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Dissertation Fellows

Humanities Center Dissertation Fellowships are one-year awards carrying a stipend with benefits comparable to fellowships offered by the College of Arts and Sciences. In addition, Fellows are awarded funds to support their research while in residence.

For more information, see our forms page.


Amy Burnette PhD candidate, English.

Dissertation title: Praxis Memoriae: Memory as Aesthetic Technique in English Renaissance Literature, 1580-1630

Project abstract: Burnett's project is titled Praxis Memoriae: Memory as Aesthetic Technique in English Renaissance Literature, 1580-1630, which explores how ideas circulating about memory in Renaissance England, principally within the context of the humanist revival of the classical Art of Memory, supplied authors with a theory and practice of literary invention.

Jessica Pauszek

Jessica  Pauszek PhD candidate, Composition and Cultural Rhetoric.

Dissertation title: Literacy and Labor: Archives, Networks, and History in Working-Class Communities

Project abstract: Pauszek examines how community literacy projects support working-class writers, often leading to broader organized efforts for social and political change. Her research focuses on The Federation of Worker Writers and Community Publishers, a London-based network from 1976-2007 that self-published thousands of texts documenting working-class life.


Li Kang PhD candidate.

Li Kang is a PhD candidate in Philosophy at Syracuse University. Prior to her PhD study, she received her MPhil from the University of St Andrews (UK), and her BA from Wuhan University (China). 

Kang’s current research is in structuralism. Roughly, structuralism says that inter-relations between things are important; often they are more important than the things themselves and their intrinsic nature. Structuralist ideas are popular in philosophy of physics, philosophy of mathematics, social and political philosophy, Buddhism, etc. In her dissertation, “Spreading Structures,” Kang explores new applications of structuralism in philosophy. Part of her work connects philosophy to science, and to Buddhism.

Melissa Welshans

Melissa  Welshans PhD candidate.

Melissa Welshans is a PhD Candidate in English who specializes in early modern English literature. Her research interests center on gender and temporality in the seventeenth century, with an emphasis on the ways in which marriage shaped the temporal experiences of men and women in early modern literature and culture. She is currently working on her dissertation project, "The Many Types of Marriage: Gender, Marriage and Biblical Typology in Early Modern England," which argues that the life cycle event of marriage, especially for early modern women, could be understood to follow the same pattern of fulfillment and supersession usually ascribed to biblical typology.  Considering marriage in this light raises provocative questions regarding marriage's impact on an individual's social standing and spiritual salvation, particularly for those who exist on the periphery of the married state.

Sarah Barkin

Sarah  Barkin PhD Student, English.

Sarah Barkin is currently a PhD student in the Department of English, specializing in documentary film and visual culture. She is currently writing her dissertation, “Reframing the Conflict: The Politics of Subjectivity in Israeli and Palestinian Documentaries, 2000-2012.” Her research focuses on the ways in which documentaries and photography employ different kinds of aesthetic experimentation as a means of (re)framing the politics of violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, drawing attention to the interplay of history/memory, geography, gender, and trauma in Israel, Palestine, and Lebanon.

Daniel Chelfer PhD Student, Religion.

    Daniel Cheifer received his BA from Rutgers University, his MA from Columbia University, and is currently pursuing his PhD in religion at Syracuse University.  He is broadly interested in how Hindu traditions interact with various aspects of modernity, such as globalization, colonialism, nationalism, mass culture, and science.  His dissertation, "Scientific Authority in the All World Gayatri Pariwar" develops these interests by considering the ways in which the All World Gayatri Pariwar, a modern Hindu movement, utilizes scientific authority as an alternative form of religious authority that draws attention to the body through a rhetoric that is oriented toward personal experience and physical health.

    Kandace Geldmeier Religion.

      Mihnea "Mic" Capraru Philosophy.


        Rinku Chatterjee PhD Candidate.

          Rinku Chatterjee’s dissertation,“Peripheral Knowledge: The Witch, the Magus and the Mountebank on the Early Modern Stage,” argues that there was a strong Humanist intellectual investment in various forms of liminal knowledge embodied by arguably socially marginalized figures. While Humanist philosophers like Ficino and Pico della Mirandola glorified the pursuit of limitless knowledge, Humanism itself was grounded within social institutions, and was invested in maintaining their integrity.

          Sandeep Banerjee PhD Candidate.

            Sandeep Banerjee’s  dissertation,“Landscaping India: From Colony to Postcolony,” traces the transformation of the colonial space of British India to the Indian nation-space by examining colonial and counter-colonial representations of the Indian landscape during the Indo-British colonial encounter of the late nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. By scrutinizing textual and visual representations of the colony, its built form, and their relationship to each other, it investigates the historical processes underlying the spatial production of the Indian nation.

            Nell Champoux Religion.

              Soumitree Gupta Womens & Gender Studies / English.

                Donovan Schaefer Religion.

                  Tanushree Ghosh English.

                    Aaron Blum VPA / Art Photography.

                      K.J. Rawson Composition and Cultural Rhetoric.

                        Jonathan Singleton English.