COMMA Members


Maurizia Boscagli is an Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She received her Ph.D. from Brown University in 1990. Her central interests include: gender studies and feminist theory; the body; theories of subjectivity; British and European Modernism; fin de siecle literature; critical and cultural theory; and theories of mass culture. She is the author of Eye on the Flesh: Fashions of Masculinity in the Early Twentieth Century (1996); a translation of the book Constituent Power, by Antonio Negri(forthcoming); and various articles on Masculinity, Walter Benjamin, and James Joyce.

Enda Duffy is a Professor in the English Department at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1990, and his central interests include Post-colonial literatures and cultures; modernism and postmodernism; Irish literature; cultural studies; and James Joyce. He is the author of The Subaltern Ulysses (U of Minnesota P, 1994), and of articles on post-colonial and modernist writing. Professor Duffy is currently working on how new concepts of space and technologies of speed have functioned geopolitically in this century.

Bishnupriya Ghosh is Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she teaches postcolonial theory and global media studies. Much of her scholarly work interrogates the relations between the global and the postcolonial; area studies and transnational cultural studies; popular, mass, and elite cultures. While publishing essays on literary, cinematic, and visual culture in several collections and journals such as boundary 2,Journal of Postcolonial Studies, Public Culture and Screen, in her first two books, Ghosh focused on contemporary elite and popular cultures of globalization. When Borne Across: Literary Cosmopolitics in the Contemporary Indian Novel (Rutgers UP, 2004) addressed the dialectical relations between emerging global markets and literatures reflexively marked as “postcolonial,” andGlobal Icons: Apertures to the Popular (Duke UP, 2011) turned to visual popular culture as it constitutes the global. Research is underway for a third monograph, The Unhomely Sense: Spectral Cinemas of Globalization that tracks the relations between globalization and cinematic/post-cinematic images.

Melody Jue is Assistant Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research and teaching interests concern oceans & the environmental humanities, American literature, digital media & media theory, science fiction, science & technology studies, and the relation between theory and practice. She completed her Ph.D. in the Graduate Program in Literature at Duke University, where she was a recipient of the Katherine Goodman Stern Dissertation Completion Fellowship and James B. Duke Graduate Fellowship. Prior to this, she worked as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at the Open University of Hong Kong. Melody has published articles in Grey Room, Animations: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction, and has forthcoming work in Size & Scale in Literature and Culture. Drawing on the experience of becoming a scuba diver (supported by two Summer Research Fellowships from the Duke Graduate School), her current book project concerns how the ocean shifts our understanding of critical terms in media theory through its conditions of movement, erasure, and dissolution, and how this new understanding might be brought to bear on questions of cultural preservation and environmental justice.

Sowon S Park (DPhil Oxford) is Assistant Professor in English at UCSB. She specializes in British Modernism, World Literature, and the relationship between Literature and other forms of knowledge, in particular Cognitive Neuroscience. Before coming to UCSB, she held faculty positions at Oxford, Cambridge and Ewha University, Seoul. Her publications on Modernism include ‘Political Activism and Women’s Modernism’ in The Cambridge Companion to Women’s Modernism (2010), ‘Suffrage and Virginia Woolf: ‘The Mass behind the Single Voice’ in The Review of English Studies vol. 56 (Feb 2005) and ‘Suffrage Fiction: A Political Discourse in the Marketplace.’ English Literature in Transition 1880-1920 vol.39:4 (Sep. 1996).

Rita Raley is Associate Professor of English, with courtesy appointments in Film and Media Studies, Comparative Literature, and Global Studies. Her primary research interests lie at the intersection of digital media and humanist inquiry, with a particular emphasis on cultural critique, artistic practices, language, and textuality. She is the author of Tactical Media(University of Minnesota, 2009), co-editor of the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 2 (2011), and has more recently published articles on interventionist media arts practices, digital poetics, and global English. She has had fellowship appointments at the National Humanities Center and UCLA, as part of the Mellon-funded project on the Digital Humanities, and has taught at Rice and the University of Minnesota. In Spring 2011 she held a short-term Fulbright appointment with “ELMCIP: Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice” at the University of Bergen, Norway; and in December 2011 she was a writer in residence hosted by the Dutch Foundation for Literature in Amsterdam. In 2012-2013 she was a visiting Associate Professor in English at NYU. She co-edits the “Electronic Mediations” book series for the University of Minnesota Press and the “Critical Media Aesthetics” book series for Bloomsbury.

Glyn Salton-Cox completed his PhD at Yale University, entitled “Cobbett and the Comintern: Transnational Provincialism and Revolutionary Desire from the Popular Front to the New Left.” His research interests focus on the cultural, literary, and intellectual history of the left, especially intersections between Soviet, Weimar, and British Marxist intellectuals and writers; leftist cultural nationalisms; and the uneasy relationship between radical theories of sexuality and Marxist thought. While at UCSB, Glyn has begun a second book project that interrogates representations of urban modernity in order to reconstruct the history of the so­called “precariat” ­­ more specifically, the ways in which the category of “the underclass” has served as a “dumping ground” for diverse underprivileged subjects whose subjectivities are located beyond normative working­class subjectivities. He has taught a range of subjects in the UCSB English Department, including “Sexual Revolutions of the Twentieth Century,” “Urban Modernity Post­1939,” and “Marxism and Queer Theory.” I

Russell Samolsky is associate professor of Anglophone literature in the English Department at UCSB. His research interests include South African literature, Jewish studies, animal studies, and the global humanities. His book, Apocalyptic Futures: Marked Bodies and the Violence of the Text in Kafka, Conrad, and Coetzee, which takes account of the complex relationship between past apocalyptic texts and future catastrophic events, has recently been published by Fordham University Press. His current book project, “Killing Dogs,” examines the place of the dog in the contemporary literary and theoretical discourse on the question of the animal.

Teresa Shewry is Assistant Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She received a PhD in Literature from Duke University and a BA in English and Japanese from Victoria University, New Zealand. Her research areas include Pacific and Pacific Rim cultures, environmental humanities, and water and the ocean. Her book, Hope at Sea: Possible Ecologies in Oceanic Literature (forthcoming at the University of Minnesota Press), explores hope in the context of environmental change in the Pacific. She is also a co-editor of Environmental Criticism for the Twenty-First Century (Routledge, 2011).  Teresa recently co-organized a Mellon Sawyer Seminar on “Sea Change.”

Graduate Students

Elizabeth Allen is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research investigates why gestures of generosity, so prevalent in Irish and South African literature from 1974 to 2010, repeatedly fail to generate the cross-cultural understanding and social cohesion that is necessary for community formation. Generosity is an ethical and political matter that illuminates broader sociopolitical concerns about who can claim to belong to a community, whether in terms of race, ethnicity, or nationality. Elizabeth’s dissertation uses generosity as vehicle for exploring how post-colonial communities understand and respond to difference, and look to literature for alternative imagined forms of community where belonging isn’t dictated by such criteria as race or nationality.   The transnational framework of her research seeks to explore new possibilities of how we conceive of community, and pushes against definitions of it as a homogeneous and tightly bounded entity in favor of a more inclusive, interconnected global community.

Leah Norris is a PhD candidate in UCSB’s English department. Her research investigates the parameters of the Modernist novel, asking how traditional and subversive genre structures reflect and recognize specific subjectivities. She is primarily interested in the analysis of 20th century Anglophone literatures as seen through trauma studies and issues of embodiment.

Maite Urcaregui is a PhD student in the Department of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She completed her MA in English with a graduate certificate in Women and Gender Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and her BA in English at Gonzaga University. She studies twentieth century American culture and literature through an inter-/transdisciplinary perspective that draws from cultural studies, gender and sexuality studies, and critical race studies. Her research explores the relationship among form, aesthetics, and agency as well as the possibilities for activism and resistance within popular culture, focusing specifically on genre fiction, zines, and comics.

Elizabeth Floyd

Baron Haber has been working with COMMA since 2009. He is presently working on his dissertation, which is entitled Queer Routes: The Eco-Aesthetics of Metamorphosis, and includes chapters on Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, and Salman Rushdie. His research interests include ecocriticism, gender and queer theory, and postcolonial criticism. He has published in the peer-reviewed online journal, darkmatter. He also holds his MFA in Fiction from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Andrew Kalaidjian

Steven Pokornowski completed his dissertation, titled “Antibody Aesthetics: Insecurity at the Intersection of Twentieth Century Culture, Politics, and Science,” at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

His dissertation traces a cultural history of biopolitics, historicizing the discourse and contextualizing its emergence in the early twentieth century. Through an interdisiciplinary archive demonstrating a transdisciplinary preoccupation with the imbrication of biology and politics, Pokornowski resituates modernism and science fiction in relation to one another, demonstrating their concomitant development of “antibody aesthetics” which served to define the limits of community, naturalize the yoking together of biology and politics, and rationalize political violence through an immunitary logic of defense.

Alison Reed is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her dissertation, “Traumatic Utopias: Staging Power and Justice in Black and Latin@ Queer Performance,” examines the generative tension between trauma and utopia in Black and Latin@ queer performance texts from the 1960s to the present. Through interdisciplinary analysis of a rich performance archive, her project shifts conversations about trauma away from a politics of hopelessness endemic to our contemporary moment and toward the everyday transformation of social realities. In so doing, she offers a theoretical model of “traumatic utopias,” or performance practices that use historical traumas as the raw material for creatively inhabiting utopian visions. Her research interests more broadly lie at the intersection of performance studies, queer theory, and critical race and ethnic studies.

Christopher Walker is a PhD candidate at UCSB. His dissertation, “Narratives of Decay: Novel Ecologies in 20th Century Literature and Science,” traces the decay of four materials–radium, plastics, ozone, and biomass–to explore the shared imaginative domain of 20th century literature and sciences. His teaching and research focus on 20th century Anglophone literatures, the environmental humanities, and science studies. He is COMMA’s Research Assistant.


Joshua Goodmacher is a fourth year English and history major. He is interested in looking at perceptions of the environment in societies, how they shift and change with time, and how those perceptions come across in art. Joshua’s project looks at the work of Caspar David Freidrich and JMW Turner to understand the place of the environment in Romantic period thought and compares it to the place of the environment within Ulysses by James Joyce, using his novel as a means of understanding the modernist viewpoint.

Elliott Wright is a fourth-year English major with a minor in the Civic Engagement track of the Professional Writing Minor. Currently, his research interest is labor and its repercussions on individual’s sense of identity in postmodern and contemporary British literature. He has enjoyed his time in the Arnhold Program and looks forward to expanding on his ideas further after his graduation in June.

COMMA Alumni