Current Students

Thana Al-Shakhs 


Thana AlShakhs is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature with a minor in English at Louisiana State University. She has her Bachelor and Masters degrees in Arabic Language and Literature from King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. She has received three scholarships from: Saudi government in 2013 to study abroad, The Institute of World Literature at Harvard University in 2016, and Digital Humanities Summer Institute at University of Victoria for summer 2017. Currently, she works as a GA in Film and Media Arts Program.

 Hussam Amujalli


Amujalli completed a BA in Arabic Language at Imam Ibn Saud Islamic University in Saudi Arabia (2006). Beginning in 2006, he began teaching Arabic and Arabic literature at the high school level. Subsequently in 2008, he taught Arabic literature at King Saud University to undergraduate level. In 2014, Amujalli completed a MA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University’s College of Arts and Sciences. Currently, he is in his second year of study to complete a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Louisiana State University. His interests include aesthetics of classic and medieval Arab prose. Hussam works in Arabic, Hebrew, and French languages and literatures.

Negar Basiri

Negar Basiri received her BA in English literature from Isfahan University, Iran. She also holds an MA in the same major from Shahid Beheshti University of Tehran, Iran. She is a PhD candidate and a graduate teaching assistant in LSU. She works on English, Persian and French languages and literatures. She is interested in theories of ethics and postmodern philosophy particularly the ethical theories of Emmanuel Levinas. Her current research concentrates on issues of aesthetics violence and ethics of representation. She tries to examine the representation and reception of Persian literature to the world. 

Agnès Dengreville 


Agnès Dengreville holds a BA in Modern Literature from Université de Bretagne Occidentale (2005), a MA in Comparative Literature from Université Paris VII-Denis Diderot (first year of study spent in the Universidad de Cádiz in Philologia Hispanica, Spain), (2008) and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature with a minor in Theater from Louisiana State University/ Paris IV-Sorbonne (2016). Dengreville works English, French, Spanish, Italian, and German languages and literatures. Her research focuses on literal and figurative trials and the return of the formlessness from 1920 to 1960 in the texts of Nietzsche, Pirandello, Artaud, Kafka, Nabokov and Dürrenmatt. Other topics of interest include the historic construction of the grotesque and its expression in twentieth-century theater; caricature and satire; poetry of the Spanish Civil War, political expression and literary revolt.

Aparajita Dutta

Aparajita Dutta

Aparajita Dutta earned her B.A. (2011), M.A. (2013) and M.Phil. (2015) in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur University, India. She is in her first year of the PhD program. Her research interests include theories of gender and sexuality studies, postcolonial studies, Afro-American, Afro-Caribbean and South-Asian literature. She also writes poetry and fiction. 

Emma Gist

Emma Gist

Originally from Little Rock, AR, Emma Gist holds a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature from the University of Chicago (where she specialized in Russian Literature and American Theatre) and a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Southern California. Before entering the LSU Comparative Literature PhD program she taught high school English at Da Vinci Charter Academy, a Project-Based Learning school in Davis, CA. Emma's research interests include the demonstration of abstract phenomena such as time and memory across various media, speculative fiction in popular culture, and how to make literature feel relevant to high school students.

Benjamin Howland


Benjamin Howland is a Ph.D. Candidate in Comparative Literature at Louisiana State University. He is currently writing his dissertation with the title "The Exemplary Spartacus: Reception, Adaptation, and Reconstruction”. He has holds a BA in Classical Studies and History (2007) as well a MA in Comparative Literature (2010) from Purdue University and a Masters Degree in Classical Studies (2014) from Indiana University. His research interests are Classical Reception, specifically with an emphasis on the reception of Rome in the changing Atlantic World, Star Wars and Classical Reception, Ancient Slavery, and Women in Antiquity. Howland works in English, Latin, and Ancient Greek languages and literatures.

Ikea Johnson


Ikea is in her first year of the Comparative Literature Ph.D. program at Louisiana State University. She received her B.A. in English (psychology minor) and M.A. in English from Auburn University-Montgomery (with honors). Previously, she taught Adult Education at a Technical College and English composition at a local high school. Her research interests include: African-American literature, Asian literature, post-colonialism, psychoanalytic criticism, and the intersectionality of Zen philosophy. She works in the languages of English, Mandarin, and French.

Jaime Elizabeth Johnston (Liz)


Liz Johnston earned a BA in English Writing with a minor Social Media from Loyola University New Orleans in 2017. She is the former Chairperson of the Loyola University Community Action Program (LUCAP), the largest and oldest service and social justice organization at Loyola, a role which won her the "Organization Officer of the Year" Magis Leadership Award in 2017. She is also the former Editor in Chief of the Loyola Branch of the Odyssey Online, was a staff writer for, and was a Copy Editor for The Maroon. Now a Comparative Literature Ph.D. student at LSU, Liz's academic interests include Creole Cultures/Literary Studies, Poetry and Poetics, and Afro-American Religions and Literature.

Bethany Leinenbach

Bethany holds a BA in English with minors in French and Leadership from Christopher Newport University (2013) and a Master of Humanities (graduated with honors) in English from Tiffin University (2015). She works in English, French, and Italian languages and literatures. Leinenbach studies the influence of Shakespeare, nineteenth-century French and Russian literature, music and literature, and the development of postmodern thought.

Emily O'Dell

Odell Headshot

Emily O'Dell holds a BA in French from the University of California, Santa Barbara (2012) and a MA in French Studies from Louisiana State University (2016). O'Dell is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature with a graduate minor in Anthropology. Her dissertation focuses on representations of children and childhood in fiction by authors from the French, Spanish, and English speaking Caribbean islands. She is the current Vice President of the Graduate Student Caucus of the Modern Languages. Her research interests include: Caribbean literature and culture; Louisiana literature and culture; folklore; French and Francophone literatures; Postcolonial studies; Cultural Anthropology.

Vida Owusu-Boateng

Vida Owusu-Boateng holds a M.Phil. in Visual Cultural Studies from the University of Tromso, Norway; a M.Phil. in English from the University of Ghana, Legon; and a B.A. in English & Information Studies from the University of Ghana, Legon. Her research interests include Folklore and Anthropology, African, Caribbean and African diaspora literature, 20th and 21st century Anglophone and British literature, Postcolonial literature, the Novel, Narrative Theory and Narratology, Film  and media studies, Classical Reception Studies, and Shakespeare and his contemporaries.

Anwita Ray


Anwita Ray has earned a BA (2013) and a MA (2015) in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur University, India, and at present she is a PhD student at LSU. Her research interests are: South Asian nationalism, theatre of protest, feminist theories, South Asian diaspora and area studies (concentrating on parts of India, Bangladesh and Myanmar). In her work, she focuses on literature of the postcolonial and the contemporary eras. She works in English, Bengali, Hindi and French languages and literatures.

José F. Rojas (Nano)


José F. Rojas holds a BA in Modern Languages from University of Louisiana at Lafayette (2012) and a MA in Hispanic Studies with a concentration in Linguistics concentration from Louisiana State University (2015). He works in English, Spanish, and Portuguese languages and literatures. Rojas examines different representations of criminal women in the mid 19th century; Mexican, South American and Spanish novels from naturalism to Foucaultian perspectives. His interest is to compare, in a transatlantic context, the focus of these representations and their social function. Nano extends this research into lyric theatre by exploring the representation of criminal women in operas and zarzuelas.

Stacy Stingle


Stacy Stingle holds a BA in English, History, Philosophy, and Psychology, with a minor in Creative Writing - University Wisconsin-Oshkosh, an MA in English with a concentration in Literature and Cultural Theory from the University Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a MA in Philosophy, with a minor in Political Science from Louisiana State University. She works in English, Spanish, and French languages and literatures. Stacy's current research is focused on continental philosophy and literary modernism, looking at representations of time, trauma, memory, and fractured consciousness. She examines modern society under surveillance and the way that artists and writers have used their works to examine, resist, and defy oppressive regimes and their power structures.

Jing Tan


Jing Tan holds a BA in Economics from Peking University and has had a wonderful journey studying in the Department of Hispanic Literatures at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Enthusiastic about Migrant Literature and East-West Comparative Poetics, Jing is a great lover of Spanish Golden Age Literature and Classical Chinese Poetry. The languages she grew up with or learned along the way—Cantonese, Mandarin, English, Spanish, Latin—have formed an essential part of her being and identity.  Jing is very excited about exploring the literary world of these beautiful tongues.

Mulin Wang


Mulin Wang holds a BA in English from Hebei Normal University and a MA in Linguistics and English Teaching from Beijing Normal University. She works in Chinese, English, and French languages and literatures. Mulin researches translation practice and theory.

Recent Graduates

Lázara Bolton


Lázara Bolton holds a BA (2004), a MA (2006) and a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University (2016). Dr. Bolton studies choteo and satire in the work of Cuban author Reinaldo Arenas and Nigerian-Yoruba author Femi Euba. She works in Spanish, English, and Portuguese languages and literatures.

Anna Ciamparella

Image of Anna Ciamparella

Anna Ciamparella holds a BA in English, a MA in Italian Studies and a MA in English. Ciamparella's research integrates Atlantic Studies, Modern Writers, Cosmopolitanism, and Queer Studies to create a cultural and literary dialogue among the poets Giuseppe Ungaretti, Langston Hughes, and Antonio D'Alfonso. Her target languages are Italian, French, and English. She works in Italian, English, French languages and literatures. Her publications include "Atlantic Reflection on Giuseppe Ungaretti: The Man, the Journeys, the Poet." Forum Italicum (forthcoming), “Beyond Patriotic Categorizations: Italian Culture and Giuseppe Verdi’s Multifaceted Risorgimento Experiences.” Verdi Forum (under review), “Inclusion/Exclusion: the Abject Other and Its Absolute Passage to Social Order in Chronicle of a Death Foretold.” Revista Atenea (forthcoming), “From Good to Bad Stories: Examining the Narrative of Pregnancy in The L Word as It Teaches and Destabilizes Queerness,” in Queer TV in the 21st Century (forthcoming). 

Amy Lynne Catania


Amy Lynne Catania holds an AS in Biology from Solano Community College (1998), a BA in History from University of California, Berkeley (2000), a MA in Comparative Literature from San Francisco State University (2005), an MLIS (Masters of Library and Information Sciences) from San Jose State University (2009); and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Louisiana State University (expected graduation date May 2017). She works in French, Spanish, Latin, and German languages and literatures. Catania also holds a Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from the California Commission on Teaching Credentialing (issued June 2009) and a Clear Librarian Services Credential from the California Commission on Teaching Credentialing (issued January 2010). Catania draws upon Feminist Theory, Psychoanalysis, Psycho-social analysis in her research. Her research interests include repeated outcomes due to physical imprisonment for men and women in literature; trickster characters in myth and folklore; West African oral history (griot tradition); Creole oral history in Louisiana; death iconography, afterlife, the undead, and immortals; the epic tradition; and etymology

 Kristina Gibby


Kristina Gibby earned a BA in Humanities (2006) and a MA in Comparative Studies from Brigham Young University (2009). She recently finished her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Louisiana State University (2017). She works in Spanish and French languages and literatures. Gibby's research focuses on a comparative approach to the literature of the Americas, specifically contemporary female writers who explore traumatic histories and the process of recuperating obfuscated experiences. Also concerned with the intersection between modern art literature in Europe and the Americas. Gibby was the recipient of the "LSU Graduate Dean’s Summer 2016 Research Stipend." Also presented a paper at the International Comparative Literature Association congress this summer in Vienna, Austria.

 Pengyi Huang


Pengyi Huang holds a BA in English from Beijing Language and Culture University, and a MA in English Language Literature from Beijing Language and Culture University. Huang works in Chinese, English, and French languages and literatures. His research focuses on the relationship between photography and literature, Chinese migrant literature and related literary theories.

Jingyuan Liu


Jingyuan Liu holds a BA in Chinese Language and Literature, with a minor in English from the Beijing Normal University and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Louisiana State University. Liu works in Chinese (classical and modern), English, French languages and literatures. Her research focuses on the Greek tragedy and its modern adaptations, modern Chinese theatre and traditional Chinese theatre. Other interests include traditional Chinese narratives, modern and contemporary Chinese literature, traditional Japanese literature, and western drama in 19th and 20th century.

Guillermo Severiche


Guillermo Severiche holds a BA in Education with a concentration in Literature and Linguistics and a BA Degree in Modern Literature with a concentration in Comparative Literature from the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina. He also holds a MA in Hispanic Studies and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Louisiana State University. Severiche works in Spanish, Ancient Greek, English, French, and Italian languages and literatures. Guillermo's research focuses on the representation of the body in contemporary fiction (cinema and literature) from three different countries: Argentina, Cuba, and Ireland.  The idea is to explore the nature of the body as a form of discourse present in fiction and find possible connections between these representations with their political and economic contexts and also between these different nations. The project's aim is to analyze the possibilities and limitations of the body as discourse both in films and in novels.

Jacqueline Zimmer


Jacqueline Zimmer holds a BA in Political Science from Michigan State University, a MA in Philosophy and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Louisiana State University. She works in French and Spanish languages and literatures. Jacqueline's dissertation research focuses on an analysis of Jean-Luc Nancy's conception of community and Jacques Derrida's idea of responsibility and hospitality in relation to representatinos of masculinity, responsibility, and national identity in the novels of Carlos Fuentes, Ernest Gaines, and René Depestre.