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Nicholas hoffman

Nicholas Hoffman


Information Technologies and the Discourse of Public Virtue in the English Renaissance
This project argues that rapid technological change in the 16th century brought with it a new sense of social networking that inspired Elizabethan writers (such as Philip Sidney, William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser and Thomas Nashe) to rearticulate concepts of public virtue. Scholars of the history of ideas have argued that ideals of exemplary virtue as an inspiration for public discourse and artistic works suffers a decline in the late 16th and early 17th century. This project unsettles that thesis by putting it into conversation with the fields of textual materiality and media studies (specifically, investigations of the effects of technologically-mediated social networks). Rather than disappearing, I argue that public virtue is reformulated to accomodate larger, more diffuse audiences (which extend in time as well as distance), often resulting in modes of public discourse that encourage opposing models of self-representation: the judicious withholding of the self, or the ostentatious deployment of a manufactured public self. Public debate and discussion (as inflected by and represented through art), then, becomes marked by cycles of energetic engagement and fatigued withdrawal, which can be seen not only in nascent theories of political democracy, but also in early modern debates on religion, education, and public policy.

beth kuberka

Beth Kuberka


Domestic Space, Gender, and Familial Relations in Southern Cone Literature since 1950
The Southern Cone countries of Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay saw economic crises and class tensions during the mid-twentieth century culminate in military dictatorships that ruled in the 1970s and 1980s. During their respective regimes of domestic terror, thousands of suspected radicals in each nation were tortured, killed, and “disappeared.” Critical analyses of dictatorship literature have largely reflected on the power of these regimes in terms of politics, physical violence, and the aftermath of trauma. In this project I diverge from this approach, instead considering questions of power and domination through marginalized sectors of society, particularly women and children. Focusing on literary representations of gender, family life, and sexuality that span the years prior to, during, and following the dictatorships, I examine underlying questions of patriarchy and power that marked Southern Cone literature even before the dictatorship period, thus calling into question not only national power and politics, but the forms of power underlying domestic societal structures. I focus this study on the expression of childhood experience in relation to adulthood, the limitations of language in expressing not only traumatic but also quotidian events, and the relationship between domestic and national patriarchy as expressed in parent-child and sibling relationships.

nuning purwaningrum

Nuning Purwaningrum

Transnational Studies

Transnational Marriage, Migration, and Gendered Geographies of Power: A Study of the Migration of Indonesian Women to the United States Post Year 2000

Marriage migration to the United States after the 9/11 tragedy in New York City has quadrupled despite the tightening of immigration admission for security reasons. This leniency in the admission of foreign brides has aroused anxiety about the security of borders and beliefs about citizenship that often makes foreign brides objects of immigration and population regulations. The regulations limit their habitation by granting them access to the United State but not legal entry, thus creating a type of legal limbo during two years of conditional permanent residency. This dissertation investigates why, despite such constraints, marriage migration remains popular and the rate increases every year. Under limited habitation, how are marriage migrants actively making decisions and negotiating their relationships with their husbands, husband’s families, their new society and their families back home? How have such negotiations affected their ideas about migration and their transnational lives? This study examines the lives of 50 women marriage migrants from Indonesia and their American spouses through the multi-scalar relationships of their personal gendered experiences in relation to structural opportunities (the market), the cultural logic of desire, and other factors that reproduce gendered regimes in marriage migration. It broadens the use of transnationalism theory by including non-migrant actors (American spouses) into the analysis and how this cultivates the idea of transnational lives and claims for both the migrant and non-migrant spouse that may potentially lead to return migration or a series of alternatives in the migratory spectrum.


Tanya Shilina-Conte

Media Study

Black Screens, White Frames: Moving Image and Negative Mimesis

This dissertation is the first comprehensive attempt to theorize anti-mimetic strategies in cinema signaled by black and white screens as irrational cuts. It scrutinizes the negative value in mimesis and focalizes elements of absence and invisibility in the cinematic imaginary and evidentiary. My understanding of negative mimesis stems from Theodor Adorno’s observations in Aesthetic Theory on the negative representation of reality in modernity and considers the dialectic of rejection/acceptance along with absence/presence. Rational cuts indicate shifts in time and scene that do not disturb the viewer’s resignation to the conventions of mimesis. However, as Gilles Deleuze contends in Cinema 2: The Time-Image, a more radical use of black/white screens serves as a deliberate strategy to evince the incommensurable in artwork. This dissertation argues that if rational montage asserts the visible by finding positive integral pieces of evidence and shaping them into a representation, then irrational montage, by flaunting methods of filmic construction such as cuts and interstices, seams and reveals, ruptures and gaps, underscores the hidden and invisible. These pockets of invisible evidence reveal critical issues dealing with race, sexuality, gender, ethics, trauma and censorship. The consideration of negative mimesis, irrational montage and invisible evidence in cinema enables us to overcome a one-sided ideological reading of any given representation.

paul zwirecki

Paul Zwirecki


Fighting ‘A Spirit of Fanaticism: Anti-Revivalism in Antebellum America
This dissertation is an examination of religious innovation and controversy in the years between 1820 and 1860. The dissertation will contribute to the broad historiographical discussions on religious in America, and more specifically to those dealing with evangelical Protestantism, religious practices among laypeople, and the role that those laypeople had in affecting the tenor of religion in the United States. While a significant body of historical work has been done examining the popularization of emotional religion in American society and culture, this work has rarely addressed the backlash that emerged just as this brand of religious belief and expression was becoming more widespread. “A Spirit of Fanaticism: aims to address this gap in the historiography, and to contribute to a greater understanding of American religious history. The dissertation provides a deeper analysis of more familiar controversies surrounding theological innovation and methodological approaches to revivalism, and introduces new forms of opposition to revivalism, and introduces new forms of opposition to revivalism, including backlash from a pioneer of American asylum medicine. The research involves published sources from prominent clergy, unpublished letters, archival materials from laypeople in New York, and previously underused medical records from the New York State Lunatic Asylum.

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