Faculty News

Faculty Spotlight

Comparative Literature Welcomes Nelson Maldonado-Torres, a Core Professor for Comparative Literature, for Fall 2011

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Professor Ousseina Alidou Wins 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award of the Africa-America Institute

Ousseina Alidou, Associate Professor in the Department of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Literatures, and Director of the Center for African Studies at Rutgers, was the recipient of the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award of the Africa-America Institute, a US-based organization dedicated to the promotion of capacity building in Africa through higher education and training. The award was presented to Alidou on December 10, 2010 at the Institute’s Twenty-Sxth Annual Awards Gala in New York City in recognition of her scholarly accomplishments and her work in helping “to shape the material and intellectual lives and perspectives of young people – especially women – from all walks of life, across the United States, in African countries, and in other parts of the world.”

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Professor Paola Gambarota Wins MLA Awards Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Publication Award

MLA's Scaglione Publication Award Presented to University of Toronto Press to Publish Paola Gambarota's "Irresistible Signs: The Genius of Language and Italian National Identity"

The Modern Language Association of America today announced it is awarding its thirteenth Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Publication Award for a Manuscript in Italian Literary Studies to Paola Gambarota, of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, for her manuscript "Irresistible Signs: The Genius of Language and Italian National Identity." The manuscript will be published by the University of Toronto Press.

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Matthew Mangold, Graduate Student, Awarded FLAS Fellowship at Indiana University

Congratulations Matthew Mangold!

Matthew Mangold was awarded an FLAS fellowship (Foreign Languages and Area Studies) to study Russian at Indiana University in their SWSEEL (Summer Workshop in Slavic, East European, and Central Asian Languages) program.  The fellowship covers tuition for the program as well as a stipend for living expenses.


Professor Michael Levine Wins a SAS Awards for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education

Prof. Michael Levine wins a SAS Awards for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education.  With his exemplary interdisciplinary teaching in the German, Comparative Literature, and Jewish Studies programs, his visionary leadership as Undergraduate Director of German, and his enthusiastic service on core department and university committees, Professor Michael Levine has made extraordinary contributions to undergraduate education since joining the Rutgers faculty in 2007.  Professor Levine offers an impressive range of interdisciplinary courses that appeal to large numbers of students. Comments on course evaluations repeatedly underscore his effectiveness as a creative, inspirational teacher. Remarking on the diverse, challenging, and illuminating subject matter, one student notes that Michael was “kind and nurturing. It is evident that he is a tremendous intellect who manages to be neither intimidating nor condescending.” Another highlights numerous “epiphany moments” throughout the semester. His exceptional success as a classroom instructor is amply documented by his course evaluations. Statistical indicators repeatedly rank him in the top tier, and student comments are overwhelmingly enthusiastic. These high ratings are even more remarkable in light of the fact that his courses routinely have rigorous syllabi that are theoretically sophisticated, require significant amounts of reading and writing, and challenge students to think in new and unexpected ways.

Michael’s courses have a compelling, profound, enduring impact on his students. One grateful student reports that she refers to the notebook from his Introduction to Literary Theory course as “The Bible,” because “it holds so much information that is somehow relational to my other subjects.” At the departmental level, he has spearheaded curricular innovation at all levels. As Undergraduate Director of German he oversees a flourishing program that has been gaining national and international recognition: under his guidance, three undergraduate German majors have been awarded Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships in Germany next year. At the university level, he has served on key committees charged with improving undergraduate education at Rutgers. Michael also has been instrumental in expanding outreach efforts to area universities and to New Jersey junior high and high schools. With his passionate commitment to his students, to curricular innovation, and to the educational mission of a research university, Michael truly is a “Distinguished Contributor to Undergraduate Education” at Rutgers.


Jacqueline Loeb, Graduate Student, Awarded Grad. School's Univ. & Louis Bevier Dissert. Fellowship

Congratulations Jacqueline Loeb!

Jacqueline Loeb was awarded the Graduate School's University and Louis Bevier Dissertation Fellowship for 2010-2011 which will enable her to complete her dissertation, Psychoanalysis and Jewish Mystical Writing.

Note that this is the first Bevier Comp Lit has won since 2004.


Jennifer Raterman & Alessio Lerro, Graduate Students, Awarded SAS Mellon Summer Research Grant

Congratulations Jennifer Raterman & Alessio Lerro!

Jennifer Raterman was awarded an SAS Mellon Summer Research Grant to research French Revolutionary author Louise Michel at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam.

Alessio Lerro was awarded an SAS Mellon Summer Research Grant to travel to two European archives

(Glasgow and Naples) to research the role of visual culture (typography, paintings, emblems) in Giambattista Vico's Principi di Scienza Nuova.


Salvatore Pappalardo & Monica Filimon, Graduate Students, Awarded SAS Mellon Dissertation Fellowships 2010-11

Congratulations Salvatore and Monica!

Graduate Students in Comparative Literature
Salvatore Pappalardo awarded an SAS Mellon Dissertation Fellowship for 2010-2011 to complete his dissertation, The United States of Europe: Musil, Svevo, Joyce and the Literary Invention of a Postcolonial Community.

Monica E. Filimon was awarded an SAS Mellon Dissertation Fellowship for 2010-2011 to complete her dissertation, Melodrama in Totalitarian Cinema: in France (1940s), Spain (1950s), and Romania (1960s).


In 2009-2010, FOUR Comparative Literature graduate students secured jobs.

In 2009-2010, FOUR Comparative Literature graduate students secured jobs, three of them tenure-track. 

Patricia Ferrer-Medina will be Assistant Professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. Patricia will be one of five in a small department eager to experiment with language/culture teaching and technology.

Christopher Rivera will be Assistant Professor of American Culture and Literature  in the Department of American Culture and Literature at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. He will join an international faculty and teach American literature and film.

Mahriana Rofheart  will be an Assistant in English at the Académie of Montpellier in France.

Ping Zhu will be Assistant Professor of Chinese in the Department of Modern Literatures, Languages & Linguistics at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK. The Chinese division currently has only linguists and language teachers. Ping will be instrumental in creating a presence for Chinese literary and cultural scholarship in MLLL.


Professor Janet Walker - Guest Researcher at Graduate School of Literary Studies of the Free University Berlin

Professor Janet Walker has been invited to be a Guest Researcher at the recently founded Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies of the Free University Berlin from May 16 to July 9, 2010. While in residence at FSGS, she will pursue her own research, which will issue in a public lecture entitled "The Imperial I/Eye: Travel and Identity in Shiga Naoya's Novel An'ya koro (A Dark Night's Passing, 1912-1937)." She will also conduct a mini-course of 1 1/2 days for graduate students, who are writing essentially Comparative Literature dissertations, on Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Ranajit Guha's subaltern theories in relation to the short story of the contemporary Bengali writer Mahasweta Devi entitled "Draupadi." In addition, she will join faculty members of the East Asian Institute in participating in a workshop on translation, presenting a paper on the transculturation of the novel form in Meiji-period (1868-1912) Japan.


Richard Serrano, Professor of French and Comparative Literature, Wins a Guggenheim for 2010-2011.

The Guggenheim will permit Prof Serrano to complete his third book, Qur'an and the Lyric Imperative.  Prof. Serrano says, "Although the Qur'an was intended to replace poetry at the center of Arab culture, within a century of its first dissemination, elucidation of the Qur'an's difficult words required citation of the very same poetry.  I argue that the dynamic of these contradictory impulses is the primary source of meaning in Arabic literature through the fifteenth century."


Steven Gonzagowski, Graduate Student, Awarded Faculty Research Development Grant

Congratulations Steven Gonzagowski!

Graduate Student in Comparative Literature
Awarded a $3,500 Faculty Resource Development Grant to fund the conversion of 01:195:135, "Intro to Short Fiction" for Summer Session hybrid delivery.  

New York, NY - 1 December 2009 - The Modern Language Association of America today announced it is awarding its eighth Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Studies in Slavic Languages and Literatures to Edyta M. Bojanowska, of Rutgers University, for her book Nikolai Gogol: Between Ukrainian and Russian Nationalism, published by Harvard University Press. Andrew Kahn, of the University of Oxford, is receiving an honorable mention for his book Pushkin's Lyric Intelligence, published by Oxford University Press. The prize is awarded biennially for an outstanding scholarly work on the linguistics or literatures of the Slavic languages, including Belarussian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, and Ukrainian.

The prize is one of eighteen awards that will be presented on 28 December 2009 during the association's annual convention, held this year in Philadelphia. The members of the 2009 selection committee were Gabriella Safran (Stanford Univ.); Barry Scherr (Dartmouth Coll.), chair; and William Mills Todd III (Harvard Univ.). The committee's citation for the winning book reads:

Nikolai Gogol: Between Ukrainian and Russian Nationalism contains a major new interpretation of one of Russia's most difficult writers. As the subtitle indicates, Edyta M. Bojanowska does not place Gogol in one tradition or the other but instead, in a series of carefully nuanced analyses, discusses how his writings contributed to both Ukrainian and Russian nationalist models. She traces in fine detail the development of his ideas and in the process sheds light on works by Gogol that have generally received less attention from critics. Equally at ease in presenting theories of nationalism and in carrying out close textual readings, Bojanowska has produced a study that will have a lasting influence on future Gogol scholarship.


Edyta M. Bojanowska, Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature, Awarded MLA Book Prize

Edyta M. Bojanowska is an assistant professor of Russian and Comparative Literature at Rutgers University. She specializes in nineteenth-century century Russian prose. She received her PhD from Harvard University, where she was also a junior fellow at the Society of Fellows and a lecturer in Slavic languages and literatures. Her articles have appeared in journals such as Russian Review, Slavic and East European Journal, and Canadian Slavonic Papers. She has given numerous presentations, most recently at the conferences of the American Comparative Literature Association and of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies. She is currently working on a manuscript entitled "Imperial Nationalism and Russian Culture."

The Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Endowment Fund was established and donated by Aldo Scaglione to the MLA in 1987. The fund honors the memory of his wife, Jeanne Daman Scaglione. A Roman Catholic, Jeanne Daman taught in a Jewish kindergarten in Brussels, Belgium. When deportation of Jews began in 1942, she helped find hiding places for 2,000 children. She also helped rescue many Jewish men by obtaining false papers for them. Her life and contributions to humanity are commemorated in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.


Comparative Literature Welcomes Two New Faculty

Comparative Literature welcomes two new faculty, beginning Fall 2009.

Andrew Parker, Professor of English at Amherst College will be Visiting Professor of French and Comparative Literature, 2009-2010. With a doctorate in Comparative Studies from University of Chicago, Professor Parker specializes in literary, psychoanalytic and Marxist theory, sexuality and gender studies, and 19th and 20th century English, European and American fiction. He will teach the graduate course “The Linguistic Turn: Theories of Language for Literary Studies” in Comparative Literature in Fall 09.

Emily Van Buskirk
(Ph.D. Harvard) will be a new Assistant Professor in the Department of Germanic, Russian and East European Languages and Literatures, but will do her graduate teaching in Comparative Literature. A specialist in 20th century Russian prose and Czech literature and culture, Prof. Van Buskirk will have an office upstairs from Comparative Literature at 195 College Avenue.


Job Placement in Comparative Literature, 2008-2009

Job Placement in Comparative Literature, 2008-2009

In 2008-2009, FIVE Comparative Literature graduate student secured jobs.

Ignacio Infante: Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Romance Languages at Washington, University, St. Louis, MO; TENURE TRACK

Chad Loewen-Schmidt: Assistant Professor of English at Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, W. Virgina; TENURE TRACK

Christopher Rivera: Visiting Assistant Professor in race/ethnicity studies in the Comparative American Studies Program at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio; 1 year, renewable up to 3 years.

Josh Beall: Visiting Assistant Professor in Composition, Department of English, Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA; 1 year, renewable up to 3 years.

Barbara Hamilton: Assistant Professor in Composition, Dept. of English, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ; 1 year, renewable up to 3 years.