Recent Graduates:

Comparative Studies Graduate Student Alumni (2009-2020)



Leighla Khansari (PhD)

Dissertation: "Constancy, Race, and Religious Virtue: The Representation of Muslim Women in English Early Modern Drama"

Advisor: Jennifer Higginbotham

Committee: Jennifer K. Higginbotham, Kimberly Ann Coles, Theresa Delgadillo, and Pranav Jani


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: Instructor, Departments of Sociology and Political Science, Sam Houston State 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