Graduate Research

The English graduate program is a vibrant research community that has produced many distinguished scholars and projects in its history. Here you will find information about recent dissertations defended by our Ph.D. students. For a snapshot of what our current M.A. and Ph.D. students are working on, see Current Graduate Students.

Recent Dissertations


  • Jason Zirbel, "Inquiry and Provocation: The Use of Ambiguity in Sixteenth-Century English Political Satire” (directed by Amelia Zurcher)


  • Danielle K. Clapham, "When the Foreign Became Familiar:  Modernism, Expatriation, and Spatial Identities in the Twentieth Century" (directed by Leah Flack)
  • Hunter N. Duncan,"Reforming Victorian Sense/Abilities:  Disabilities in Elizabeth Gaskell's Social Problem Novels" (directed by Christine Krueger)
  • Kathryn Hendrickson, "Genre and Loss:  The Impossibility of Restoration in 20th Century Detective Fiction" (directed by Amy Blair)
  • Maxwell Patchet, "A Productive Failure:  Existentialism in Fin de Siècle England" (directed by Leah Flack)


  • Justice Hagan, "No Home but the World:  Forced Migration and Transnational Identity" (directed by Jodi Melamed)
  • Andrew Hoffmann, "The City as Trap: Twentieth and Twenty-First Century American Literature and the Myth of Mobility" (directed by Jodi Melamed)
  • Brian Kenna, "The Fantastic and the First World War" (directed by John Su)
  • Anna Scanlon, "Insane in the Brain, Blood, and Lungs:  Gender-Specific Manifestations of Hysteria, Chlorosis, and Consumption in 19th-Century Literature" (directed by Sarah Wadsworth)
  • Jennifer Arias Sweeney, "Reading Multicultural Novels Melancholically: Racial Grief and Grievance in The Joy Luck Club, Beloved, and Anil's Ghost" (directed by John Su)


  • J.T. Lorino, "The Ethos of Dissent: Epideictic Rhetoric and the Democratic Function of American Protest and Countercultural Literature, 1940-1962" (directed by Heather Hathaway)
  • Sunil Macwan, "Literary Cosmopolitanisms of Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh, and Arundhati Roy" (directed by John Su)
  • Tyler Monson, "The View from Here: Toward a Sissy Critique" (directed by Jodi Melamed)
  • Sareene Proodian, "Forbidden Zone Writers: Femininity and Anglophone Women Writers of the Great War" (directed by John Curran)
  • Adrianne Wojcik, "Theatrical Weddings and Pious Frauds: Performance and Law in Victorian Marriage Plots" (directed by Christine Krueger)


  • Bryan Gast, "Changing the Victorian Habit Loop. The Body in the Poetry and Painting of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Morris" (directed by Ed Block)
  • Katy Leedy, "Discarding Dreams and Legends: The Short Fiction of Elizabeth Madox Roberts, Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor, and Katherine Anne Porter" (directed by Heather Hathaway)


  • Bridget Kapler, "Gendering Scientific Discourse from 1790-1830: Erasmus Darwin, Thomas Beddoes, Maria Edgeworth, and Jane Marcet" (directed by Al Rivero)
  • Michael Keller, "The Pulpit's Muse: Conversive Poetics in the American Renaissance" (directed by Angela Sorby)
  • Bonnie McLean, "A Single Man of Good Fortune: Postmodern Identities and Consumer Manners in the New Novel of Manners" (directed by John Su)
  • Therese Novotny, "Julian of Norwich: Voicing the Vernacular" (directed by M.C. Bodden)


  • Emily Blaser, "Homecomings: Victorian Women, Travel Writers and Revisions of Domesticity" (directed by Christine Krueger)
  • Daniel Burke, "From Pastoral to Paterson: Ecology in the Poetry and Poetics of William Carlos Williams" (directed by Heather Hathaway)
  • Kathleen Burt, "Debatable Poetry: (Re)Defining The Middle English Debate Poem in Academic Popular, and Physical Contexts" (directed by John Curran)
  • Steven Hackbarth, "Apocalyptic Mentalities in Late Medieval England" (directed by M.C. Bodden)
  • Matthew Henningsen, "Saving the Grotesque: The Grotesque System of Liberation in British High Modernism (1922-1932)" (directed by John Boly)
  • William Storm, "The Creation of Heaven in the Middle Ages" (directed by John Curran)
  • Shaunna Wilkinson, "(Re)Making the Gentlemen: Genteel Masculinities and the Country Estate in the Novels of Charlotte Smith, Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell" (directed by Diane Hoeveler)