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Undergraduate Alumni

One recent major, Sasha Senderovich, after spending a year at Oxford University on the first $20,000 fellowship offered by the Commonwealth College, was accepted at Harvard University with a $20,000 annual fellowship for five years. Another of our recent majors, Maryann Davis, has just been admitted to Sciences Po in Paris. Like Sasha and Maryann, many of our other majors are drawn toward studies abroad. All of these students find Comparative Literature the ideal program for developing their multi-faceted interests.

After graduation, our majors pursue a variety of careers. One is currently a senior managing partner of Bear Stearns, the largest privately owned financial services company in the United States, who, while studying Comparative Literature as an undergraduate, began a translation of hitherto unpublished cantos of Ariosto that were later published by the University of California Press. Another has headed the Manhattan Cable Network. Still another has won national awards for her scholarship.

Margarita Zamora holds a full professorship at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Two others are now full professors at Kenyon College and at North Carolina State University, respectively, while a third, Denise Filios, with a both a BA and an MA in Comparative Literature from UMass, has a tenure system appointment at the University of Iowa.

Some of our graduates have become editors at publishing houses such as Peter Lang, Blackwells or Oxford University Press, or at studios such as MTV. Several have become lawyers, practicing in Massachusetts and elsewhere. In New York, one is a key designer and creator of the Metropolitan Museum web site. We have a graduate who works in public radio, and another who is on the editorial staff of a men's magazine. Another has been director of the New York City Dance Guild. This variety of careers in which our graduates have succeeded provides an indication of the leadership quality and motivation of many of our majors.

Recent Graduate Alumni

PhDs from 2016

Emir Benli (2016) is currently Instructor of English, Yeditepe University, Istanbul, Turkey. The topic of his dissertation was "Subjects of Fatih Akin’s Melodramas: A Genealogical Reading through the Films of R.W. Fassbinder, Yilmaz Guney and Atif Yilmaz." He received his BA in English Language and Literature from Bogazici University, where he also worked in the film center and wrote articles for the monthly film magazine Altyazi. Besides German literature and thought, Emir is interested in adaptation and cinema studies, specifically in New German Cinema, Fassbinder, transnational cinemas, Turkish-German cinema and minority cinemas, with a focus on Kurdish cinema in Turkey.

Fatma Betul Cihan-Artun (2016) is currently a part-time Lecturer in the English Writing Program at Rutgers University, Brunswick, NJ. She wrote her dissertation on the topic "Rumi, the Poet of Universal Love: The Politics of Rumi's Appropriation in the West." She holds a BA in English and an MA in History from Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey. She is interested in the politics of cultural representation, late Ottoman and modern Turkish literature, and translation studies.

Antonia Carcelén-Estrada (2016) is currently Visiting Lecturer of Spanish, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA. The topic of her dissertation was “Golden Palimpsests: America, Cervantes, and the Invention of Modernity/Coloniality.” Her research interests include postcolonial literature, colonial and contemporary Latin America, translation studies, philosophy, cultural studies, art history, anthropology, and oral literature. Her publications include "Covert and Overt Ideologies in the Translation of the Wycliffe Bible into Huao Terero" in Translation, Resistance, Activism (University of Massachusetts Press, 2011); "Latin American Historiography in Emerging Capitalism: Afro-Indigenous Palimpsests at the Birth of Spanish Modernity" in Ethnicity from Various Angles and Through Varied Lenses: Yesterday´s Today in Latin America. (New York: Sussex Academic Press, 2011); and "Tierra, riqueza, cuerpos, diferencia: la construccion ontologica de la feminidad y su persistencia." Actas del I Congreso Internacional de Literatura Comparada. (Universitat de Valencia Press, 2011).

Lara Curtis (2016) is currently Associate Director of the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her dissertation, “Writing, Resistance, and the Question of Gender: Charlotte Delbo, Noor Inayat Khan, and Germaine Tillion,” was on women writers operative in the French Resistance during World War II. Lara also holds masters degrees in French and Francophone Studies and Comparative Literature. She has taught many courses on European film and literature. Among her recent writings are essays on ‘Beur’ Cinema, the films of Karin Albou and Alain Resnais, and a study on the aesthetics of Holocaust documentaries. She is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

Scott Vangel (2016) wrote his PhD dissertation on “Deconstruction of the Sacred, Ontologies of Monstrosity: Apophatic Approaches in Late Modernist Cinema.” Scott is interested in philosophy, film studies, and French language and culture. He received his BA in English/Film from Framingham State and his MA in Religion/Literature from the University of Chicago.

PhDs from 2014-15

Esther Cuesta (2015) is a native of Guayaquil, Ecuador, and currently works as Consul General for Ecuador in Genoa, Italy. She has published several articles on Ecuadorian migration. Her dissertation “Documenting the (Un)documented: Diasporic Ecuadorian Narratives in Southern/Mediterranean Europe” examined diasporic Ecuadorian narratives in Italy and Spain, informed by subaltern and postcolonial studies, as well as decolonial and feminist theories. Since December 2009, she has served at Ecuador’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Integration.

Kanchuka Dharmasiri (2014) is currently Assistant Professor of Theater, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Her dissertation topic was “Transgressing Space and Subverting Hierarchies: A Comparative Analysis of Street Theater Groups in Sri Landa, India and the United States.” Her interests include postcolonial theory, travel literature, women's studies, visual culture, translation, and theatre, particularly modern Sinhala theatre from the fifties to the present. She actively engaged in theatre in Sri Lanka with her translations and productions of plays, including a recent production of Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano.

Shannon Farley (2015) is currently working as XXXXXXXX. She has defended her dissertation, “Translation, Rewriting, and Fan Fiction: A Literary History of Transformative Work” on the literary heritage of fanfiction and other transformative works by fans of media culture. Shannon holds a BA in Classics and History from Williams College and earned her MA in Comparative Literature at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2008. Her MA thesis was a translation of Euripides' Bakkhai with commentary, highlighting the reception of the play from a postcolonial perspective.

Nahir I. Otaño (2014) is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation was on medieval Arthurian texts and related materials in the Celtic (Welsh and Irish), Iberian, and Scandinavian peripheries. By reimagining medieval Arthurian literature as transnational, she explored the various forms of interactions between these different societies with particular focus on the relationship between kings and their subjects. She also studied the use of medieval imagery by Caribbean writers and Medievalism in Popular Culture. One of her long term goals is to provide translations of Nordic and Irish myths into Latin American Spanish.

Anna Strowe (2014) is currently Assistant Professor of Translation and Interpreting Studies, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom. Her dissertation, "‘Io scrittore’: Authorial Self-Construction in Renaissance Italian Literature and its Translation into English,” explored the relationships between author, text, and audience in the late medieval and early modern Italian novella and the ways in which those relationships are altered through translation as the novella moves to England. Her research interests include translation, late medieval and early modern literature, and book history. Two articles related to her dissertation have been published.

PhDs from 2011-13

Matt Goodwin (2013) explored the topic of migration in science fiction in dystopian states and virtual reality in his dissertation “The Fusion of Migration and Science Fiction in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the United States.” Matthew has an MA in Philosophy of Religion and Systematic Theology from the Graduate Theology Union in Berkeley. His anthology Latino Rising, a collection of Latino science fiction and fantasy literature is coming out soon and he is translating the work of Pablo Brescia from Spanish to English.

Daniel Pope (2013) is currently Assistant Curator for the Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His dissertation topic was “Enigmatic Realism: Doing Justice through Photography and Figuration in Sebald, Marias, and Hemon.” He earned his BA in English literature, then studied poetry in Peru with a Fulbright scholarship. His interests include word/image narratives, tropes of travel, transnational cinemas, documentary film, Caribbean literature, and rhetoric of narrative.

Hongmei Sun (2013) is currently Assistant Professor of Chinese, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA. Her dissertation topic was titled “Translating Trickster, Performing Identity: Representations Of The Monkey King (Sun Wukong) in Chinese and Asian American Rewritings.” She graduated from Peking University with an MA in Comparative Literature. Her interests include Asian American literature, translation studies, and Asian mythology.

Rhona Trauvitch (2013), originally from Haifa, Israel, now works as an instructor in the Department of English at Florida International University, teaching mostly literature and film courses. Her PhD dissertation is titled “Adventures in Fictionality: Sites along the Border between Fiction and Reality.” She holds an MS in Social & Public Communication from the London School of Economics, and spent a year at Oxford University. Her most recent publication is “Mise en Abyme and Quantum Mechanics: The Reader as Observer” in Interface between Literature and Science: Cross-disciplinary Approaches to Latin American Texts, ed. Victoria Carpenter (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing).

Brandon Shaw (2012) currently teaches Dance Studies at the School of Performing Arts at the University of Malta. The title of his dissertation was “Sitting-There: Embodied Perception, Kinesthetic Empathy, and Reading Pain in Dance Spectatorship.” He went on to a post-doctoral Mellon Fellowship at Brown University. His research interests include literature and dance, representations of the invisible in dance, phenomenology, kinesthetic empathy, and experiential pedagogy, and he is a contemporary dancer and choreographer with an emphasis in partnering.

Loc Quoc Pham (2011) currently serves as the Dean of Faculty of Languages and Cultural Studies at Hoa Sen University in Ho Chih Minh City, Vietnam. He wrote his dissertation on “Translation in Vietnam and Vietnam in Translation: Language, Culture, and Identity.” His research interests include translation studies, gender, postcolonial studies, and issues in the Vietnamese representation of wars. His article, “Western Others (and ‘Other’ Westerns): Translating‘Brokeback Mountain’ into Vietnamese Culture,” appeared in Re-engendering Translation: Transcultural Practice, Gender/Sexualityand the Politics of Alterity, edited by Christoph Larkosh.

Juan Ramos (2011) works as an Assistant Professor in the Spanish Department at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. He wrote his dissertation on “Latin American decolonial aesthetics: Antipoetry, nueva cancíon, and third cinema as counterculture (1960--1975).” His areas of interest include 19th-21st Century Latin American and Spanish literature; Latin American Film and Music; Latin American Critical Thought.

Frans Weiser (2011) currently works as an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Latin American Studies at the University of Georgia. His research explores Hemispheric American literary and cultural studies as well as historical fiction. In addition to articles in journals such as Rethinking History, Hispania and Portuguese Literary and Cultural Studies, he has had chapters published on contemporary Luso-Hispanic historical fiction and film. His current book project explores alternatives to the politics of historiographic metafiction by analyzing contemporary Hemispheric American literature that imitates the conventions of historical documents and historiography.

MAs from 2016

Froy Batsielilit (2016) was born in Gabon and studied Spanish, Chinese, and International Relations at the University of Alabama. She has lived in both Chile and Guatemala. She hopes to work at the UN or Amnesty International in the future. Froy spent one year as a research assistant working in quality control and project management in the University of Massachusetts Translation Center.

Emily Heilker (2016) holds a BA from the University of Georgia, where she majored in Comparative Literature and from which she escaped repeatedly in order to study in France (Paris and Lyon), Italy, and Costa Rica. Her research interests focus primarily on (1) the ways mystical, ecstatic, inner, and limit experiences, both medieval and modernist, may be read as sites of performance and trauma and (2) how testing the limits of consciousness and testing the limits of cultural consciousness have been mediated through Orientalist discourses in the twentieth-century (especially in the case of French and German travel writing through India). She is also a poet.

Jocelyn Langer (2016) wrote her MA thesis on “Collaborative Approaches to Translation in Social Change Movements,” focusing, among other texts on collective translations of Our Bodies, Ourselves in Latin America. Jocelyn came to the MA in Translation Studies after studying Community Health Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has taught and studied language and healthcare practices in Latin America, Asia, and Europe. In the United States, she has worked as a health practitioner and bilingual health educator, and served as Executive Director of a non-profit wellness center. Jocelyn specializes in medical translation.

A Beinecke Scholar and former Turkey Fulbrighter, Muria McCammon ( conducts research in that overlapping terrain between law, libraries, and wartime archives. Her writings on Guantánamo have appeared in the Kenyon Review Online, Slate, MIT’s Image Series, the Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere. She previously worked as a research assistant at the Harvard Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and was most recently was a summer 2016 Fellow at the Harvard Law Library Innovation Lab. Her M.A. thesis probed stories that have been told about the Guantánamo Bay Detainee Library.

Zainab Sattar (2016) joined the MA program in Comparative Literature as a Fulbright fellow after receiving her BA in Humanities from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Pakistan. Her thesis topic was "Songs of Ishq, Freedom and Rebellion: Selected Kafis of Bulleh Shah in Translation.” She is particularly interested in the work of Edward Said, the regional Sufi poetry of Punjabi and Seraiki. She plans to teach Comparative Literature in Pakistan.

Chamila Somirathna (2016) is currently Lecturer in Qualitative Research Methods at the Colombo Institute of Research and Psychology, a private higher education institution in Sri Lanka. She wrote her MA thesis on the topic "Re-envisioning a Discipline: Martin Wickramasinghe’s Contribution to Comparative Literature." She received her BA in Sinhala Language and Literature from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka and is a Fulbright grantee. She is interested in Sinhalese Literature, fiction, travel literature, poetry and literary theory, particularly, feminist literary theory and post-colonialism.

MAs from 2014-15

Shushanik Gavalyan (2015) came to the university as a Fulbright Fellow from Uzbekistan and completed her MA in Translation Studies on the topic of advertising and mass media. Though a student in International Economic Relations at her home university, she always had a strong interest in translation. She now works as a Russian translator with the firm Indigo Travel.

Ying Xu (2015) wrote her MA thesis on “Translating Travel in the Spanish Sahara: English Verions of Sanmao’s Stories of the Sahara.” Xu Ying joined the MA in Comparative Literature program after receiving a BA in Business English from the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, China. Her research focuses on travel writing and film, and she has studied Spanish and German in addition to English and Chinese.

MAs from 2011-13

Liz Medenthorp (2013) currently teaches at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. Her research interests include cross-media translations, popular culture, and fan studies. Her MA thesis was titled “Rethinking Intersemiotic Translation through Cross-Media Adaptation in the Works of Joss Whedon.” She recently published an article titled “The Power of the Periphery: Reassessing Spatial Metaphors” in the latest issue of TranscUlturAl on Translating Peripheries (vol.5.1-2 (2013): 22-42).

Steffi Scheer (2013) is currently Senior Project Manager at LUZ, Inc. located in the Greater Boston area. Her MA thesis examined epistemology, cultural relativism, and the philosophy of meaning in relation to translation theory. She holds a BA in Linguistics, with a minor in philosophy, from McGill University in her hometown of Montreal.

Rio Hernandez (2012) defended his MA thesis of a translation of Shusaku Endo’s play Menamugawa no Nihonjin from Japanese to English. From Puerto Rico and a native speaker of English and Spanish, Rio also is fluent in Japanese. He received his BA from Cornell University, where he majored in History and won the De Kiewiet Prize, which goes to the top student in each graduating class. He currently works as a project manager for the University of Massachusetts Translation Center.

Yonjoo Hong (2012) did a translation of a play called Faust in Blue Jeans by the Korean playwright from the 1980s named Yun T-aek Yi, an excerpt of which was performed in the University of Massachusetts Theater Department in Amherst. She also holds an MA in Translation Studies from Ewha Woman’s University in Seoul, Korea.

Other Graduate Alumni/ae

Jana E. Braziel (Associate Professor of English and Comparative Litreature at the University of Cincinnati)

Siobhan Craig (Assistant Professor of English at the University of Minnesota)

Alessandra Di Maio (Assistant Professor Dipartimento di Scienze filologiche e linguistiche at the University of Palermo)

Nikolina I. Dobreva (Visiting Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies at Middlebury College)

Lan Dong (Assistant Professor of English at the University of Illinois, Springfield)

Caroline M. Dothee (Copywriter for LMS International)

Daniela Fargione (Assistant Professor of Anglo-American Language and Literatures at the Università degli Studi di Torino)

Lilian P. Feitosa (Adjunct Professor of Foreign Languages at James Madison University)

Enrique Garcia (Assistant Professor of Spanish at Middlebury College)

Neil C. Hartlen (Instructor in the English department at Dawson College)

Yehudit Heller (Lecturer for the Commonwealth College at University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Shu-Chen Huang (Assistant Professor of Critical Languages at Temple University)

Dale M. Hudson (Visiting Lecturer of Film and Media at NYU/Abu Dhabi)

Hussein Y. Ibish (Senior Fellow of the American Task Force on Palestine)

Li Lu (Professor of Chinese and Associate Dean for International Relations at Beijing University)

Anita Mannur (Assistant Professor of English at Miami University)

Ada Chinara McKenzie (Assistant Professor of English at the College of the Bahamas)

Mariela E. Mendez de Coudriet (Asssistant Professor of Latin American and Iberian Studies at the University of Richmond)

Corinne D. Oster (Maître des Conferences at Charles de Gaulle University - Lille III)

Theophilus E. Padnos (Journalist at the National Yemen Newspaper)

Meriem C. Pagese (Associate Professor of English at Keene State College)

Loc Quoc Pham (Director of the General Education Program at Hoa Sen University)

Juan G. Ramos (Assistant Professor of Spanish at Holy Cross)

Jennifer Rodgers (Principal Technical Writer at Websense)

Jonathan B. Sadow (Assistant Professor of English at SUNY Oneonta)

Shawn R. Smolen-Morten (Assistant Professor of English at Francis Marion University

Roger A. Stritmatter (Associate Professor of English at Coppin State University)

Bunkong Tuon (Assistant Professor of English at Union College)

Friederike Vonschwerin-High (Assistant Professor of German at Pomona College)

Beverly M. Weber (Assistant Professor of German and Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Colorado Boulder)

Frans-Stephen Weiser (Post-doc in Spanish at University of Pittsburg)