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LTWR Graduate Student News 

  • Congratulations to Christine Briggs! 

Congratulations to Christine Briggs, who successfully defended her thesis, "Feminist Speculative Fiction and Reproductive Futurisms in Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents and Louise Erdrich’s Future Home of the Living God". Christine's thesis examines the complex representation of motherhood and its relationship to science fiction conventions; she finds that authors such as Butler and Erdrich use the futurist setting afforded by science fiction to explore the ongoing struggles for women of color to have bodily autonomy, civil rights, and a sense of community. Utilizing a range of theoretically complex discussions of the history of science fiction alongside more contemporary explorations of critical race studies in speculative fiction, Christine explores timely matters of gender and racial justice.

  • Congratulations to Robbie Hammel! 

Congratulations to Robbie Hammel, who successfully defended his thesis, "Schooled in the Whirpool". The thesis, a collection of stories, presents a series of characters struggling with failure and loss in a variety of American environments, eastern and western, urban and suburban and rural. These stories are convincingly realist, with tinges of absurdist humor, and they frequently present characters uncertain of their connection to the world around them.

  • Congratulations to Derek Heid!

Congratulations to Derek Heid, who successfully defended his thesis, "Genre, Form, and Subversion in Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon". Derek's thesis explores the subversion of genre expectations in superhero comics through an examination of disruptions of linear narrative, the semiotics of non-textual language, and the complications of hero/antihero archetypes in Matt Fraction and David Aja’s nineteen-issue run of the Hawkeye comic book series.

  • Congratulations to Francisco "Frank" Ortega! 

Congratulations to Frank Ortega, who successfully defended his thesis, "The Rhetoric of Lowriding: A Misunderstood Cultural Movement in the Public Realm." In this very interesting and insightful piece, Frank argues that the car that so visibly represents the tradition of lowriding here in Southern California is actually a textual representation of a complex culture that has consciously and strategically developed to "write back" against systematic discrimination and the stereotypes often ascribed to those of Mexican descent. His passion and insider-perspective come through clearly in his thesis and make it an enlightening piece that is a pleasure to read.

  • Congratulations to the Class of 2020! 

The Graduate Studies Coordinator, Prof. Heidi Breuer, has prepared a short video in celebration of graduating LTWR students. Check it out!

  • Congratulations to Jeremy Whittaker! 

Congratulations to Jeremy Whittaker, who successfully defended his thesis, "Exploring Science-Fantasy, Gender, and Postcolonial Issues in Netflix’s Disenchantment"  which connects previous discussions about gender and race in speculative literature to a recent animated series not currently the subject of academic discussion. Jeremy argues that Disenchantment invites viewers to be critical of traditional speculative literature conventions that rely on gender and racial stereotypes, but that the show ultimately falls prey to some of the very conventions it attempts to critique.

  • Congratulations to Melissa Hurt! 

Congratulations to Melissa Hurt, who successfully defended her thesis,
"(Sub)urbanites Under the Influence: High Crimes and Border Crossings in the Addiction Narratives of Junky and Breaking Bad" which considers how race and class function in contemporary representations of drug addicts. Melissa tracks how the whiteness and class privilege of sympathetic addict characters continue to reinforce the racialized stereotypes about addiction in American culture. This thesis raises important questions about changing drug policies and which populations benefit from recent decriminalization legislation and the role that popular narratives play in forwarding stigmas and stereotypes.

  • Congratulations to Mikayla Keehn!

Congratulations to Mikayla Keehn, who successfully defended her thesis, "Composing Herself: Joan Didion and the Art of Public Bereavement" which unpacks Didion's psychological process of “magical thinking” and elucidates how Didion depicts negotiating feelings of abandonment and denial as she guides her readers into her candid progression into grief, utilizing literature, research, and her writing process to make sense of her identity as a new widow traversing the unfamiliar landscape of bereavement through memory.

  • Congratulations to Jillian Sandvig! 

Congratulations to Jillian Sandvig, who successfully defended her thesis, "'I Wanna Do Bad Things [to] You:' Complicating Representations of Southern Women and Cultural “Others” in Absalom, Absalom! and True Blood"  which examines how issues of gender and race are portrayed in southern gothic works. In particular, Jillian looks at how systemic racial and gender prejudices uniquely tied to the culture of the American south continue to haunt readers and viewers.

  • Introducing the Schmidt Scholarship for Incoming M.A. Students!

The LTWR Department is thrilled to announce the inauguration of the Schmidt Graduate Scholarship in Literature & Writing Studies, available to incoming students starting in Fall 2018.  Two incoming students will be selected for a $2000 scholarship to be distributed during the first semester of the M.A. program.   

Recent Graduates

Congratulations to our most recent M.A.s, who successfully defended their theses!

Christine Briggs, "Feminist Speculative Fiction and Reproductive Futurisms in Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents and Louise Erdrich’s Future Home of the Living God", 2020 (directed by Prof. Rebecca Lush)

Robbie Hammel, "Schooled in the Whirpool", 2020 (directed by Prof. Mark Wallace)

Derek Heid, "Genre, Form, and Subversion in Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon", 2020 (directed by Prof. Francesco Levato)

Francisco Ortega, "The Rhetoric of Lowriding: A Misunderstood Cultural Movement in the Public Realm", 2020 (directed by Prof. Susie Cassel)

Jeremy Whittaker, "Exploring Science-Fantasy, Gender, and Postcolonial Issues in Netflix's Disenchantment", 2020 (directed by Prof. Rebecca Lush)

Melissa Hurt, "(Sub)urbanites Under the Influence: High Crimes and Border Crossings in the Addiction Narratives of Junky and Breaking Bad", 2020 (directed by Prof. Rebecca Lush)

Mikayla Keehn, "Composing Herself: Joan Didion and the Art of Public Bereavement", 2020 (directed by Prof. Martha Stoddard Holmes)

Jillian Sandvig, "'I Wanna Do Bad Things [to] You:' Complicating Representations of Southern Women and Cultural "Others" in Absalom, Absalom! and True Blood", 2020 (directed by Prof. Rebecca Lush)

Andy McIntyre, "Tender Eyes", 2019 (directed by Prof. Heidi Breuer)

Thomas Bricke, "Translating Hans Fallada's children's book, Geschichten aus der Murkelei, from German into English," 2019 (directed by Prof. Oliver Berghof)

Kerry Baker, "Representations of Witches and Witchcraft in Children's Literature," 2019 (directed by Prof. Heidi Breuer)

Elizabeth Roush, "The Subversive Recontextualization of Celebrity Images," 2019 (directed by Prof. Heidi Breuer)

Erica Wahlgren, "Constructed Landscapes: Impact on Physical Space and Bodily Experience," 2019 (directed by Prof. Francesco Levato)

Jen Strawser, "Masculine Trauma in William Faulkner's 'Sound and the Fury'," 2019 (directed by Prof. Mark Wallace)

Yaz Manley, "Rendered Out of Commission: Othered Arabs and Abject Rhetoric in Service of Empire," 2019 (co-directed by Prof. Francesco Levato and Prof. Sandra Doller)

Kristian Pr'Out, "Egoism and the Post-Anarchic: Max Stirner's New Individualism," 2019 (directed by Prof. Oliver Berghof)

David Davis, "Dark Lens: Postcolonial Lovecreaftian Interactive Fiction," 2018 (directed by Prof. Francesco Levato)

Gianna Ramirez, "The Conjuring of Strange Curious Mischief: Twisted Retellings of Classic Children's Narratives," 2018 (directed by Prof. Sandra Doller)

Rebecca Sterling, “Monstrous Journeys: The Horror of the Failed Female Hero’s Journey in Carrie and Ginger Snaps,” 2018 (directed by Prof. Rebecca Lush)