Our Current Graduate Researchers
Tyler Scott Ball
Tyler Scott Ball is a doctoral student and SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier research fellow here at York. He specializes in contemporary world literature from around the Indian Ocean, focusing in particular on the novels of East Africa, South Asia and South East Asia. His dissertation utilizes a constellation theory approach to place texts from seemingly disparate cultural milieus into new assemblages for critical analysis.
He received a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Master’s Scholarship (2014-2015), an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2016-2017), and was nominated for the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (2016). He has also presented papers at conferences and colloquia for the Canadian Society for the Study of Comics (2015), the Institute for World Literature (2016), the African Literature Association (2017), and the Canadian Association for American Studies (2017).
His forthcoming work, entitled “Sof’town Sleuths: The Hard-boiled Genre Goes to Jo’Burg,” is set to appear in Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry. His other areas of interest include comics and graphic novels, hardboiled crime fiction, contemporary Black poetics, and decolonial theory.
Mark Buchanan is a PhD Candidate in English at York University. His dissertation examines depictions of food and alcohol in Canadian fantasy literature. His dissertation uses the lens of food studies to investigate the way depictions of food and alcohol in the genre reflect issues of gender, race, and class. The commonplace reality of eating and drinking expose deeply entrenched power structures. His study goes beyond simply stating the fact that racism, sexism, and classism exist in much Canadian fantasy literature, but examines depictions of food and alcohol that affect how social hierarchical power structures are created in the texts. He also examines the ways food and alcohol illuminate how authors are working to subvert traditional entrenched ideologies of racism, sexism, and classism in the genre.
Mark completed both is BA (Hons.) (2014) and MA (2016) at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus. His MA thesis was titled “How Alcohol Use in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Perpetuates Late-Victorian Traditions of Racism, Sexism, and Classism.”Mark has presented his research at venues such as the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts (2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020) the International Conference of the Children’s Literature Association (2018), and the Academic Conference on Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy (2019), among others.
MLA Chernoff is a SSHRC Doctoral Fellow, focusing on Jewish literatures within the socio-political landscape of Canada. Their dissertation, Ordinary Eternal Machinery: Radical Poetry and Revelation in Jewish Canada, attempts to effectively reroute the liberal humanist criticism surrounding Jewish-Canadian literature by theorizing its poetry as radically experimental and demonstrative of a leftist political inclination, one that veers towards messianism. MLA has thus far presented their research at ACCUTE, ACQL, and various colloquia; a chapter-length adaptation of their NeMLA presentation on Jewish gematria and conceptualism will be included in an upcoming collection on Canadian digital poetics, via McGill-Queen's University Press. Their other research interests include deconstruction, psychoanalysis, queer theory, and Xenofeminism. A practising "poet," MLA's debut chapbook, delet this: pomes, memes, n dreams, is forthcoming from Hybrid Heaven in 2018.
Elizabeth’s doctoral research focuses on the intersection of McCarthyism and Cold-War politics with fears of gender and sexual non-conformity as it permeates the era and is found in the popular literature of the United Sates.
A current project that Elizabeth is working on examines the experiences of gender queer newcomers to Canada. In this study, the author takes into consideration the barriers that newcomers to Canada face based upon language, culture and access to employment initiatives, and subsequently juxtapose this with issues that relate to the performance of gender and sexuality.
Elizabeth is a social activist, member of The Indigenous Solidarity Coalition and works to advocate for Aboriginal women in Canada as they work to reclaim a fractured identity through amongst other issues, food sovereignty, the Idle No More movement, TRC and an open discussion of the impacts of the Sixties Scoop. Reproductive rights are also of great concern from multiple perspectives as they intersect with government legislations, race, class and sexual orientation.
Matthew Dunleavy received his BA (Hons. with Distinction) from Concordia University and his MA from our very own York University. His work examines the gender politics among the inhabitants, philanthropists, and journalists of the Late-Victorian/Early-Edwardian East-End London slums in a dissertation tentatively titled “Cleaning Up the Streets and the Sheets: The Reform Work of Clementina Black and Margaret Harkness, 1880-1915.” The work will also interrogate the intersection of language that illustrates a preoccupation with poverty, dirt, and sex when dealing with these slums.
He is the recipient of the SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canadian Graduate Scholarship (2014), St. George Society of Toronto Endowment (2015, 2016, and 2017), Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2016 and 2017), the York University Entrance Scholarship (2014 and 2015), and short-listed for the Compton Lamb Memorial Scholarship (2012).
Vanessa Evans is a doctoral candidate and settler scholar studying on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation at York University. Her dissertation constellates seemingly disparate Indigenous literatures that, when viewed collaboratively, work to affirm Indigeneity’s planetary presence. Vanessa’s research is dedicated to conceptualizing how literary study can meaningfully contribute to processes of decolonization by centering Indigenous voices while acknowledging that a focus on literature and culture alone will never achieve decolonization absent the return of lands and economic sovereignty.
Vanessa holds a BA in English from the University of Calgary (2009), an MLitt in Modernities from the University of Glasgow (2011) and is currently pursuing her Diploma in World Literature here at York. She is a recipient of a Liberal Arts & Professional Studies International Study Abroad Award (2017), multiple York University International Mobility Awards (2017-2019), an Ontario Graduate scholarship (2018-2019), a Mitacs Globalink research award (2019), and a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship (2019-2021).
From 2018-2020, Vanessa was an exchange lecturer at the Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies at Johannes Gutenberg University (JGU) in Mainz, Germany. At the Obama Institute she also served as a research assistant for Prof. Dr. Mita Banerjee at the Center of Comparative Native and Indigenous Studies and for Dr. Pia Wiegmink.
Vanessa has presented papers at the: CACLALS (2017), Harvard Institute for World Literature (2017), ACCUTE (2018), CCLA (2018), ACLA (2018), Law and Society Association (2019). She has given invited talks in Germany at JGU (Mainz, 2019; Germersheim, 2019) and at the Friedrich Schiller University (Jena, 2020). A co-authored article “Carceral Imaginaries in Science Fiction: Toward a Palimpsestic Understanding of Penality” appeared in The Palgrave Handbook of Incarceration in Popular Media (2019). Vanessa is currently co-editing a collection of essays with Prof. Dr. Banerjee (JGU) called Cultures of Citizenship in the 21st Century, forthcoming at Universitätsverlag Winter Press, a German academic publishing house in Heidelberg.
Mitchell Gauvin is a PhD candidate and SSHRC Doctoral Fellow whose research examines the literary and historical foundations of citizenship rhetoric, exploring the commensurable origins and development of English literature and the nomenclature of political belonging. Mitchell completed his Honours B.A. at the University of Toronto and M.A. at University College Dublin.
In addition to SSHRC, he’s a recipient of the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, the LA&PS Dissertation Fieldwork Fellowship, and York Graduate Scholarship. Mitchell is also a fiction writer, with short stories appearing in multiple publications. His debut novel Vandal Confession (NoN Publishing) was released in Fall 2015, and translated into French, Confession d’un vandale (XYZ Editeur), in Fall 2017.
Kristina Getz is a PhD Candidate in the Department of English at York University. Her dissertation, "Portraits of the Artist as Mother: Feminist Reconfigurations of the Maternal in Modern and Contemporary Canadian Literature," employs feminist and maternal theory in order to explore the intersection of motherhood and creativity.
She received her MA from McMaster University and her Hon.BA from the University of Toronto. She has presented her research at national and international conferences, including the Northeast Modern Language Association and ACCUTE/Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. She was awarded the Linda Lamont-Stewart Scholarship in Canadian Literature (2018) and her scholarly work has appeared in Canadian Literature.
Khem Guragain is a doctoral student in English at York University. He received his first M.A. in English from Tribhuvan University, and second M.A. in Literatures of Modernity from Ryerson University. He taught graduate courses on non-Western literatures and Postcolonial literatures, and undergraduate courses on creative writing, communications, and non-fiction at Tribhuvan University. He seeks to investigate the complexities of Hinduism, caste and subaltern, and examine how they are intertwined and convoluted in South Asian literature, broadly speaking.
His dissertation “The End of Postcolonialism: Dalits, Adivasis and the Rhetoric of “Antinationalism” in South Asian Literature” looks at the emergence of Dalit and Adivasi literatures, and analyses how they interrogate the nationalist discourses and expose the inner contradictions of the nation-states. Khem argues that the texts coming from the Dalits/Adivasis and tribal writers in the contemporary South Asian literature, mark the break, not only, from the dominant discourse that perpetuates the Brahminic undertones in every aspect of life, but also, from the postcolonialist literary domain which fails to sufficiently address the nuances of heterogeneity, particularly, the complexities of caste and its various projections in nationalist imaginary. He argues that the Dalit/Adivasi voice dismantles the coloniser-colonised binary and shows that the nature and shape of Dalit/Adivasi/tribal subalternity are quite different from those produced by colonial relations. He proposes to go beyond the theoretical paradigm of postcolonialism and its limitations, and dissect the exclusionary singularity of Hinduism and its strategy of building a homogeneous nation-state. His work interrogates the centuries-old Brahminist practices that negate the possibilities of social and political solidarity across caste lines, Adivasis, and tribal people, and suggests that the emergence of Dalit/Adivasi/tribal literature destabilises the hegemony of the elitist discourse transcending the complacency of postcolonial theorists and subaltern historians who seem to ignore the centrality of caste and its contradictions, inconsistencies and injustices inflicted upon the Other. Khem has presented various papers at SALA, CACLALS, ACGS, South Asia Conference, and MLA.
Emily Howe researches post-World War II North American literature with special attention to the ways in which women and people of colour have historically experienced alienation from mainstream American culture. Her dissertation will focus on issues of mobility and transience in North American literature with special attention to the road narrative as a genre that investigates identity at not only the personal level, but also that of the community and the nation. This topic was first examined in her Master’s Research Paper entitled “‘Nowhere to Go but Everywhere’: Examining Transience, Mobility, and Alienation in On the Road, Thelma and Louise, and Housekeeping. Other interests include the hip hop genre as a means of producing mainstream space for minority groups, a subject that she has presented on at the conference of the Popular Culture Association.
Renée Jackson-Harper, B.A. (University of Toronto), M.A. (York University), is a PhD Candidate at York University and a faculty member in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Selkirk College in Nelson, B.C. Her dissertation, “Sənk’líp and the ‘Land of Fruit and Sunshine’: An Ecocritical Reading of Epistemic Land Claims in Contemporary Okanagan Literature, 1985-2016,” examines the work settler narratives do to write (and overwrite) British Columbia’s unceded territories. Her work has been supported by a SSHRC Joseph–Armand Bombardier Master’s Scholarship (2010-2012) and a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship (2014-17). Her scholarly work has appeared in Studies in Canadian Literature and in the John M. Kelly Library Publication Series. She has presented papers at conferences with, The Association for Canadian and Quebecois Literature; The Peace and Justice Studies Association; The American Comparative Literature Association; The Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies; The Rhetoric Society of America; and with the Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada. Her poetry has been published in Contemporary Verse 2, The Puritan, Prism International, Magazine, aired on CBC Radio’s “A Verse to Summer,” and has been long-listed for the 2015 CBC Poetry Prize and the 2017 Pacific Spirit Poetry, short-listed for the 2016 Prism International Poetry Prize, and forwarded by Prism International to the 2017 National Magazine Awards competition.
Aaron Kreuter is a SSHRC-funded PhD candidate who works on Jewish North American fiction, world literature, and Israel/Palestine studies. He was the winner of the 2018 Philip Roth Society Siegel McDaniel Award for Graduate Student Writing, as well as the English department's TA award in 2018. He is the author of the 2018 short story collection You and Me, Belonging, and the 2016 poetry collection Arguments for Lawn Chairs.
Tita Kyrtsakas received her BA(H) in English and Drama (2015) and B.Ed. from the University of Windsor (2019) and her MA with a SSHRC grant from the University of Toronto in Theatre, Drama, and Performance Studies (2016). She finds great joy in teaching and she is excited to be a PhD student at York, researching representations of grief and hope in contemporary Young Adult fiction and theatre from the perspective of age.
In 2019, Tita received the Ada Slaight Award in Drama from Young People’s Theatre and is currently their scholar-in-residence. She is also editor of Feminist Space Camp Magazine, an online digital art collective, and is a creative writer (Sandpiper Journal, Type/Cast Magazine and Shameless Magazine.) Outside of school, Tita loves eating food all across the city, attending art shows, and practicing yoga.
Maybelle Leung completed her B.A. at University of Toronto, M.A. at York University, and is now funded by a SSHRC CGS-Doctoral award. She studies devotional feeling in late medieval literature, arguing that an affective form of piety rooted in visual perception interested religious and “secular” writers alike, from Chaucer to Margery Kempe. Her project demonstrates how medieval thought continues to inform notions of love, being, and sacredness today.
Maybelle has recently published on flesh and sense perception in the Ancrene Wisse, a manual for anchoresses (Magistra 2019). Her Master’s Thesis, supervised by David Goldstein, read saintly biography in light of contemporary masochism. She will present on female voices and Otherness in The Canterbury Tales at the 2020 New Chaucer Society conference. Outside of academia, she enjoys martial arts, music improvisation, and painting.
Maybelle’s CV can be found here: yorku.academia.edu/MaybelleLeung/CurriculumVitae
Angie Min Ah Park
Angie Min Ah Park is a Doctoral Candidate in English at York University. Her dissertation investigates Korean North American literature and media with aims to: 1) provide a precedent study of recent literatures and media in Canada regarding Korea and Korean identities, and 2) offer comparative and transnational analyses of Korean (–) Canadian and Korean (–) American texts by engaging with issues of dissemination, identity, and literary and textual forms—particularly pertaining to comedy. In this investigation, Angie seeks to problematize nation-centred approaches to literary and media studies, especially through her case-study examination of the variety and variability of Korean (–) Canadian Literature.
In addition to her doctoral degree, Angie will receive dual diplomas in World Literature and Asian Studies upon the completion of her dissertation. She is a Graduate Associate of York's Centre for Asian Studies and the recipient of multiple awards including the Mitacs Research Award (2019), LA&PS Dissertation Fieldwork Fellowship (2019), YCAR Language Award (2019), Dr. and Mrs. Woo Memorial Graduate Award (2018), LA&PS International Study Abroad Award (2018), York International Mobility Award (2018), and KCSF Scholarship (2018). She has presented her research at Harvard University's Institute for World Literature (2018), ACCUTE (2016), VSAWC (2016), and SHARP (2016) and is scheduled to present at NeMLA in March 2020.
Prior to arriving at York, Angie completed her MA in English (2016) at the University of Victoria and her Honours BA in English and Political Science (2014) at the University of Toronto–Trinity College.
Breanna Simpson is a Doctoral Candidate at York University. She works on gender studies and queer theory, classical reception, world literature, and late Victorian fiction. Her doctoral research examines the coding of desire in ancient and Victorian prose narratives, with a focus on how it influenced power negotiations and identity formation in both periods. This work expands on her MA thesis, entitled “A Purposeful Infection: Lovesickness and Gender in Heliodorus.”
As well as her doctoral degree, Breanna is working on a diploma in world literature. She has presented papers at ACCUTE (2019), and the British Association of Canadian Studies (2018, 2019), and has been a recipient of the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2019-20).
Breanna holds a BA in Classical Studies and English Literature (2015), as well as an MA in Ancient Culture, Religion, and Ethnicity (2017), from the University of British Columbia.
Monica Sousa received her B.A. (Honours) in 2017 and her M.A. in 2018 from Brock University. She is currently a doctoral student in the department of English at York University. She is a recipient of the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2019-2020).
Monica is specializing in contemporary literature, and her research focuses on animal studies, posthumanism, and technology in the genres of contemporary speculative fiction and science fiction. Her research explores human and nonhuman relations in contemporary speculative/science fiction novels, paying particular attention to technologically-altered animals (genetically modified animals or animals with robotic attachments or cybernetic enhancements). The primary goal of her research is to investigate what we owe these creations, and what it means to empathize with technologically-altered animals (or if it is even possible). While her main areas of research include animal studies, science fiction, technology, and artificial intelligence, she is also interested in feminist theory and ecocriticism.
Rachelle Stinson is a Ph.D. Candidate and Victorianist in the Graduate English Program at York. Her dissertation, "Nostalgia and the Victorian Varsity Novel," is a study of Victorian university novels in conversation with other university-focussed literatures as proponents of Oxbridge nostalgia, a strategic participant in the Victorian knowledge industry.
Rachelle has presented papers on her research and other areas of Victorian university culture, at conferences organized by NeMLA, ACCUTE, and MVSA among others. Awarded a SSHRC doctoral fellowship in 2016-17, she has also been the recipient of the Victor Hedges and St. George Scholarships as well as MVSA's 2017 William and Mary Burgan presentation prize.
Ben Lee Taylor
Ben Lee Taylor is a PhD candidate (2015–2020) whose doctoral research explores the collective production of satire in the works of modernists Djuna Barnes, Wyndham Lewis, and Virginia Woolf. Building upon the ideas of Pierre Bourdieu, Bruno Latour, and Janet Wolff, his dissertation connects a rhetorical reshaping of satire in the modernist era to contemporary sociological theories about the formation of literary and artistic movements and texts. Ben holds a BA in Comparative Literature from the Robert D. Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon and an MA in English Studies from l’Université de Montréal.
He also leads a research and academic transcriptions team at Ryerson University’s Modern Literature and Culture Research Centre, which is currently engaged in evaluating, analyzing, and transcribing a range early-twentieth-century diaries. His doctoral defense will take place at the end of summer 2020.
Sydney Tyber researches feminist performance art, photography, and poetics. Her dissertation, “Reforming the Visible: Feminist Reimaginings of the Body Across Contemporary Media”, theorizes those intersections of performance and print media as experiential and corporeal.
She has published in Theatre Survey, Canada Woman Studies, and Canadian Theatre Review. She has presented at multiple national and international conferences, including organizing a roundtable at the Canadian Association for Theatre Research (SSHRC Congress) and participating in the American Society for Theatre Research.
She was awarded a SSHRC CGS Master’s Scholarship in 2013 and was a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship finalist in 2015. She was later granted a SSHRC CGS Doctoral Scholarship (2016-2019). She is also the recipient of the J.W. McConnell Award for Social Innovation for her site-specific performance work in the city of Toronto.
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.