As a scholar of early modern English and Italian literature by and about women, Barbara Burgess-Van Aken’s research focuses on discovering and translating pro-feminist works, particularly drama, by both male and female authors of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries to expose philosophical resistance to the strict patriarchy of that era. Her current work in progress includes translations of the works of Muzio Manfredi (1535-1604), an Italian poet-courtier whose letters, plays, and lectures champion the virtues of women.
Katelyn Lusher’s research focuses on activist rhetoric and social justice, with a particular focus on housing justice. She has also done extensive work in community writing with Streetvibes, a street paper produced by the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition. Currently, she is working on a book proposal based on her dissertation about creating a digital archive for Streetvibes. She is primarily interested in the rhetorical savvy housing justice advocates must use to change policy and circulate activism within local communities.
Michelle Lyons-McFarland is working on the Lennox Bibliography Project, an open access, online descriptive bibliography of Charlotte Lennox. Lennox was an 18th-century British author, playwright, poet, translator, and editor. Although perhaps best known for her second novel The Female Quixote (1752), Lennox’s works included social commentary, Shakespearean criticism, political histories, and educational works tailored for women. In addition to this long-term project, Lyons-McFarland is also writing a book based on her doctoral dissertation, examining the role of the representation of objects in eighteenth-century British fiction.
Alexandra Magearu’s research focuses on postcolonial and diasporic literatures, refugee and migration studies, border studies, and the politics of humanitarianism. Her most recent project explored the emergence of the human rights discourse on vulnerability, which has been fundamental to humanitarian organizations’ global governance of forced migration and, ultimately, to the reinforcement of border externalization practices preventing the movement of forcefully displaced people towards the Global North. This is part of a broader critique of the cultural politics of humanitarianism, which foregrounds critical refugee studies narratives, memoirs, and literature to challenge the erasure of refugee voices and the dehistoricization of forced migration journeys.
Steve Pinkerton works on twentieth-century literature, especially transatlantic modernism and the modern American novel. His first book, Blasphemous Modernism: The 20th- Century Word Made Flesh (Oxford, 2017), argues that a shared commitment to blasphemy shaped the modernist imagination from James Joyce’s Ulysses to Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. His other writings include articles on Ralph Ellison (in Genre and the African American Review), the Harlem Renaissance (in Modernism/Modernity and The Edinburgh Companion to Modernism, Myth and Religion), and other topics in twentieth-century literature and culture (in the Journal of Modern Literature, Modern Fiction Studies, Hypermedia Joyce Studies, Paideuma, and Studies in the Novel). He’s working now on a book, provisionally called “Outlaws in Christ,” that traces the novelistic trope of the “profane preacher” from Nathanael West and Zora Neale Hurston to Ralph Ellison, Flannery O’Connor, Toni Morrison, and Cormac McCarthy.
Luke Reader studies Labour Party approaches to international relations in interwar Britain, with a particular focus on the discussion of ideas through periodicals and other forms of mass-market media. His current research explores the Left Book Club, a 1930s anti-fascist book group. Previously, he has published journal articles on early 20th century liberal internationalism (The International History Review) and Jewish identity in interwar Britain (Jewish Culture and History). In addition to his academic work, Luke Reader has also written on topics such as Brexit, the Labour Party, antisemitism, democracy and populism, and international relations for The Conversation and History News Network. He has also discussed Brexit and the imperial legacy of Queen Elizabeth II for NPR, KPFK radio, and various television affiliates in the Cleveland area.
Robert Spadoni’s research focuses on questions of film aesthetics, genres, and history. In Uncanny Bodies: The Coming of Sound Film and the Origins of the Horror Genre (University of California Press), in which he asks how practices and tendencies of film reception can be understood to loop back into the sphere of film making, he tracks viewer reactions to the creepy unrealism of the first sound films flowing into the productions of Dracula (1931) and other early horror films. His subsequent publications, following the genre deeper into its history, include an essay looking at how Midsommar (2019) expresses xenophobic ideas when it transforms a group of insufficiently wary travelers into gruesome objects. He has also published essays exploring and defining the concept of film atmosphere. His work continues to ask how a poetics of film style may be developed within a context of genre study. You can learn more about his research here.