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Predoctoral Fellows 2016-17

Fernando Fonseca P.

My dissertation project focuses on manifestations of the Latin American historical avant-gardes and revisits archival resources to re-evaluate the impact they had on a longer timeline. I aim to display how the Latin American historical avant-gardes were re-materialized and re-purposed beyond their initial creation. To accomplish my aims, I have delimited a corpus of sources from four countries and two languages. In constructing this corpus, my project examines how avant-garde activity has been stored, archived, remembered, and transmitted and how they later were restaged and reinterpreted. I shape my corpus as a repertoire rather than an archive. Thus, the components of the corpus are not solely preserved aesthetic objects used for analysis; they become works, devices, and techniques that require social actors to be conserved and enacted. 

Cory Geraths

cpg128@psu.edu

My dissertation is a feminist rhetorical historiography of Mary Magdalene's diffuse and divergent histories of reception in antiquity, the Renaissance, and the present day. My project responds to interdisciplinary treatments of rhetoric, vision, media, gender, and sexuality. I question the relationships between canonical and heretical representations of Mary by exploring the rhetorical interplay of Mary's canonical and "heretical" depictions on papyrus and in paint. Embracing feminist calls for critical imagination, I read between the lines of the recently-discovered Gospel of Mary, and I embrace Mary's myriad representations in Renaissance, Baroque, and Contemporary painting. Mary's expansive histories of reception in both text and art inform, illuminate, and invite. 

Michelle N. Huang

  • Departments of English and Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies

“Molecular Aesthetics: Race, Form, and Matter in Contemporary Asian American Literature” examines posthumanist aesthetics in post-1965 Asian American literature to trace racial formation at the molecular scale. Works by authors such as Ruth Ozeki, Larissa Lai, and John Yau are read through scientific discourses such as quantum physics, evolutionary biology, and disability to demonstrate how Asian American writers use both scientific and formal experimentation to contest the boundaries of the human undergirding generic expectations of ethnic literature. This project revises the emphasis on the individual subject within Asian American literary studies, unearths racial critique in works not typically read as concerned with identity, and demonstrates literature’s importance in studying racial form in an era of postracial discourse.

J. Ryan Marks

  • Ph.D. Candidate - College of English

During my CHI fellowship, I will be at work on my dissertation project, "Drop the Subject: Ranting and Inappopriation in Contemporary American Literature." Cast as uncompromising, negative, monologic, selfish, and alienating, what’s conventionally dismissed as ranting is a form of incivility that, as a result of the limits to how aggrieved are subjects recognized, has been undertheorized. “Drop the Subject” contends that a critical engagement with rants is useful for contemporary American literary criticism exactly because it forces a re-evaluation of what occurs within the broad bandwidth of writing dismissed as expression in the discussion of identity politics. This project coordinates major flashpoints of social transgression in literature and identity politics, from the Free Speech Movement’s attempts in the late 1960s to garner support for civil rights causes on campus through tactical use of obscenity to recent controversies in poetry that reveal how identity politics in the academy is currently critically siloed, discouraging cross-pollination and engagement. A literary study of fiction and nonfiction employing the tactics of ranting pushes the acknowledged influence of political radicalism on style into writing online, where trolling and baiting tactics pull recognizable debates out of their institutionally sanctioned contexts.

J. David Maxson

My dissertation engages the memorialization of traumatic events in New Orleanian history, focusing on the movement of information along the interstices of bodies, material landscapes, and public memory. The commemorations selected for this project represent defining historical moments from New Orleans’ past: the birth of jazz, the history of enslavement, the contemporary murder crisis, and the 2005 flooding of the city. In considering various monuments and commemorative events, this dissertation will examine the ways that traumatic pasts are dredged up and transfigured in service of present needs. Borrowing from scholarship in rhetoric studies, landscape studies, and anthropology, I approach the city of New Orleans as a memoryscape; a turbulent site where specific pasts are reanimated, contested, and changed in the lived present.