Welcome to the First Year PhD Candidates


As the first week of the semester draws to a close, the EGSA would like to take a moment to welcome the newest members of the doctoral program to our community.

Max Baumkel came to Nashville by way of Michigan, and while he’s sad to leave the Great Lakes, he’s thrilled to be living in a place that isn’t below freezing for half the year.  Max’s academic interests currently center around feminist, queer, and transgender studies, disability studies, affect, aesthetics, and contemporary poetry.  He can’t wait to be an active part of Vanderbilt’s English department!

Sari Carter’s emphasis is in 19th-century British literature, merging into modernism, with a particular interest in questions of aesthetics, ethics, and ontology. She wrote her MA thesis on Alain Badiou’s theories of being and John Ruskin’s Fors Clavigera, and is looking forward to continuing investigating other intersections in these areas branching out across different genres and authors. Another of her interests includes writing creative nonfiction essays. Much of her inspiration has been drawn from authors such as Annie Dillard, W. G. Sebald, and Barry Lopez. She also enjoys playing the piano, listening to music, watching sunsets, walking, hiking, and skiing.

Rachel Gould received her B.A. from Harding University (2008) and her M.A. from the University of Arkansas (2012). She works in 18th Century British Literature, Feminist Theory, and Postcolonial Theory, with a focus on performance, identity formation, and agency in 18th century literature and culture.

Kylie Korsnack is a first year PhD student concentrating in Postcolonial theory and contemporary American literature. Her research interests include global and transnational studies, utopian studies, theory of the novel and more specifically the development of genres such as the bildungsroman, cyberpunk, and postcolonial science-fiction in the post-modern era.

Claudia Ludwig is a first year PhD student in the English department. Her research interests include the intersections of gender, education, and religion in Early Modern literature, with a special focus on Shakespeare’s works. She graduated with a BA in English and Classical Civilizations from the University of Toronto in 2012 and an MA in Shakespeare Studies from King’s College London in 2014.

Lauren Mitchell comes from a clinical background, and works on narrative medicine, film and media studies, and 20th-21st century literature.

Jesse Montgomery received his B.A. from Oberlin College (2010). He works in the Long American 19th Century, Film and Media Studies, and Cultural Studies, with a focus on 19th century American literature.

Alex Oxner completed her MA in post-1900 literature at Florida State in 2014. At Vanderbilt, she hopes to continue working with twentieth-century literature, specifically modernism, elegy and mourning, archival studies, digital humanities, and a bit of post-colonialism.

Mariann J. VanDevere comes to Nashville from New Jersey.  She has a background in Communications and Creative Writing.  Her time as an English Teaching Assistant at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, inspired her to explore the possible connections and differences in Black American literature and Black South African literature especially such themes as mental illness, trans-nationalism, and religion.  Generally speaking she is interested in contemporary literature of the African Diaspora.  On a lighter note, she thoroughly enjoy watching animated kids films and since leaving her 5-year-old cousin behind, she am in search of another little kid she can use as an excuse to go to the theaters and see the latest G-rated movie.

Congratulations to the Outgoing 5th Years


Everyone in the EGSA would like to extend the warmest Congratulations to our newest Doctors.

Emily August on June 30, 2014 successfully defended her dissertation, “Cadaver Poetics: Surgical Medicine and the Reinvention of the Body in the Nineteenth Century.” The dissertation was directed by Jay Clayton and Colin Dayan. Emily will be joining the department in the fall as a lecturer.

Hubert Cook was awarded a Predoctoral Fellowship for Excellence through Diversity and will finish his dissertation next year at the University of Pennsylvania.

Adam Miller on May 21, 2014 successfully defended “Enframing & Enlightenment: A Phenomenological History of Literature, Science, and Technology in Eighteenth-Century Britain.”  The dissertation was by directed by Jonathan Lamb. Adam will be joining the department in the fall as a lecturer.

Megan Minarich on March 17, 2014 successfully defended “Hollywood’s Reproduction Code: Regulating Contraception and Abortion in American Cinema, 1915-1952.” The dissertation was directed by Paul Young. Megan joins the department in the fall as a lecturer.

Aubrey Porterfield on June 17, 2014 successfully defended “Modernism’s Choreographies of Stillness: How American, British, and Japanese Authors Politicized the Inert Body, 1897-1937.” The dissertation was directed by Vera Kutzinski and Mark Wollaeger. Next year Aubrey  has a Visiting Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities at Queen’s University in Belfast.

August and Barnett Poetry Reading


Last Friday (March 28th), Emily August and former EGSA member Elizabeth Barnett held a poetry meeting at Vanderbilt’s Barnes and Noble. Their wonderfully emotive poems made us chuckle, made us sigh, but, most of all, made us remember how many exceptionally creative people were among our ranks. We hope to attend other readings soon!


Third Years Pass Comps!


Congratulations to all our colleagues in the third year–Petal Samuel, Lucy Mensah, Chance Woods, Annie Castro, Faith Barter, and RJ Boutelle–who’ve passed their comprehensive exams! Go you! We knew you could do it!