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.

Philip Gerard

Philip Gerard is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at UC Berkeley as well as a member of Berkeley’s Program in Critical Theory. His work focuses on comparative Anglo-American, German, and French modernism, especially poetry, and on issues of translation. His dissertation, “A Translation including History: Ezra Pound, Paul Celan, and the Rhythms of the Past” examines how the formal innovations of modern poet-translators develop critical resources for containing and articulating histories of destruction. In addition to Berkeley, Philip has studied at Columbia University, at the Freie Universität in Berlin, and at the École normale supérieure in Paris, where he also worked as a “tuteur” and translator for those forcibly displaced and seeking political asylum.

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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 »

Matthew Gonzales

Matthew is a fifth-year graduate student in the Department of Comparative Literature and a DE student in the Program in Critical Theory at UC Berkeley. He received his B.A. in Comparative Literature from CSU Long Beach in 2013. Matthew studies twentieth-century literature from Latin America and the U.S. He also enjoys film, hardcore-punk and metal music, and spending time with his daughter.

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.

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 entered the Comparative Literature department in Fall 2016 after earning their B.A. in Comparative Literature and German Studies from Smith College in Spring 2016. Dinah has focused on depictions of gender and sexuality in literature and film, focusing particularly on the Weimar Republic as well as German modernist literature. They are interested in immigration literature in German, French, and Spanish and hope to investigate intersections of gender, sexuality, and new cosmopolitanisms in their research. Dinah is also a translator from German and French into English.

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 »

Thomas Sliwowski

Thom Sliwowski is a third year doctoral student in the Department of Comparative Literature and a D.E. in Critical Theory. He joined the program in 2015, after receiving his B.A. in Comparative Literature and German from CUNY Hunter College and briefly working in rural France. His research focuses on German, Polish, and French prose and film during the 20th century, but especially in the postwar period, and revolves around questions related to the historiography of state socialism in People’s Poland and in the GDR, the politics of nostalgia, and the notion of social “forms of life,” especially as related to their decay, senescence, or moribundity. He is currently working on a project on the writer Marek Hłasko and the reception of socialist-realist aesthetics in Poland. He also enjoys cycling and skydiving.

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. » 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 »

Giana Ward-Vetrano

Gianna Ward-Vetrano earned her B.A. in Italian from Georgetown University and her M.A. in Liberal Studies from the Graduate Center, City University of New York, where she studied gender, sexuality, and women’s studies. Her master’s thesis was a feminist, multi-genre project that sought to examine the figure of the woman writer in a series of notebooks and was written under the advisement of Wayne Koestenbaum. Her scholarly interests include 20th century Italian, French, English, and Canadian literature by women writers, especially Clotilde Marghieri, Grazia Deledda, Mary Webb, and L.M. Montgomery, feminist theories, and translation, with a special emphasis on Italian voices underrepresented in English. » read more »