Rebecca is a first-year M.A. in the Teaching Concentration whose interests center around the complex and sometimes contentious interplay between the fields of science fiction, speculative fiction, and Afrofuturism. Specifically, she is interested in how texts from these traditions interact with theories of temporality, spirituality, and ancestral memory, and how they create contemporary literary spaces for intellectual engagement that promote earnest spiritual dialogue.


Rachel Haines's research focuses on the nineteenth-century novel and considers questions of identity and identification relating to the construction of gender and sexuality. Her broad interests include queer theory, gender and women's studies, affect studies, the history and theory of the novel, and Henry James. Before coming to UVa, Rachel received her B.A. in English from Connecticut College, where she wrote an honors thesis on queer female desire in Henry James's novels titled "Queer Substitutions: On Relations Between Women in The Portrait of a Lady and The Wings of the Dove."


My research and academic interests span American literature and culture from the mid-nineteenth century to the early-twentieth century. I’m particularly interested in intersections between American and Russian literatures, spaces, and people, and usually engage these textual and geographic intersections through transnational, environmental, and archipelagic frameworks. My work on Russian American literary, cultural, and environmental exchange has appeared both at academic conferences and in peer-reviewed publications.


Marissa Kessenich is a second-year PhD student in the English department. Prior to attending UVA, she received her BA in English and history at The University of Texas at Austin. Her research centers on contemporary African American literature with a particular focus on memory and the archive.


I graduated with a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2017. Before that I was a teaching artist in California. Current interests include narrative theory, affect studies, print culture, and 19th c. American and British literature


I completed my BA (honors) at Washington and Lee University and have an MFA in poetry from Virginia Commonwealth University. I am interested in British imperialism and US settler-colonial and literary extraction in the antebellum period. My critical work has appeared in Women's Writing and Modern Philology and is forthcoming in Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900. I also work as a copyeditor for New Literary History.


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