Dr. Shana Kraynak successfully defended her dissertation “Upon Life and All its Random Injustice”: Post-Traumatic Masculinity in Graphic Novels, Television, and Cinema in the spring of 2015. In it, she traces visual representations and expectations of maculinity in film, television, and graphic novels following 9/11, ultimately arguing that these representations of gender were damaging to both men and women in American culture. Here is the abstract from her dissertation:
In this dissertation, I will trace masculine representation from the moment of national trauma inflicted by 9/11 up through the present, wherein post-traumatic and posthuman masculinity has been used as coping mechanisms for unrealistic expecations of gender. In particular, I aim to discuss film, television, and graphic novels as overlapping visual media, rather than as independent genres, because filmmakers and graphic novelists alike are concerned with story telling through cinematic techniques, including mise-en-scene and framing; camera techniques such as depth of field, zoom shots, point of view shots, and high/low shots; dialogue (whether auditory in film or conveyed in speech balloons); and scene pacing in various constructions of editing, panel arrangement, or panel size.
The changing perceptions of masculinity as represented through the techniques I’ve stated in graphic novels and cinema can be tied to major changes in American culture. The texts show both the costs imposed on men and the societies affected by their actions. In other words, they show where the hyper-masculine response to 9/11 has brought us. The immediate post-9/11 representation of masculinity returned to the historical manly stereotype, confirmed once again by the American ideology of justified military aggression and violence. This aggression goes hand and hand with the revitalized John Wayne hypermasculinity that appeared in our post-9/11 culture, as we clung to gender archetypes and social constructions as a way to grieve, as a way to move forward, and as way to reinvent the America that we had let become so feminine and weak. But hyper-masculinity was not the only response to national trauma and perceived emasculation. I plan to show that despite the revival and re-construction of certain masculine ideals, many men felt the negative effects of being forced into gender normative behavior.
Originally from the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, Dr. Kraynak’s personal and professional interests include (but are not limited to): graphic literature, thesis statements, comic books, reverse outlines, hockey, logical fallacies, photography, rhetoric, film theory, peer review, semicolons, french fries on sandwiches, masculinity studies, Simpsons quotes, cultural studies, cats, pedagogy, gaming, and coffee.
Her teaching style is one that invites authentic and engaged discussion, wherein the class is made to feel like a community while each individual student recieves specific attention needed for success. Dr. Kraynak geniunely loves being in the classroom and her passion, enthusiasm, and bad jokes are known to be contagious.
- Ph.D. Literature & Criticism, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 5/2015
- M.P.W. Creative Writing, USC, 5/2008
- B.A. English, University of Pittsburgh, 4/2006
- “Reconstructing a Gendered New York Skyline: The Use of Hyper-Masculinity in Post-9/11 Superhero Comics.” , New York Metro American Studies AssociationTalk/Oral Presentation, Invited, New York, NY, Fall 2013
- “Masculinization of the Great Machine: Reconstructing the Post-9/11 Superhero in Brian K. Vaughan’s Ex Machina.” , Midwest Popular and American Culture AssociationTalk/Oral Presentation, Invited, Columbus, OH, Fall 2012
- “Unmanned: Deconstructing Post-9/11 Hypermasculinity in the Works of Brian K. Vaughan.” , Mid-Atlantic Popular American Culture AssociationTalk/Oral Presentation, Pittsburgh, PA, Fall 2012
- “A Pre- and Post-9/11 Discussion of Fight Club and Gender.” , IUP Center for Film StudiesLecture/Seminar, Invited, Indiana, PA, Spring 2012
- “Between Worlds: Post-9/11 Hyper-Masculinity and Conflict in the Social Space of Online Gaming.” , Indiana University of Pennsylvania Graduate Student Association ConferenceTalk/Oral Presentation, Invited, Indiana, PA, Spring 2012
- “The Hyper-Commodified Simulacra of War: Post-9/11 Militarism in the Call of Duty Franchise.” , Mid-Atlantic Popular American Culture Association, Talk/Oral Presentation, Invited, Philadelphia, PA, Fall 2011
- “Unmanned Utopia: Deconstructing Masculinity, Cultural Mythology, and Reproductive Futurism in Y: The Last Man.” , The Rocky Mountain Language Association, Scottsdale, AZ, Talk/Oral Presentation, Invited, Scottsdale, AZ, Fall 2011
- “Gender Representation and Reconstruction in the Film Adaptation of Watchmen.” , Pippi to Ripley: Heroines of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Ithaca, NY, April 23, 2011. Talk/Oral Presentation, Invited, Ithaca, NY, Spring 2011
- “Traumatic Exploitation: Manipulation of Patriotism in Country Music War Anthems.” , IUP English Department Colloquium Series: Media(ting) Traumas After 9/11Roundtable/Panel, Invited, Indiana, PA, Spring 2011
- “Redefining Vengeance and Masculinity: The Supernatural and Spiritual in The Boondock Saints.” , Mid-Atlantic Popular American Culture AssociationTalk/Oral Presentation, Invited, Alexandria, VA, Fall 2010
- “D’oh!: Using The Simpsons to Enhance Student Engagement and Understanding of Poe’s Technological Satires.” , American Literature AssociationTalk/Oral Presentation, Invited, San Francisco, CA, Spring 2010
- Kraynak, S. “The Danger that Keeps Knocking: Representations of Post-9/11 Masculinity in AMC’s Breaking Bad”. Representing 9/11 Washington DC: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.
- Kraynak, S. “Unmanned: Deconstructing Post-9/11 Hyper-Masculinity in the Works of Brian K. Vaughan.”. Works and Days2015
- Outstanding Dissertation Award Nomination, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2014-2015
- Outstanding Teaching Award, IUP English Graduate Department of Literature & Criticism, 2012-2013
- Teaching Associate Award, IUP Center for Teaching Excellence, 2012-2013