PhD Students

Nell Wasserstrom


Nell Wasserstrom's research interests include European modernism, continental philosophy, and theories of temporality and of reading. She has recently published two articles: “Disfiguration and Desire: The Erotic Historiography of Hope Mirrlees’s Paris: A Poem” in Modern Philology and “After All: Traces of the Literary in Freud’s Moses and Monotheism (A Historical Novel)” in differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies. Her translation (with Matthew Scully & Carolyn Shread) of Jacques Rancière’s talk Y a-t-il un art communiste?, which was given at the Grand Palais in Paris in conjunction with the exposition Rouge: Art et utopie au pays des Soviets (2019), is forthcoming in Critical Inquiry. She is also working on an edited cluster, “Hope Mirrlees’s Paris: A Poem at 100,” for Modernism/modernity’s Print Plus platform.

Nell is currently completing her dissertation, Belated Modernism: The Late Style of Freud, Benjamin, and Woolf, which focuses on the final works of Sigmund Freud (Moses and Monotheism [1939]), Walter Benjamin (“On the Concept of History” [1940]), and Virginia Woolf (Between the Acts [1941]). Belated Modernism argues that the singular combination of late style and late modernism reveals, in light of individual and world-historical ends, an intensification of the problem of belatedness that has haunted modernism since its origins. During the academic year 2018-2019, she held the position of pensionnaire étrangère at the École normale supérieure in Paris, where she also participated in Northwestern University's Paris Program in Critical Theory. She is a recent recipient of a DAAD award to study German at the University of Freiburg.

Nell's teaching experience includes First-Year Writing Seminar (“How Language Shapes the World”) and Introduction to Literary Studies courses on the themes of “untimeliness” and “pleasure.” In the Fall 2017 semester, she taught an advanced English elective course titled “Apocalyptic Modernism.” Additionally, she has worked as a Teaching Assistant for Harvard University’s Extension School and Summer School, where she taught courses on literary theory and literature and social change.

Nell received her M.A. in English from Boston College and B.F.A. in Theatre Studies, with Departmental Honors, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.