The University of Massachusetts Amherst
HFA - College of Humanities & Fine Arts view HFA submenu

Graduate Students

Graduate Student and Graduate Alumni News

Fall 2022

Comp Lit Graduate student Noor Habib and her co-translator Zara Khadeeja Majoka’s are awarded a PEN/HEIM 2023 Translation Grant Award for their translation from the Urdu of Oblivion and Eternity Within Me by Miraji.

Following her year as Visiting Assistant Professor in Gender and Women's Studies at Hollins University, Sandra Russell with return to Amherst for a two-year Visiting Lecturer position in Gender Studies at Mount Holyoke College. Sandra will be defending her dissertation in late summer of 2022.

Spring 2022

Nefeli Zervoudaki and Kate Edwards co-chaired an ACLA seminar at its annual conference in June 2022 titled "Ruin and Reenactment: Staging Memory in Literature and Film."

Dr. Krzyśtof Rowiński’s will join the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies in the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies as Thomas Brown Assistant Professor in Polish Studies at Trinity College Dublin in Fall 2022. Krzyś received his PhD in Comparative Literature in 2020.

Dr. Nahir Otaño Gracia is awarded the Medieval Academy of America Article Prize in Critical Race Studies for her groundbreaking work on the Global North Atlantic and Icelandic sagas in “Towards a decentered Global North Atlantic: Blackness in Saga af Tristram ok Ísodd,” Literature Compass 2019; 16.

Dr. Manuela Borzone will join the Department of Modern Languages at Nebraska Wesleyan University as Assistant Professor of Spanish in Fall 2022, where she will teach Spanish language and Latin American literature. She is currently a Visiting Professor at Center College (Danville, KY). Manuela received the PhD in Comparative Literature with an interdisciplinary certificate in Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies in 2020.

Nefeli Zervoudaki worked as co-curator of the Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival in Spring 2022.

Fall/Spring 2021

Nefeli Zervoudaki and Kate Edwards co-chaired an ACLA seminar at its annual conference in June 2021 titled "Obscene Dissidence: Aging, Abjection, and Sexuality in Film and Literature."

Nefeli Zervoudaki organized a graduate and undergraduate conference titled "80 Years of Xanadu: The Legacies of Citizen Kane" in December of 2021 with Film Studies, in conjunction with Comparative Literature. She was assistant curator of the Massachusetts Multicultural Film Festival in Spring 2021.

October 2020

Maryam Zehtabi was appointed Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies at the University of Virginia.

May 2020

Hyongrae Kim will be joining the Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures at Auburn University in Alabama as Visiting Assistant Professor of Korean Language and Literature.

Noor Habib has been appointed Teaching Fellow at the Lahore University of Management Sciences in Lahore, Pakistan.

Shastri Akella has been appointed full time permanent faculty at Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts in the Department of English and Creative Writing.

April 2020

Sandra Russell Joy was awarded the Joyce A. Berkman Award for Outstanding Graduate Feminist Scholarship for her essay "Toward a Ukrainian Feminist Poetics: The Last Soviet Poetry of Iryna Zhylenko, Natalka Bilotser."

Siobhan Meï was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellow in Womens' Studies. The Fellowship is the only national program to support doctoral work on women's and gendered issues. Each 2020 Fellow receives a $5,000 award to help cover expenses incurred while completing their dissertations.

March 2020

Hyongrae Kim and Siobhan Meï publish the translation Flower Swallows Sing. A North Korean Memoir in Verse, introducing Imu Baek's poetry to a new audience. Currently a member of the North Korea Writers in Exile PEN Center, during her childhood Imu Baek was a six-time first prize winner of the national student youth writing contest and was considered a writing prodigy by the North Korean government. After her parents died of starvation, she lived as a gotjebi - which they translate in this collection as wandering swallow - before defecting to China in 2001.

November 2019

Comparative Literature alumna Lara Curtis publishes Writing Resistance and the Question of Gender: Charlotte Delbo, Noor Inayat Khan, and Germaine Tillion, the first comparative study of the works of these three courageous women who were ceaselessly committed to a noble cause during the Holocaust and World War II. With skillful recourse to a remarkable variety of genres, they offer compelling autobiographical reflections, vivid chronicles of wartime atrocities, eyewitness accounts of victims, and acute perspectives on the political implications of major events. See

October, 2019

Elena Igartuburu participates in a roundtable, “Staging Spanish Theater in Translation,” featuring José Manuel Mora, playwright and director of the Escuela Superior de Arte Dramático of Castilla y León, Spain at the Instituto Cervantes at Harvard, 2 Arrow St. 4th floor. Cambridge, MA. October 30, 5:30-7:00pm Elena translated Mora’s work for the stage, Los nadadores nocturnos.

September 2019

Sara Ceroni has accepted a position as Schools Coordinator for Italy with Cambridge Assessment International Education, a department of Cambridge University. Congratulations Sara!

September 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.

Are You a Graduate Student Alum?

We'd love to hear from you. Drop us an email and let us know where you are and what you are doing!

Comparative Literature Dissertations Collection

Comparative Literature Masters Theses Collection

Ekim Akyıldız


Ekim Akyıldız received their MA in Translation Studies at Istanbul University, and their BA in German Translation and Interpreting at Ege University. Ekim has worked as a subtitle translator, lecturer, and Turkish instructor for foreigners. Their research interests are queer thought in the translation studies field and the translation of Ottoman literature. Ekim is a certified Turkish Sign Language Interpreter, who also speaks Turkish, English, and German.

Sara Aldawood


Sarah Aldawood received her MA in the Theory and Practice of Translation from SOAS, University of London, and her BA in English Translation from King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. She has worked as lecturer at the College of Languages and Translation in King Saud University where she taught translation and language courses. Her current research interests include the sociology of translation, intersemiotic translation, translation technologies and modern Arabic literature. 

Adile Aslan


Adile Aslan is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature, and has been working as a lecturer at Georgetown University-Qatar since 2017. She 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 publications have appeared or are forthcoming in Cultura, CLCWeb (Purdue University), Cadernos de tradução and DeGruyter. Her research interests are comparative modernisms, the Ottoman literatures, the Habsburg literatures, Middle Eastern Studies, psychoanalysis, world literature and Global South. She has worked as a lecturer, visiting instructor, teaching assistant, and translator at various institutions and universities in Turkey, Spain, Qatar, and the USA. 

Jessica Beasley


Jessica Beasley received her BA from Florida State University in Italian Studies and Creative Writing (2018). In collaboration with Dr. Silvia Valisa, she is translating the “novel in verses” La sorella dell’Ave by Ludovica Ripa di Meana. Jessica’s research interests include translation studies, poetry, travel literature, identity studies, female writers of the 20th century, and the Portuguese and Italian diasporas.

Juan Carlos Cabrera Pons


Juan Carlos Cabrera Pons was born in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. He joined the program in 2017. He received a BA in Literature and Linguistics from the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana (Mexico City), with a focus on Translation Studies, and an MA in Cultural Studies from the Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas, with a focus on Socio-cultural Language Studies. His research interests revolve around colonial Latin American literature and discursive identity constructions in post-colonial contexts. As a poet, he has been awarded the National Poetry Award "Merida" 2008, and grants from the State Council for the Cultures and the Arts of Chiapas (CONECULTA) and the National Fund for the Cultures and the Arts (FONCA) of Mexico.

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.

Gennifer Dorgan


Gennifer Dorgan received her BA in German Area Studies from Kenyon College and her MA in Medieval Studies from the University of Connecticut. She specializes in high medieval German, English, and Latin literatures with a particular focus on gender, rhetoric, and intertextuality in texts emerging from communities of pious women. Her additional areas of interest include the global history of the book and the ways that medieval texts shape contemporary discussions about identity. Her work has appeared in Early Middle English, American Notes and Queries, and the Harvard Library Bulletin. She has taught German and Latin at Assumption University and is a student of Koine Greek and Ge'ez. Currently, she is studying Hildegard of Bingen's Liber Vitae Meritorium and working on an English translation of the St. Trudperter Hohelied.


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’s dissertation, Partitions and Palimpsests: Transgressions of Form and Territory in Postcolonial Urdu and Arabic Writing, advances a transnational framework for the study of “partition literature” in Urdu through a comparative study of Urdu and Arabic literature in the wake of the South Asian partitions in 1947 and 1971 and of Palestine/Israel in 1948. Her project has been supported by a Mellon-Sawyer dissertation fellowship, two diversity grants from the university, and the Interdisciplinary Studies Institute. Her other areas of research include the connected histories of Urdu and Arabic literary modernities and Afro-Asian literatures of decolonization. Her work is forthcoming in Comparative Literature Studies and Critical Global Studies. She is also editing a special issue on Late Persianate literatures with Mehtap Ozdemir and Alexander Jabbari.


Nefeli Forni Zervoudaki


Nefeli Forni Zervoudaki is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a Graduate Certificate in Film Studies. She 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. She began an MA in Women, Gender, and Citizenship Studies (Interuniversitary, Spain). Her main interests are migration studies and representations of gender and sexuality, the effects of film on society, and the interaction between literature and film.


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).

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. 

Hsin-Pei Hsu

MA, Translation

Hsin-Pei Hsu received her BA in Chinese and English from the University of Chengchi University in Taiwan. Her current research interests include translation studies, modern Chinese prose, and 19th-century English novels. She hopes to build a Chinese-English literary translation theory that can help translators systematically determine word connotations and offer guidelines on the practice of literary translation. 

Mohammed Husayyan


Mohammad Husayyan is a literary translator and lecturer at the University of Hafr Albatin. He received a BA in English Language and Literature from the Northern Borders University and an MA in Literary Translation Studies from the University of Rochester. His current research interests include literary translation, modernist and contemporary Arabic literature, poetry and comparative poetics, postcolonialism, world literature, and Middle Eastern studies.

Elena Igartubuturu


Elena Igartuburu is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the Universidad de Oviedo in Spain. She's currently working on her second dissertation at UMass and she is an active translator and interpreter working in Spanish, Catalan and English. On the academic side, her research focuses on Afro Caribbean dance and performance and uses critical race and gender theory as her main frameworks.

Luke Jackmauh


Luke Jackmauh is trained as a Slav[ic]ist, but hopes to draw from diverse languages and adjacent disciplines, especially linguistics and philosophy of language, in his scholarship. He enjoys reflecting on contemporary literature's engagement with language ideologies, on the role of grammar in aesthetic expression, as well as exploring the bounds and contours of language's ability to represent mental and spiritual states. He has good command of Russian, French, and German, and is currently refining his Polish, Turkish, and Persian. Luke earned his BA in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Harvard College in 2019, after which he received a year-long travel fellowship for creative pursuits in Hungary. 

Michael Kowalchuk


Michael Kowalchuk is currently pursuing a PhD in Comparative Literature after studying architecture and working as an architectural designer for six years. He is especially interested in the political culture of the Left and its aesthetic and literary ramifications. Michael's primary research topic centers on the ideological cross-pollination that occurred between French and Latin American Marxists during the 1960s and 1970s — particularly those who studied under Louis Althusser. Michael primarily employs feminist, queer, and Marxist methodologies in his work. Leveraging his academic/professional background in architecture, he understands the interrelationship between visual culture, aesthetics, space, and political power. He is a native English speaker and fluent in French, with a conversational knowledge of Spanish and Italian.

Chamini Kulathunga


Chamini Kulathunga is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature. She completed her BA in English (Hons) at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, and her MFA at the University of Iowa. She was a summer visiting fellow at Cornell University’s South Asia Program in 2019. Before starting her doctoral studies at UMass-Amherst, she worked as an editor at Exchanges: Journal of Literary Translation, The Song Bridge Project, and as Asymptote’s editor-at-large for Sri Lanka. She has also worked as a visiting lecturer at several Sri Lankan universities. Chamini’s primary research interests extend across ecocriticism, climate change, Buddhism and ecology, and environmental literature in South Asia along with a continuing interest in world literature and literary translation.

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.

Robert Louis


Rob Louis earned his BA degree at Vassar College. His doctoral research primarily aims to explore adaptation of early English and related literary work into modern languages and media. He also intends to expand on his earlier work as a translator of Russian by working with translation theory, with a particular eye towards adaptation of Soviet literature.

Toni McElrath


Toni McElrath received a BA from University of Minnesota in English Language, Culture, Context and a BFA in Applied Dance with focus on choreographic experimentation, while studying oboe performance and visual art. He received his MA in Literature and Publishing from Depaul University and was awarded the Graduate Distinction Award and June Vermillion English Graduate Award. He has worked in education and has worked on visual arts and movement therapy with children as a part of various learning exchanges. His main interest is in affect theory/emotions as they relate to representation, interpellation, and identification within the performance and portrayals of visual and movement arts in literature.

Siobhan Meï


Siobhan Meï is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature. Siobhan received her MA from l'Université Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III) and her BA from Mount Holyoke College. Her research focuses on the intersections of fashion, translation, and fiction in the Black Atlantic. Siobhan's publications have appeared or are forthcoming in The Routledge Handbook on Translation, Feminism, and Gender, Mutatis Mutandis, Transference, Callaloo, Small Axe, and Caribbean Quarterly among other places. Siobhan's translation with Hyongrae Kim of Flower Swallows Sing: A North Korean Memoir in Verse by Imu Baek is currently in press with Hollym International Corporation. Siobhan is co-editor of the H-Net online series, "Haiti in Translation" and is a lecturer in the College of Information and Computer Sciences at UMass Amherst. 

Vika Mujumdar


Vika Mujumdar received her BA in English and History from the University of Illinois Springfield. Her interests include Asian diaspora literature, cross-genre and hybrid work, and transit in immigrant literature. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Liminal Transit Review.

Meenakshi Nair


Meenakshi Nair received her BA in English Literature from the Lady Shri Ram College for Women (LSR), University of Delhi along with a Diploma in Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding. She earned her MA in Comparative Literature from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She is interested in southern urbanisms, the digital humanities, and English literature pedagogy in postcolonial India. She is a trained Bharatanatyam dancer and some of her poetry has been published in VAYAVYA, nether Quarterly and elsewhere. 

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.

Sandra Joy Russell


Sandra Joy Russell is a PhD Candidate in Comparative Literature. She holds a MA in English, and from 2012-2014, she 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. Her dissertation focuses on literary and filmic contributions of Ukrainian women during perestroika, exploring in particular how gendered representations of embodiment produced new language for feminist thought. She is the Associate Editor of Apofenie Magazine, a translator for TAULT, and the Editor of Ukraine’s Primary Database—a forthcoming online catalogue of English Translations of Ukrainian Literature and Film through the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute.

Eric Vazquez Sanchez


Eric Vázquez Sánchez is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature. He received his BA in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Concentration in Translation and MA in Translation from the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras. His current research focuses on oil fiction and film. 


Uladzislau Voinich


Uladzislau Voinich received his BA from Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA) in English and French. His research interests include theory, psychoanalysis, anticolonial literature and the Palestinian struggle. Uladzislau speaks English, French, Italian, Belarusian, Russian, Ukrainian and Turkish. He has worked as a research assistant for Professor Zahi Zalloua (Whitman College) on Universal Politics (authors Zahi Zalloua and Ilan Kapoor, Oxford University Press, 2021) and Solidarity and the Palestinian Cause. Indigeneity, Blackness, and the Promise of Universality (forthcoming with Bloomsbury, 2023). 

Samantha Whittle

Samantha Whittle began her Master's in Comparative Literature at UMass in Fall 2021. She received her B.A. in Comparative Literature from Clark University in June of 2021, with minors in History and Holocaust & Genocide Studies. In her final year of studies, she completed an honors thesis on the topic of so-called “Holocaust comedies,” and was awarded highest honors for her work. While at Clark University, Samantha was a member of Variant Dance Troupe for all four years, becoming Treasurer in her senior year, and choreographing every year. She also participated as a Peer Editor on the Scholarly Undergraduate Research Journal. Her research interests lie primarily in applying trauma theory to postcolonial and post-genocidal literature, exploring the way that literary form and style reflect the authors’ traumatic landscapes, specifically in Francophone and eastern central European nations.


Yan Wu


Yan Wu received her BA in English and MA in Applied Linguistics from Anhui University and an MA in Conference Interpreting and Translation Studies from the University of Leeds. She is currently a graduate teaching assistant in Comparative Literature with research interests in the sociology/philosophy of translation, transnational literature and paratextual studies.

Xiaobo Zhang

MA, Translation

Xiaobo Zhang received her Master’s degree in Translation and Interpreting from Beijing Foreign Studies University. She is a certified translator/interpreter in China. She has published two books in translation with one on children’s literature and one on art history. Her current research interests include the sociology of translation and Chinese literature in translation.