Find below a list of PhD dissertation defenses in English and Medieval Studies from 2012 to the present, organized by academic year. Committee members’ department and/or institution are listed if they are not UConn English faculty.


William Biel. April 15, 2022. “The Edge of Desire: Objects, Masculinity, and Medieval Romance.” Hasenfratz, Somerset, Berthelot (Literatures, Culture, and Languages), and Olsen (History).

Kerry Carnahan. May 18, 2022. “Song of Songs/Who Intimately Live.” Pelizzon, Breen, Mahoney, and Shoulson.

Kari Daly. April 11, 2022. “Equivocal Enrichment: Theorizing the Autodidact in Nineteenth-Century Literature.” Recchio, Cutter, and Lynch.

Alexander Dawson. April 18, 2022. “Postcolonial Friction: Mobilities in Twenty-First Century African Literature.” Shringarpure, Pierrot, and Coundouriotis.

Amy Fehr. May 5, 2022. “Reading for World Citizenship in the Postwar University.” Knapp, Eby, and Vials.

Mollie Kervick. April 8, 2022. “Networks of Nurture in Celtic Tiger and Post-Crash Fiction by Irish Women.” Lynch, Breen, and Burke.

Daniel Pfeiffer. March 21, 2022. ““Striving Artists: New York City, Neoliberalism, and the Twenty-First Century Art Novel.” Knapp, Vials, and Boylan (Art and History).

Anna Ziering. March 28, 2022. “Dirty Forms: Masochism, Race, and World-Making in U.S. Literature and Culture.” Vials, Pierrot, and McElya.


Arpita Mandal. July 26, 2021. “Ruptured Belonging: Postcolonial Perspectives on Trauma and Nationalism.” Coundouriotis, Hogan, Shringarpure, and Winter.

Ruth Book. June 25, 2021. “Dwelling Together: The Ethos of a Writing Program in a Moment of Change.” Brueggemann, Deans, Görkemli, and Winter.

Emma Burris-Janssen. June 9, 2021. “Novel Abortions.” Higonnet, Coundouriotis, Smith, Winter.

Roxanne Gentry. June 7, 2021. “Inheriting Jane’s Estate: Toward Radical Heritage in the Afterlives of Pride and Prejudice.” Recchio, Marsden, Semenza, and Smith.

Erin Lynn. April 9, 2021. “Made of Weather: Fantasy, Anger, and the Recuperation of Female Voice In Women’s Poetry from Modernism to Present.” Pelizzon, Breen, and Mahoney.

Rebecca Rowe. March 19, 2021. “Acting Like a Kid: Adults in Contemporary American Adaptations of Children’s Literature.” Smith, Capshaw, Semenza, Wannamaker, and Eastern MI U.

Matthew Shelton. March 5, 2021. “A Diagram of Winds: Lines of Flight in Translation and Translingual Poiesis.” Pelizzon, Burke, and Mahoney.

Nicole Lawrence. July 28, 2020. “Living in the Impasse: British Writers and Non-Normative Identities, 1880-1940.” Winter, Breen, and Smith.


Amanda Greenwell. May 7, 2020. “Confronting America: The Child Gaze in American Literature, 1930-2018.” Capshaw, Duane, and Smith.

Katie Nunnery’s. April 23, 2020. “Fin-de-siècle Decadent Writing and the Queerness of Childhood.” Smith, Breen, and Capshaw.

Hayley Stefan. April 21, 2020. “Writing National Tragedies: Race and Disability in Contemporary U.S. Literature and Culture.” Schlund-Vials, Capshaw, Coundouriotis, and Eby.

Alex Gatten. April 20, 2020. “Formal Perversions: Queer Poetics and the Turn in Romantic Verse.” Mahoney, Breen, and Igarashi.

Elizabeth Reinwald. April 20, 2020. “Englishing Rome: Translation, Adaptation, and Gender in Early Modern Drama.” Semenza, King’oo, and Marsden.

Katelyn Jaynes. April 17, 2020. “Barns of Disunity: Satirizing Households in Late Medieval English Poetry.” Somerset, Olson, and Tonry.

Laura Godfrey. April 10, 2020. “Be Wholly Out of Body”: Astonishment in Late Medieval English Literature.” Somerset, Hasenfratz, and Olson.

Micah Goodrich. April 3, 2020. “Nature-Work: (Re)Production and the Body in Medieval Discourses of Nature.” Hasenfratz, Somerset, Kruger, and Olson.

Meghan Brown. Dec. 19, 2019. “Performing Americanness: Music and Nationality in 20th Century U.S. Literature.” Cutter, Knapp, Pierrot, and Schlund-Vials.

Matthew Jones. November 15, 2019. “Tradition’s Chains: Wales in British Literature, 1780-1870.” Mahoney, Codr, Vials, and Winter.

Michael Bartch. Nov. 7, 2019. “National Elegy: The Form of Public Discourse in Nineteenth-Century Britain.” Mahoney, Pelizzon, and Winter.

Brian Sneeden. October 29, 2019. “Humans in Translation: First Translations and Faithful Originals.” Pelizzon, Burke, and Constantine.

Christopher Iverson. September 17, 2019. “The Effects of Service-Learning on Writing and Rhetorical Development.” Deans, Brueggemann, Carillo, and Görkemli.

Melissa Rohrer. August 9, 2019. “Ripped from the Broadsides: The Invention of Scandal on the Early Modern Stage.” Semenza, Codr, Marsden, and Sullivan.


Kate Gross. May 30, 2019. “Writing Wrongs: Humanitarian Activism in Contemporary World Literature and Film.” Schlund-Vials, Semenza, and Vials.

Joseph Leake. Apr 25, 2019. “ex linguis gentes: Etymologizing of Landscape and Peoples in Early Medieval Britain.” Biggs, Hasenfratz, Olson, Shoulson, and Somerset.

Sarah Moon. Apr 22, 2019. “Making Space: Community Writing and Performance toward the Production of Location.” Deans, Görkemli, and Winter.

Abigail Fagan. Apr 19, 2019. “Bloated: Power and the Body in American Temperance Literature.” Duane, Breen, and Franklin.

J. Brandon Benevento. April 18, 2019. “Upkeep: Maintenance in American Representations of Work, 1945-Present.” Codr, Eby, and Vials.

Joanna MacGugan. Feb 8, 2019. “The Emergence of an Oral-Textual Mentality: Social Practices and the Politics of Death in Medieval co. Dublin, 1257-1485.” Co-Major Advisors, Kane and Olson; Biggs, and Somerset.


Sara Austin. Jun 14, 2018. “The Evolution of Monsters in Contemporary American Children’s and Young Adult Literature.” Smith, Capshaw, Dunae, and Heinkein.

Jarred Wiehe. Apr 27, 2018. “Straightening Crip/Queer Desires: Sexualities and Disabilities in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Theatrical Culture.” Marsden, Breen, and Capshaw.

M. Breann Leake. Apr 26, 2018. “Rewriting the Historian of the English People: The Afterlife of Bede in Early English Texts,” Co-Major Advisors: Biggs and Olson, Hasenfratz, and Somerset.

Patrick Butler. April 26, 2018. ”Unsettling the Exceptional Hero: Recognition & Vulnerability in Middle English Romance.” Somerset, Berthelot, and Olson.

Eleanor Reeds. Apr 19, 2018. “Hearing Voices: The Reader Encounters Genre in the Nineteenth Century.” Higonnet, Mahoney, and Recchio.

Rachel Nolan. Apr 19, 2018. “Professions of Intimacy: Work, Reproduction, and the Professional Woman in the Progressive Era United States.” Eby, McElya (History), and Vials.

Erick Piller. Apr 13, 2018. “Invention in the Age of Innovation: Composition, Creativity Studies, and Social Change.” Deans, Brueggemann, Codr, and Vials.

Christina Solomon. Apr 12, 2018. “Romantic Orientalisms: British Encounters with the East and the Forms of the Oriental Tale, 1765-1825.” Mahoney, Codr, Hogan, and Schlund-Vials.

Emily Tucker. Apr 5, 2018. “Victorian and Neo-Victorian Melodrama: Clarity, Recognition, Misreading.” Recchio, Burke, and Winter.

Laura Wright. Mar 20, 2018. “Prizing Difference: PEN Awards and Multiculturalist Politics in American Fiction.” Schlund-Vials, Eby, and Capshaw.

Christiana Ares-Christian. Mar 13, 2018. “The Place of Race in the Academy: Narrating the Failure of Multiculturalism in Higher Education.” Schlund-Vials, Capshaw, and Salvant.

Sarah Berry. Mar 7, 2018. “The Politics of Voice in Twentieth-Century Verse Drama.” Burke, Mahoney, and Pelizzon.

Daniel Graham. Feb 23, 2018. “Spectral Speculations: The Political Economy of American Spiritualism, 1848-1905.” Vials, Eby, and Schlund-Vials.

Alaina Kaus’s. Oct 27, 2017. “Humanitarian Coercion: Literature of War, Violence, and Migration.” Schlund-Vials, Capshaw, Vials, and Phillips.

George Moore. Oct 23, 2017. “The Return of Dagon: Failed Iconoclasm in Early Modern English Literature.” Semenza, King’oo, and Shoulson.


Melissa Bugdal. Apr 21, 2017. “Finding their Voices: A Longitudinal Study of Student Writers from Basic Writing to Writing in the Disciplines.” Deans, Bloom, and Carillo.

Miller Oberman. Feb. 22, 2017. “The Unstill Ones.” Pelizzon, Breen, and Hasenfratz.

Tina Iraca. Dec 2, 2016. “Epistemology, Education, and the Individual: Lockean Philosophy in Sarah Fielding’s Fiction.” Marsden, Recchio, and Winter.

Joanna Asia Rowe. Sept 30, 2016. “Commonplace Dissidence: English Renaissance Humanism and its Skeptics.” Semenza, King’oo, and Deans.

Maria Seger. Aug 5, 2016. “At All Costs: Property and Extra Legal Violence in American Literature and Culture.” Duane, Eby, and Vials.


Christiana Salah. Apr 29, 2016. “The Popular Invention of the Victorian Governess, 1815-2015.″ Higonnet, Semenza, and Winter.

Shawn Higgins. Apr 14, 2016. “Literary Soundscapes: Nationalism and U.S. Literature, 1890-1940.″ Schlund-Vials, Cutter, and Vials.

Todd Barry. Mar 10, 2016. “From Wilde to Obergefell: Gay Legal Theatre, 1895-2015.″ Murphy, Breen, and Burke.

Steve Mollmann. Mar 9, 2016. “Visions of the Victorian Scientist.” Recchio, Bedore, and Winter.

Tara Harney Mahajan. Jan 25, 2016. “Claiming Queer Inheritances: Alternative Genealogies in Irish and Indian English Women’s Fiction.” Burke, Coundouriotis, Hogan, and Mahoney.

Chad Jewett. Dec 3, 2015. “Aesthetic Activism: Race, Ethnicity, Literary Experimentalism and The U.S. South.” Makowsky, Eby, and Schlund-Vials.

Gordon Fraser. Oct 5, 2015. “American Cosmologies: Race and Revolution in the Nineteenth Century.” Harris, Duane, and Schlund-Vials.


Jared Demick. Jun 23, 2015. “Alien Comforts: The Languages and Foodways of Chinese Americans and Hawaiian Locals in U.S. Popular Culture.” Harris, Eby, Schlund-Vials, and Vials.

Laila Khan. Jun 22, 2015. “Traumatic Modes: Sentiment, Sympathy, and the Sublime.” Mahoney, Higonnet, and Semenza.

Christina Henderson. Jun 10, 2015. “Cities of the Future: Literary Utopias, World’s Fairs, and the Making of American Progressivism.” Harris, Schlund-Vials, and Winter.

Michelle Maloney-Mangold. May 28, 2015. “Under the Table: The Precariat in Contemporary U.S. Culture.” Schlund-Vials, Bedore, Capshaw, Knapp, and Vials.

Kim Armstrong. May 14, 2015. “Repackaging American Women’s Literature, 1850-1920.” Harris, Eby, Gross, and Recchio.

Chantelle Messier. May 1, 2015. “The Pedagogy of the Garden: Forming Gender and Sexuality in Romantic Literature.” Mahoney, Breen, Codr, and Winter.

Pam Swanigan. Apr 22, 2015. “’I shall live for ever and ever’”: Ecological Perspectives on Immortality in Children’s Fantasy.” Capshaw, Ford-Smith, and Pickering.

Joseph Darda. Apr 21, 2015. “When Is Postwar? American Narratives in an Age of Permanent War.” Schlund-Vials, Eby, and Vials.

Emily Cormier. Feb 25, 2015. “New Agrarianism in American Children’s Literature.” Capshaw, Higonnet, and Major.

Matthew Mroz. Jan 30, 2015. “Rhetoric and Relationship in Milton’s Paradise Lost.” Semenza, Kneidel, and Winter.

Christopher Bertucci. Jan 28, 2015. “Diseases of the Soul in Early Modern English Drama.” Semenza, Kneidel, and Marsden.

Kathryn Kornacki. Jan 21, 2015. “Margaret Fuller’s Conversations: Self and Other in Nineteenth-Century Literary and Intellectual Culture.” Franklin, Duane, and Makowsky.

Matthew Salyer. Dec 12, 2014. “As we was kings”: Britain’s Empire and the Rise of the Anglo-American Historical Novel.” Franklin, Bercaw-Edwards, Codr, and Mahoney,

Jennifer Ryer. Dec 10, 2014. “The Good Imperialists: Empire, National Identity, and Gender in British Theater, 1660-1790.” Marsden, Codr, and Mahoney.

Kofi J. Adisa. Dec. 1, 2014. “But They Mean To Do Right:  Stories of African-American Male Teachers.” Litman, Hogan, and Pelizzon.

Patrick Lawrence. Oct. 15, 2014. “Obscene Gestures: Representations of Sexual Transgression and Late Twentieth-Century American Political Culture.” Schlund-Vials, Capshaw, Cutter, Lambert, and Vials.

Ramon Elinevsky. Sep. 11, 2014. “For the Wild: A Critique of Civilization.” Schlund-Vials, Bystrom, Pelizzon, and Vials.

Abbye Meyer. Aug. 14, 2014. “Accidents, Freaks, Fruits, and Wallflowers: Representations of Disability in Adolescent Literature.” Capshaw, Eby, and Higonnet.

Brandon Hawk. Aug. 5, 2014. “Aprocryphal Narratives in Old English Sermon Collections.” Biggs and King’oo, Hasenfratz, Johnson, and Olson.

Pamela Longo. Aug. 5, 2014. “Voices of Great Authority: Framing History, Reforming Community in the Reigns of Richard II and Henry VI.” Somerset, Biggs, Tonry, Johnson, and Olson.

Tiffanie Itsou. Aug, 1, 2014. “Truth Itself in the Supremeness of Its Perfection: The Influence of Photography on Edgar Allan Poe’s Writing.” Tilton, Anselment, and Capshaw.


Matthew Simpson. May 14, 2014. “Personal and Political Disunity in Early Modern Literature.” Semenza, Kneidel, and Marsden.

Rebecca Nisetich. Dec. 11, 2013. “Contested Identities: Racial Ambiguity, Indeterminacy and Law in the American Novel, 1900-1942.″ Eby, Schlund-Vials, and Capshaw.

Leah Schwebel. Dec. 6, 2013. “Re-telling Old Stories: Chaucer and an Italian Poetic of Intertextual Commentary.” Somerset, Benson, Hasenfratz, Marsden, and Masciandaro.

Jorge Santos. Nov. 14, 2013. “Religion, Race, and Rupture: Re-Reading the Civil Rights Era.” Cutter, Sanchez, Schlund-Vials, and Vials.

Jeremy DeAngelo. Oct. 18, 2013. “Unsettling: Transgression and Travel in the Literature of the Medieval North Atlantic.” Hasenfratz, Biggs, Kane, and Olson.

Amber West. Sep. 25, 2013. “Fourth Way: Feminist Hybrid Poetics Beyond the Page.” Pelizzon, Murphy, Schlund-Vials, and Bell.

Mandy Suhr-Sytsma. Jun 25, 2013. “Collaborative Sovereignty: The Visionary Work of American Indian and Canadian Aboriginal Young Adult Literature.” Tilton, Schlund-Vials, Capshaw, and VanAlst.


Erin Haddad-Null. May 22, 2013. “Family Stories: Narrating the Nation in Recent Postcolonial Novels” Coundouriotis, Bystrom, Hogan, and Phillips.

Ivy Stabell. May 1, 2013. “Children’s Bigraphy and American Identity, 1620-1865.” Capshaw-Smith, Harris, and Higonnet.

Emily Dolan. Dec. 7, 2012. “Unhappily Ever After: The Troubled Conclusions of Postbellum Women Writers.” Harris, Eby, and Higonnet.

Peter Chidester. Nov. 28, 2012. “A Land Choice above All Others: The Importance of the American Wilderness to the Rise of the Mormon Church.” Phillips, Pickering, Tilton, Recchio, and Duane.

Mary Isbell. Nov. 7, 2012. “Amateurs: Home, Shipboard, and Public Theatricals in the Nineteenth Century.” Winter, Eby, and Murphy.

Michael Jones. Oct. 17, 2012. “The Secret History of Romance Masculinity: The Byronic Hero and the Novel, 1814-1914.” Mahoney, Pelizzon, and Winter.

Patricia Taylor. Oct. 5, 2012. “Writing with the Word: Post-Reformation Authorship in England, 1546-1671.” Semenza, King’oo, and Marsden.