Celebrating 2022: Recent Student and Alumni Publications in the Ph.D. in English Program

December 12, 2022

In our new Monthly English Books Roundup series, we will highlight these accomplishments for the Graduate Center and beyond. December’s roundup features an exciting list of this year’s work by students and alumni.

Nine book covers against a blue background: It Got So Dark, After Cooling, Victorian Paper Art and Craft, New Directions in Print Culture Studies, and Uncommon Sense on the top row. Gossip Girl Fanfic Novella, Language and the Rise of the Algorithm, The New College Classroom, and In Common Things in the second row.
English program students and alumni published a variety of books in 2022.

The CUNY Graduate Center Ph.D. Program in English is home to hundreds of talented faculty, students, and alumni publishing academic and pedagogical texts, fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. In our new Monthly English Books Roundup series, we will highlight these accomplishments for the Graduate Center and beyond. December’s roundup features an exciting list of this year’s work by students and alumni. Read on to learn more about these books and what is next for these scholars.

 

Student Publications

 

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It Got So Dark by Benjamin Krusling (December 2022, Ugly Duckling Presse)

Cover of It Got So Dark next to headshot of the author Benjamin Krusling.

 

Benjamin Krusling is a second-year English Ph.D. doctoral student at the Graduate Center. They are a poet and artist based in Brooklyn, New York. 

 

 

How does this work relate to your research at the Graduate Center?

On the one hand, the writing of these poems is thinking through one of my pursuits: realism as an attitude toward material rather than any kind of predetermined set of aesthetic markers. On the other, the book sits perpendicularly to my research as the writing tends to intuition, loose experience unincorporated. I was tired of being sick and tired, but found it, via Baraka, "rich and full of mysterious meaning." Which doesn't make it good! 

What are you working on next?

Something about Terrorizers (dir. Edward Yang, 1986) and nausea. A book of aphorisms. Not claiming all of the action, only the dream (akilah oliver)!

 


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Gossip Girl Fanfic Novella by Charlie Markbreiter (November 2022, Kenning Editions)

Cover of Gossip Girl Fanfic Novella next to headshot of the author Charlie Markbreiter.

 

Charlie Markbreiter is a fourth-year English Ph.D. doctoral candidate at the Graduate Center, and managing editor of The New Inquiry.

 

 

How does this work relate to your research at the Graduate Center?

Gossip Girl Fanfic Novella reflects my research in trans studies, the scholarship of Lauren Berlant, and the history of U.S. empire. 

What are you working on next?

I am currently working on my second book, a transfluencer detective novella, with writer/artist Maz Murray. 

 


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After Cooling by Eric Dean Wilson (July 2022, Simon & Schuster)

Cover of After Cooling next to photo of the author Eric Dean Wilson.

 

Eric Dean Wilson is a fifth-year English Ph.D. doctoral candidate at the Graduate Center. His work has appeared in TimeThe BafflerTin HouseBOMB, and Los Angeles Review of Books

 

How does this work relate to your research at the Graduate Center?

In After Cooling, I questioned the culture of "personal comfort at all costs" that was ushered in by the advent of the air conditioner in the United States. Our comfort cooling has heated the planet. In my dissertation, I'm extending that inquiry to the literary genre of the personal essay: How does our narrow conception of a self as individual and disconnected relate to our current ecological crisis, and how might we read this in contemporary personal essays?

What are you working on next?

In addition to my dissertation, I'm working on a collection of personal essays tentatively titled Queer Woods, which explore the sedimented history of Brooklyn's Prospect Park, urban ecology, climate grief, and queer connections.

 

Alumni Publications

 

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Language and the Rise of the Algorithm by Jeffrey Binder (November 2022, University of Chicago Press)

Cover of Language and the Rise of the Algorithm next to photo of the author Jeffrey Binder.

Jeffrey M. Binder is an affiliate fellow at Pennsylvania State University’s Center for Humanities and Information and a researcher at Open Raven, a startup that develops software for detecting security problems in cloud computing systems. He received a Ph.D. in English from the Graduate Center in 2018.

What was the process of developing your dissertation into a book?

I was very lucky to have a postdoc with a light teaching load at Penn State, which enabled me to focus on my book intensively for several years. It turned out to be a very different work from the dissertation, even though it draws on some of the same research. My dissertation was framed by a methodological question: How can we reconcile algorithms with the interpretive methods of the humanities? When I started working on the book, I knew that I wanted to say something broader about how the modern idea of algorithm took shape. I started by coming up with a structure that covered some of the major stages of this history, and then I integrated material from the dissertation as I went. I ended up covering a lot that was not in the dissertation, especially at the beginning and end — the book goes into much more depth on both Renaissance mathematics and 20th-century computer history.

What are you working on next?

I’m currently researching a book chapter about Charles Babbage, the 19th-century inventor who tried to build a steam-powered computing machine. I also have a longstanding interest in computer-generated poetry, both as a subject of inquiry and a practice. In this vein, I’m writing an article about a book from 1677 that describes what is, for all intents and purposes, an algorithm for generating Latin verse, and I’ve been experimenting with artistic uses of machine learning. My book describes a series of shifts in the disciplinary boundaries around algorithms, and I think we’re in the midst of another one now—in practices like AI text generation, engineering is cross-pollinating with the arts and humanities in unexpected ways, and this creates an opportunity to rethink how we draw the lines.

 


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Victorian Paper Art and Craft by Deborah Lutz (October 2022, Oxford University Press)

Cover of Victorian Paper Art and Craft next to photo of the author Deborah Lutz.

Deborah Lutz, the Thruston B. Morton Endowed Chair at the University of Louisville, is the author of five books, including The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects and Relics of Death in Victorian Literature and Culture.  She received a Ph.D. in English from the Graduate Center in 2004.

How does this work relate to your research at the Graduate Center?

This book grew out of my research with Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick at the Graduate Center, on material culture in the Victorian period.

What are you working on next?

I'm currently working on a biography of Emily Brontë, which will be published by Norton.

 


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The New College Classroom co-authored by Christina Katopodis (August 2022, Harvard University Press)

Cover of The New College Classroom next to photo of the author Christina Katopodis.

Christina Katopodis, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral research associate in Transformative Learning in the Humanities, a three-year initiative at CUNY supported by the Mellon Foundation. She received a Ph.D. in English from the Graduate Center in 2021.

 

How does this book relate to your research at the Graduate Center?

The book draws from my experiences as a graduate research fellow with the Futures Initiative, as a research assistant for Cathy N. Davidson, and my years of teaching as an adjunct at Hunter College.

What are you working on next?

Currently, I'm working on an article tentatively titled “Structuring Equity into Our Classes to Resist Carceral Soundscapes and Spark Student Engagement, Curiosity, and Activism,” co-authored with Josefine Ziebell, which we will submit shortly to Sound Studies.

 


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New Directions in Print Culture Studies co-edited by Jesse Schwartz (June 2022, Bloomsbury Publishing)

Cover of New Directions in Print Culture Studies next to photo of the author Jesse Schwartz.

Jesse Schwartz is an associate professor of English at LaGuardia Community College (CUNY) and a member of the Faculty Committee at the Committee on Globalization & Social Change. He received a Ph.D. in English and an American Studies Certificate from the Graduate Center in 2012. 

How does this work relate to your research at the Graduate Center?

Without my time at the Graduate Center, quite frankly, there would be no essay collection at all. Not only are there several chapters written by former faculty and graduate students that once graced your illustrious (if also at times disorienting) halls, but the project itself is a direct result of my time at the Graduate Center working closely with numerous print-cultural mavens and mentors there as well as around the CUNY system as a whole. 

What are you working on next?

I'm hoping (perpetually) to finish my monograph, currently titled America’s Russia: The Bolshevik Revolution, Racial Socialism, and US Print Culture, 1886-1924. This project is a study of the durable cultural effects that cohered in the U.S. through its relationship with the nascent Soviet Union at the intersections of racialization and radical politics. Specifically, my project examines the linkages between, among, and within entangled aspects of difference — such as race, class, gender, and sexual orientation — through the prism of the Bolshevik Revolution as represented within the American periodical press. By analyzing reportage, imaginative literatures, and advertisements of the period, I outline how early-20th-century conservative forces in the U.S. mobilized against movements for racial equality, gender parity, and economic justice by deploying the specter of communism to conflate non-whiteness with activist politics in an attempt to circumscribe both. I then explore the myriad ways that leftwing American and U.S.-based writers of various races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, and creeds recognized and reworked this conflation in the service of liberation, decolonization, women’s rights, and social equality under the lodestar of an avowedly antiracist and antisexist Bolshevik Russia.

 


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In Common Things by Matthew Rowney (April 2022, University of Toronto Press)

Cover of In Common Things next to photo of the author Matthew Rowney.

 

Matthew Rowney is an associate professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He received a Ph.D. in English from the Graduate Center in 2015.

 

What was the process of developing your dissertation into a book?

I realized that I had to make major changes for the project to make sense as a book. I took two chapters out of the dissertation as a starting point for what would become a different project.

What are you working on next?

I'm currently working on a second book dealing with Industrial Tourism during the Romantic period.

 


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Uncommon Sense by Carrie D. Shanafelt (January 2022, University of Virginia Press)

Cover of Uncommon Sense next to headshot of the author Carrie Shanafelt.

 

Carrie Shanafelt is an associate professor of literature and philosophy at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey. She received a Ph.D. in English from the Graduate Center in 2011.

 

How does this book relate your research at the Graduate Center?​

My dissertation, Common Sense: The Rise of Narrative in the Age of Self-Evidence, was a critical examination of the use of literary rhetoric in 18th-century British philosophy, showing how this resulted in a kind of epistemic normativity, in which only the kind of stories and characters that feel familiar from literature have moral or political significance. This book, Uncommon Sense, was inspired by reading Jeremy Bentham’s manuscripts on sexual nonconformity, in which he anticipated my argument about epistemic normativity and popular fiction, even showing that many popular novels are pointedly hateful toward gender and sexual nonconformists. From the 1770s until his death in 1832, Bentham consistently demonstrated that most people — women, laborers, colonized and enslaved persons, disabled people, and sexual nonconformists — were wrongfully excluded from political and moral significance by wealthy patriarchal men who hoarded power by keeping everyone else miserable. If literature helped get us into this tyranny of the minority then, Bentham suggests, more inclusive aesthetic culture could help get us out of it.

What are you working on next?

My second book, in progress, is inspired by Quobna Ottobah Cugoano’s Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery (1787), in which he makes an often overlooked claim about the relationship of British national debt to the perpetuation of slavery in the West Indies. Drawing on the Bank of England Archives and material from the British Library’s South Sea Company papers, as well as the vast collections of pamphlets on the national debt in England and Scotland, I am writing about the way that national debt to corporate interests is a way of deflecting blame for disenfranchising workers and excusing the exploitation of slavery overseas while professing innocence at home. My working title is “‘A World of Debt’: Atlantic Slavery and British National Debt, 1694-1834.”

 

View a full list of books published by students, alumni, and faculty 
of the CUNY Graduate Center Ph.D. Program in English.