Alumni and Dissertations


Alumni Stories:




Rebecca A. Adelman completed her Ph.D. in Comparative Studies in 2009 and joined the Department of Media and Communication Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County shortly thereafter.  She is now an Associate Professor in MCS and affiliate faculty for the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, and has also taught in UMBC’s Intermedia and Digital Arts M.F.A. program.  She is currently serving as co-chair of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Women’s Faculty Network.

Her research focuses on the intersections of visual culture and militarized violence, with particular interest in questions of ethics, affect, and imagination.  Her first book, Beyond the Checkpoint: Visual Practices in America’s Global War on Terror (University of Massachusetts Press, 2014), maps the visual circuits linking the terrorized American nation-state, its citizens, and its enemies by exploring the practices of image creation, circulation, and consumption that animate these relationships.  She is currently at work on two new book projects.  Singly, she is finalizing a manuscript entitled Figuring Violence: Affect, Imagination, and Contemporary American Militarism that explores the intersections of fantasy, violence, and sentimentality as they coalesce around certain militarized figures, under contract with Fordham University Press.  And she is collaborating with Wendy Kozol (Oberlin College) on a project about quotidian visual cultures of living, dying, and surviving in conditions of militarized violence, The War In-Between.  In 2016, she won a University System of Maryland Board of Regents Award for Excellence in Research. 

She makes her internet home at and otherwise lives in Baltimore.  




Damon Berry

"Since graduating with my PhD in 2014 I have been a visiting professor in the Department of Religious Studies at St. Lawrence University. St. Lawrence, or “SLU,” is a small liberal arts college in (very) upstate New York, about twenty minutes from the Canadian border at Cornwall.

I am now in my third year as a visitor, and I am looking forward to beginning my tenure-track position as assistant professor of American religions and contemporary issues in religion at SLU next fall. I am also happy to report that my first book will be coming out at about that same time from Syracuse University Press in their series on religion and politics. It is titled Blood & Faith: Christianity in American White Nationalism, and in it I explore the fraught relationship between Christianity, even racist and Anti-Semitic forms of Christianity, and American white nationalism, the various reasons why religious alternatives were invented to replace it, and what the consequences of this have been for white nationalists, especially those among the “Alt-Right,” who have sought to access and transform the Republican Party and the conservative movement."




Lindsay Bernhagen

After graduating with a PhD in Comparative Studies in 2013 and spending the next few years working as an instructional consultant at the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching at Ohio State, Lindsay recently accepted a position as the director of the newly-created Center for Inclusive Teaching and Learning (CITL) at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point--which happens to be in her hometown. Lindsay is drawn to the field of educational development because it allows her to focus on the aspect of higher education that most energizes her--teaching--while also providing opportunities for engaging research using the methodologies and lenses of inquiry and analysis that she developed during her doctoral program. As she will tell anyone who asks, even though she did not get a degree "in education" (a frequent, if inaccurate, assumption about the typical background of educational developers), she could not do her job in the way she does or as well as she does if she had not gotten a doctoral degree in Comparative Studies.

Beyond her position at UWSP, Lindsay serves her field nationally. She was elected to serve on the Core Committee of the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education (POD) and chairs the POD Grants Committee (after rotations as chair of the POD Diversity Committee and POD Adjunct/Part-Time Special Interest Group). Lindsay also maintains an active research agenda, and recently received an honorable mention for the Christine A. Stanley Award for Research in Diversity and Inclusion in Educational Development for an article titled "A View from the Margins: Situating CTL Staff in Organization Development" (co-authored with Emily O. Gravett, James Madison University). Both that article and another she and Dr. Gravett wrote, "Educational Development as Pink Collar Labor: Implications and Recommendations" were published in POD's premier publication, To Improve the Academy. Lindsay and Dr. Gravett are currently co-editing a special issue of New Directions for Teaching and Learning looking at the role of identity in educational development that has generated substantial interest from several of the field's most established scholars. Watch for it in 2018!



Brian Michael Murphy was an Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont and has recently accepted an assistant professorship at Bennington College in VT.  His poems have been published in Birmingham Poetry Review, SLAB, and Queen Mob's Teahouse, among other places. His article "Bomb-proofing the Digital Image," originally published in Media-N, recently appeared in Italian translation in the journal Ácoma. His book manuscript-in-progress, titled We the Dead: Preserving the White Race in America, traces the entangled histories of archival preservation and the preservation of whiteness in the United States, from the Depression-era to the present. He blogs for the Kenyon Review, where he writes about media preservation, race, film, and hip hop culture, and in the summers, he teaches creative writing in the Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop. Previously, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor of American Studies at Miami University, where he was nominated for the Outstanding Professor Award, and received a commendation from the Center for Teaching Excellence. He writes, "I earned my M.A. and Ph.D. in Comparative Studies, a radically interdisciplinary department at The Ohio State University, where graduate students are required to take courses both within and outside the department, and customize their coursework according to their line of inquiry. It was difficult, and exhilarating, to create my own pathway through multiple fields of scholarship. It required rigor, creativity, humility, and a sense of adventure to take part in seminars in Queer and Feminist Narrative Theory, Disability Studies, Performance Theory, the History of Photography, and Geographies of Power. At the same time, I was able to apply my knowledge in the courses I taught, thus concretizing my understanding of various scholarly fields and how they related to my research."




Michael McVicar, Department of Religion, Florida State University.

Michael J. McVicar researches the relationship between religion and politics in twentieth-century U.S. history, with a specific focus on the emergence of the American conservative movement in the post-World War II era. Since receiving his PhD from the Ohio State University in 2010 he has taught courses on contemporary evangelicalism, theory and method in religious studies, and gender and sexuality in religion.

Publications include: Christian Reconstruction: R. J. Rushdoony and American Religious Conservatism. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2015.

Review in: American Historical Review, Books & Culture, Church History, Church History & Religious Culture, Faith For All of Life, First Things, H-Net, Journal of American History, Journal of Church & State, Political Science Quarterly

Research in progress: God’s Watchers: Domestic Intelligence Gathering and Religious Activism from the Cold War to the War on Terror. Under contract with the University of North Carolina Press.

“My current research explores the complex interaction between religion, domestic surveillance, and the growth of political conservatism in nineteenth- and twentieth-century U.S. culture. I am writing a book and completing several essays that trace the complex historical relationships between private detective agencies, Protestant parachurch organizations, and law enforcement agencies from the end of the Civil War to the Watergate scandal of the 1970s. Unlike recent works in American religious history that focus on the problems of secularism and the legal boundaries of church and state, my research concentrates on surveillance to argue that historians have paid far too much attention to problems of belief, theology, and legal precedent, and paid far too little attention to the mechanisms of social regulation and policing that have characterized American religious organizations.

Ultimately, my current line of inquiry seeks to illustrate how religious sensibilities in America shaped and were shaped by the surveillance techniques of a growing federal state. I hope that this work will be immediately relevant to current public discussions as citizens and policymakers debate private/public domestic surveillance operations developed by law enforcement agencies in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. While critics and supporters of programs such as the National Security Agency’s bulk digital data collection have suggested that private/public domestic intelligence gathering operations are the exception rather than the rule, my work explores how domestic surveillance has long been a private/public collaboration with roots in unlikely soil: American religious organizations.”

Michael Murphy has accepted the position of Assistant Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at SUNY Plattsburgh. SUNY Plattsburgh is a 6000-student liberal arts college in the State University of New York system. Michael will help design and implement programming that helps individual faculty and departments enhance their teaching. Programs and services include individual and unit consultations, classroom observations, teaching workshops, and faculty learning communities. The position also includes a very light teaching load.


Andrew Culp


Andrew Culp, PhD
Full-time Faculty Member in Media History and Theory, School of Critical StudiesCalifornia Institute of the Arts (CalArts)

Before graduate school, I was an activist who had grown dissatisfied with the daily grind of political advocacy. I wanted a space where I could slow down enough to really think through the social problems of our time. I was wary of overly scholastic approaches, as the academy has a tendency to turn contemporary issues into dull objects for heady reflection. The faculty of Comparative Studies did not shy away from the immediate relevance of what we studied, but encouraged active, engaged scholarship.

Comparative Studies is the ideal place for studying cultural theory. The faculty are rigorous, the curriculum is challenging and the students undertake a broad range of exciting intellectual projects. The program gave me the broadest possible education in theory; one that far exceeded the narrow boundaries set by traditional disciplines. I started the program with a head stuffed full of big ideas, and what I learned was how to sharpen those ideas into concise concepts.
His first book, Dark Deleuze, was published last year by the University of Minnesota Press, which will also be publishing his second book, Persona Obscura: Invisibility in the Age of Disclosure.
Rachel Morris
Rachel Wortman Morris, Ph.D.
Sr. Instructional Designer, Virginia Mason Institute
The Department of Comparative Studies at OSU was a very clear fit for my interdisciplinary interests, but the interactions I had with the professor who would later become my advisor are what really made the program stand out to me from all the others. The faculty in Comparative Studies care deeply about their students, the students' ideas and the work that gets produced.
In my capacity as the Sr. Instructional Designer for the Virginia Mason Institute in Seattle, WA I own the end-to-end process for developing, implementing and evaluating training and educational courses provided by faculty members of the Virginia Mason Institute University to both clinical and non-clinical medical professionals worldwide. This is a position which draws upon the pedagogical training and mentoring I received while a graduate student, my years of teaching experience as a GTA at OSU, and the theoretical frame I bring from my work around medical systems and biopolitics in my dissertation. While a graduate student in the department of Comparative Studies I was responsible for designing and teaching my own courses for undergraduate students. The task of finding a central question or problem around which to frame a course, the selection of texts and the organization of a syllabus all while in your second semester of graduate school is a lot to take on. But it was an exciting challenge to move from being a TA for a professor to having your own courses so early on in your graduate student career. In that my dissertation topic dealt with biopolitics and organ donation and transplantation practices, the accessibility of the OSU Medical Center and their own faculty not only deepened my dissertation project, but helped to situate me and my work in a context that led to my current role with the Virginia Mason Institute — the educational arm of the Virginia Mason Medical Center.

Joshua J. Kurz completed his PhD in Comparative Studies and joined the National University of Singapore (NUS) Global Studies Program as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 2014. He is now a Lecturer in Sociology and Global Studies at NUS, working toward promotion to Senior Lecturer and eventually tenure via the 'Educator Track' recently established at by the university. The Educator Track position allows him to focus on teaching while still providing a viable career path towards tenure. (More universities should try this!) Beyond basic job security, the track allows a focus on teaching and providing space for a research agenda. His favorite aspect of teaching is working with research students. To date he has supervised five undergraduate honors theses on a variety of topics related to globalization and issues related to migration and refugees. He has also supervised an MA thesis in Political Science on psychoanalysis and humanitarianism, and is currently supervising a second MA on affect and refugee identity. Given the emphasis on teaching, his research has slowed down, but the new pace has allowed him to focus on what he really values. He's finally returning to his dissertation The Figure of the Refugee to bring together his PhD research, new research on 'affective security', and photography. You can find him at or somewhere in Southeast Asia, depending on the time of the year.




Saeed Honarmand is a lecturer and coordinator of the Persian department in The Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS) at Columbia University. Previously he taught Persian language, literature, and Iranian mythology and culture as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at The Ohio State University. He has also been the director of the Persian Immersion Summer program at University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his Ph.D. in Comparative Studies from The Ohio State University. He has published 14 novels and literary books in Persian. among them two collections of essays on writers and thinkers such as Jacobson, Todorov, Ricoeur and Foucault. He has also translated works by these thinkers into Persian. Saeed has also published several papers in English about the Persian writer Sadeqi as well as works in modern Persian fiction. In addition, he has recently completed two Persian textbooks (Persian Language for English Speakers, elementary and intermediate levels) with a dictionary of Persian Idioms and Expressions, which will eventually include audio and video versions of his lectures.

Recent Graduates:

Comparative Studies Graduate Student Alumni (2009-2020)




Kati Fitzgerald (PhD)

Dissertation: “No Pure Lands: The Contemporary Buddhism of Tibetan Lay Women”

Advisor: Hugh Urban

Committee: Mark Bender (DEALL), Melissa Curley

Current Position: Post-Doctoral Fellow at University of Zurich Department of Religious Studies


Eleanor Paynter (PhD)

Dissertation: "Witnessing Emergency: Testimonial Narratives of Precarious Migration to Italy"

Co-Advisors: Amy Shuman (English), Dana Renga (FRIT)

Committee: Asley Pérez, Julia Watson

Current Position: Postdoctoral Associate, Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Cornell University


Afsane Rezaei (PhD)

Dissertation: “Agency Between Narratives: Women, Faith, and Sociability in Irangeles”

Advisor: Dorry Noyes

Committee: Katey Borland, Morgan Liu (NELC)

Current Position: Assistant Professor of Folklore, Department of English, Utah State University


Caroline Toy (PhD)

Dissertation: “Wizarding Shrines and Police Box Cathedrals: Re-envisioning Religiosity through Fan and Media Pilgrimages”

Advisor: Hugh Urban

Committee: Katherine Borland, Merrill Kaplan (English), Isaac Weiner, and Ross Garner (Cardiff University)

Current Position: Learning Experience Designer, Center for Learning and Teaching, Champlain College




Enrico Zammarchi (PhD)

Dissertation: "'My Style is Strictly Italo': A History of Italian Hip-Hop"

Co-Advisors: Barry Shank, Dana Renga (French & Italian)

Committee: Philip Armstrong, Clarissa Clò (San Diego State University)


Nic Flores (PhD)

Dissertation: “PrEParing and Producing the Queer Medical Subject: An Ethnographic Account of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Sexuality, and Class in Columbus, Ohio in the Time of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)”

Co-Advisors: Maurice Stevens, Noah Tamarkin

Committee: Miranda Martinez

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Latina/Latino Studies, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


Dan DiPiero (PhD)

Dissertation: “Contingent Encounters: Improvisation in Music and Everyday Life”

Co-Advisors: Barry Shank, Philip Armstrong

Committee: Ryan Skinner (Music), Eugene Holland

Current Position: Visiting Assistant Professor in American Studies, Department of Global and Intercultural Studies, Miami University


Amanda Randhawa (PhD)

Dissertation: “Being Punjabi Sikh in Chennai: Women's Everyday Religion in an Internal Indian Diaspora”

Co-Advisors: Hugh Urban, Amy Shuman (English)

Committee: Mytheli Sreenivas (WGSS), Anne Murphy (Univ. British Columbia)

Current Position: Visiting Assistant Professor in World Religions and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Ohio University


Zeynep Aydogdu (PhD)

Dissertation: “Modernity, Multiculturalism, and Racialization in Transnational America: Autobiography and Fiction by Immigrant Muslim Women Before and After 9/11”

Co-Advisors: Nina Berman, Pranav Jani (English)

Committee: Theresa Delgadillo

Current Position: Visiting Assistant Professor of Critical Ethnic Studies in Global and Intercultural Studies, Miami University




Cristina Benedetti (PhD)

Dissertation: “Dreams of Democracy, Logistics of Crowds: Public Gatherings on the National Mall”

Advisor: Dorothy Noyes

Committee: Katherine Borland, Isaac Weiner, Shilarna Stokes (Theater), Jason Baird Jackson (Indiana University)

Current Position: Folk & Traditional Arts Contractor, The Ohio Arts Council; Instructional Specialist for the Ohio Field School, Center for Folklore Studies, OSU


Bishal Karna (PhD)

Dissertation: “Skillful Ways: Sōtō Zen Buddhism in the American Midwest”

Co-Advisors: Isaac Weiner, Thomas Kasulis

Committee: Melissa Curley, Katherine Borland

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Religious Studies, Nazareth College


Seth Josephson (PhD)

Dissertation: “Beastly Traces: The Co-emergence of Humans and Cattle”

Advisor: Hugh Urban

Committee: David Horn, Bernhard Malkmus (German), Isaac Weiner

Current Position: Lecturer, Wittenberg University and Otterbein; Events Director, ILLIO Community Arts Center


Kay Clopton (PhD)

Dissertation: “Now Hear This: Onomatopoeia, Emanata, Gitaigo, Giongo – Sound Effects in North American Comics and Japanese Manga and How They Impact the Reading Experience”

Advisor: Maurice Stevens Committee: Theresa Delgadillo, Jared Gardner

Current Position: MPK-Cultural Diversity Inquiry, Special Collections and Area Studies, Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum




Carolyn Elerding (PhD)

Dissertation: Mechanical Clouds and Other Concrete Abstractions: Materiality, Enlightenment, and the Digital”

Advisor: Philip Armstrong

Committee: John Davidson (German), Sandra MacPherson (English), Ethan Knapp (English)

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Women’s Studies, Wichita State University


Amy Gregg (PhD)

Dissertation: “Nineteenth-century American Medicine: The Implications of Professionalism, Capitalism, and Implicit Bias”

Advisor: Maurice Stevens Committee: Christine Ballengee-Morris (Art Education), Robert Buerki (Pharmacy)

Current Position: Associate Lecturer, Comparative Studies and History, OSU (Newark); Lecturer, History, Northern Kentucky University; Curtis Gates Lloyd Fellowship at The Lloyd Library & Museum




Vidar Thorsteinsson (PhD)

Dissertation: “Diachronic Binding: The Novel Form and the Gendered Temporalities of Debt and Credit”

Advisor: Eugene Holland

Committee: Philip Armstrong, Jill Galvan (English), Ethan Knapp (English)

External Readers: Katherine Hayles (Duke University), Guðni Elísson (University of Iceland)

Current Position: Manager, Efling Trade-Union, Reykjavik (Iceland)


Perry Miller (PhD)

Dissertation: “Freeing Associations: A Return to Psychoanalysis in Self-help Literature”

Advisor: David Horn

Committee: Theresa Delgadillo, Robert Hughes


Puja-Batra-Wells (PhD)

Dissertation: “Art/Work: Place-making, Precarity, and the Performance of Artistic Occupational Identities in Columbus, Ohio”

Advisor: Amy Shuman

Committee: Philip Armstrong, Dorothy Noyes, James Sanders (Art Education)

Current Position: Program Manager, Global Arts and Sciences Discovery Theme, OSU


Gabriel Piser (PhD)

Dissertation: “Appalachian Anthropocene: Conflict and Subject Formation in a Sacrifice Zone”

Advisor: Eugene Holland

Committee: Miranda Martinez, Maurice Stevens, Adrian Parr (University of Cincinnati)

Current Position: Founding Partner, Big Sky Education and Strategy 




Michael Murphy (PhD)

Dissertation: “Meaning through Action: William James’s Pragmatism in Novels by Larsen, Musil, and Hemingway”

Co-Advisors: Nina Berman, Tom Kasulis

Committee: Ethan Knapp (English)

Current Position: Co-creator at non-profit for Educational Opportunities in Sustainable Agriculture 




Andrew Lyness (PhD)

Dissertation: “Mobility, Poverty, and the Western Mythos: Chasing the Object of the U.S. Homeless Policy”

Advisor: Barry Shank

Committee: Leo Coleman, Theresa Delgadillo

Current Position: Instructor, School of Liberal Arts, Yukon College, Canada


Oded Nir (PhD)

Dissertation: “Nutshells and Infinite Space: Totality and Global Culture”

Advisor: Philip Armstrong

Committee: Leo Coleman, Ethan Knapp (English) External Reader: Frederic Jameson (Duke)

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Classical, Middle Eastern, Asian Languages and Cultures, Queens College-CUNY


Brian Michael Murphy (PhD)

Dissertation: “The Future of American Memory: Media Preservation, Photography, and Digital Archives”

Advisor: Barry Shank

Committee: Kris Paulsen (History of Art), Hugh Urban External Reader: Ruby Tapia (University of Michigan)

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Media Studies, Bennington College


Ricky Crano (PhD)

Dissertation: “Posthuman Capital: Neoliberalism, Telematics, and the Project of Self Control” Advisor: Philip Armstrong

Committee: Brian Rotman, Kris Paulsen (History of Art) External Reader: Alexander Galloway (NYU)

Current Position: Lecturer, English and STS, Tufts University and MIT


Damon Berry (PhD)

Dissertation: “Blood Right: Racial Protectionism and the Problem of Christianity in American White Nationalism”

Advisor: Hugh Urban

Committee, Merrill Kaplan (German) and David Horn External Reader: Michael Barkun (Syracuse University)

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Religious Studies, St. Lawrence University


Tahseen Kazi (PhD)

Dissertation: “Leadership in State Genesis: Creative Falsification, Guardianship, and the Crystallization of Sovereign Authority”

Advisor: Gene Holland

Committee: Philip Armstrong, Sonja Amadae (Political Science), Mathew Coleman

(Geography) External Reader: Luis Lobo-Guerrero (University of Groningen)

Current Position: Lecturer, Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Tech


Josh Kurz (PhD)

Dissertation: “The Figure of the Refugee”

Advisor: Philip Armstrong

Committee: Leo Coleman, Mathew Coleman (Geography) External Reader: Sandro Mezzadra (University of Bologna)

Current Position: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow in Political Science and Lecturer, Sociology, National University of Singapore.


Rashelle Peck (PhD)

Dissertation: “Imperfect Resistance: Embodied Performances in Nairobi Underground Hip Hop”

Advisor: Barry Shank

Committee: Nina Berman, Maurice Stevens

Current Position: Assistant Professor of Black Studies, Borough of Manhattan Community College




Rita Trimble (PhD)

Dissertation: “Conceiving a ‘Natural Family’ Order: The World Congress of Families and Transnational Conservative Christian Politics”

Advisor: Debra Moddelmog (English)

Committee: Tanya Erzen, Mytheli Sreenivas (History and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies), Hugh Urban

Current Position: Lecturer, Women’s and Gender Studies, Ohio Wesleyan University


Lindsay Bernhangen (PhD)

Dissertation: “Sounding Subjectivity: Music, Gender, and Intimacy”

Advisor: Barry Shank

Committee: Maurice Stevens, Mary Thomas (Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)

Current Position: Director, Center for Inclusive Teaching and Learning at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point


Andrew Culp (PhD)

Dissertation: “Escape”

Advisor: Gene Holland

Committee: Philip Armstrong, Mathew Coleman (Geography)

Current Position: Faculty, School of Critical Studies, CalArts


Joanna Spanos (PhD)

Dissertation: “Redeeming Susanna Cox: A Pennsylvania German Infanticide in Community Tradition”

Advisor: Dorothy Noyes

Committee: Richard Green (English), Margaret Mills (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures), and Randolph Roth (History).

Current Position: Honors Counselor, Arts and Sciences Honors Program, OSU




Wamae Muriuki (PhD)

Dissertation: “That I Should Dance on the Earth: Shinran's Revaluation of ‘Karmic Afflictions’”

Advisor: Thomas Kasulis

Committee: Shelley Quinn (East Asian Langauges and Literatures), Daniel Reff

Current Position: Faculty, Philosophy and Religious Studies, University of Nairobi, Kenya


Rachel Wortman (PhD)

Dissertation: “Facing the Waitlist: Visual Grammars of Organ Donation and Transplantation”

Advisor: Maurice Stevens

Committee: Philip Armstrong and David Horn

Current Position: Clinical Assistant Professor, Masters of Health Administration, University of Washington


Kate Dean-Haidet (PhD)

Dissertation: “Thanatopoiesis: The Relational Matrix of Spiritual End-of-Life Care”

Advisor: Thomas Kasulis

Committee: Tanya Erzen, Daniel Reff, Julia Watson

Current Position: Advanced Practice Nurse, Community Grief Program, OhioHealth Hospice


Elo-hanna Seljamaa (PhD)

Dissertation: “A Home for 121 Nationalities or Less: Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Integration in Post- Soviet Estonia”

Advisor: Dorothy Noyes

Committee: Margaret Mills (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures), Ray Cashman (English), Nicholas Breyfogle (History), Rick Hermann (Political Science)

Current Position: Researcher in the Department of Estonian and Comparative Folklore, University of Tartu Estonia; Program Director for MA in “Folkloristics and Applied Heritage Studies”


Jennifer Black (PhD)

Dissertation: “Lock My Body, Can't Trap My Mind: A Study of the Scholarship and Social Movements Surrounding the Case of Imprisoned Radical Mumia Abu-Jamal”

Advisor: Maurice Stevens

Committee: Tanya Erzen, Anthonia Kalu, James Upton


Peggy Reynolds (PhD)

Dissertation: “Depth Technology: Remediating Orientation”

Advisor: Brian Rotman

Committee: Philip Armstrong, Barry Shank


Beth Shively (PhD)

Dissertation: “Happily Ever After: Gender, Romance and Relationships in the Christian Courtship Movement”

Co-Advisors: Tanya Erzen, Mary Thomas (Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies)

Committee: Hugh Urban

Current Position: Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow, Women's and Gender Studies Program, Central Michigan University




Ilana Maymind (PhD)

Dissertation: “Ethics in Exile: A Comparative Study of Shinran and Maimonides”

Co-Advisors: Tom Kasulis, Tamar Rudavsky (Philosophy)

Committee: Lindsay Jones

Current Position: Lecturer, Religious Studies, Chapman College and Editor, Bioethics International


Saeed Honarmand (PhD)

Dissertation: “The Impact of the Modernity Discourse on Persian Fiction”

Advisor: Dick Davis (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures)

Committee: Philip Armstrong and Margaret Mills (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures)

Current Position: Lecturer Persian Language Program Coordinator in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies Department, Columbia University




Sande Garner (PhD)

Dissertation: “What Sort of Indian will Show the Way?: Colonization, Mediation, and Interpretation in the Sun Dance Contact Zone”

Advisor: Lindsay Jones

Committee: Tanya Erzen, Richard Shiels (History), and Maurice Stevens

Current Position: Associate Professor and Coordinator, American Studies, and Global and Intercultural Studies, Miami University (Ohio)


Mike J. McVicar (PhD)

Dissertation: “Reconstructing America: Religion, American Conservatism, and the Political Theology of Rousas John Rushdoony”

Advisor: Hugh Urban

Committee: Philip Armstrong and Tanya Erzen

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Religion, Florida State University


Kirsi Haënninen (PhD)

Dissertation: “The Construction of Self in Finnish First-Person Supernatural Encounter Narratives”

Advisor: Dorothy Noyes

Committee: Sarah Iles Johnston (Greek and Latin) and Amy Shuman (English/Folklore)

Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow in Folklore at the University of Turku, Helsinki




Alana Kumbier (PhD)

Dissertation: “Ephemeral Material: Developing a Critical Archival Practice”

Advisor: Maurice Stevens

Committee: Tim Choy, Leo Coleman, David Horn

Current Position: Critical Social Inquiry and Digital Pedagogy Librarian at Hampshire College


Rebecca Adelman (PhD)

Dissertation: “The Shadow Rules of Engagement: Visual Practices, Citizen-Subjectivity, and America's Global War on Terror”

Advisor: Ruby Tapia

Committee: Philip Armstrong, Maurice Stevens

Current Position: Associate Professor in the Media & Communication Studies, University of Maryland Baltimore Campus (UMBC)


Kennedy Waliaula (PhD)

Dissertation: “The Incarcerated Self: Narratives of Political Confinement in Kenya”

Co-Advisors: Adeleke Adeeko (English and AAAS), Nina Berman

Committee: Maurice Stevens

Former Position: Author and Executive, Nation Media Group, Nairobi, Kenya


Tracy Carpenter (PhD)

Dissertation: “Recovering Women: Intersectional Approaches to African American Addiction”

Advisor: Amy Shuman (English)

Committee: Nina Berman, Valarie Lee (English), Maurice Stevens

Current Position: Technical Trainer at Sunquest Information Systems and homeless shelter Intake Interviewer, Tucson, Arizona



2009-2019 Comparative Studies MA Degrees




Charlie Birge (MA)

Thesis: “The Addiction of Transparency: Observations on the Emotional Neurophysiology of Whiteness”

Advisor: Maurice Stevens


Anh Ho (MA)

Thesis: “Self-Consciousness and Responsibility: Limitations and Beyond”

Advisor: Philip Armstrong




Kate Kaura

Thesis: "The Body of the Goddess: Religious and Political Power of the Indian Female Body and Ruptures of Resistance"

Advisor: Hugh Urban




Dawn Combs (MA)

Thesis: Cartesian Duality and Dissonance in the American Dying Experience”

Advisor: Katherine Borland


J. Caroline Toy (MA)

Thesis: “Constructing the Fannish Place: Ritual and Sacred Space in a Sherlock Fan Pilgrimage”

Advisor: Hugh Urban

Accepted into Comparative Studies PhD Program




Katherine Fitzgerald (MA)

Thesis: “An Outline of the Bibliographic History of Nangsa Ohbum”

Advisor: Hugh Urban

Accepted into Comparative Studies PhD Program


Ziqi Yuan (MA)

Thesis: “‘Isms’ and the Refractions of World Literature in May Fourth China”

Advisor: Nina Berman


Nicholas Flores (MA)

Thesis: “DREAMing the "Right" Way: The Cultural Politics of the DREAM Act and UndocuQueer Social Movements”

Advisor: Maurice Stevens

Accepted into Comparative Studies PhD Program




Maria Barbero (MA)

Thesis: “DACA, Immigrant Youth, and Education: An Analysis of Elite Narratives on Nationhood, Citizenship, and Belonging in the U.S.”

Advisor: Theresa Delgadillo

Accepted into PhD program, Global and Sociocultural Studies, Florida International University


Matthew O'Malley (MA)

Thesis: “Such Building Only Takes Care: A Study of Dwelling in the Work of Heidegger, Ingold, Malinowski, and Thoreau”

Advisor: Leo Coleman

Accepted into PhD Program, Anthropology, Yale University


Divya Sundar (MA)

Thesis: “Saving ‘America's Iconic Liberal City’: The Late Liberal Biopolitics of Anti-gentrification Discourses in San Francisco”

Advisor: Leo Coleman

Accepted into PhD program, City and Regional Planning, Berkeley


Kelly Schultz (MA)

Thesis: “Toward Rangzen, Through Rang and Zen: Contextualized Agency of Contemporary Tibetan Poet-Activists in Exile”

Advisor: Hugh Urban Degree




Matt Brenn (MA)

Thesis: “Reinterpreting (Bio)Politics: Potentiality, Profanation, and Play in the Thought of Giorgio Agamben”

Advisor: Philip Armstrong


Ethan Finley (MA)

Thesis: “In Dreams: A Freudian Analysis of David Lynch's Mulholland Dr. and Lost Highway”

Advisor: Eugene Holland


Christos Gegas (MA)

Thesis: “C.P. Caavafy: (Homo)erotics and (re)constructions”

Advisor: Philip Armstrong


Amy Picknell (MA)

Thesis: “The American Art Museum and the Internet: Public Digital Collections and Their Intersections of Discourse”

Advisor: Philip Armstrong




Seth Josephson (MA)

Thesis: “For the Benefit of the Many: Resignification of Caste in Dalit and Early Buddhism”

Advisor: Hugh Urban

Accepted into Comparative Studies PhD Program


Kay Clopton (MA)

Thesis: “Coffee and Infidelity: a Feminist Close Reading of Yoshizumi Wataru's Cappuccino as Scanlation in the Context of New Media”

Advisor: Ruby Tapia

Accepted into Comparative Studies PhD Program




Keith Padgett (MA)

Thesis: “Sufferation, Han, and the Blues: Collective Oppression in Artistic and Theological Expression”

Advisor: Thomas Kasulis


Talia Weisz (MA)

Thesis: “Voices from Israel/Palestine: A Documentary Video Exhibition”

Advisor: Amy Shuman


Lee Wiles-Op (MA)

Thesis: “If you Could Hie to Kolob: Mormonism and the World Religions Discourse”

Advisor: Hugh Urban




Damon Berry (MA)

Thesis: “Blood Right: Racial Protectionism and the Problem of Christianity in American White Nationalism”

Advisor: Hugh Urban

Accepted into Comparative Studies PhD Program



Sumiko Eguchi (MA)

Thesis: “Being a Person: Ethics of Watsuji Tetsurō and Immanuel Kant”

Advisor: Thomas Kasulis


Carlotta Blackmon (MA)

Thesis: “Routed Sisterhood Black American Female Identity and the Black Female Community”

Advisor: Kwaku Korang


Andrew Culp (MA)

Thesis: “Producing Pacification: The Disciplinary Technologies of Smart Bombs and National Anti-war Organizing”

Advisor: Eugene Holland

Accepted into Comparative Studies PhD Program


Nicole Rearick (MA)

Thesis: “Food is Something That We Gather Around”

Advisor: Maurice Stevens