Molly Bronstein

Molly is a PhD candidate 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.

Marlena Gittleman

Marlena Gittleman joined Berkeley’s Comparative Literature Department in the fall of 2015. She obtained her B.A. in Comparative Literature at Barnard College in 2012. Her areas of study include genre crossings in 20 th century fiction and transatlantic women’s writing. Marlena is particularly interested in questions of formal and linguistic experimentation, intersubjectivity, voice, the body, and matter, especially as they relate to gender. She works in Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, and English. Marlena is also a translator from Spanish and Catalan, » 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

Taylor Johnston is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature and an M.A. candidate in English at UC Berkeley, where she studies historical and contemporary realism of the American and European canons, Italian film and thought, Critical Theory and Pedagogy, and Creative Writing. Her work appears in Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction (2017) and The Raymond Carver Review (2016). Her dissertation project, Postmodern Realism and That Class Which Is Not One, critically examines how American fiction of the White lower middle class describes and reimagines that subject-position during the 1970s and 80s. » 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.

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, Idle Attentions: Modern Fiction and the Dismissal of Distraction, challenges a long critical tradition that casts distraction as the default state of the modern subject. I focus on a series of English-language novels beginning in the mid-nineteenth century and stretching through the early twentieth, including Dickens’s Bleak House, Stoker’s Dracula, Conrad’s Nostromo, and Joyce’s Ulysses.  By bringing original analyses of the history of science and political theory to bear on these quintessentially “distracted” texts, I demonstrate that their unfocused form constitutes itself in opposition to an increasingly ubiquitous demand for productive attention.   » 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.

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 »

Simone Stirner

Simone Stirner joined the doctoral program in 2013 after receiving a B.A. and M.A. in Comparative Literature from LMU Munich. Her research focuses on German, Hebrew, and French poetry and prose, with a particular emphasis on minimalist and fragmentary forms of writing post-1945. Informed by her interest in aesthetic theory, affect theory, German-Jewish thought, intersectional memory studies, and theories of reading, she tries to understand the affective responses, forms of embodied attention, as well as the hermeneutic excesses produced by fragmented and abbreviated texts in response to historic crises.

She is associated with the Program in Critical Theory and the Center for Jewish Studies and serves as academic editor of the journal Qui Parle.

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 »