English Graduate Studies Class of 2020
Friday, May 8, 2020
Friday, May 8, 2020
Please join us in congratulating the graduate PhD and MA class of 2020!
Annaliese Hoehling’s research engages global modernisms, feminist aesthetics, postcolonial and queer studies to examine textual facilitation of encounter. Her dissertation describes a feminist potentiality in experimental novels by women and documents the reculturation of baroque aesthetics at the turn of the 20th century, which coincided with a colonial-patriarchal panic about survival and social control following the Great War. She is the recipient of several essay prizes, including the Postcolonial Studies Association Post-Graduate Essay Prize, a fellowship from the English Department, and a research grant from the Graduate School. She has articles published or forthcoming in the Journal of Postcolonial Writing and The Journal of Modern Literature.
Dissertation Title: Writing Against History: Feminist Baroque Narratives in Interwar Atlantic Modernism
Dissertation Committee: Laura Doyle (Chair), Stephen Clingman, Ruth Jennison, Karen Kurczynski
Chair's remarks: In her powerfully conceived and beautifully written dissertation, Writing Against History, Annaliese Hoehling reconfigures classical, postcolonial, and minority theories of the baroque to conceptualize a “feminist baroque” mode in the fiction of Viriginia Woolf, Elizabeth Bowen, Djuana Barnes, and Jean Rhys. Drawing on thinkers that link baroque aesthetic movements to periods of historical crisis and transformation, she recasts these women writers’ experimental fiction as efforts to grapple with the imperial, racial, and gendered violence of World War I and its aftermath. She further argues that in order to address the systemic depth of these problems, the writers disorient readers at a formal level and in turn prompt readerly questions from which transformation might arise.
Gayathri Madhurangi Hewagama obtained a BA in English with a First Class in 2008 from University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Thereafter, she went onto complete a M.Phil in English at the same university in 2014, where her Masters research on women’s writing and gender studies culminated in a dissertation titled, “A Spivakian Reading of Subalternizing F[f]ictional Women by Sri Lankan and/or Diasporic Women Writers in English.” She is currently engaged in an independent study on the influence of the Buddhist philosophy on American Transcendentalism, with the hope that she could soon develop her work into a full-fledged Post-Doctoral research.
Dissertation Title: Angels who stepped outside their Houses: “American True Womanhood” and Nineteenth Century (Trans)Nationalisms
Dissertation Committee: Nicholas Bromell (Chair), Adam Dahl, Randall Knoper, Hoang Phan
Chair's remarks: Gayathri (“Gaya”) Hewagama arrived in Amherst expert in feminist, postcolonial theory, and left it as a scholar trained also in 19th-century U.S literary and historical studies. Her personal achievement has been to synthesize her research in these quite different fields and thereby contribute to all of them. Deftly constructing her argument from astute readings of primary sources, including missionary memoirs and biographies, Gaya shows persuasively that in both England and the U.S. the “real lady” was always implicitly a “white lady,” constructed over and against the darker skinned women in Britain’s colonies and the United States. Her dissertation is thus a powerful intervention in her field, one that demonstrates how a binary, transatlantic understanding of the world can be broadened and enriched by transnational and postcolonial interests.
Rebecca Petitti started UMass in 2015, after completing her Master’s at Northeastern University. Her dissertation presented a qualitative study of first-year composition curriculum design at five public research universities and argued for targeted engagement with three key stakeholders to develop inclusive, multimodal curricula. After graduation, Rebecca will join the Center for Teaching and Learning at Columbia University as an Assistant Director of Faculty Programs and Services. As an educational developer, she is committed to helping teachers make their classes more active, accessible, and inclusive. Outside of her work in higher education, Rebecca loves to travel, drink coffee, and rock climb.
Dissertation Title: From Page to Program: A Study of Stakeholders in Multimodal First-Year Composition Curriculum and Program Design
Dissertation Committee: Rebecca Dingo (Chair), David Fleming, and Claire Hamilton
Chair's remarks: Rebecca is one of the most focused and driven graduate students I have ever worked with. During her time at UMass, Rebecca expanded her scholarly interests in WPA work and pedagogy into direct administrative practices by working with faculty development and university assessment. Her dissertation uses both qualitative data and rhetorical analysis to identify the sorts of local/university conditions that make it possible for programs to engage in various sorts of multimodal curricular design changes. Rebecca is the rare graduate student who is truly bridging the theory/practice divide.
Shannon Brisbois is graduating with a Masters of English. She will continue her education, and indulge a minor obsession, in Boston University’s Genealogical Research program this summer. Shannon has been a teacher of English, U.S. history, and government at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School, in Northampton, since graduating from Smith College’s Ada Comstock Program in 2010. When she isn’t teaching, Shannon volunteers as curator of a small historical museum in her hometown of Chesterfield, MA. In her off time, she enjoys good wine, spending time with friends and family, and going on adventures with her rescue dog, Luna.
Mikala Jones earned an MA in English with a specialization in Composition and Rhetoric while teaching first-year composition courses in the Writing Program. After graduating, she moved home to Georgia with her cat, Hadley, and accepted an English Instructor position at her undergraduate alma mater, Young Harris College. She will continue teaching first-year composition courses and actively working with incarcerated writers.
Rosalee Scannell received her BA in English with a minor in Art History from UMass Amherst. She is completing her MA in English this spring, which she has been pursuing part-time while also working full-time in the Undergraduate Admissions Office at UMass Amherst. In her position as the Associate Director of MassTransfer Admissions, she oversees the development and implementation of the University’s articulation agreements and works with students transferring into the institution. She lives locally with her husband, dog, and two cats.