Our Current Graduate Researchers

Samantha Bernstein

Samantha Bernstein is a Doctoral Candidate looking at the ethics of aestheticising poverty. Her dissertation "Sympathy for Strangers: The Ethics of the Picturesque," brings together 18th century moral and aesthetic theory, 19th century realist literature, and contemporary interest in dereliction to theorize picturesque aesthetics as both a strategy for coping with class inequality and as a vantage point from which to analyze the social and ethical dilemmas of middle-class life. Her memoir, "Here We Are Among the Living," was published by Tightrope Books in 2012.

Sean Braune


Sean Braune’s theoretical work has been published in Postmodern Culture, Journal of Modern Literature, Canadian Literature, symplokē, and elsewhere. His poetry has appeared in ditch, The Puritan, Rampike, and Poetry is Dead. For the past three years he has been invited to speak at the graduate level at Yale University on the topic of avant-garde visual poetry. His dissertation focuses on retheorizing the semiotic sign in response to new materialist philosophies.


Alex Ferrone

Alex Ferrone earned his B.A. (Honours) and M.A. from York University. His current research focuses on contemporary British drama's varied responses to the neoliberal economic reforms of the last thirty years.

Lauren Fournier

photo of Lauren FournierLauren Fournier is a SSHRC Doctoral Fellow in English Literature at York University.
Her research focuses on emergent trends in feminist practice, paying particular attention to the intersections between theoretical fiction & auto-theory, art writing, and time-based media (performance, video). Her other research interests include hysteria, radical narcissism, sex work, and mental health. She specializes in gender and sexuality studies, performance studies, and critical theory. She holds an MA in
English (SFU) and a BA in Fine Arts (Regina). She is a practicing artist and is currently on the Board of Directors for both the Feminist Art Conference and Trinity Square Video. (




Renée Jackson-Harper


Renée Jackson-Harper, B.A. (University of Toronto), M.A. (York University), is a Ph.D. student at York University. Her dissertation will explore borderlands in contemporary Western Canadian literature. Focusing on British Columbia’s Okanagan, this project observes engagements with place, oral and written, indigenous/non-indigenous and interrogates the cultural work performed by these various expressions of a region marked by historical and cultural conflicts and convergences. Her research interests include trauma and psychoanalytic theory, regionality, Wild West Mythography and ecocriticism.



Geoffrey MacDonald

photo of Geoffrey MacDonald

Geoffrey MacDonald’s research interests explore literature’s aesthetics of anti-oppression, uprising, and social transformation. He focuses on decoloniality, gender, diaspora, indigeneity, and sexuality. His doctoral research considers how Anglophone Caribbean and Indigenous North American poetry, drama, and fiction reimagine theories of literary resistance. He is co-editor of Pivot: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies and Thought. As a teacher, he encourages students to use restless textualities to complicate notions of belonging, citizenship, freedom, global capitalism, imperialism, migration, multiculturalism, patriarchy, and race. He completed his BA (Honours) in English and Equity Studies at the University of Toronto and earned an MA in English from York University.

Steven Rita-Proctor

Steven's research examines the growth of avant-garde or experimental literature in the wake of war, trauma and revolution. Particularly focused on radical experiments in literary form post-9/11 and Arab Spring, his interests lie in the ways in which literature attempts to bear witness to trauma and its consequences by extending the possibilities of the literary form. Through a phenomenological approach to memory studies (Ricoeur, Merleau-Ponty) and globalization/technology theory (Virilio, Nancy), his project aims to trace out how this "New Modernism of the twenty-first century has evolved alongside advancements in technology, the media, and the globalization of the image, such that the “witnessing” of terror and violence has become a transcultural and frequently global phenomenon.

Eric Schmaltz

Eric Schmaltz is a SSHRC Doctoral Fellow in English Literature at York University. His research focuses on Canadian modern, avant-garde, and experimental poetry.

Kate Siklosi

Kate Siklosi holds a BA (Honours) in English (minor in Philosophy) from Brock University and an MA in English from York University. Her current research interests centre upon the intersections of geomaterialist theory and avant-garde Canadian and American poetry and poetics.

Rachelle Stinson

SiklosiRachelle Stinson holds a B.A. (Hons), B.Ed. (York University), M.A. (University of Toronto) and is a Ph.D. candidate and Victorianist in the Graduate English Program at York.  She has been the recipient of both the Victor Hedges and the St. George Scholarship for her dedicated study of British literature at the graduate level.  Broadly, her research focusses on fiction against the backdrop of changing university experiences, scholastic identities, and the knowledge industry in Victorian England.  Her dissertation, on "Nostalgia and the Victorian Varsity Novel," looks specifically at the many ways that university nostalgia functions in the varsity novel, as a counterpower to modern knowledge reforms.



Jonathan Vandor

Jonathan Vandor received his B. A. (Hons) from the University of Toronto and his M. A. from York University. His interests include Victorian literature, vocational choice, performativity, and queer theory.

Anna Veprinska


Anna Veprinska holds a B.A. (Honours) in English from York University and an M.A. in English (1900-Present) from the University of Oxford. Concurrent with the pursuit of a Ph.D. in English at York, she is earning a Graduate Diploma in Jewish Studies. Her dissertation focuses on the representation and role of empathy in contemporary poetry after events of crisis. Particularly focusing on poetry emerging from the Holocaust, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina, she considers the place of empathy in the face of events at the limits of empathy. Her collection of poetry and photography, Sew with Butterflies, was published in 2014. She plays first mandolin in the Toronto Mandolin Orchestra.

Kathryn Walton

Kathryn Walton holds a BA (Honours) from Queen’s University and a MA from York University; she is currently a doctoral candidate in the department of English at York University. Her dissertation, “Religion and the Invention of Magic: The Representational Relationship between Magic and Christianity in Middle English Romance,” explores the depiction of literary magic in five medieval romance manuscripts. She seeks to reveal how magic was established as an acceptable literary device during the Middle Ages and how it managed to remain prominent in literary and popular culture from the medieval period to today.