Graduate Students

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Graduate Students

Amanda Awanjo

Amanda Awanjo comes to Pitt from Rutgers University-Camden, where she received her Masters of Arts in English, and from Wesleyan College, where she studied English and Political Science. Her research looks at the intersections between African American matriarchal genealogy, affect, and the representations of children within Black science fiction and Afrofuturist texts. She also looks at twentieth century representations of African American children as activists and muses within the Harlem Renaissance and Black Arts Movement. Her research questions are focused on the ways in which the radical black imaginative is able to articulate subjectivity, futurity, and a radical surviving of oppressive structures through black texts and black poetics. 

Christine Case

Christine Case arrived at Pitt in autumn 2018 to further pursue her interest in articulations of queer enchantment, queer temporality, and queer kinship in children’s literature, fairytale adaptation, and popular culture.  At Pitt, Christine is further affiliated with the Children’s Literature and Childhood Studies program and the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Department; her fundamentally interdisciplinary research also imbricates performance studies, critical race studies, media studies, cultural studies, and rhetoric.  

At Williams College (2015), Christine majored in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, as well as Spanish Language and Literature; her honor’s thesis explored the queer potential of 21st-century Disney fairytale retellings, namely 2014’s Maleficent.  During her year with the MA Program in the Humanities at the University of Chicago (2016-2017), she interrogated mechanisms of foreclosure and the resistant, liberative models of nostalgia of J.M. Barrie’s Peter and Wendy and A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.  This led to a deep interest in extending Tolkien’s theorization of the realm of faerie to account for a simultaneously spatial and temporal site of queer resistance, applicable to current academic conversations regarding feminist new materialisms and critical fabulation.  Her recent work has explored the queer temporal, generic, and generational manipulations of the Mary Martin Peter Pan productions, as well as the relationships between Broadway aesthetics, the fairy story, and US identity-formations.  

Sritama Chatterjee

An alumnus of Presidency University and Jadavpur University, India, I am a third year PhD student and I work at the intersections of Postcolonial Studies, Environmental Humanities and Black Studies . My current research on the poetics and politics of water in the Global South takes on two key questions: How does ‘postcolonial Anthropocene” reframe the notion of critique? How is critique related to forms of world-making? I ruminate on these questions grounding my inquiry in anticolonial environmentalisms and contemporary urban histories in South Asia and East Africa. My engagement with modes of critique in the arts and the different forms that it might take : archival research, fieldwork, “critical fabulation” animate my methodology and public scholarship. As a columnist of Inside Higher Ed and contributor forEnvironmental History Now, I have written on a diverse range of topics including pedagogy, being an international student in the US,  archives and water in place-based research. 

My research and investment in pedagogy has been recognized through a number of grants and fellowships including Sasakhawa Youth Leader Fellowship(SYLFF) from Tokyo Foundation, Japan for my M.Phil project on imperialism and the river Hugli in India.  This year, I have been awarded the inaugural Curriculum Development Grant of the Humanities Engage Program at Pitt, funded by Andrew Mellon Foundation to develop a module titled, “Fragments, Ephemera and Periodicals: Reimagining Global Trans History” for a class on Transgender Studies, taught by Dr. Julie Beaulieu that brings together my interest in archival research and gender studies in the Indian Ocean Realm. In the Fall of 2020, I am also serving as a mentor for new teachers, who would teach writing in the Composition Program. You could follow me on my Medium blog and my Inside Higher Ed page.

Marlee Fuhrmann

Before beginning the PhD program at Pitt in 2014, I earned my BA in Literary Studies and Creative Writing with a minor in Anthropology at Beloit College in Wisconsin. I continued my work at Beloit after graduation as an honors fellow, researching and strengthening English-language support services for non-native speakers on campus. My research interests include queer theory, gender studies, ecocriticism, and the nineteenth-century novel. More specifically, I am interested in narrative as a method for managing dissonance between lived realities and cultural norms, particularly with regards to masculinity, heteronormativity, and compulsory sexuality. 

Victoria Glavin

Victoria Glavin’s work engages cultural studies, political economy and philosophy, as well as critical race theory. Her current research project compares the intellectual history of the Francophone Caribbean and 20th century European continental philosophy to explore the issues of sovereignty, praxis, representation and performance in anti-colonial discourses. She holds an M.A. in Literary and Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.A. in American Studies and English Literature from Emmanuel College.

Treviene Harris

My research considers the form, function, and representation of sound in C20 Caribbean fiction. I’m interested in the ways in which sound, aurality, and orality are deployed to complicate our relationships to history, collective memory, and cultural memory. I question what it means that these texts try to elicit close listening, not just close reading, from an audience/reader.

Yujin Jang

I came to Pitt after earning my B.A. and M.A. in English from Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea. My research interests include early modern British literature, the Victorian Fin de Siècle, and the interdisciplinary relations between literature and music.

Brittney Knotts

I came to Pitt in 2017 after earning my B.A. and M.A. in English from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. My research focuses on representations of girlhood in popular culture, including television, music, and social media. I am interested in the intersections of girlhood, sexuality, race, and creative agency. In addition, from a more ethnographic perspective, I like to consider how adolescent girls are making meaning of these popular texts.  

Apala Kundu

Prior to joining the Ph.D program at Pitt in 2019, Apala earned her B.A and M.A. in English from Presidency University in 2015 and 2017 respectively, graduating top of her class in the M.A. program. Her research interests include postcolonialism, migration/diaspora and mobility studies, Indian Ocean literature, gender and sexuality studies, and graphic narratives. In working with literary representations of migration within the Indian Ocean world during the 19th  and 20th centuries, Apala’s research is grounded in the global South. Her work attempts to engage with questions of imperial im/mobilities fostering transnational cultural connections and conflicts and review the postcolonial through the lens of the oceanic. 

Thomas Lawson

A Saint Paul native, Thomas received his B.A. in English from Hamline University in 2015. He came to Pitt in 2017 to begin his PhD, holding a Provost’s Humanities Fellowship upon entering the program. Thomas's research concerns new media writing in the context of music criticism. Specifically, his work looks at the perceived rise of retro pastiche in popular music and how new media’s affordances for writing about music (e.g. hyperlinks and digital archives) promote a historiographical logic of retrofitting the past to confirm the stylistics of the present. At its heart, however, Thomas's project asserts the primacy of affect in constituting new subcultural publics online, theorizing object-centered approaches to writing criticism through sound art (electroacoustic improvisation or "EAI"). At Pitt, Thomas hopes to extend the interests informing this research into a more sustained study of digital media and writing, technics, narrative theory, the attention economy, and sound studies.

Gabriela Lee

Prior to entering the PhD program at Pitt, Gabriela Lee earned her BA in English Studies: Creative Writing, graduating cum laude, from the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman. She completed her MA in Literary Studies from the National University of Singapore (NUS) as an ASEAN Scholarship awardee. Her research interests include science fiction and fantasy studies, children's and young adult literature, digital and transmedial narratives, and contemporary Philippine literature in English. 

She has been included in anthologies of speculative fiction in the Philippines and abroad, most recently in the award-winning collection Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women (Omnium Gatherum, 2020) and Immersion: An Asian Anthology of Love, Fantasy, and Speculative Fiction (Dark Helix Press, 2019). Her stories have also appeared in the annual Philippine Speculative Fiction anthologies, the Filipino Fiction for Young Adults series, and in Philippine literary journals such as Kritika Kultura and Likhaan Journal. She has also recently contributed chapters to Látag: Essays on Philippine Literature, Culture, and the Environment, and Here and Now: Selected Poetics from the UP National Writers Workshop (Likhaan: UP Institute of Creative Writing, 2019) and Asian Children’s Literature and Film in a Global Age: Local, National, and Transnational Trajectories(Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). She was also the guest editor for the special issue of the University of Malaya’s Southeast Asian Review of English (Vol 58 No 1, 2021), titled "Worldbuilding and the Asian Imagination."

Her first book of short fiction is titled Instructions on How to Disappear: Stories (Visprint Inc., 2016). Her previous books include Disturbing the Universe: Poems (NCCA Ubod New Writers Prize, 2006) and La-on and the Seven Headed Dragon (Adarna House, 2002). She received the Grand Prize at the 2019 PBBY-Salanga Awards, which was released as Cely's Crocodile: The Story and Art of Araceli Limcaco-Dans (Tahanan Books, 2020). Right now, she is working on her second collection of short stories, her first YA novel, and editing a book on Philippine speculative fiction. She is currently on leave from her faculty position at the Department of English & Comparative Literature at UP Diliman. She can be found online at

Krystal Marsh

I came to Pitt after earning my MA in Shakespeare Studies from King’s College London and my BA in English and Writing from Ithaca College. My research is grounded in early modern drama and women’s writing. I am particularly interested in cosmetics, space, and how the body “performs” morality. 

Gabrielle Ralambo-Rajerison

Gabrielle Rajerison is a researcher, poet, teacher, and freelance editor. She has previously held a 2020-2021 Dissertation Completion Fellowship from the American Association of University Women, the 2018-2019 Carol Kay Dissertation Fellowship, a Spring 2017 Artist-in-Residency from the University of Pittsburgh’s Physics & Astronomy Department, and the Nationality Room’s 2017 Wendell L. Wray Memorial Award for two months of archival research in Madagascar. Her dissertation is on the concept of the “poetic” image in Black diasporic visual culture, with particular attention to Madagascar.

As an undergraduate, she was a McNair Scholar and has since taken a special interest in both vertical and horizontal mentorship. In Fall 2020, she served as a mentor to graduate students teaching in the University of Pittsburgh’s English department for the first time. She has also taken the initiative to mentor a handful of undergraduates interested in graduate school, teaching, and/or personal enrichment, taking them on as TAs and self-designing their training. Her teaching portfolio includes courses in composition, literature, and film taught at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. 

She is currently pursuing an MFA in poetry at the University of Texas-Austin's Michener Center for Writers. When she grows up, she’d like to be a filmmaker

Jiwon Rim

Jiwon Rim is a fourth year Ph.D. candidate in English Literature at University of Pittsburgh. Her area of interest is animal studies (especially. ethics of animal consumption) and children’s picture books from the early twentieth-century Anglo-American culture. Her dissertation focuses on ethical, epistemological, and aesthetic construction of the animal in picture books for children: her project aims to give explanation for the puzzling coexistence of the heightened sensibility about individual animal suffering and the systematic exploitation of animal bodies en masse in our cultural present. She holds a B.A. in Aesthetics and a M.A. in English Literature, both from Seoul National University. 

Emilee Ruhland

I earned my BA and MA at North Dakota State University before coming to Pitt in 2017  for my PhD in English Literature. My research centers on medieval drama, medievalism, and digital pedagogies, with a specific focus on heritage as a site of medievalism. Currently, I am working with the performances of the York Mystery Plays, revived in 20th century York, England and intermittently staged ever since, and virtual reality video as a pedagogical device for students studying the Bible as literature, inviting them to compare the effects of environment on each episode as it moves from station to station.

Nozomi Saito

I came to Pitt after receiving my MA in English from Boston University and a BA in English from the University of Colorado. My research focuses on Afro-Asian encounters in the context of the Cold War. My fields of analysis include memory studies; discourses of migration, nation, and displacement; comparative race and ethnicity studies; BIPOC feminist theorizing; and area studies with a particular focus on the histories of US occupation in the Ryukyuus/Okinawa. 

Briana Wipf

I study medieval literature, focusing on the literature of contact and intellectual exchange between Christians and Muslims. I also study digital humanities, with my work there focusing on computational text analysis. Before studying at Pitt, I received a master's degree in literature from the University of Montana in 2017. My work is broadly interested in how literature demonstrates attitudes toward people considered to be "different," whether that difference is based in gender, religion, ability, or race. Before going back to school to pursue my master's degree, I worked as a journalist in my home state of Montana, first at independent weekly papers (including my hometown paper) and later as a health, arts and entertainment, and business reporter for one of Montana's large dailies. I continue to freelance as my schedule allows.