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Graduate Students

Graduate Student News

September 8, 2018

Shastri Akella wins 1st prize in fiction at the Slice Literary Writers' Conference, Brooklyn, NY on September 8-9, for his story, "Odd Weather Boyfriend."

August 2018

Sandra Russell wins The Theodosius and Irene Senkowsky Prize for Achievement in Ukrainian Studies from the Harvard Ukrainian Summer Institute.

May 2018

Manuela Borzone wins the 2018 Distinguished Teaching Award for her ability to communicate, motivate and inspire undergraduate students in her classes.

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Shastri Akella

Shastri Akella earned an MFA in Creative Writing before joining the Comparative Literature PhD in 2014. He lived all over India, Dublin, and San Francisco, before moving the valley. He previously worked for a street theater troupe and for Google. His fiction and essays have been published or is forthcoming in Guernica, Electric Literature, The Common, The Rumpus, and Hypothetical Review, among other places. He has taught at the university for 5 years and was one of two teaching associates to win the campus-wide Distinguished Teaching Award for the academic year 2015-2016. His dissertation topic is a comparison of the perception of children in horror films and the perception of refugees. His other interests include film and translation, and he is working to get certified in both areas.

Sara Aldawood

Sara Aldawood is a translator and a lecturer at the College of Languages and Translation in King Saud University (KSU) -Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. She received her BA in Arabic-English translation from KSU and her MA in the Theory and Practice of Translation from SOAS, University of London. Her current research interests include the sociology of translation, modern Arabic novels, postcolonial studies, translation technologies and community translation.

Daniel Armenti

Daniel Armenti received a BA in Languages and Literatures from Bard College, with a focus on classical Latin and Medieval literatures. His current interests are the intersection of literature and law, problems in representations of violence, and the reception of classical literature in the Middle Ages. He has worked as an editorial assistant with several journals, including Digital Philology: A Journal of Medieval Cultures and NeMLA Italian Studies, and is the graduate research assistant for the Pompeii Bibliography and Mapping Project.

Adile Aslan

Adile Aslan has a BA degree in Western Languages and Literatures (Bogazici University), an MA degree in Comparative Literature (Istanbul Bilgi University), and a second MA degree in Cultural Studies (Sabanci University). Her research interests are comparative modernisms, postcolonialism, Middle Eastern Studies, psychoanalysis, world literature and Global South. She has worked as a teaching assistant, English instructor, and translator at various institutions and universities in Turkey, Spain, Qatar, and the US.

Davey Bendiksen

Davey Bendiksen, a native of Texas, received his BA in both English and Romance Languages at Carleton College, where double majors are a rare phenomenon. Director of the Student Photography Cooperative at Carleton and a three year member of the Carleton College Competitive Ballroom and Latin Dance Team, Bendiksen curated an exhibit of Sandburg’s “Chicago” poems and early 20th century photographs of Chicago at the Carleton Library. His scholarly interests lie in the areas of 20th century American and French Literature and Photography & Film Arts.

Manuela Borzone

Manuela Borzone joined the program in 2011. Her dissertation focuses on twentieth-century Argentinian gauchesca, Western American literature and film, and pop culture. She holds an MA in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and an MA in English from Nottingham University, England.

Juan Carlos Cabrera Pons

Juan Carlos Cabrera Pons was bon in San Cristobal de las Casa Chiapas. He received a BA in Literature and Linguistics from the University of the Cloister of Sor Juana, witha focus on Translation Studios, and an MA in Cultural Studies from the Autonomous University of Chiaps, with a focus on Socio-cultural Language Studies. His research interests revolve around colonial Latin American literature and historic identity discourses. His poetry has deserved him the National Poetry Award "Merida" 2008 and grants from the State Council for the Cultures and the Arts (CONECULTA) of Chiapas and the National Fund for the Cultures and the Arts (FONCA) of Mexico.

Sara Ceroni

Sara Ceroni received her BA in English, Portuguese, and Russian and her MA in Italian Studies from the University of Bologna, Italy. She studied at Trinity College Dublin (2008-2009) and at the Trieste Joyce School (2015), and was a PhD Fellow in the 2015-2016 Mellon-Sawyer Seminar “Beyond Medieval and Modern: Rethinking Global Paradigms of Political Economy and Culture” at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Before joining the Comparative Literature program in 2013, she worked as a special education tutor in Italian high schools and served as a foreign language teaching assistant at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. Her primary research interests are the intersection between global modernism and colonialism/imperialism and the notion of “postcolonial modernism,” with an emphasis on Anglophone, Italophone, and Lusophone contexts. These interests also extend to the interrelations between visual arts and literature in modernist writing and nineteenth-century gothic fiction as embodiment of national narratives. Sara has published on the figures of flâneur and tourist in Antonio Tabucchi and Wim Wenders (University of Algarve, 2016) and has a forthcoming article in Annie Chartres Vivanti: Transnational Politics, Identity, and Culture (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2016).

Jeff Diteman

Jeff Diteman is a translator, linguist and multimedia artist. He studied at the College of Idaho (BA 2002), the Sorbonne Paris IV (2002-2003), and the University of Granada (2011). He has ten years of experience as a professional translator and writes essays on culture and politics for Nailed Magazine. He has published translations of works by the Oulipian writers Raymond Queneau and Pablo Martín Sánchez. His primary research interests are dissident and clandestine writings from Spain, Latin America, and France.

Kate Edwards

Kate Edwards graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 2018 with an AB in Russian and in Classical Languages. She joins the MA/PhD program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst with interests in the effect of societal and natural disasters upon later, non-participatory generations and in the spiritual versus the corporeal grotesque.

Maryam Fatima

Maryam Fatima joined the doctoral program in 2012 with a Masters in Media and Cultural Studies from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai, India) and a Bachelors in English Literature from St. Stephen’s College (Delhi, India). She has also worked as a curatorial assistant on several independent film festivals. Her doctoral dissertation, Generic Palimpsests: Urdu and Arabic Postcolonial Novels in the Longue Durée, which has been supported by a Mellon-Sawyer fellowship, explores how postcolonial writers draw on precolonial literary traditions like the dastan, qissa, shahr-e ashoob, and the rihla in ways that complicate Eurocentric narratives of the rise of the novel. Her scholarly interests lie at an intersection of postcolonialism, novel studies, world literature, Indian Ocean studies, and comparative history.

Rafael Freire

Rafael Freire, Brazilian, has a BA in Comparative Literature (Hamilton College) and an MA in Translation Studies (University of São Paulo). For his Master's thesis he analysed and rendered into Portuguese a section of the travelogue EIMI by E. E. Cummings. The process of translating this work also spurred a reflection on the phenomenon of translation in general; he guided such discussion on the thought of the French intellectual Henri Meschonnic. With a background in modernism, Rafael's current research interests include translation, Judaism and feminism. He has worked as a visiting professor at the University of Rio Grande do Norte (Brazil).

Maryam Ghodrati

Maryam Ghodrati received her BA in Persian Literature in Tehran, Iran and her MA in English Language and Literature from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She has worked as a research fellow for the William Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences at UMass Boston. Her research interests include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; Traumatic Brain Injury; Impact of war on women, minority groups, art, and culture; Process of trauma and recovery related to individuals, families, and cultures. She copy edited the Persian translation of the e-book Qazaqia by former Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Karim Massimov. She is currently an intern for CONSEQUENCE, an international literary magazine focusing on the culture and consequence of war.

Christine Gutman

Christine Gutman holds a BA in French and International Relations from Simmons College. Her scholarly interests include the representation of urban transformation and revolution in the nineteenth-century French novel, textuality of space and body in surrealist and postmodern literature, urban Yiddish literature, and translation studies. Her article, “Smuggled Words: Textual Migration and Subversive Assimilation in the Translations of Isaac Bashevis Singer,” appeared in the spring 2013 issue of translation.

Noor Habib

Noor Habib completed her B.A in the Humanities at the Lahore University of Management Sciences in Pakistan. She has worked as a teaching assistant and taught courses in language, literature, and history. Her research interests include postcolonial theory, modern Urdu fiction, poetry of resistance across the Muslim world and translation studies. She is hoping to work with Persian and Arabic literatures as well.

Patricia Hartland

Before earning an MFA from the University of Notre Dame's Creative Writing program this May, Patricia Hartland earned an MFA in Comparative Literature at the Iowa Translation Workshop, where she served as the Outreach & Engagement Fellow and was an editor of the Exchanges Literary Journal. Her interests traipse into the realms of postcoloniality, monstrosity, fragmentation, and utterances of the void. She also enjoys teaching creative writing courses with an emphasis on collaborative and cross-media explorations. Her translations, poetry, video-poems, interviews and reviews can be found in a variety of journals, and a co-translation of Raphaël Confiant's Stephanie St. Clair, Queen of Harlem with Hodna Bentali Gharsallah Nuernerg is imminently forthcoming with Dialogos Books. 

Elena Igartubuturu

Elena Igartubuturu comes to the University of Massachusetts from Puerto Real, Spain. She holds an MA in Gender Studies, Cadiz, Spain, and a PhD in Gender Studies from the University of Oviedo. She has also served as a Lecturer at SUNY New Paltz. Her research focuses on hybrid identities, mostly Latin American and Chinese.

Joseph Keady

Joseph Keady has been a freelance translator for the past decade and is certified by New York University and the American Translators Association. He has a BA in music from Queens College, City University of New York, and his academic interests include narrativity in transnational social movements, the intersection of language and political ideology, and the semiotics of film music. He is currently an editor-at-large of Barricade: A Journal of Antifascism and Translation.

Hyongrae Kim

Hyongrae Kim received his BA in English Interpretation and Translation (2010) and his MA in Interpretation and Translation (2013) from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. Before joining the University of Massachusetts he worked as a military and government interpreter/translator in South Korea. He is currently translating "The Origins of the Panmunjom Regime: The Korean War and Liberal Peace Projects" by Hakjae Kim and "Cries of the Wandering Swallow" by North Korean defector turned poet Imu Baek. His scholarly interests include translation and power, the sociology of translation, North Korean literary translation, and interpreters in violent conflict situations.

Xu Li

Xu Li received his MAs in English from Miami University and the University of Macau. He has worked as a journalist and educational counselor in China. His academic interests include comparative poetics, ecocriticism, continental philosophy, Chinese intellectual history and material culture, as well as Asian American literature. He is currently doing research on ecological crises, global trade and English subjectivity from 1644 to 1840.

Marco Lobascio

Marco Lobascio earned a BA in Philosophy from the University of Urbino in 2011, a BA in Linguistic and Cultural Mediation from the University of Bologna in 2014 and an MA in Conference Interpreting from Bologna in 2017. Before joining the PhD program in Comparative Literature, he was an exchange student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2016. A native speaker of Italian, he works out of English, German (he was an exchange student in Munich in 2013 and attended an intensive summer school for interpreters in Germersheim in 2015), Portuguese and French. He can also read Latin and Greek. His research interests include the intersection between corpus linguistics and translation studies, as well as the history of translation theories.

Miranda Lutyens

Miranda Luytens holds the MA in Education from Harvard University with extensive experience in teaching language and literature at the secondary school level at the Boston Latin Academy and more recently in Peru. She is fluent in Russian and English.

Siobhan Meï

Siobhan Meï graduated magna cum laude from Mount Holyoke College in 2011 with a double major in English and French literatures and earned her MA in Comparative Literature from La Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris, France in 2013. Her translations and original poetry have appeared in carte blanche, The Adirondack Review, Transference, and Asymptote. Siobhan is co-editor of the "Haiti in Translation" blog series supported by the Humanities and Social Sciences Online. Her co-authored book chapter, "Women (Re)Writing Authority: a Roundtable on Feminist Translation" is forthcoming in the 2018 Routledge Handbook on Translation, Feminism, and Gender. Siobhan currently teaches in the Commonwealth Honors College for the Writing Program here at UMass Amherst.

Maryam Zehtabi Sabeti Moqaddam

Maryam Zehtabi Sabeti Moqaddam is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature. She is particularly interested in women, gender, and sexuality studies and the intersection of religion and feminism. She is currently writing her dissertation on the representations of prostitution in Persian and Arab literature. She also aspires to introduce Iranian women writers to Western audiences through translation and criticism of their works. Her translations have appeared in Asymptote, The Guardian, M-Dash, and Silk Road Review.

Mehtap Özdemir

Mehtap Özdemir joined the MA/PhD program in Comparative Literature at University of Massachusetts in 2013. She earned her BA in Translation Studies from Bogazici University and MA in Comparative Literature from Istanbul Bilgi University. She participated in 2012 Istanbul session of the Harvard Institute of World Literature, Nida School of Translation Studies in 2015, and Mellon Sawyer Seminar Series as a Ph.D fellow in 2015-2016. Her current research focuses on the nineteenth century Ottoman and Arabic Literatures and Comparative Literature, The Thousand and One Nights and World Literature, Translation Studies, Post/Colonial Studies, and The Theory of the Novel.

Manuel Antonio Paradela Maceiras

Manuel Antonio Paradela Maceiras has a BA in German Language and Literature (University of Santiago de Compostela) and, through the Erasmus Mundus Crossways programme, three MAs in Comparative Literature (University Santiago de Compostela, University of Guelph and University of Perpignan). His main topic of research has been Central European fantastic literature, an approach which geographical scope he is interested in expanding to Western Europe, Latin America, North America and Japan, with an eye to the role of the fantastic in peripheral literatures such as those of Italy, Galicia, Argentina and Catalonia. His interests also include World Literature, post-Continental Philosophy, Latin American Studies, Iberian Studies and Comparative Modernities. He can either read or speak English, Spanish, Galician, Catalan, Portuguese, French, German, Italian and Swedish.

Alexander Ponomareff

Alexander Ponomareff received his BA in both Philosophy and History and an MA in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University. He is interested in the study of comic books and strips, critical theory, absences, gaps, ghosts, and space.

Carolyn Provine

Carolyn Provine earned her BA at Smith College and has expertise in German and gender studies.

Benny Rangell

Benny Rangell is pursuing his Master of Arts in Translation Studies. He is interested in modern Hebrew literature and its reception in English translation. His current research concerns the poetry of Lea Goldberg [1911-1970]. Benny studies Arabic and Hebrew.

Krzysztof Rowinski

Krzysztof Rowinski is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is working on a dissertation about uses of failure and rejections of success in twentieth-century American, Italian, and Polish literature, film, and performance. See

Sandra Joy Russell

Sandra Joy Russell is a PhD Candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She holds a BA in English and Philosophy and a MA in English, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lutsk, Ukraine. Her research interests include Soviet and post-Soviet Ukraine and its diaspora, translation studies, and feminist and queer theory, and her dissertation explores embodiment and gendered subjectivity in Ukrainian women's writing and filmmaking during Perestroika

Ken Scriboni

Ken Scriboni received his BA in Cultural Studies and Critical Pedagogy (BDIC) from UMass Amherst in 2011. His degree culminated in the UMass Alliance for Community Transformation (UACT) where he taught as a co-facilitator for courses on grassroots community organizing, practicing a pedagogy inspired by bell hooks and Paolo Freire. For 7 years after, Ken worked in the food and beverage industry as a wine sales-person, a restaurant manager, and a hospitality consultant. His current research interests are varied, but center around questions of identity development and narrative construction:

  1. Feminist interpretations of men and masculinity, queer masculinity, the construction of men as feminist subjects, the mythopoetic men’s movement, the Pick-Up Artist community.
  2. Esotericism and mysticism, Western interpretations of Zen Buddhism and other Eastern traditions, the esoteric influences on neo-fascist and radical left movements, Alan Watts, Julius Evola, and self-help literature
  3. Italian-American racial identity, Southern Italian identity, revisionism of the Risorgimento, migration and racial dynamics, Italian hip-hop, pizzica, “authenticity” in Italian tourism.
  4. Automation, affective labor, the “feminization of work,” leisure and play, neoliberal ethics of self-management, Italian autonomist Marxist interpretations of the Grundrisse, Ernst Jünger’s intellectual development,
  5. Italo Calvino as an ethical and political thinker.
Eyal Tamir

Eyal Tamir received his BA in English and Psychology from Tel Aviv University and MA in English and American Studies from UMass Amherst, writing a thesis about cult literature and the work of Philip K. Dick. He is currently writing a dissertation about Jewish comedy in the United States and in Israel. His academic interests include twentieth century literature, film, and popular culture. He also likes the Frankfurt School and he dreams sequels to classic childhood movies.

Una Tanović

Una Tanović (Bosnia and Herzegovina) joined us from Sarajevo where she received her BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Sarajevo. While spending a year at Smith College, majoring in American Studies, she served as a conversation partner for undergraduates studying Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian. She was awarded the campus-wide Distinguished Teaching Award for the academic year 2014-2015.

Eric Vazquez Sanchez
Fan Wang

Fan Wang is devoted to the study of Classical Chinese poetry as well as drama and fiction in late imperial China; she has an M.A. in English from the Shanghai International Studies University. Comparative Literature at UMass will allow her the opportunity to study literary traditions, both East and West, and to expose the limitations which more conventional reading practices tend to impose.

Yan Wu

Yan Wu has a BA in English Language and Literature (Anhui University), an MA in Applied Linguistics (Anhui University) and an MA with Merit in Conference Interpreting and Translation Studies (University of Leeds). She previously worked in China as a university lecturer of English and a certified Chinese/English translator and interpreter. She joins the PhD program at UMass-Amherst with the research interests in world literature and translation, the sociocultural approach to translation and interpreting, and gender studies.

Julianne Zala

Julianne Zala earned a BA in Comparative Literature from Ohio Wesleyan University in May 2018 with a concentration in Arabic Literature. She is an alum of the Arabic Summer Institute at University of Texas Austin where she studied Arabic language and culture. In her undergraduate years she focused on the Israel/Palestine conflict; at UMass she aims to study Hebrew in order to continue this research.

Nefeli Forni Zervoudaki

Nefeli Forni Zervoudaki received an Associate's Degree (University of ORT, Uruguay) and a BA in Audiovisual Communication (University of Vic, Spain) with a focus on film and gender studies and began a MA on Women, Gender and Citizenship Studies (Interuniversitary, Spain). She obtained the Francesca Bartrina Prize for best gender thesis of Catalonia for her work “The Plumber: Study on the socializing effect of pornography”. She has worked in translation and education, and has taught Culture, Gender and Environment to unaccompanied minor refugees in Barcelona. Her main interests are the representations of gender and sexuality, the effects of film on society and the interaction between literature and film.