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Robert Penn Warren Center

Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities

Home > Newsletter > Fall 2011 > 2011/2012 Graduate Student Fellows

2011/2012 Graduate Student Fellows

DIANA E. BELLONBY, Elizabeth E. Fleming Fellow, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at Dartmouth College before coming to Vanderbilt, where she studies Victorian and modernist literature as a doctoral candidate in English. She focuses on theories of aesthetics, visual culture, and gender and sexuality. Her dissertation, "Magic Portraits: Visual Culture, Ekphrasis, and the Novel, 1850-1930," explores the relationships among new visual media, popular fiction, and British aestheticism through the lens of magic-portrait stories, a subgenre famously exemplified by Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. Constructing a genre-bending genealogy from Charles Dickens's Bleak House to Virginia Woolf 's Orlando, Bellonby argues that the formal strategies used in popular magic-portrait stories shaped both British aestheticism and early twentieth-century avant-gardism.

WILLIAM L. BISHOP, a summa cum laude graduate of Emory University, is a doctoral candidate in history. His research focuses on U.S. relations with sub-Saharan Africa during the Cold War era, and his dissertation, "Diplomacy in Black and White: America and the Search for Zimbabwean Independence, 1965-1980," examines how Cold War exigencies, domestic politics, and changing conceptions of "race" affected U.S. policy toward the African colony of Rhodesia (modern-day Zimbabwe) between 1965 and 1980. He has conducted archival research in Zambia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and his research has been sponsored by such organizations as The Society of Historians for American Foreign Relations (SHAFR), the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library.

MATTHEW E. DUQUÈS, American Studies Fellow, is a doctoral candidate in English. He studies colonial American and early U.S. literature and culture with an emphasis on settler colonialism, enlightenment philosophy, and critical race and gender theory. In his dissertation, "'To a Certain Degree': Northern Education Reform and Early U.S. Literature, 1781-1867," he argues that early national and antebellum writers used the ideas of education reformers to negotiate and affirm race and gender differences. In addition to his current graduate work in English, Duquès holds a Master of Arts degree with a focus in cultural studies from Dartmouth College.

MATTHEW L. EATOUGH is a doctoral candidate in English. His dissertation, "Narrating the Ends of Class: Imperialism and Affect in the Twentieth-Century British World-System," uses world-systems theory and affect theory to chart the changing representations of declining colonial classes in the late British Empire. His project looks in particular at how two colonial classes, the Anglo-Irish and the Englishspeaking South Africans, responded to their growing marginalization in both Britain and their native countries by reimaging themselves as the overseers of transnational cultural and economic networks. Eatough has previously been the recipient of the Robert Manson Myers Graduate Award and the Martha Ingram Fellowship, both from the Department of English.

ANNA-LISA HALLING, Joe and Mary Harper Fellow, is a doctoral candidate in Spanish. Her dissertation, "Feminine Voice and Space in Early Modern Iberian Convent Theatre," utilizes both spatial and feminist theory as a framework that allows her to explore how the monastic experience and the environs in which it occurred gave rise to a rich theatrical tradition in Spain and Portugal during the 16th and 17th centuries. She specifically focuses her study on the appropriation of the trope of the manly woman, the anxiety of authorship and the creation of a tradition of women writers, the inversion of scopophilia and the male gaze, and the theatricality and performative nature of plays written, directed, and performed within the convent.

JOANNA M. MAZURSKA, George J. Graham Jr. Fellow, is a doctoral candidate in history. She earned her Master of Arts degree in international relations from the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Poland. Her dissertation, "Making Sense of Czesław Miłosz: A Twentieth Century Intellectual's Dialogue with His Transnational Audiences," examines the impact of Miłosz, a poet and Nobel Prize winner, by looking at his four transnational audiences: Western intellectuals, Central and Eastern European political exiles, Polish dissidents, and American readers of poetry. Using Miłosz as her case study, she argues that intellectuals are products of a give-and-take process in which their identity is gradually shaped and catalyzed in dialectical interaction with their audiences.

TARA E. PLUNKETT, a doctoral candidate in Spanish studies, is the Warren Center's Visiting Graduate Student Fellow from Queen's University, Belfast. Her thesis, titled "Self and Desire: Surrealism in the Images and Texts of Federico García Lorca, Rafael Alberti, Remedios Varo, and Leonora Carrington," investigates how issues of identity and desire are expressed in the work of four Surrealist artists and poets, each of whom worked in both visual and textual media. Building upon the Bretonian notion of erotic desire as a conduit to one's true artistic identity, her thesis seeks to ascertain to what extent both male and female artists' explorations of the self were shaped by desire. It also raises important questions about the interplay between visual and textual communication and the role of gender in the construction of an artistic identity.

ALISON SUEN, Ethel Mae Wilson Fellow, is a doctoral student in philosophy. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from the University of Northern Iowa. She studied in Hong Kong and Italy before coming to the U.S. to study philosophy. Her research interests include animal philosophy, philosophy of language, and 20th century continental philosophy. Her dissertation is titled "The Kinship of Language: Reworking the Human-Animal Divide." In it she explores the human-animal divide by looking at our linguistic differences. This dissertation is motivated by Suen's reading of 20th century thinkers such as Heidegger, Freud, and Derrida, and articulates a theory of language that emphasizes kinship and relational possibilities with regard to the question of language in animal ethics.

ROBERT J. WATSON is a doctoral candidate in French literature, also pursuing a graduate certificate in Jewish Studies. He studies questions of transnational identities and belonging in Francophone literatures and cinemas, particularly in the Maghreb and Levant. His dissertation, "Cities of Origin, Cities of Exile: The Literary Emergence of Maghrebi Jewish Diasporic Consciousness, 1985-2010," focuses on a group of Jewish authors born in Morocco and Tunisia around World War II, who write their life stories in France or Canada. Engaging contemporary theories of diaspora, Watson shows how these writers create a new identity for Maghrebi Jews in North America, Europe, and Israel that is bound together by remembering the world they left behind in North Africa.


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