Recent Dissertations

2018


  • Travesti Memory and Politics: Toward a Peruvian Transgender Imaginary

    Giancarlo Cornejo Salinas
    Supervisor: Trinh Minh-ha

    My dissertation, Travesti Memory and Politics: Toward a Peruvian Transgender Imaginary, argues that travestismo is a critical tool by which to read the unstable and contested production of gender, sexuality, and race in contemporary Latin America. My project’s point of departure is the definition of travestismo itself. Travestismo is usually depicted as a sort of unidirectional gender migration from male to female embodiments. This is why I argue that “travesti” as a name cannot be easily translated as “transgender.” Travestismo does not share the transgender indifference to the direction of gender migrations. The fact that travestismo presupposes a particular gendered destination has been read by some scholars as a sign of its reactionary tendencies. The femininity that travestismo constructs as a “final destination” feels dated. The desire for (a sort of anachronistic) femininity at the heart of travestismo seems troubling for some queer, trans, and feminist scholars. However, this tension reveals more about a desire of U.S.-based queer studies to sanitize their objects of study than of travestismo per se. My dissertation contributes to several interdisciplinary fields. My project makes the case for a displacement of the category “transgender” within transgender studies. Travestismo, that vernacular trans identity, is not a name “that sits easily with transgender.” Moreover, yet, my dissertation elaborates on the productive tensions of thinking and imagining travestismo and transgender as proximate to each other, and not in antagonistic ways. In contemporary transgender studies, transfeminism is a framework that offers possibilities for thinking and linking the many forms of oppression and violence that cisgender women and transgender subjects share. In this sense, my dissertation is a transfeminist take on the name travestismo and its imaginary. Thanks to this transfeminist perspective, in my project travestismo is not a break with feminism, but an expansion of feminism to its limits. My dissertation also proposes that queer studies and theories have a lot to gain from an engagement with travestismo, but only if these fields allow themselves to be transformed by such an encounter. My project can be read as an invitation for the cultivation of a hemispheric dialogue around the name “queer.” Such a dialogue in order to be fruitful needs to surrender the name “queer” to the possibilities and limits of translation. I argue that “queer” and “travesti” can be thought together because both names share a refusal to signify only one thing and in only one way. My project contributes to the 2 much-needed effort of displacing the U.S.-based mark of birth of queer theory, cultivating trans-disciplinary and trans-national dialogues around the vernacular name travestismo. Travesti Memory and Politics: Toward a Peruvian Transgender Imaginary opens up the term travestismo with a method I call “travesti memory.” Travesti memory meshes the praxis of remembering and imagining, allowing for unpredicted becomings. In the first chapter I question the romance of ethnography and travestismo, a fixation on travestismo as exclusively an object of ethnographic research, and discuss some of its implications. I offer, through an engagement with postcolonial and queer psychoanalytic theories, an account of the losses that ethnography implies in the effort of imagining a different travesti trajectory. In the second chapter, I move to a close reading of Claudia Llosa’s film Loxoro, a film about transgender kinship and starred by transfeminist activist Belissa Andía. This chapter reads the film next to the political trajectory of its leading actress. Here I argue for the possibility of a language for travestismo that brings justice to travesti’s tears. The third chapter examines the work of the philosopher and curator Giuseppe Campuzano, with a particular emphasis on the work that the name hysteria performs in his essay “Reclaiming Travesti Histories.” The resonances between hysteria and history mobilize gender as an analytical tool with the promise without guarantees of unpacking transgender oppression. In my final chapter, I turn to the LGBTQ theater play Desde afuera, to think on the racialized connotations of travestismo. Here I focus on the collective pronoun nosotrxs and its power to repair some of the scars and wounds produced by racist and homo-transphobic national projects. In the concluding part of my dissertation, reading the photographic record of Campuzano’s performance TransformaT, I propose an imaginary in which travesti death is not-so-final. My dissertation takes Peru as a case study, because this nation offers a radical instance of the aliveness of colonial, racist, and sexist normative violence in the southern cone of Latin America. Precisely for that reason, I trace assemblies of movements, memories, energies, bodies, trajectories, and images, which under the name travestismo are doing a lot of much needed critical political work in contemporary Peru. Throughout my dissertation, travestismo works as name that cannot be easily digested nor accepted by neoliberal logics or dynamics. Travestis, unlike many gay men and lesbians, are not sanitized subjects that aspire to be docile consumers. In my dissertation, I argue that travestismo is both a gendered and racialized category. My conclusion makes a case for thinking travestismo as a name that cultivates a bond with racialized indigenous subjectivities. That queer bond offers a promise for destabilizing the dangerous conjunction of racist, sexist and homo-transphobic normativities. I mobilize travestismo as memory work that refuses to forget queer racialized bonds.

  • Power of Pretext: Religious Justification in Science Fiction, Scientology, and Society

    Lilith Acadia
    Supervisor: Daniel Boyarin

  • Archipelago of Resettlement: Vietnamese Refugee Settlers in Guam and Israel-Palestine

    Evyn Espiritu
    Supervisor: Trinh T. Minh-ha

2017


  • Disease and Difference in Three Platonic Diaogues: Gorgias, Phaedo, and Timaeus

    Chiara Ricciardone
    Supervisor: Ramona Naddaff and GRF Ferrari

  • The Body in Space: In Search of a Sensuous Dwelling in the Space of Accumulation

    Alexandria Wright
    Supervisor: Judith Butler

  • Programming Insight: Human and Machine Intelligence in the Petabyte Age

    Osita Udekwu
    Supervisor: David W. Bates

  • Feminist Materials: Quantum Physics and Critical Writing Practices for New Material Feminism

    Stacey Moran
    Supervisor: David W. Bates

  • Remittance Fiction: Human Labor Export, Realism, and the Filipino Novel in English

    Paul Nadal
    Supervisor: Judith Butler, Colleen Lye

  • The Refugee and Forced Migration Bidungsroman: Coming of Age and Coming into Form through Fictions of Home and Exile (Narrative Studies)

    Alexandra Budny
    Supervisor: Michael Mascuch

2016


  • Corporate Personhood(s): The Incorporation of Novel Persons in American Law, Society, and Literature, 1870-1914

    Eugene McCarthy
    Supervisor: Marianne Constable

  • After New India: Diasporas, Anglophonisms, Returns

    Ragini Srinivasan
    Supervisor: Shannon Jackson, Colleen Lye

  • Combat in "A World Not for Us:" Revolutionary Writing in Aimé Césaire and Ghassan Kanafani

    Amirah Silmi
    Supervisor: Trinh Minh-ha

  • Preoccupations with Modernity: Geopolitics of Knowledge in Colombian Reproduction Laws,

    Alisa Sanchez
    Supervisor: Marianne Constable

2015


  • Mambí Totems and Reconcentrado Taboos: Violence and the Unjust Dead in Cuban Literary and Visual Cultures

    Eric Morales-Franceschini
    Supervisor: Judith Butler & Trinh Minh-Ha

    This study examines the representational strategies that Cubans have employed in order to come to terms with violence in their revolutionary history and the extents to which such strategies have worked in the service of alibi as opposed to critique. Accordingly, the study looks most closely at the discursive and visual portrayals of the mambí, guerrilla soldiers of Cuba’s wars for independence (1868-98) and, not incidentally, icons of Cuban identity and revolutionary ethos. Within or relative to these very portrayals and the same wartime history, however, stands the specter of the reconcentrado, victims to Spain’s “camps of reconcentration” and by far the largest and most tragic casualties of the wars. Drawing on rhetorical and contrapuntal reads of war literature and historiography, political cartoons, monuments, and revolutionary era cinema, I tease out the myths and iconography by which the mambí has come to bespeak racial fraternity, virility, cunning, martyrdom and liberation, whereas, by stark contrast, the reconcentrado bespeaks vulnerability, imperialism, anonymity and atrocity.

    In this respect, four representational strategies stand out: the reconcentrado as (i) a campesina or señorita damsel in distress under the threat of rape by Spaniards and in need of a machete-endowed savoir; (ii) an emaciated, sickly mass of anonymous children with vacant gazes and no voice, carnal evidence of an atrocity that, presumably, speaks for itself yet clearly cites Holocaust iconography; (iii) interned mambisa or patriot who stoically bears her and her children’s agony; or (iv) as sheer absence, where only the mambises, their heroic machete charges, and the cry “¡Viva Cuba Libre!” are visible and audible. Whichever the case, the actual history of antagonistic and coercive acts within or by the Liberation Army and any collateral responsibility for the unjust dead are disavowed; in lieu of critique, thus, the reconcentrado is rendered an alibi for revolutionary violence, centralized power, and nationalist interpellations in which sacrifice for the Patria constitutes the “sublime.”

    Closer scrutiny, however, reveals that the reconcentrado could signify otherwise. Given her agony, the paternalism with which she was dealt, and her labors against an unjust death, deaths for which patriotic consolations ring hollow, I argue the reconcentrado, as ethical figure and as historical fact, speaks on behalf of non-violence, democratic voice, and the summons to care for life at its most precarious. Such ethical hails have proven all the timelier in a “post-socialist” Cuba where mambí mythology and revolutionary identity have had to wrestle not only with transnational finance capital and consumerist culture but also the specters of (UMAP) labor camp confinados and Special Period balseros.

  • The construction of the Colombian territory: Images of the Colombian Armed Conflict 2002- 2010

    Claudia Salamanca
    Supervisor: Samera Esmeir, David W. Bates

  • If Your World Was Built on Dispossession: Strategies of Conquest by Settlement in America

    Teresa K-Sue Park
    Supervisor: Marianne Constable

  • Return of the Indian: Bone Games, Transcription, and Other Gestures of Indigeneity

    Mark Minch
    Supervisor: Trinh Minh-ha

  • Infrastructures of Injury: Railway Accidents and the Remaking of Class and Gender in Mid-Nineteenth Century Britain

    Amanda Armstrong-Price
    Supervisor: Michael Wintroub, James Vernon

2014


  • The Biopolitics of Memory: Lifted Tongues and Cloned Dogs

    Hyaesin Yoon
    Supervisor: Trinh Minh-ha

  • Monsoon Marketplace: Inscriptions and Trajectories of Consumer Capitalism and Urban Modernity in Singapore and Manila

    Fernando Gonzaga
    Supervisor: Trinh Minh-ha

  • American Biography, the History of Books, and the Market for Nationalism, 1800-1855

    John Garcia
    Supervisor: Michael Mascuch

  • Creative Destruction: Memory, Public Finance, and the State in New York City

    Keerthi Potluri
    Supervisor: Samera Esmeir, Michael J. Watts

  • Kenosis and Immanence: Self-Emptying in Eckhart, Hegel and Bataille

    Aleksey Dubilet
    Supervisor: Judith Butler, Niklaus Largier

  • Anima Automata: On the Olympian Art of Song

    Simon Porzak
    Supervisor: Daniel Boyarin, Barbara G. Spackman

  • Drone Flight and Failure: the United States' Secret Trials, Experiments and Operations in Unmanning, 1936-1973

    Katherine Chandler
    Supervisor: David W. Bates

2013


  • Playing Nature : The Virtual Ecology of Game Environments

    Alenda Chang
    Supervisor: David W. Bates

  • Dialectic, Desire & Discipline: The Formation of the Philosopher on the Scene of the Platonic Dialogue

    Vincent Tafolla

  • Airport Modern: The Space between International Departures and Arrivals in Modern Korean National Imaginings

    Alice S. Kim

  • Negative Theatrics: Writing the Postdramatic Stage

    Julia Jarcho

2012


  • Bearing Knowledge: Law, Reproduction and the Female Body in Modern Morocco, 1912-Present

    Satyel Larson

  • Up in the Sound: Form and Voice in Jazz and Post-War American Poetry

    Benjamin Lempert
    Supervisor: Kaja Silverman

  • The Bigger Picture: The Panoramic Image and the Global Imagination

    Brooke Belisle

  • The Trouble with "Queerness": Drag and the Making of Two Cultures

    Katie Horowitz

  • The Therapeutic Turn in International Humanitarian Law: War Crimes Tribunals as Sites of "Healing"?

    Diana Anders

  • Lyric and the Rhetoric of the Serial Mode in Twentieth Century American Poetry: Figuring Voice in the Work of Spicer, Berrigan, and Ashbery

    Colin Dingler

2011


  • Spectral Socialisms: Marxism-Leninism and the Future of Marxist Thought in Post-Socialist Bulgaria

    Zhivka Valiavicharska
    Supervisor: Wendy L. Brown

  • Times of the Event: On the Aesthetico-Political in West Germany and Austria circa 1968

    Andrew Weiner

  • Refiguring the Wordscape: Merleau-Ponty, Beckett and the Body

    Amanda Dennis
    Supervisor: Judith Butler

  • Vision in Ruins

    Michelle Dizon
    Supervisor: Trinh Minh-ha

  • From Red Lights to Red Flags: A History of Gender in Colonial and Contemporary Vietnam

    Quang-Anh Richard Tran

  • PreOccupied Territories: Polar Landscapes in the Cinema

    Emily Carpenter
    Supervisor: Linda Williams

  • "This Modern Day Slavery": Sex Trafficking and Moral Panic in the United Kingdom

    Angela Hill

2010


  • Immanent Shakespearing: Politics, Performance, Pedagogy

    Todd Barnes

  • The Limits of the Mind: Cognition and Narrative Form in the Modernist Novel

    James Harker
    Supervisor: David W. Bates

  • Life Expectancies: Late Victorian Literature and the Biopolitics of Empire

    Jessica Davies

  • Listening Speaks: Modernism and the Storytelling Voice

    Julie Beth Napolin

  • Dislocations of the Brain: Subjectivity and Cerebral Topology from Descartes to Nineteenth Century Neuroscience

    Nima Bassiri
    Supervisor: David W. Bates

  • Integration and the American Musical: From Musical Theatre to Performance Studies

    James Bradley Rogers
    Supervisor: Shannon Jackson

  • Tentative Futures: Ethics and Sexuality in the Nineteenth-Century Novel

    Amy Jamgochian

  • The Matter of Beauty: Materialism and the Self in Victorian Aesthetic Theory

    Benjamin Morgan

2009


  • Sans Retour: Subjectivity, Ethics and the Question of Survival in the work of Semprun, Levinas and Derrida

    Colleen Pearl

  • Fate, Guilt and Messianic Interruptions: Ethics of Theological Critique in Hermann Cohen and Walter Benjamin

    Yannik Thiem

  • Beyond Blood and Coercion: A Study of Violence in Machiavelli and Marx

    Yves Winter

  • Contested Jurisdictions: Legitimacy and Governance at the Special Court for Sierra Leone

    Sara Kendall
    Supervisor: Marianne Constable

  • The General Theatre of Death: Modern Fatality and Modernist Form

    Amy Huber
    Supervisor: Judith Butler

  • Real Time over Real Space: Television, Telepresence and Contemporary Art

    Kristina Paulsen
    Supervisor: Kaja Silverman

2008


  • Beyond Supersessionism: Gillian Rose and the Rhetoric of Transcendence

    Vincent Lloyd
    Supervisor: Daniel Boyarin

  • The Ethical Bind in the Writings of Simone Weil

    Yoon Sook Cha
    Supervisor: Judith Butler

2007


  • Thou Shalt Not Kill?:  Legal Normativity and the Problem with Capital Punishment

    Benjamin Yost

  • Standing Before the Law:  Recognition, Power, and the Limits of Identity

    Sarah Burgess
    Supervisor: Judith Butler, Wendy Brown

  • Archiving Self:  Effacement, Erasure, Disappearance

    Litia Perta
    Supervisor: Trinh Minh-ha

  • Masumura Yasuzo and the Cinema of Social Consciousness

    Mark Roberts
    Supervisor: David J. Cohen

  • Visionary Machines:  A Genealogy of the Digital Image

    Elizabeth Patterson

  • The Question of Ethics for the Metonymically Restless, as posed by Giles Deleuze, Emmanuel Levinas, and Gertrude Stein

    Erik Schneider

2006


  • Ancient Bodies, Contemporary Selves:  Reading Gender in Late Antique Christian Asceticism

    Kathryn Drabinski
    Supervisor: Judith Butler

  • Reason, Aesthetics and Solidarity:  Hegel and Adorno on the Reparation of Modernity

    Michael Feola
    Supervisor: Judith Butler

  • The Rhetorical Afterlife of Photographic Evidence:  Roland Barthes, Avital Ronell, Roni Horn

    John Muse
    Supervisor: Judith Butler, Kaja Silverman

  • Dead Time:  Narrative Form and Historical Knowledge in the Era of the Cold War

    Mark Pedretti
    Supervisor: John Bishop. Anthony J. Cascardi

  • Seeing it Again: Repetition and Exposition in the American Film Flashback

    Amy Zilliax

  • Pancryptics: Technological Transformations of the Subjects of Privacy

    Norman Dale Carrico

  • Trauma and Ideology in the Soviet Film of 1929-1945

    Andrey Shcherbenok

2005


  • Narrating, Displaying & Spectating the Animal: Frank Norris, Jack London and the Urban Zoo

    Mark Feldman

  • Between the Black Box and the White Cube: Warhol, Expanded Cinema, and the Emergence of the Moving Image in American Art, 1963-1965

    Andrew Uroskie

2004


  • The Rhetoric of Character in Gilded Age American Literature

    James Salazar

  • This Weakness is Needed: An Intervention in Social Contract Theory

    Jill Stauffer

  • Emerson's Platonic Dialogue: Negotiating the American Individual

    Jennifer Gurley

  • A Style of Life: Spectral Subjectivity and the Limits of Sacred Life

    Stuart Murray

  • The Concept of the Living

    Aaron Nathan

  • The Oriental Obscene: Violence and the Asian Male Body in American Moving Images in the Vietnam Era, 1968-1985

    Sylvia Chong

  • Self-Assertion and Self-Effacement in Modern Political Theory

    Julie Cooper

2003


  • Assuming a Body:  Transgenderism and Rhetorics of Materiality

    Gayle Salamon

  • Art After Words: Conceptualism, Structuralism, and the Dream of the Information World

    Eve Meltzer

  • Heidegger's Tasks: The Many Ways to Being

    Forrest Hartman

  • The Fantastic Subject: On the Role of Images of Matter and Space in Psychic Life, Literature and Psychoanalysis

    Jody Lewen

2002


  • Subject to Debate: Gender, Self and Allegory in the Middle English Poetry of Disputation

    Masha Raskolnikov

  • Vagaries of the Republic: Classical Republicanism and Millennialism in Three Nineteenth-Century Utopian Communities

    Ellen Rigsby

  • Thucydides and the Metaphysical Foundations of History

    Darien Shanske

  • Film on Film: Self-reflexivity and Moving Image Technology

    Catherine Zimmer

  • The Oriental Monk in American Popular Culture: Race, Religion, and Representation in the Age of Virtual Orientalism

    Jane Iwamura

  • The Aesthetics of the Worst: Remembering and Forgetting in French, Yiddish, and Architectural Holocaust Representations

    Brett Kaplan

  • Effaced Figure: Authorship and the American Cinema

    Homay King

  • Fields of Recognition: Reading Asian Canadian Literature in Asian America

    Meng Yu Marie Lo

  • Martyrdom in Korean American Literature: Resistance and Paradox in East Goes West, Quiet Odyssey, Comfort Woman and Dictee


    Sandra Si Yun Oh

  • Tropes of Transport: The Work of Emotionality in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit

    Katrin Pahl

  • Strategies of Indirection in African American and Irish Contemporary Fiction, Zora Neale Hurston to Toni Morrison, and Mary Lavin to fil's Ni' Dhuibhne

    Jacqueline Fulmer

  • Surviving Figures: Romantic Rhetoric and Post-Holocaust Writing

    Sara Guyer

2001


  • Heart Murmurs: Narrating Reliable Work, Enacting a Technical World

    Jennifer Miller

  • The Making of Zoot Suiters in Early 1940s Mexican Los Angeles

    David Alfonso-Jose Rojas

  • Authentic Reproductions: The Making and Re-making of More Asian Americans in Donald Duk, Bone, and Native Speaker

    Vivian Fumiko Chin

  • Foucault and his Authors

    Jacob S. Fisher