Current VSGC Students

 
Nadya Bair
Art History
strizhev@usc.edu
Department Profile
 
Dissertation
"A World of Pictures: Magnum Photos and Postwar Photojournalism, 1947-1962"
My dissertation examines the early work of Magnum Photos, the photographic cooperative founded by Robert Capa, David Seymour, George Rodger, and Henri Cartier-Bresson in 1947. I ask how Magnum's global team of photographers documented the world through collective projects and individual assignments, and how their photo essays represented postwar recovery, Cold War politics, as well as the increasing mobility and consumerism of their readers. By examining Magnum's relations with illustrated magazines, corporations, tourism campaigns, as well as television and film production, my project expands our understanding of the industry of photojournalism after WWII in the United States and in Europe.
 
Honors and Awards
2010-2015 USC Provost Fellow
2011 VSGC (Visual Studies Graduate Certificate) Summer Research Grant
2012 VSGC Summer Research Grant
2012 STS (Science, Technology and Society Research Cluster) Summer Research Grant
2013 VSGC Anne Friedberg Prize for Doctoral Research
 

 
Heather Blackmore
Critical Studies
blackmor@usc.edu
 

 
Adam Bloch
History
abloch@usc.edu
Department Profile
 
Honors and Awards
Provost's Ph.D. Fellowship
Center for Excellence in Teaching TA Fellow
 

 
Amber Bowyer
Critical Studies
arbowyer@usc.edu
Department Profile
 
Honors and Awards
Annenberg Fellow
Graduate Scholar Award 2013 International Society for the Image
 

 
Umayyah Cable
American Studies and Ethnicity
cable@usc.edu
Department Profile
 
Dissertation
Cinematic Activism: Palestinian Cultural Politics in the United States
This project examines how and why Palestinian cinema has emerged as a site around which Palestinians in the US organize their social justice activism and assert their diasporic identities. I argue that the Palestinian-American community organizes itself around Palestine-themed film festivals as both a process of national identification and a strategy towards a socially just representational praxis, or what I theorize as “cinematic activism.” Through a combination of ethnographic research and media analysis, this project takes the controversy around Palestinian cinema screenings in the Boston area as a case study through which to understand the identitarian, pedagogical, and political work of Palestinian cinema in the United States.

Honors and Awards
2013 Ninfa Sanchez Memorial Award
2013 ASE Summer Research Grant
2011 USC Middle East Studies Program Language Study Grant
2011 ASE Summer Research Grant  
2010-2015 USC Dornsife College Graduate Merit Fellowship
2010 Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) Summer Fellowship
2009 Special Recognition, The Palestinian Women Research & Documentation Center at the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
 

 
Samantha Carrick
English
scarrick@usc.edu
Department Profile
 
Dissertation
“‘Each Body Has Its Art’: The Unruly Bodies of American Modernism”
My project aims to return the body to the work of modernist poetry, as well as to consider the effects that such embodied poetics have on understandings of temporality, the visual and dis-orientation. Poetry of the body is necessarily concerned with time and the decay, resilience or the instability of the body in time. Though occasionally critics have intervened into conversations of modernism with more fleshly concerns, these studies have largely focused on fiction and the novel. Modernism’s complex archive allows me to consider the role of bodies trans-generically with particular emphasis on the work of what I term embodied poetry and the unruly bodies and poetics in the modernist period.
 
Honors and Awards
2009-2015 Provost Fellow
2013 Visual Studies Graduate Certificate Research Grant
 

 
Nadine Chan
Critical Studies
nadinech@usc.edu
academic.edu Profile
 
Dissertation
Colonial Cinema Across Borders: Educational Film in Malaya and the British Empire (1920-1957).
My research traces the relationship between educational film and the imperial project in British Malaya and the Straits Settlements – currently Malaysia and Singapore. My timeframe begins in 1920 with the production of the first educational films in Malaya, and concludes in the late 1950s with Malaya’s independence from colonial rule and the formation of educational film units in the post-colonial nation. By connecting cinema history to an understanding of an emergent and changing sense of internationalism from the 1920s to the 1950s, this project illuminates the ways in which visual media culture facilitated the transition from classical imperialism to neoliberal capitalism in former British colonies.
 
Honors and Awards
Social Science Research Council (SSRC) Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF), 2013-2014.
Provost Fellowship, University of Southern California, 2009-2015.
Visual Studies Graduate Certificate Research Grant, University of Southern California, 2013.
Research Fellowship, Centre for Transpacific Studies, University of Southern California, 2012.
Visual Studies Graduate Certificate Research Grant, University of Southern California, 2012.
Science Technology and Society Research Stipend, University of Southern California, 2011.
Visual Studies Graduate Certificate Research Grant, University of Southern California, 2011.
National University of Singapore Research Scholarship, 2007-2009.
National University of Singapore President’s Research Fellowship, 2007.
Anugerah Cemerlang Mendaki Award, Yayasan Medaki, 2006.
 

 
Alexander Chase
Critical Studies
achase@usc.edu
 

 
Jih-Fei Cheng
American Studies and Ethnicity
jihfeich@usc.edu
 
 
Dissertation
Jih-Fei Cheng's dissertation, “Queer Visibilities: Race, Gender, and Viral Ways of Seeing,” intervenes into scholarly debates about HIV/AIDS by enlarging the critical lens through which the pandemic is perceived and queer theoretical interventions are deployed to address it. Employing a queer of color critique, he draws attention to early AIDS media productions that use virus representations to visually underscore how concepts of disease have historically emerged in relation to racial signifiers. "Queer Visibilities" explores the visual politics of AIDS to propose a critical framework for understanding the development of discourses about viruses over time, ultimately arguing that AIDS politics and queer theory can be used to identify a connection between the scientific narrative about the discovery of the first virus and concerns about race-mixing at the turn of the twentieth century.
 
Honors and Awards
2012, American Studies and Ethnicity Travel Grant, University of Southern California
2011-2012, New Directions Seminar Fellow, Center for Feminist Research University of Southern California
2008-2013, College Merit Award, University of Southern California
2001-2002, Tritia Toyota Fellowship, University of California, Los Angeles
2000-2001, Graduate Opportunity Fellowship, University of California, Los Angeles
1998-1999, Marx-Marshall Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Scholarship, University of California, San Diego
 

 
Jennifer DeClue
American Studies and Ethnicity
declue@usc.edu
Department Profile
 

 
Eike Exner
Comparative Literature
eexner@usc.edu
 

 
Jennifer Frazier
English
jffrazie@usc.edu
Department Profile
 

 
Rika Hiro
Art History
iezumi@usc.edu
 

 
 Timothy Holland
Critical Studies
tholland@usc.edu
academia.edu Profile
 
Dissertation
My dissertation is tentatively titled "Jacques Derrida and the Event of Cinema."  It explores deconstruction's relation to film theory while arguing for the relevance of Derrida's work in contemporary film studies and the humanities.
 
Honors and Awards
Provost's Fellowship
USC's EDGE Summer Institute;  
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (Summer Seminar with Prof. Peggy Kamuf, "The Essential Humanities")
USC's Visual Studies Graduate Certificate Program Summer Research Grant.
 

 
Karen Huang
Art History
karenihu@usc.edu
Department Profile
 

 
Grant Johnson
Art History
 
Grant Johnson is a Ph.D. student in art history and a graduate of Kenyon College. His research interests include contemporary painting and sculpture, fashion and transnational style. As a poet and critic, his writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Brooklyn RailFashion Theory, Frieze, Red BranchZone 3, Performa and the online edition of Artforum. He has presented at the University of Manchester as part of "Barthes, Benjamin and Fashion" and "The Olympiad" at Yale University, and has contributed to exhibitions and publications at The Frick Collection, The Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the Gund Gallery and Paul Kasmin Gallery. 

 
 
Alison Kozberg
Critical Studies
kozberg@usc.edu
 

 
 Ioana Literat
Communications
iliterat@usc.edu
Department Profile
 
Dissertation
"Crowdsourced Art: The Creative Ethos of a Participatory Culture"
Description: My research so far has filled a critical gap in the study of contemporary art and participatory culture by developing a typology of online crowdsourced art and exploring the different levels of artistic participation. For my dissertation, I will teach an open online course on crowdsourced art and – building community among the global participants – engage them in the creation of five distinct crowdsourced art projects, representing the five levels of artistic participation identified in my previous research. This course will be designed as a “POOC”: a participatory open online course, which reinvents the concept of MOOCs by investing it with the principles of participatory learning.
 
Honors and Awards
Provost Fellowship
Phi Kappa Phi Student Recognition Award
 

 
 Ana Lee
Comparative Literature
analee@usc.edu
Department Profile
 
Dissertation
"The Shards of China in Brazilian and Cuban Literature and Visual Culture, 1847-1889" analyzes the material and literary representations of Chinese culture and immigration to Brazil and Cuba during the end of the nineteenth century.
 
Honors and Awards
USC PhD Merit Fellow , 2008- 
Mellon/Sawyer Seminars Graduate Fellow, 2013-2014  
Fulbright Award, 2013-2014  
Center for Law, History and Culture , 2012-2013  
Center for Transpacific Studies Fellow, 2012-2013  
Visual Studies Research Institute Research Grant, 2012-2013  
Foreign Languages and Area Studies (declined), 2009-2010 
 

 
Robin Lewis
Creative Writing
robinlew@usc.edu
 

 
Annie Manion
Critical Studies
manion@usc.edu
 

 
Melissa Marshall
Communications
mbrough@usc.edu
 

 
 Luci Marzola
Critical Studies
lmarzola@usc.edu
academia.edu Profile
 
Dissertation
The Factory Dream: Technology, Craftsmen, and the Industrialization of Hollywood, 1915-1933.
 
Honors and Awards
Annenberg Fellowship, 2010-2014
VSGC Summer Research Fellowship, 2013
 

 
Brendan McMahon                   
Art History
bcmcmaho@usc.edu
Department Profile
 
Dissertation
"Engaño Colorido: The Arts of Iridescence in Viceregal Mexico" explores the value of iridescence in Viceregal Mexico (ca.1521—1800) and the early modern Spanish world through an analysis of period responses to this optical phenomenon which survive today in objects, images, and texts.  Inquiry revolves around the production and reception of enconchados (shell inlay) and featherwork created in central Mexico throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  Rather than to dismiss these objects as decorative, my dissertation seeks to explore the epistemological anxieties that the iridescent materials from which they were constructed prompted in Mexico and the early modern Spanish world.  I demonstrate that period interest in the limitations of vision, the boundaries of artistic creation, and the mechanics of sight itself created an important intellectual framework in which the visual qualities of objects that incorporated iridescent materials were highly valued. 
 
Awards/Fellowships:
Visual Studies Summer Research Grant: Summer 2012
Del Amo Foundation Fellowship: Summer 2011 

 
Christopher McGeorge
Art History
mcgeorge@usc.edu
 

 
 
Elizabeth Murphy    
Art History
epmurphy@usc.edu
Department Profile
 

 
Patricia Nelson
English
penelson@usc.edu
Department Profile
 
Dissertation
"Crossing Over: Comedy and Lesbian Identity in American Popular Culture"
Charting an historical narrative from Gertrude Stein through to Ellen DeGeneres, my project considers the ways that comedic or humorous performances of identity manifest differently in artistic and cultural contexts spanning the avant-garde, the subcultural, and the popular. In focusing on transitions of lesbian artists including Jill Johnston, Moms Mabley, Lily Tomlin, and Marga Gomez across media— specifically, between writing, live performance and television—the project considers two related arcs through the twentieth century: first, the way that artists negotiated the shifting visibility of sexuality identity in popular media, and second, the changing relationship of popular humor to developing media forms in the US between the 1930s and the 1990s.
 
Honors and Awards
English Department Conference Travel Award. University of Southern California, 2011, 2012, 2014.
Visual Studies Summer Research Grant. University of Southern California, 2013.
Louise Kerckhoff Prize in Gender Studies. University of Southern California, 2012.
English Department Summer Fellowship. University of Southern California, 2012.
College Doctoral Fellowship. University of Southern California, 2010-present.
 

 
Taylor Nygaard
Critical Studies.
nygaard@usc.edu
 

 
  Kathryn Page-Lippsmeyer
East Asain Languages and Cultures
pagelipp@usc.edu
Department Profile
 
Dissertation
The Gendered Posthuman in Japanese Science Fiction
Description: The Gendered Posthuman in Japanese Science Fiction is an interdisciplinary literary, visual studies, and new media studies investigation of the contradictions within the aesthetic space created by the longest running Japanese science fiction magazine’s cover illustrators and how those inconsistencies affected the function and articulation of the “posthuman” in feminist science fiction. By tracing these spectacles the study redefines the cyborg’s subversive potential and challenges utopic thinking about the dissolution of gender in the posthuman to propose a new model of distributed authorship for the digital age rooted in the relationship between fan and genre.
 
Honors and Awards
Nippon Foundation Fellows Scholarship2012-13
Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Summer Fellowship, Summer 2012
Barbara F. Inamoto Fellowship in Japanese Studies, 2011
Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Summer Fellowship, USC Summer 2011
Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship, USC2009-10
Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Summer Fellowship, USCSummer 2010
Mitsubishi Scholarship for Summer Study AbroadSummer 2008
Asian Studies Scholarship for Summer Study Abroad Summer 2007
 

 
Yunji Park
East Asain Languages and Cultures
yunjipar@usc.edu
Department Profile
 
Dissertation
My project examines women’s images and their agencies represented in the South Korean popular culture during the 1950s. This study aims to rediscover postwar Korean popular literature and culture, which was not much discussed before because of nationalistic discourse, permeated with anti-communism, in modern Korean cultural history. In order to explore female agency and neglected creative subjectivity of the Korean masses, this research will present the aspect of abundant freedom embedded in the (re)construction of gender identities and the emergence of youth culture along with global cold war politics through analyzing the impact of popular media such as American and Korean films and women’s magazines on Korean people.
 
Honors and Awards
Sejong Society Graduate Fellow, 2012-
East Asian Languages and Cultures Summer Research Grant, Summer 2012
USC College Merit Fellowship, 2009-
Student Travel Grants, The Western Conference of the Association of Asian Studies, 2008
 

 
 Arunima Paul
English
arunimap@usc.edu
Department Profile 

Dissertation
"Unraveling Countrysides: Figurations of the provincial in post-Liberalization Indian cinema"
The dissertation is a cross-genre study of representations of provincial India in contemporary Indian cinema. It examines the specific cultural trope of provincial dystopia in relation to emergent notions of modernity, statehood, citizenship and gender identities in India following economic, political and cultural Liberalization
 
Honors and Awards
Manning Endowed Fellowship, Graduate School, USC, 2013-2014Advanced Fellowship, Department of English, USC, 2011-2012    
College Graduate Merit Award, Department of English, USC, 2007-2008    
Visual Studies Award, 2007-2008
 

 
Catherine Peiper
Critical Studies
peiper@usc.edu
 

 
Emily Perez
Critical Studies
emilyper@usc.edu
 

 
 Jennifer Reynolds-Kaye
Art History
jennifer.reynolds@usc.edu
Department Profile
 
Dissertation
"Contemporary Pre-Columbian," The collecting of pre-Columbian artifacts reached its apex in the nineteenth century with the forging of Mexican national identity from the Aztec Empire and the consolidation of Pan-American hemispheric unity. However, legal regulations, the enormity of architectural complexes, and the paucity of stellar pre-Columbian artifacts made it difficult for original objects to travel internationally. To solve this problem, several reproductive technologies were employed to spread an Aztec-centric Mexican national identity. I track the creation, acquisition, and display of these replicas beyond Mexico to map the transatlantic networks of exchange and their current manifestation in contemporary Mexican artists, specifically Tatiana Parcero, Mariana Castillo Deball, and Demián Flores.
 
Honors and Awards
USC Graduate School Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Fall 2013-Spring 2014
Del Amo Foundation Research Award, Summer 2012
Resisting the Path to Genocide Summer Research Fellowship, Summer 2012
Visual Studies Graduate Certificate Summer Fellowship, Summer 2011
Dean Joan Metcalf Schaefer Scholarship, 2009-2010 and 2011-2012
Jewel Gala – Friends of Fine Arts Fellowship, Summer 2009
 

 
Casey Riffel
Critical Studies
riffel@usc.edu
 

 
Anthony Rodriguez
American Studies and Ethnicity
abrodrig@usc.edu 
Department Profile
 

 
Lacey Schauwecker
Comparative Literature
lschauwe@usc.edu
Department Profile
 

 
Laura Scheurer
English
lauralon@usc.edu
 

 
Stephanie Sparling
American Studies and Ethnicity
smsparli@usc.edu
Department Profile
 
 
 

 
MacKenzie Stevens
Art History
mabennet@usc.edu
Department Profile
 
Dissertation
War and American Artists in Action in the 1940s and 1950s
 
Fellowships/Awards
2004-2006, Dedalus Foundation Fellow, The Museum of Modern Art
2007, Research Forum Fellow, The Courtauld Institute of Art
2010-2015, Amy McClelland Scholar, USC
2011, VSGC Summer Research Grant
2012, VSGC Summer Research Grant
 

 
Lin Zhang
Communications
zhan370@usc.edy
Department Profile
 

 
Shan Zhao
American Studies
shanmuzh@usc.edu
 

Upcoming Events

Method, Madness, and Montage: From Aby Warburg to A Beautiful Mind

See Details

W.J.T. Mitchell,
Professor of English and Art History, University of Chicago
August 29
DML 241
4pm
 

 

 

 


 

Look Out!
Visual Culture and the Future of the Humanities

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August 29-30
University of Southern California
View Website
RSVP to vsri@usc.edu
 

 

 

 


 

Petrified Vision, Animate Wood: On the Photography of African Sculpture
 
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Megan Luke
Assistant Professor of Art History, USC
Tuesday, September 9
7-9PM
 

 


 

VSRI Back to School Graduate Student Lunch
 
See Details
September 10
12:30-2:00pm
University Club
RSVP TO VSRI@USC.EDU BY SEPT 1.
 

 


 

Celebrating New Publications from the VSRI
 
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Tuesday, September 16
12:30-2:00PM
SOS 250
 

 


 

Depicting Spanish American Nature
 
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Thursday, September 18
12-2PM
SOS 250
 

 


 

VSRI Postdoc Welcome Reception
 
See Details
Wednesday, October 1
4:00-5:30PM
Doheny Memorial Library 240
 

 


 

The Eternal Child: On Expecatations in the History of Photography
 
See Details
Jan von Brevern 
Postdoctoral Researcher, Art History Department
Freie Universität Berlin
Tuesday, October 7 
7-9pm
 

 


 

VSGC Grant Writing Workshop
 
See Details
Saturday, October 11
9:00AM-5:00PM
SOS 250
 

 


 

Building Cinematic Worlds: Production Design in 20th-Century American Film
 
See Details
Monday, October 20
4-6PM
Doheney Memorial Library, Herklotz Room
 

 


 

Of(f) Museums: The Presentation of Anthropological Photographs in the Open Air
 
 
See Details
Beatrice von Bismarck, Professor of Art History and Visual Culture, Cultures of the Curatorial Academy of Visual Arts, Leipzig
Friday, November 14
12-2PM
SOS 250
 

 


 

The Gay Essay
 
See Details
Tuesday, November 18
Discussion from 7-8pm followed by a reception from 8-9pm
Brown Auditorium, LACMA
 
  • Visual Studies Graduate Certificate Program
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