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 some information about recent dissertations that our Ph.D. alumni have defended as well as a snapshot of what some of our current students are working on.

Recent Dissertations


  • 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)
  • Sareene Proodian, Forbidden Zone Writers: Femininity and Anglophone Women Writers of the Great War (directed by John Curran)
  • Tyler Monoson, The View from Here: Toward a Sissy Critique (directed by Jodi Melamed)
  • Adrianne Wojcik, Theatrical Weddings and Pious Frauds: Performance and Law in Victorian Marriage Plots (directed by Christine Krueger)
  • Sunil Macwan, Literary Cosmopolitanisms of Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh, and Arundhati Roy (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)


  • 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)
  • Therese Novotny, Julian of Norwich: Voicing the Vernacular (directed by M.C. Bodden)
  • Bonnie McLean, A Single Man of Good Fortune: Postmodern Identities and Consumer Manners in the New Novel of Manners (directed by John Su)


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

Current Students

Our students are actively developing research profiles by presenting their original research at local and national conferences and by pursuing a pre-doctoral publication agenda. Here is a sample of some of their work:

  • Danielle Clapham (transatlantic modernist studies and expatriate fiction)

    Danielle is completing a project on the significance of space in the development of expatriate modernist fiction. To that end, she has a forthcoming journal article called, “’Hurray for Foreigners!’: Reading Hemingway’s Spain in the Context of Tourism Studies,” in CEA Critic; in 2018, this essay won the CEA Outstanding Graduate Student Essay Award. She also has a forthcoming co-authored book chapter that has emerged from her extensive administrative and tutoring work in the Ott Memorial Writing Center. Her three conference presentations in 2018 reflect the variety of her scholarly interests in modernist expatriate fiction, access and inclusion in writing classes, and safety on urban campuses.
  • Jackielee Derks (contemporary Anglophone fiction, women’s literature, theories of intertextuality)

    Jackielee passed her Dissertation Qualifying Exam in September on a project studying the sociopolitical work of the intertextual writings of contemporary Anglophone women writers. In 2018, she presented four papers at the MMLA, the SFRA, and the Gender and Women’s Studies Symposium on the writings of Helen Oyemi, Ali Smith, and Nnedi Okorafor.
  • Wendy Fall (Gothic fiction in the popular press)

    Wendy is an advanced doctoral student who recently completed a year of archival research at the Bodleian, British Library, University of Virginia, and the New York Public Library with fellowship support from the Smith fellowship and a Buice Scholarship (Rare Book School, University of Virginia). She has presented her work on gothic literature and archives at international and national conferences this year and has four forthcoming publications in a range of publications from Studies in Gothic Fiction to The Handbook of Horror Literature.  She edits the well-known Gothic Archive (, a digital collection of Gothic chapbooks begun by Dr. Diane Hoeveler.
  • Hunter Deiglmeier (19th century British Literature, Disability Studies, women’s/gender studies)

    Hunter has been actively presenting work from her dissertation at regional and national conferences. Her presentations include: “The Resilient Body: Blindness, Embodiment, and Disability in Mary Barton” (UW Madison Gender and Women’s Studies Graduate Conference, 2018); “Intersections of Identity: Narrating Blindness in Mary Barton” (Midwest MLA, 2018); and “Disability Hybridity: Envisioning the (Dis)empowered Body” (Northeast MLA, 2016).
  • Jessie Wirkus Haynes (19th-and 20th-century British and Irish literature)

    Jessie has presented both literary and writing studies work at local and national conferences. She was part of the steering committee and helped co-organize the Marquette Writing Symposium in 2018 and 2019 as part of her work in 2017-18 as the Assistant Director of the First Year English program; she has also presented several papers stemming from this work with Dr. Jenn Fishman, including the presentation, “Putting Down Roots: Cultivating Changemakers through Rhetorical Education” at the Ashoka Changemakers Conference. She has also presented papers about Wilde and Joyce from her dissertation at the MMLA and Midwest ACIS conferences.
  • Maggi Patchet (20th and 21st c. American literature; War literature; Women's Studies)

    Maggi is writing a dissertation on writings by female combatants in the Iraq War. She recently gave a conference presentation from this project at MMLA entitled “Repurposing Real Stories: The Function of the Frame in Helen Benedict's The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq.” In her time here, Maggi has served as an editorial assistant on Marquette’s Renascence journal.
  • Catherine Simmerer (19th-20th century Catholic British literature)

    Catherine earned her M.A. in English at Marquette and returned to the Ph.D. program in 2018. She has presented research on Arthur Conan Doyle and Austen’s Emma at the MWCBS. Additionally, she published a short biography of Father Brown in Eric Sandberg’s 100 Greatest Literary Detectives.
  • Peter Spaulding (John Milton’s cosmology and theology)

    Peter joins our Ph.D. program in 2018 after completing his M.A. degree here in the spring. In his doctoral work, he hopes to explore the theodicean question in Paradise Lost. Last summer, Peter presented “Infinite Jest, Lewis’s Tao, and the Escape from Solipsism” at the fourth annual David Foster Wallace Conference. This paper will be published in 2019 in the book David Foster Wallace and Religion.
  • Amanda Zastrow

    Amanda joined Marquette’s English program in 2018 and arrives with interests in the 20th-century novel, feminism, and New Western historicism. She is an active book reviewer for Pleiades: Literature in Context. Prior to coming to Marquette, she presented her original research at the UW Gender and Women’s Studies Symposium, the MMLA, and the Red River Graduate Student Conference.