Society of Fellows

2016-2018 Cohort

Rhae Lynn Barnes (American Studies and Ethnicity) is a cultural historian who specializes in the history of North America with particular interests in the history of racism, racial formation, gender, sexuality, book history, and representation in popular culture.

John Blakinger (Art History) received his Ph.D. in Art History from Stanford University. He studies the history, theory, and criticism of modern and contemporary art, with a focus on the intersection of aesthetics and politics with media, design, and visual culture.

Asheesh Siddique (History) is a political, intellectual, and cultural historian of the British empire, early America, and early modern Europe who is interested in the relationship between governance, knowledge, and technology.

Jessica Wright (Classics) works at the intersection of the history of medicine and religion in late antiquity. Her doctoral dissertation, “Brain and Soul in Late Antiquity,” explores constructions of the brain in Christian texts from the fourth and fifth centuries CE.

Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellows in the Humanities

Previous to the establishment of the Society of Fellows in 2016, the USC Office of the Provost supported two-year postdoctoral fellowships in the humanities. The recipients of those fellowships appear listed below

2015 Cohort

Stephanie Balkwill (Religion) received her Ph.D. in Religious Studies and Ph.D. Diploma in Gender Studies and Feminist Research at McMaster University in Canada. Balkwill’s research proposal, “Because the Buddha is No Longer a Woman: Tracking the Ideal of Female-to-Male Sex Change in Mahāyāna Sūtras,” addresses the topic of female-to-male transformation.


Adam Goodman (History) received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Pennsylvania. Goodman’s current book project offers a history of the deportation of Mexicans from the United States since the 1940s.

Bihui Li (Philosophy) received his Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science from University of Pittsburgh. Li’s dissertation, “Moving Beyond ‘Theory T’: The Case of Quantum Field Theory,” investigates central questions about the contribution of mathematics to the content of a physical theory.

Ronald Mendoza-de Jesús (Spanish and Portuguese) received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Emory University, where his work on non-historicist approach to literary historiography through an engagement with Spanish-Caribbean modernist literature and poststructuralist theories of historicity.

Bonnie Ruberg (Critical Studies, Cinema) received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in affiliation with the departments of New Media, Gender and Women’s Studies, and Comparative Literature. Ruberg’s research explores the intersection of gender, sexuality, and digital cultures, with an emphasis on queerness and video games.

2014 Cohort

Left to right: Tom Pashby, Anna Rosensweig, Jessica Rosenberg, James Thomas, Gina Greene, Simeon Man. (Peter Zhaoyu Zhou/USC News)

Gina Greene (History) received her Ph.D. in Architectural History from Princeton University.  Her research focuses on late nineteenth- and early twentieth- century European and American architecture, urbanism, and visual culture, and their intersection with histories of medicine and technology, particularly as such intersections are complicated by cultural attitudes towards race and gender.

Simeon Man (American Studies and Ethnicity) received his Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University.  His research and teaching interests include Asian American history, comparative ethnic studies, and the United States in the Pacific world, with an emphasis on the politics of race and empire in the twentieth century.

Thomas Pashby (Philosophy) recently completed his PhD at the University of Pittsburgh, in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science. His interests lie in the philosophy of physics, of science, and metaphysics.  His dissertation, Time and the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, argues for a novel account of temporal processes in quantum theory that supports an ontology of events for matter, and a relational theory of time.

Jessica Rosenberg (English) received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research argues that widespread botanical figures –practical and metaphorical, medicinal and mythological – fundamentally shaped English understandings of the printed word and the natural world, conceiving both as composites of small forms, ready for a future of appropriation and use at the hands of a new reading public.

Anna Rosensweig (French & Italian) recently received her Ph.D. in French from the University of Minnesota. She specializes in early modern literature and culture, the intersections of literature and political theory, and performance studies. Her dissertation argues that early modern drama participates in and extends a political debate about the possibility of legitimate resistance that begins during the French Wars of Religion (1562-98).

James Thomas (Art History) recently completed his Ph.D. in Art History at Stanford University. His current project is a study of the intersection of abstract art, experimental architecture, and radical design of the 1960s and 1970s, as related to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). A study of artistic, institutional, and political spaces during a so-called “Space Age,” his research explores the links between avant-garde aesthetics and the official manned spaceflight program of the United States.

2013 Cohort

From left to right: Molly Pulda, Atia Sattar, Gaoheng Zhang, Elizabeth Garrett, Sean Nye, Lauren Jennings, Natalia Pérez, Mark Todd. (Rich Schmitt/USC)

Alison Annunziata (Slavic languages and Literatures) received her Ph.D. in Russian Literature from Columbia University in 2012. Her research interests cover late 18th and early 19th century Russian prose, postmodern perspectives in the Enlightenment, poetics of domesticity and exile, Russian Formalism and Tolstoy.

Sean Nye (Musicology) received his Ph.D. in Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society form the University of Minnesota in 2012. Nye specializes in Austro-German musical aesthetics and literature in the 18th-20th century, electronic and industrial music, cultural musicology and subcultural studies, gender and sexuality, media and sound studies, science fiction and Theodor W. Adorno. As a Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar, he plans on turning his dissertation, Teutonic Time-Slip into a book and start a second project dealing with Philip K. Dick’s fundamental interests in music and stereo sound.

Natalia Pérez (Spanish & Portuguese) received her Ph.D. in Spanish from Princeton University this year. Her dissertation, Whispered Materiality: Voice and Gender in the Theater of Early Modern Spain, focused on the philosophical question of Voice in relation to the theatre of Golden Age Spain.

Molly Pulda (English) received her PhD from the City University of New York (CUNY) this year. As a Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar, she plans to turn her dissertation, Sympathetic Ink: Memoirs of Family Secrets, into a book manuscript while furthering her research on secrecy in contemporary American literature.

Atia Sattar (Comparative Literature) received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the Pennsylvania State University in 2012. Her research interests include medicine and literature; science, technology, and society; and 19th century British and French literature.

2012 Cohort

Bradford Bouley (History) received his Ph.D. from Stanford University. His area of specialization is in early modern Europe with a focus on religious and scientific developments, especially as they relate to contemporary understanding of the human body.

Lauren Jennings (Musicology) received her Ph.D. in Historical Musicology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2012. Her research focuses on intersections between music and literature in 14th-century Italy, as reflected in her dissertation, Tracing Voices: Song as Literature in Late Medieval Italy.

Anastasia Kayiatos (Slavic Languages and Literature) received her Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures with a Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender and Sexuality from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests concern gender, sexuality, and the body in Russia from the nineteenth century to the present.

Bryan W. Roberts (Philosophy) received his PhD in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Pittsburgh. His research interests bridge between questions of traditional philosophy and the constraints of modern physics, as reflected in his dissertation, Time and ontology: a study in the foundations of quantum theory.

Julianne Werlin (English) receive her Ph.D. in English from Princeton University in 2012.  Her research interests include Early Modern literature, politics, intellectual history, as well as contemporary poetry and the history of utopian and science fiction.

Gaoheng Zhang (French and Italian) received his PhD in Italian Studies from New York University in 2011. His work draws on theoretical works in cinema, mobility, and gender and masculinity studies, analyzing Italian notions of national identity, class, migration, colonialism, and East-West relations through the lens of the cinematic construction of the mobility and gendered identities of travelers in these films.

2011 Cohort

Alejandro Pérez Carballo (Philosophy) A recent graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Ph.D. in Philosophy and a minor in Linguistics,  is interested in how theories of language constrain theories of the mind.  While at USC, Alejandro aims to complete a book that examines whether the constraints imposed on mathematical theorizing by epistemic goals account for the objectivity of mathematics.

Julia Sun-Joo Lee (English) received her AB in English from Princeton University and her PhD in English from Harvard University.  She is currently working on two projects, a monograph on nineteenth-century black transnationalism and an anthology of Caribbean women writers.

Tracy McMullen (Music) received her Ph.D. in Music from UC San Diego. She is currently completing her book manuscript, Replay: Repetition and Identity Compulsion from ABBA to Žižek (solicited by Duke University Press).  Replay examines the late 20th/early 21st century fascination with the live re-enactment of the past as a form of popular entertainment.

Nathan Perl-Rosenthal (History) received his PhD in history from Columbia University in 2011.  His work focuses on the political and cultural history of the eighteenth century North Atlantic, especially the first age of revolutions, ca. 1760-1815.  His dissertation, “Corresponding Republics,” was a comparative study of the influence of old regime letter writing practice on elite political organizing in the American, Dutch and French Revolutions.

Benjamin Wright (Cinema) received his PhD in Film and Cultural Studies from Carleton University in 2011.  His dissertation addressed changes in modern Hollywood sound practices by exploring how the art of sound production is tied to current institutional demands, commercial expectations, stylistic norms, and technological options.

Anri Yasuda (East Asian Languages and Literatures) received her PhD from Columbia University in 2011. She is interested in how late nineteenth and early twentieth century Japanese writers’ critical and creative outlooks were informed by their receptions of Western visual art and aesthetics.