Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellows in the Humanities

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.

2015 Cohort

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. The project incorporates a transnational approach, using English- and Spanish-language archival sources and oral histories from the United States and Mexico to explore the political, institutional, and social history of deportation over the last seven decades. It also sheds new light on contemporary expulsion efforts by situating them within the longer history of migration control, and exploring how deportation has changed, both qualitatively and quantitatively, over time. Goodman’s work has been supported by a Miller Center National Fellowship, Fulbright-García Robles Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar on “Rethinking International Migration,” and the Immigration and Ethnic History Society’s George E. Pozzetta Dissertation Award. His articles and essays on U.S. and Mexican politics, migration, and deportation have appeared in academic venues like the Journal of American Ethnic History, and popular outlets such as The Nation and The Washington Post. Placement: University of Illinois at Chicago, Assistant Professor of History and Latin American and Latino Studies

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. During her time at USC, she plans to transform her dissertation, Children in Glass in Houses: Toward a Hygienic, Eugenic Architecture for Children during the Third Republic in France (1870-1940), which examined French medical culture as a determinative force in shaping architecture and urban design around the turn of the century, into a book manuscript.

Simeon Man (American Studies and Ethnicity) received his Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University, and was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in American Studies and Asian American Studies at Northwestern 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.  His book-in-progress, “Soldiering Through Empire: Race and the Making of the Decolonizing Pacific”, is a history of Asian soldiers and military workers who labored for the U.S. military in Asia after World War II.  The book situates these postcolonial subjects and their racial formation at the intersections of U.S. militarism and global decolonization, and broadly inquires about the imperial politics of soldiering in the second half of the twentieth century. He will work on revising the book manuscript during his time at USC. Placement: Assistant Professor, Department of History, UC San Diego.

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. He plans to spell out the implications of this account of quantum theory for problems that arise in interpreting the standard formulation of quantum mechanics, including the infamous measurement problem.  He also intends to extend the account to relativistic quantum theory to provide a new perspective on issues concerning locality.

Jessica Rosenberg (English) received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research, Botanical Publics and English Textual Cultures, 1557-1667, 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. During her time at USC, she plans to expand this argument to show how these connections between books and plants generated a sense of a reading public over the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, one predicated on specifically botanical understandings of circulation, reproduction, and common property.

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). As a Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar, Rosensweig plans to turn her dissertation into a book, tentatively titled Tragic Opposition: Rights of Resistance on the Early Modern Stage. Although her primary research focuses on the early modern period, Rosensweig is also interested in more contemporary questions of human rights and literature. Her work on literary responses to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda appears in the French Review. In 2012, she served as a dramaturg for Erik Ehn’s performance cycle, Soulographie: Our Genocides. Rosensweig has also served as a theater reviewer for Aisle Say Twin Cities.While at USC, she is looking forward to enjoying the vibrant performing arts scene on campus and around Los Angeles.

James Thomas (Art History) recently completed his Ph.D. in Art History at Stanford University, and is currently the Chester Dale Predoctoral Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. 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. Thomas was previously the Daniel C. Guggenheim Fellow at the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.. While at USC, Thomas will develop his current project into a book-length study. He is also currently preparing an exhibition about the artist Robert Rauschenberg’s “Stoned Moon” (1969), a series of lithographic prints commissioned by NASA to document the historic Apollo XI mission.

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. As a Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar, she plans to refine her dissertation and produce a manuscript distilling two critical periods—Enlightenment and Formalism—to their central motifs of light and form.

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. She plans to work on a book project tentatively titled, Marrano Theater: Distribution of the Sensible in the Early Modern Comedia while at USC. Placement: Assistant Professor of Spanish, University of Southern California.

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. During her time at USC, she intends to turn her dissertation, The Aesthetics of Experiential Medicine: Literature and Scientific Inquiry in The Nineteenth Century, into a book. Placement: Lecturer, University of Southern California (Writing Program).

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. While at USC, he converted his dissertation, Dissecting the Holy: Anatomy and Sanctity in Early Modern Italy, into a manuscript for publication. Placement: Assistant Professor of History, Penn State University.

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. As a Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar, she will continue her work on the material life of 14th-century Italian song in both notated and un-notated sources, aiming to subvert the conventional separation of poetry and music and to demonstrate how the literary identity of song texts is central to the musical and cultural significance of this repertoire. Placement: Lecturer in Musicology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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. Also, she has fully developed a second field in queer and feminist theory, and a specialization in deaf and disability studies. During her time at USC, Kayiatos revised her dissertation into a book manuscript on silent performances of sexual difference in the Soviet Union, entitled Suggestive Gestures: Toward a Queer Socialist Aesthetic. Placement: Visiting Assistant Professor, Russian Studies.

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. As a Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar, he aimed to expand on his dissertation for publication through further investigation of the connection between time and ontology when relativity is considered and the exploration of the broader question about our human ability to measure time. Placement: Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method.

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. During her time at USC, Julianne aims to revise her dissertation, The Impossible Probable: Modeling Utopia in Early Modern England, into a book. In addition, she plans to begin a second book project on the poetics of war. Placement: Bacca Foundation Assistant Professor of Rhetoric, Culture and Society, Duke University.

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. His current book project entitled The Culture of Chinese Immigration to Italy (2000-2010): Identity, Media, Entrepreneurship, and Diplomacyinvestigates how identities of Chinese immigrants in Italy were constructed and contested in the media by Italians and the immigrants themselves between 2000 and 2010. He plans to analyze the impact Chinese entrepreneurship in Italy and international diplomacy has had on these immigrants’ racial and gendered identity negotiations. Placement beginning Fall 2016: Assistant Professor in Italian Studies in the Department of French, Hispanic, and Italian Studies, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. 2014-2016: Assistant Professor, Italian Cinema, University of Toronto.

2011 Cohort

A recent graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a PhD in Philosophy and a minor in Linguistics, Alejandro Pérez Carballo 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. Placement: Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Julia Sun-Joo Lee received her AB in English from Princeton University and her PhD in English from Harvard University.  She has published widely in Victorian, transatlantic, and African-American literature and culture.  She is author of The American Slave Narrative and the Victorian Novel (Oxford UP, 2010), and her articles have appeared in Nineteenth-Century Literature, Victorian Literature and Culture, and African American Review.  She has received fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Huntington Library, and the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Before coming to USC, she was Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Loyola Marymount University.  She is currently working on two projects, a monograph on nineteenth-century black transnationalism and an anthology of Caribbean women writers (with co-editors Jamaica Kincaid and Marie-Denise Shelton). Placement: Assistant Professor of English, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Tracy McMullen received her PhD in Music from UC San Diego and in 2007-2008 was a Postdoctoral fellow with the “Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice” research initiative at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.  She was a faculty member in the Music and the Gender & Women’s Studies departments and a resident fellow with the Beatrice Bain Research Group at UC Berkeley from 2009 to 2011.  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.  The work references re-enactments in film and theater, but focuses on music, with a special emphasis on popular and jazz music in the United States.  A follow-up project to Replay considers improvisation and the idea of an “improvisative.”  In this work, McMullen argues that the improvisative offers a necessary alternative to the approach of Replay for understanding our relationship to the past, history, and identity.  Her articles have appeared or are forthcoming in Current Musicology; Critical Studies in Improvisation; Big Ears: Listening for Gender in Jazz Studies; People Get Ready: The Future of Jazz is Now; Sounding the Body: Improvisation, Representation and Subjectivity; The Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies; The Dictionary of African American Music; and The Grove Dictionary of American Music.  As a saxophonist in the jazz and improvised music traditions she has recorded on the Cadence jazz label and numerous other independent labels and maintains an active performance schedule. Placement: Assistant Professor of Music, Bowdoin College.

Nathan Perl-Rosenthal 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.  As a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow, he is working on a book about cosmopolitan sailors in the age of revolutions, provisionally entitled Worldly Americans, which is under contract with Harvard University Press.  Worldly Americans, the first trans-national history of American seamen in the revolutionary era, examines how the maritime world connected political movements around the Atlantic while also serving as a zone in which working people (sailors and other members of the maritime community) influenced policy and law across national lines.  Nathan has published in the William and Mary Quarterly, the Journal of the Early Republic, Research in Maritime History and other publications.  When not thinking about the eighteenth century, he is probably learning to make bread or trying to organize his books. Placement: Assistant Professor of History and Spatial Sciences , University of Southern California.

Benjamin Wright 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.  Specifically, it examined how sound editors, mixers, designers, Foley artists, and engineers in the “sound chain” go about the job of creating sound for film.  His research interests include the history and theory of industry studies, Hollywood sound and visual style, technologies of film practice, and representations of Jewish humor in film and television.  His essays have appeared in Music, Sound, and the Moving Image, Offscreen, and the Journal of Popular Culture.  He also maintains a personal website where he publishes short essays on issues of film and television history and style. Placement: Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Western Ontario.

Anri Yasuda received her PhD from Columbia University in 2011.  She was a Visiting Researcher at Waseda University in Tokyo in 2009.  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.  Her dissertation investigates how the writers’ attempts to articulate in Japanese literary language new ‘universal’ aesthetic ideals and perspectives necessitated a conceptual navigation between multiple modes of ‘images’—visual, mental, linguistic, and otherwise—and how these hybrid processes reflected the formation of their identities and self-images as individual subjects within the rapidly shifting social and material conditions of Japan’s modernization.  As a Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar, Anri aims to revise her dissertation, “Imaging the World: The Literature and Aesthetics of Mori Ogai, the Shirakaba School, and Akutagawa Ryûnosuke” into a publishable manuscript. Placement: Assistant Professor of Japanese Language and Literature, George Washington University.