The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Each academic year the Center welcomes new graduate students who plan to focus their studies on aspects of the early modern or the premodern period. The Center offers graduate student office space, and access to all Center resources for research, including advising and information about Renaissance scholars throughout the Five College area.

Graduate seminars are held in the Center's Reading Room and Cheney Room. Each year the Center hosts the Graduate Student Conference, organized by current students, for scholars from around the world. Several graduate-organized groups have been formed, including the Premodern World Working Group.


Current Graduate Students

Dina Al Qassar, MA/PhD Candidate 
Dina is interested in Calvinist theology, religious poetry, and religious affect and rhetoric in early seventeenth-century lyric poetry, namely the works of John Milton, Æmilia Lanier, John Donne, and George Herbert. She is also interested in the influence of classical literature in early modern drama and poetry alike, mainly the influence of Ovid and Lucan. Dina received her BA in English literature with a concentration in Renaissance literature from the American University of Kuwait in 2015.

Daniel Armenti, PhD Candidate
Daniel Armenti is a candidate in Comparative Literature. His studies focus on the reception of classical literature in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, representations of gender, and the intersection of literature and law. His dissertation is titled Moralizing the Rape of Philomela in the Medieval Commentary Tradition.

Hayley Cotter, PhD Candidate Hayley Cotter's dissertation, 'On Neptunes Watry Realmes': Maritime Law and English Renaissance Literature, probes the intersection of legal and literary history. Using an interdisciplinary approach, it considers the fictional oceans of early modern poetry and drama in the context of contemporary legal debates concerning the law of the sea. She has presented papers on a variety of topics, including the English admiralty jurisdiction debates, maritime boundaries in Michael Drayton's Poly-Olbion, and maritime law in Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene.  She has forthcoming articles on printed maritime law in seventeenth-century England and popular English accounts of piracy, 1609-1675.   

Liz Fox, PhD Candidate 
Liz Fox is a PhD candidate in English specializing in early modern drama. Her current research project, “Theatre of Exchange: The Cosmopolitan Stage of Jacobean London,” examines how playwrights engaged with London’s emergence as a world city through depictions of commodities such as coins, art objects, sex, and theatre. Liz’s essay, “‘These Very Pictures Will Surmount My Wealth’: Aesthetic and Economic Competitions in Thomas Heywood’s If You Know Not Me, II” is forthcoming in Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England. She is the current Editorial Assistant for English Literary Renaissance.

Yunah Kae, PhD Candidate 
Yunah is interested in early modern drama and literature, Renaissance literary form, history of literary value, and New Formalism.    

Merita Ljubanovic, PhD Candidate 
Merita Ljubanovic earned her BA in English, summa cum laude, from the City University of New York, Lehman College. She is currently enrolled in the MA/PhD program at UMass. Her research interests include early modern travel literature, especially those depicting Anglo-Ottoman encounters, historical narratives, and conversion.

Lauren L. Rollins, PhD Candidate 
Lauren L. Rollins is currently working on a dissertation that deals with nascent forms of 'populism' in Renaissance literature (primarily drama) and the historiographical rise of political agency among the 'commons.' She is also interested in early modern naval piracy and politics.

Gregory Sargent, PhD Candidate 
Gregory Sargent is writing a dissertation tentatively titled “The Violation of Theatrical Space in the Drama of Shakespeare and his Contemporaries.” He holds an MA from NYU and a BA from UCLA. When he isn’t working on early modern literature or reading theory, he enjoys reading Victorian fiction, watching soccer on TV, and immersing himself in Star Wars movies.

Sharanya Sridhar, PhD Candidate 
Sharanya is studying representations of honor killing in Shakespearean and non-Shakespearean early modern drama. Using honor as a lens, she hopes to learn more about early modern conceptions of domesticity, family values, and the role policing female desire plays in both family and state politics. Further, by looking at Shakespeare adaptations from the Global South, she is interested in exploring how such adaptations might complicate our understanding of honor killing as one of the side effects or failures of Globalization.

Catherine Elliott Tisdale, PhD Candidate 
Catherine Elliott Tisdale specializes in Renaissance drama. Her dissertation, “Adaptive Transformations: Stranger Fictions on the Early Modern Stage” reimagines the cultural and social effect of alien, foreign, and stranger characters on the early modern stage and reenvisions how these characters contribute to, alter, and imaginatively build new epistemologies for understanding difference in early modern London. Catherine is the recipient of the 2014 Folger Institute Grant-in-Aid for “Mastering Research,” and the 2017-18 Folger Institute Grant-in-Aid for the year-long dissertation seminar “Researching the Archive,” with Peter Stallybrass and Ann Blair.

Matthew Walsh, MA/PhD Candidate 
Matthew is interested in Early Modern utopian literature. In the summer of 2018, he completed a summer fellowship exploring the ecocritical affinity between Thomas More’s titular text and England's early colonial propaganda. Matthew received his BA in English Literature at Fitchburg State University, where he graduated valedictorian of his class.



Will Steffen (2018) - Assistant Professor of English—American Internation College, MA

David Katz (2018) - Lecturer at the Jacobson Center for Writing, Teaching, and Learning—Smith College, MA

Meghan Swavely (2018) - Adjunct Assistant Professor—University of San Diego, CA

Josephine Hardman (2017) - Lecturer in English Language & Literature—Smith College, MA

Katey Roden (2016) - Lecturer of English and Women's & Gender Studies; Visiting Scholar in Digital Humanities—Gonzaga University

Anne-Marie Strohman (2014) - Children's Writer and Freelance Editor

Marie Roche (2013) - Translator English and French at UMass Amherst Translation Center

Nathaniel Leonard (2013) - Assistant Professor & Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning—Westminster College

Philip Palmer (2013) - Head of Research Services at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library—UCLA

Timothy J. Zajac (2013) - Brother with The Dominican Friars Foundation

Anne Garner (2012) - Managing Director, InterAct Theatre Company

Graham Christian (2012) - Dance historian & author of The Playford Assembly: 100 Years of Country Dance & Song (2016)

Jessica Landis (2012) - Assistant Professor—Franklin Pierce University

Kevin Petersen (2012) - Lecturer—University of Massachusetts Lowell

Matteo Pangallo (2012) - Assistant Professor—Virginia Commonwealth University

Young-Jin Chung (2011) - Assistant Professor—Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea

Timothy Watt (2011) - English Teacher—Chase Collegiate School

David Swain (2007) - Professor & Department Chair—University of Southern New Hampshire