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Doctoral Candidates

english department

There are currently over 30 doctoral candidates in English at Boston College. Along with students in our M.A. program, doctoral students are the sponsors of a year-long colloquium in literary and cultural studies, they place representatives at our Graduate Student Association, and they teach regularly in the English department.

Doctoral Candidates at BC have provided their own listings below.



photo of Emma Atwood

Emma Katherine Atwood

Emma graduated summa cum laude from Kalamazoo College, where she majored in English and Classical Studies and minored in Theatre History. She has studied history, literature, and acting at The Athens Center and College Year in Athens in Greece and at Charles University in Prague.

Emma specializes in Renaissance and Restoration drama. She completed her minor oral exam, "Restoration and Early Eighteenth-Century Drama, 1660-1737" in May 2010. She completed her major oral exam, "Renaissance Drama, 1550-1660" in February 2012.

Emma has published a book review in Early Theater 14.1 and has an article on Marlowe's Edward II forthcoming in The Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 43.1.

Emma has presented papers on early drama at NeMLA, the Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies, and ATHE/AATE, among others.

Emma has served as a Writing Fellow, a TA for British Literature I, and has taught First-Year Writing, Literature Core, Studies in Poetry, and Shakespeare's Later Plays at BC. She tutors writing at Framingham State University and has taught Intro to College Writing and Expository Writing at FSU. You can contact Emma at perryem@bc.edu and visit her website.


 

photo of Alyssa Bellows

Alyssa Bellows

Alyssa graduated from Messiah College in 2010 with a BA in English Literature and Writing. She spent the following two years in China where she taught writing and communications to first-year university students before returning to the states to pursue graduate studies.

Pursuing her major interest in British Victorian Literature, Alyssa hopes to complete a minor field exam in Romanticism. She will also TA Brit Lit I this fall.


 

photo of Richard Burley

Richard Burley

Richard studies medieval literature, focusing primarily on Old English texts and culture. He is interested in questions of rhetoric and speech, and what oral and residually-oral texts can tell us about the cultures that produced them. He is also infatuated with remix culture and the ways it can be used to make old texts culturally and pedagogically relevant in the internet age.

Richard is the co-founder of the Societas Daemonetica, which organizes yearly sessions at the International Congress on Medieval Studies on the topic of various "things demonic."

Prior to joining the PhD program at Boston College, Richard earned a BA in English and history at the University of Toronto (Canada), and an MA in Medieval Studies at the University of York (UK).


 

photo of Benjamin Clarke

Benjamin Clarke

Benjamin specializes in twentieth and twenty-first century poetry, with a particular focus on British and American modernist poetry. He also has interests in the history of poetic form and in critical theory, especially Frankfurt School Marxism.

Benjamin’s research investigates the relationship between formal technique and social suffering—the ways in which the problems of a society appear as immanent problems of artistic form. He received a bachelor’s degree from Utah State University and a master’s degree from Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.


 

photo of Rowena Clarke

Rowena Clarke

Rowena focuses on American and British fiction and film from the mid-twentieth century to the present day. She is particularly interested in the representation of urban and suburban environments and communities; genre; and popular fiction. Rowena is working on a major field exam that reads genre fiction and film as a cultural history of the postwar period, and, in 2013, completed a minor field which examined ways that contemporary fiction responds to issues of place and placelessness in a globalized and post-industrial world. In recent years Rowena has presented at the American Comparative Literature Association’s annual conference on highways and non-places in fiction and film, and at the Northeast MLA conference on urban redevelopment in science fiction.

In the coming year, Rowena will be teaching composition and rhetoric in the First Year Writing Seminar, and a course on the literature of suburbia.

Rowena is from the UK, and before coming to BC she studied for an M.A. at the University of Essex, and a B.A. at the University of Oxford.


 

photo of Alison Cotti-Lowell

Alison Cotti-Lowell

Alison holds an M.A. in English from New York University and a B.A. with Honors in English from Brown University. At Boston College, she specializes in British Romanticism, and has completed a Minor Field exam, "Orientalism and the Place of Ireland," and a Major Field Exam, "Romantic National Literatures of the British Isles and India." She is currently at work on a dissertation that deals with articulations of Citizenship in a Global Romanticism. To date, Alison has been a TA for British Literature I and she has also taught First Year Writing, a Literary Forms section of the Literature Core, an elective entitled "Gothic Women Writers," and Studies in Poetry. Alison is also the director of the Pedagogy Seminar (2012-2013 academic year) and the Managing Editor at Boston College's interdisciplinary Journal of Religion and the Arts.


 

Irene Ruiz Dacal

Irene Ruiz Dacal

Irene is a student of nineteenth- and twentieth-century British literature, with an emphasis on theories of empire, aesthetics, and visual culture. She is currently working towards an exam that brings together provincial nineteenth-century English novels and postcolonial criticism to explore how a critical methodology might further incorporate matters of literary form to an analysis of empire. Her current research interests include alternative religious histories, ritual and visuality, and colonial miscegenation.

Irene completed part of her undergraduate studies at the University of Southampton and the Universidad de Salamanca, but she received her B.A. in English Writing from Lake Forest College, where she also worked for a year as Writing Programs Fellow. Before all that, she spent seventeen years in her native Caracas reading books by Enid Blyton.


 

photo of Amelie Daigle

Amelie Daigle

 

 

 

 


 

photo of Katie Daily-Bruckner

Katie Daily-Bruckner

Katie is interested in twentieth and twenty-first century urban American literature and culture. She holds an M.A. in English from Boston College and a B.A. from Columbia University, where she majored in English and Comparative Literature. Katie spent time in motion picture production before her returning to academics in 2008. Her minor field exam was titled “The Twenty-First Century American Novel” and her major field was, “Class, Domesticity, and the American City: 1865-2000.” She is now formulating a dissertation prospectus on Emigrant narratives in Contemporary American Literature.

Katie has taught FWS, LitCore, Studies in Narrative, and is currently teaching American Literary History III. In addition, Katie has presented at the New England American Studies Association conference, the Northeast Modern Language Association conference, the NYU Colloquium on American Literature and Culture, and is currently in the final stages of publishing a chapter in Inhabiting La Patria: Identity, Agency, and Antojo in the Work of Julia Alvarez. This year, Katie will be co-directing the Biennial English Conference with Emma Perry and she is also the graduate assistant on the Lowell Humanities Series.

No bio of Katie would be complete without mention of her role as proud wife as well as her best project to date, Jack the spunky toddler.


 

photo of Trista Doyle

Trista Doyle

Trista studies twentieth-century Irish literature with particular interest in modernism and representations of memory and trauma. She has completed a minor field exam on “Trauma and the Family in Contemporary Irish and American Fiction, 1965-2010,” and her major field exam, “Memory, History, and Identity: Twentieth-Century Narratives of Britain and Ireland,” will take place this winter. Trista has taught the First-Year Writing Seminar and Literature Core and is currently teaching Studies in Narrative. She will design an elective course on contemporary Irish literature and culture in the coming year. Trista also co-directs the Pedagogy Seminar and works as the Curriculum Integration Graduate Assistant at the Office of International Programs. She holds a B.A. with Honors in English from the University of Michigan, where she completed a senior honors thesis on preservation and mortality in Shakespeare’s Sonnets.


 

photo of Rachel Ernst

Rachel Ernst

 

 

 


 

photo of Kiara Kharpertian

Kiara Kharpertian

Kiara studies American literature with an emphasis on contemporary American fiction and literature of and about the American West. Broadly, she is interested in the environmental, cultural, and geopolitical intricacies of place and how these issues register as literary habits and tensions. In December 2010, she completed a doctoral exam entitled “Roaming and Reimagining the American West, 1970-2010” that interrogated how migration and mobility can act as vehicles for an amplified environmental consciousness, which in turn shapes a Western ecopoetics. Currently, she is at work on her second doctoral exam, “Writing the West: Cultural Politics, Labor, and the Land, 1850-1970,” which reads literature that grapples with the politics surrounding land management, ownership, and cultivation as a series of texts that respond to and disrupt racialized class and labor patterns.

Before coming to BC, Kiara earned a BA from Mount Holyoke College and an MA from New York University. She has taught composition courses that focus on ethics and justice at both community college and BC. In the upcoming school years, she will teach literature courses at BC on environmental literature, the American novel, and the wild West in American fiction. She’s also really into her cats, horses, cooking, and generally anything that involves going outdoors.


photo of Andrew Kuhn

Andrew Kuhn

Andrew A. Kuhn is a Ph.D. student in the English Department at Boston College, studying twentieth-century Irish literature and print culture. His current research is on the private press tradition in Ireland and the role of the material book in literary interpretation. Andrew received a MA in English Literature from the University of Kansas and a BA from Creighton University.


 

photo of Deanna Malvesti

Deanna Malvesti

Deanna earned her BA in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and her MA in English from San Francisco State University. She also worked in athletic administration at the University of California, Berkeley, and taught high school English in the San Francisco Bay Area before beginning her Ph.D. at Boston College in 2010. Her research interests include travel, race, and gender in early modern literature, allegory, the representation of history in works of fiction, and the colonial relationship (and its repercussions) between England and Ireland from the sixteenth century to the present.



photo of Linda Martin

Linda Martin

 

 

 


photo of Dathalinn O'Dea

Dathalinn O'Dea

Dathalinn earned a BA from Hamilton College (2003) and taught high school English and Chemistry before beginning graduate school. Her interests include modernist periodical studies and print culture, nineteenth- and twentieth-century Irish literature, and regionalism. She is currently writing a dissertation that examines regional literary movements in Ireland and the United States at the turn of the twentieth century, specifically through the lens of little magazines and literary journals.


 

photo of Eric Pencek

Eric Pencek

Eric specializes in British Romanticism, with a primary research focus in working class culture, radical politics, and the construction of regional identities in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He takes a particular interest in writing on some of the more obscure or semi-forgotten figures of the period (with Robert Wedderburn and Gustavus Katterfelto being personal favorites). Eric currently serves as PhD assistant director for the Graduate Student Colloquium, and is working on a minor field exam on the construction of bourgeois cultural values in eighteenth century Britain.

Eric holds a BA (summa cum laude) in English and philosophy from the University of Scranton and an MA in English from Boston College.


 

Scott Reznick

Scott Reznick

Scott is a native of Connecticut and studies nineteenth-century American literature.  His interests include American Romanticism, literary realism and naturalism, political writing and oratory, political philosophy, and theories of justice.  He recently completed a minor field exam entitled “Slavery and American Literature,” which examined the ways in which “man’s foulest crime” was represented, examined, and debated across a variety of forms, including slave narratives, abolitionist writing, fiction, poetry, and political speeches.  

Scott received his M.A. in English from Trinity College in Hartford, CT where he wrote his master’s thesis on William Dean Howells. He took a particularly circuitous route to literary studies, earning his undergraduate degree in mathematics and working as a health actuary before leaving the business world to pursue the study of literature.


 

photo of Kelly Sullivan

Kelly Sullivan

 

 

 

 


photo of Alison VanVort

Alison VanVort

Alison’s interests are in eco criticism, American studies,trans-nationalism, and regional studies. She received an M.A. from Boston College and a B.A. from Colby College where she majored in English and minored in Environmental Studies. She has completed a minor field exam on material culture and nature in 1850s American literature and is currently working on a major exam in eco-criticism. Her main focus is on representations of nature in literary discourse that attempt to resist exploitation and com modification of land, animals, and people. Alison is a member of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) and has recently taught a course on Literature and Ecology.


 

photo of Ben Walker

Ben Walker

Ben is a Ph.D. candidate with interests in Anglo-American modernism and post-colonial literature and is currently completing an exam in the Literature of the Pacific. Previously, he has taught literature-focused freshman writing sections of "Argument and Exposition," as well as serving as a writing tutor and one interesting time as an exam reader for the AP Literature exam. In the spring of 2010 he will be a teaching assistant for "Introduction to British Literature and Culture (II)." He has published a student essay in Charles Bressler's Literary Criticism: An Introduction to Theory and Practice and has presented on J.R.R. Tolkien at the PCA/ACA National Conference in Boston (April 2007). Ben holds a BA in English and Writing from Houghton College (2007) and an MA in English from the University of Tulsa (2009).


 

photo of Lauren Wilwerding

Lauren Wilwerding

Lauren graduated cum laude from Bowdoin College, where she majored in English and minored in Economics. She has studied South African literature at the University of Cape Town.

Lauren's field of interest is British Victorian literature.


 

photo of Yin Yuan

Yin Yuan

Yin is a student of nineteenth-century British literature, with particular focus in the intersecting areas of religion, aesthetics, and politics. She is currently working on a minor exam that examines the cultural negotiations between religious morality and nascent capitalism in the 18th century public sphere. Her other research interests include deconstruction, postmodern theology, and all things John Milton.

Yin is the current PhD director of BC’s English Department Graduate Student Colloquium. She is also a TA for an undergraduate Shakespeare course, and will be teaching FWS and Literature Core in the upcoming academic year. Yin holds double B.As in English and Business Administration from University of California, Berkeley.