Xun, Lao She, Li Jieren, Mao Dun, Ba Jin, Charles Dickens, Leonid Andreyev, Leo Tolstoy, Maxim Gorky, and Emile Zola. Previously, I received my Bachelors in English Literature from Harvard University, followed by a Master of Studies in English Literature (19th century) at the University of Oxford (on the Von Clemm Fellowship), as well as a Masters in the Harvard University Regional Studies: East Asia program.

Madeleine Cohen

Madeleine Cohen is a PhD Candidate in Comparative Literature. Her research focuses on Yiddish modernist literature in the early 20th century with comparative work in German, Hebrew and Polish language literatures.  She is interested in ideas of minor literature as a subversive force against the status quo, be it cultural, religious, gendered, or political. » read more »

Sherilyn Hellberg

Sheri joined UC Berkeley’s Comparative Literature department in 2014. She has a B.A. in Comparative Literature and Society from Columbia University and an M.Phil. in European and Comparative Literatures and Cultures from the University of Cambridge. At Berkeley, she focuses the politics of despair in modern and contemporary Danish, French, and German literature, film, and critical theory. Some of her other research interests include: ecocriticism, women’s writing, affect theory, ghosts, and tiny objects. Outside of her academic research, Sheri is also involved with translating contemporary Danish literature into English.

Taylor Johnston

I am a Ph.D. candidate who joined Berkeley’s Department of Comparative Literature in 2012. My interests include nineteenth-century realism in the French, Italian, British, and American traditions, the fate of realism in postmodernism, postwar and contemporary American fiction, creative writing, and Critical Theory (my Designated Emphasis). My dissertation examines the appropriation of realist style in postwar American fiction of the lower middle class. » read more »

Bristin Jones

Bristin Jones joined the Comparative Literature department in 2013 after completing a “Laurea Magistrale” in Modern, Post-colonial, and Comparative Literatures at the Università di Bologna, Italy.  She received her B.A. from Stanford University in 2007 with a major in “Writing and Environmental Ethics” (Individually Designed Major).  Her research interests include 20th-century Italian and Latin American literatures, environmental literature, translation studies, and creative writing.

Katie Kadue

Katie came to Berkeley in 2009 after receiving a B.A. in Literature from Yale University and working as an assistante de langue in Marseille. Her research on early modern French and English literature explores relationships between domestic and poetic labor; agricultural and intellectual cultivation; material and textual practices; and gender and genre.  Her dissertation, Domestic Georgic from Rabelais to Milton, reads literary texts alongside gardening manuals and recipe books to argue that some of the early modern authors we most associate with imagination, invention, and excess conceived of their work, in crucial ways, as housework: repetitive, tedious, and more like putting up preserves than creating something new.   » read more »

Marianne Kaletzky

I am a PhD candidate in Berkeley’s department of comparative literature, where I study Victorian and modernist novels, film, and critical theory. My dissertation examines the constraints that capitalism places on attention and investigates how the form of the novel reproduces or resists those constraints. Among the novelists I consider are Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Conrad, Joyce, Beckett, and Stein.

I have also recently published or presented work on mysticism and excess in Bolaño’s 2666 and on the persistence of allegory in modernist cinema.

At Berkeley, I have designed and taught Reading and Composition courses on a variety of topics: “Improbable Cities: Venice, Saint Petersburg, Los Angeles”; “How Can We Know? Ambiguity in Literature”; “Laughing Matters” (on dark humor and the political significance of laughter); “Fan Fictions, Fiction Fans” (on literary imitation across “high” and “low” genres); and “Nowheresville” (on representations of peripheral and rural space). I have also taught Spanish 1 and 2 at San Quentin State Prison through the Prison University Program. » read more »

Emily Laskin

I came to Berkeley’s Comparative Literature department after working on political issues surrounding energy trade and pipelines in the former Soviet Union, and completing an M.A. in Russian Regional Studies at Columbia University. At Berkeley I work on Russian, Persian, and English literature from around 1850 through the early 20th century.  I’m particularly interested in the literary and cultural borderlands, where multiple languages and traditions come into contact with each other. » read more »

Dinah Lensing-Sharp

Dinah Lensing-Sharp is a first-year Ph.D. student in Comparative Literature interested in exploring the intersections of queer theory and postcolonial studies. They received a B.A. in Comparative Literature and German Studies from Smith College in 2016, where they focused on depictions of gender and sexuality in Weimar literature and wrote a thesis on and translation of Die Vielen und der Eine (1930) by Ruth Landshoff-Yorck. They are deeply interested in postcolonial literature written by women, particularly in the Francophone Caribbean, and they plan to learn Spanish in order to expand this research area further.   » read more »

Mary Mussman

B.A. in Literature, Yale University, 2015

Mary Mussman focuses on receptions of ancient Greek poetry in Anglo and French literature from the late nineteenth century to the present. She is particularly interested in how classical texts inform theories of gender and sexuality, loss and grief, and transgression and secrecy. Her work is informed by affect theory, ecocriticism, and questions of materiality. She has recently presented work on subversions of gender in Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red and on breakdowns of language in Sophocles’s Philoctetes.

Julia Nelsen

Julia Nelsen is a doctoral candidate in Comparative Literature. She works on modernist and avant-garde writing in Italian, English, and French. Combining literary and media studies, her dissertation reexamines the Futurist “wireless imagination”, focusing on the politics and affects of communication at a distance. » read more »

Irina Popescu

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the department working on North and Latin American literature. My research focuses on the intersection between human rights discourse and 19th -21st century novel. My dissertation, “The Empathy Archive: History, Empathy and the Human Rights Novel in the Americas,” examines how a set of post-1973 novels in North and South America rewrite 19th century novelistic templates to provide a critical take on narrative empathy through their depictions of human rights abuses. This project is part of a growing discourse connecting hemispheric American studies with the evolution of the novel and changing conception of human rights.

Jane Raisch

Jane came to Berkeley in 2009 from Washington, DC after teaching English and Latin at The Field School. A native New Yorker, she received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in English and Classics and she continues to work in those areas as a graduate student. She focuses on the reception of Greek in Early Modern English literature and the intersection between scholarship and poetics. She is particularly interested in issues of textual recovery, imitation and representations of community. Other guiding fields of interest are: history of the book, dialogue, genre, philosophy and literature, structures and practices of reading, Hellenistic and Second Sophistic Greek literature, and travel narratives. » read more »

Jocelyn Saidenberg

Jocelyn Saidenberg is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on ancient Greek, Latin, and contemporary Anglophone poetry and is informed by her interests in linguistics, social anthropology, and psychoanalysis. Her dissertation is an elaboration of Lucretius’s atomic poetics that explores the relationship between didactic poetry’s transformational capacity and sonic and linguistic patterning.  She also writes on contemporary poetry and art and has several published collections of poetry. » read more »

Yael Segalovitz

Yael came to Berkeley in 2012 after receiving a B.A. in Literature and Psychology and M.A. in Comparative Literature from Tel Aviv University. She is the translator of Clarice Lisepctor’s A Via Crucis do Corpo into Hebrew (Ha-kibutz Ha-me’uchad Press, 2016) and her poetry translations into English appeared in Mantis (2016), Two-Lines (2015) and T-joLT (2014).   » read more »

Ma’ayan Sela

My work focuses primarily on English and German modernisms, with a particular interest in novel theory and fictional worlds. My dissertation explores thematic, formal, and philosophical manifestations of dissociation and displaced subjectivity within modernist fiction. I also work as a professional translator and editor, and have taught a wide variety of literature and writing classes.

Publications include: » read more »

Kevin Stone

Kevin Stone entered the doctoral program in comparative literature at Berkeley in 2016. In 2013, he graduated from Harvard University with an AB in literature and a minor in astrophysics. In the interim, he performed research at Ludwig-Maximilians- Universität München on a Fulbright grant and worked as a management consultant, including projects in higher education and academic publishing. » read more »

Johnathan Vaknin

Johnathan Vaknin joined Berkeley’s department of Comparative Literature in 2010, after receiving his B.A. in Comparative Literature and Hispanic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. His research is centered on Caribbean and Latin American literature from the late-19th through 20th centuries. Under the guidance of Professors Francine Masiello, Judith Butler, Barbara Spackman, and Natalia Brizuela, he is currently at work on a dissertation that examines the connections between representations of illness and questions concerning embellishment and narrative form.  » read more »

Lida Zeitlin Wu

Lida Zeitlin Wu is a PhD candidate in the department of Comparative Literature at UC Berkeley. She received her B.A. from the University of Chicago with dual degrees in Russian Literature and Visual Art. Before beginning graduate school, she also worked as an English Editor at LEAP, China’s leading bilingual contemporary art magazine. Lida is primarily interested in the intersection of literary criticism and film/media studies, as seen in hybrid text-image narratives and broader understandings of visual media. Central to her research for years has been the role of color theory in Vladimir Nabokov’s writing, which she hopes to incorporate into her dissertation.   » read more »