Alumni News


Alumni News:



Drew Lyness

After completing my Ph.D. in 2014, I moved to my partner's home province of British Columbia, Canada, where I held various jobs including: high school tutor, demolition worker and bartender. I also lead trail running clinics and sold backcountry ski gear whilst working towards professional avalanche certifications and spending lots of time in the Coast Mountains. In 2017 I took a position teaching on the small satellite campus of Thompson Rivers University - in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region of British Columbia. The town of Williams Lake is in the traditional territory of the Secwepemc people, bordering both the T'exelcemc and the Xat'súll First Nations. During this time I taught in English, Education & Social Work, drawing on my training in critical pedagogy and comparative cultural methods, as well as my experience working in Indigenous and rural communities in the US. In 2018, on the cusp of a tenure track position at TRU, I instead took a gamble and accepted a two year contract at Yukon College in Whitehorse - intrigued by the institution's growing reputation for Reconciliation work and Indigenous, Northern-focused education. Two years later, Yukon College has transitioned to become Yukon University - the first university in the Canadian North - and I recently became a permanent faculty member in the Applied Arts. I teach courses in English and Indigenous Governance, and I am most engaged by the scholarship of teaching and learning, especially questions of intercultural pedagogy & curriculum design in rural, remote, and Indigenous education settings. Of the 14 Yukon First Nations, 11 have negotiated comprehensive modern self-governance treaties, and our university has strong partnerships with Indigenous communities throughout the North. My work at Yukon University is still informed by the truly interdisciplinary vision of Comparative Studies, and the many mentors, teachers and colleagues I had at OSU. Using the tools I gained during my doctoral studies, I am invested in broadening and decolonizing our approach to teaching literature in a way that critically interrogates and honours the linguistic territory on which we tread, and begins modestly to redress the dark history of English-language education in the Canadian north. My academic teaching aims to explicitly support students whose primary work is in Northern Social Work, Climate Science, Indigenous Governance, and Yukon First Nations Education. Recently I worked in collaboration with students, campus elders and community members to design a brand new "Indigenous Narratives" course. Our course takes a multi-textual approach to the study of Indigenous literatures and encourages an interrogation of categories of knowledge, language, authorship, and authenticity. We have been exploring ways to emphasize dignity, respect, trauma-informed learning and cultural humility in the literature classroom, and we strive to connect our curriculum with local politics and concerns. Recently I have also taught courses on ecological humanities and the idea of "North." In my spare time I am a keen backcountry skier and Avalanche Skills Instructor. I serve on the board of the Yukon Avalanche Association and am a member of the Canadian Avalanche Association. I'm especially interested in ways in which social science and humanities research is shaping conversations around risk management and 'human factors' in mountain environments, and I'd like to conduct formal research in this area in the future. We live on the outskirts of Whitehorse with an energetic toddler."




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.