Comparative Literature Majors

Davis Boos is graduating with a BA in Comparative Literature and Environment. He was awarded a Sweetland Upper Level Writing Prize for “A Second Exile: Mario Beneditti’s Absence in English,” a critical introduction to translations that he created as part of a course taught by Marlon James Sales for Comp LIt 322: Translating World Literatures.

Annika Hoffmann is graduating with a BA in Comparative Literature (with Honors) and Political Science. She wrote a Comparative Literature Honors Thesis, supervised by Benjamin Paloff, entitled “Sanitized Spaces: The Marginalization of Niche Pornography on a German Fanfiction Site”

Ellie Katz is graduating with a BA in Comparative Literature and Organizational Studies. Ellie won a Hopwood Award in Undergraduate Nonfiction and a Residential College Senior Award for Exceptional Achievement in a Foreign Language. She also had an essay published in the Café Shapiro Anthology.

Simran Malik is graduating with a BS in Comparative Literature and Computer Science.

Seth Reinhard is graduating with a BA in Comparative Literature, French, and International Studies.

Avery Sandstrum (Class of ’22) was nominated for a 2020-21 Undergraduate Academic Year Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship for Quechua Language, which has been renewed for AY 2021-22.

Rose Sickrey is graduating in summer 2021 with a BA in Comparative Literature.

Hannah Zonnevylle is graduating with a BS in Comparative Literature and Earth & Environmental Sciences (with Honors), and with a Minor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Translation Studies Minors

Nicholas Preuth is graduating with a BA in Philosophy and French and a Minor in Translation Studies.

2021 Comparative Literature First Year Essay Prize

Audrey Tieman was awarded the Department of Comparative Literature's First Year Essay Prize for her video essay, "Ratatouille the TikTok Musical." Audrey created this project in multi-modal writing in the GSI section taught by Lis Fertig for COMPLIT 141: Great Performances.

2021 Senior Prize in Literary Translation

Annika Hoffmann was awarded the 2021 Senior Prize in Literary Translation for her translation from German of the short story "Seegeister," by Ilse Aichinger.



PhD’s in Comparative Literature

Şahin Açıkgöz completed a PhD in Comparative Literature with a Certificate in LGBTQ Studies. Doctoral dissertation: Transgender in Translation: A Transnational Category of Socio-Cultural Analysis. (Chair: Frieda Ekotto; Committee members: Benedicte Boisseron, Jarrod Hayes, Trish Salah)

Maximillian Alvarez completed a joint PhD in Comparative Literature and History. Doctoral dissertation: Technologies of Resistance: Media, Anarchy and Radical Politics in Early Twentieth-Century Mexico (Chair: Gareth Williams; Committee members: Howard Brick, Geoff Eley, Benjamin Paloff, Sergio Villalobos-Ruminott)

Megan Berkobien completed a PhD in Comparative Literature with a Certificate in Museum Studies. Doctoral dissertation: (E)co-translation: Toward a Collective Task (Chairs: Benjamin Paloff and Yopie Prins; Committee members: Catherine Brown, Ingrid Diran, Juli Highfill)

Ali Bolcakan completed a PhD in Comparative Literature. Doctoral dissertation: Language of Politics, Politics of Language: Political Literature in Late Ottoman Empire and early Turkish Republic (Chair: Artemis Leontis; Committee members: Kevork Bardakjian, Kristin Dickinson, Elizabeth Wingrove)

Adrienne Jacaruso completed a PhD in Comparative Literature. Doctoral dissertation: The Encyclopedic Form in the Modern French Novel (Chair: Peggy McCracken; Committee members: Michele Hannoosh, Yopie Prins, Antoine Traisnel)

Shira Schwartz completed a PhD in Comparative Literature with a Certificate in Judaic Studies. Doctoral dissertation: Yeshiva Quirls: A Textual Ethnography of Jewish Gender, Sex and Reproduction (Chair: Rafe Neis; Committee members: Elizabeth Roberts, Naomi Seidman, Megan Sweeney, Ruth Tsoffar)

Current PhD students

Alex Aguayo was awarded a Comparative Literature Academic Term Internship Fellowship for Winter 2021, to pursue an editorial internship at Words Without Borders. At the Comp Lit Colloquium organized by our DEI Committee in February 2021, he presented some of his archival research at the Bentley Library on the history of Comparative Literature at Michigan.

Lauren Benjamin published her article, “Circe’s Feral Beasts: Women and Other Animals in Joyce’s Ulysses” in a cluster on animal studies in Journal of Modern Literature 43.2 (Winter 2020). She served as Graduate Student Teaching Mentor for Fall 2020.

Tomi Drucker received a Rackham Language Training Award and a Rackham Graduate Student Research Grant. Tomi presented a paper titled, "Io's Signature: The Writing of the Body as the deconstruction of Logocentric Speech in Ovid's "Io"," at the Classical Reception Symposium and will present a paper, "A Whore with a Camera: The Erasure and the Marking of the Body in Sharon Yaish and Yael Shachar's documentary film A Whore Like Me" at CLIFF in May.

Luiza Duarte Caetano was elected to serve as 2020-21 graduate student ally on the Comp Lit DEI Committee.

Jamie Clegg was elected to serve as 2020-21 Comp Lit Graduate Student Representative and helped coordinate events for the Comp Lit Colloquium Series. She was awarded a Comparative Literature Summer Internship for working in Utah in summer 2021, on a documentary film project about Yurok tribal fire practices.

Duygu Ergun was elected to serve as 2020-21 graduate student ally on the Comp Lit DEI Committee.

Ivan Parra Garcia had a book of short stories, Texarkana, published by Sudaquia Editores in 2021.

Shalmali Jadhav received the 2021-22 Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship for a dissertation that brings dalit and black feminist thought to bear on discussions of race and caste, which have tended to overlook their intersections with gender in the subjectivities of women in the global South.  She worked with Christi Merrill to organize an international multilingual anti-caste translation workshop at UM, and she also coordinated (together with Xiaoxi Zhang) the Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop, Connections & Divisions: Whose university is it anyway?

Amanda Kubic successfully passed her prelim examinations in the Fall of 2020 and is now a Ph.D. candidate in Complit! Amanda is also graduating this semester from her MA program in Greek through the UM Department of Classics. She presented a paper titled "Translating the Silence of Lipiu: The World-Making Power of Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke’s Poetry” at the 2021 ACLA conference for the panel "Translation and Transmission: Greece and the Globe." Amanda served as one of the coordinators for the Topics in Classical Intersectionalities RIW along with William Soergel, and hosted a rich series of discussions, a panel on Antigone in Ferguson, and an the 2021 Classical Receptions Symposium with guest speaker Dr. Patrice Rankine. She is currently working on organizing CLIFF 2021 with fellow coordinators Marina, Julia, Luiza, and Dylan and looks forward to the virtual event in mid-May. Finally, Amanda will be interning this summer for Michigan Press and Publishing through the Rackham Public Engagement Internship Program.

Graham Liddell served as Graduate Student Teaching Mentor for Winter 2021.

David Martin was awarded a Rackham Humanities Research Fellowship for dissertation research on the works of Roberto Bolaño and Viktor Pelevin.

Júlia Irion Martins This year Júlia was invited by the Literature Department at American University (her alma mater) to design and teach a section of LIT 367, which was titled "Latin American Literature and the City." One of Júlia's English 125 students, Carolyn Glasser, won the Feinberg Family Prize for Excellence in First Year Writing in the Narrative Argument category for her essay "Did Shen Fever Really Just Predict COVID-19?" Júlia was selected as a Rackham Public Engagement Intern and will be working this summer at the Michigan Humanities Council. She presented a paper ("Helpless Gazes: Translating Testimony and Documenting Subjectivity") at ACLA and will be presenting another paper ("Posting Hole or Posting Soul: A Case Study of Online Parrhesia and Women's Writing") at the Society for Textual Studies in May. She also co-organized the "reboot" of CLIFF 2020, now happening virtually in May. As GSRA for the Mellon Sawyer Seminar Series in Winter 2021, she coordinated special events and collaborated on a virtual exhibit, Translation and Memory: The Literary Worlds of the Spanish Philippines.

Marina Mayorski worked as GSRA for the Mellon Sawyer Seminar Series in Winter 2021, coordinating events for Jewish Multilingualism in the Midwest: Yiddish Translations of Urban Experience. She was awarded a Comparative Literature Summer Internship for working in summer 2021 with Curator of Judaica at the UM Library to create the first online lexicon of modern Judeo-Spanish literature and press.

Imani Mkandawire Cooper co-edited (with Frieda Ekotto and Xiaoxi Zhang) a special issue for Absinthe: World Literature in Translation, entitled VIBRATE: Resounding the Frequencies of Africana in Translation.

Olan Munson did an internship in summer 2020 at Words Without Borders.

Raya Naamneh was awarded a Rackham Humanities Research Fellowship, for research on the role of animals in the mediation of Palestinian communal relations on and with the land, specifically among peasant and Bedouin communities in the Lower Galilee region in middle of the twentieth century.

Dylan Ogden was awarded a Rackham Public Engagement Internship to work for the Library of Congress European Reading Room over the summer. He is also a co-organiser of the 2021 CLIFF conference, continuing the theme of last year's cancelled conference, "(Counter) Narratives of Migration."

Ana Popovic was awarded a Rackham Humanities Research Fellowship for dissertation research on the production of affect in English and French scientific and literary writings on animals, in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Berkay Uluc was awarded Comparative Literature Summer Language Funding and a Rackham Graduate Student Research Grant.

Peter Vorissis was elected to serve as 2020-21 Comp Lit Graduate Student Representative, and helped coordinate events for the Comp Lit Colloquium Series.

Grace Zanotti presented papers at ACLA and the Contexts for Classics/Topics in Classical Intersectionality Classical Receptions Symposium, and her essay “Translation catastrophes: Pinplay” is forthcoming in Anne Carson/Antiquity (Bloomsbury Press).

Xiaoxi Zhang was awarded the One Term Dissertation Fellowship by the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies, for research on the imperial forces at work in the “modernization” of Chinese, Portuguese and Swahili. She also coordinated (with Shalmali Jadhav) the Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop Connections & Divisions: Whose university is it anyway? and she co-edited (with Frieda Ekotto and Imani Mkandawire Cooper) a special issue for Absinthe: World Literature in Translation, entitled VIBRATE: Resounding the Frequencies of Africana in Translation.



Tatjana Aleksic published her artice “Vampire Privilege: Class, Gender, and Sex in Serbian Metaphysical Horror,” in World Vampire Films: Essayson Sixteen Cultures and their Cinematic Undead, ed. James Aubrey (McFarland, 2020).

Maya Barzilai organized and led the Mellon-Sawyer Seminar on "Jewish Multilingualism in the Midwest: Yiddish Translations of Urban Experience" (February 2021). As Co-Head Fellow of the Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies, Maya organized multiple public interviews, roundtables, and workshops around the theme of "Translating Jewish Cultures." She also published Golem, How He Came into the World (Camden House, German Film Classics, 2020) and “Foreign Coins in Hebrew Gold: Yaakov Fichman and the Gendered Economics of Translation,” Dibur Literary Journal 8, 2020.

Catherine Brown served as Program Head for Arts & Ideas in the Residential College, and completed four years of leadership as Director of Undergraduate Studies in Comparative Literature. She contributed invaluable guidance, support, and survival tips during our campus transition to remote instruction during COVID.

Frieda Ekotto was named Lorna Goodison Collegiate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies, Comparative Literature, and Francophone Studies in July 2020.

Daniel Herwitz's book, The Political Power of Visual Art: Liberty, Solidarity, and Rights, was published in April 2021 by Bloomsbury. He also had a lead book review in the Financial Times called, "Can museums adapt to a changing world?"

Artemis Leontis completed her fourth year as Chair of Classical Studies. To honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, she revisited the statue of Demetrius Ypsilanti in Ypsilanti, Michigan to reflect on the history of how the site received this Greek name exactly when indigenous Americans were forced to quit their claims on the land. There is a new audiobook of Eva Palmer Sikelianos: A Life in Ruins. She participated in a UM Library Scholar Sprint to develop her digital project, “Queer Correspondence” with Sarah Keith. She is currently Vice President of the Modern Greek Studies Association Executive Board (2020-2023).

Peggy McCracken served as our Comp Lit Career Mentor and coordinated, with Jamie Clegg and Peter Vorissis, a series of Comp Lit conversations on “A PhD in Comparative Literature: Why and How?” As Director of the Institute for the Humanities, she also launched a new speaker series, The Humanities at Work.

Christi Merrill published “‘Justice’ in Translation” in South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 43.5 (2020). She developed a new course on Indian protest literature, in connection with a multilingual anti-caste workshop that she co-organized at the UM Center for South Asian Studies and the Language Resource Center in November 2020. She also chaired the Comp Lit DEI Committee, and as our Rackham Diversity Ally she submitted and was awarded a Diversity Allies Grant.

Benjamin Paloff published a book-length English translation of Yuri Lotman, Culture and Communication: Signs in Flux (Academic Studies, 2020) and “The Career of The Career of Nicodemus Dyzma: An Introduction” (Northwestern University Press). He has also been working with CEW+ as a Faculty Ally for Student Parents.

David Porter launched the Detroit River Story Lab, a multi-year public-facing project to help research and amplify stories of the Detroit River, and recognize the importance of the river to the history and identity of our region.

Yopie Prins collaborated with Comp Lit colleagues to launch the Mellon Sawyer Seminar Series on Sites of Translation in the Multilingual Midwest. She also co-chaired (with Silke Weineck) a two-day seminar on “Translating the Midwest” for the 2021 virtual ACLA Convention. She was elected to serve on the MLA Forum Executive Committee for Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies (Romantic and Nineteenth Century), and she has written “An Essay on An Essay on Irony” for publication in Anne Carson / Antiquity (forthcoming from Bloomsbury).

Renée Ragin Randall This was Renee's first year at the University of Michigan! During the winter semester, she taught her first class, CL300: Global Narratives of Trauma; was spotlighted by LSA for her research ("It's a Mad World"); and was an invited respondent to U-M's annual Armenian Studies Program international graduate student conference. In July, her review of the award-winning film For Sama about the Syrian war will appear in the Journal of Middle East Women's Studies. In the process of preparing her monograph, she recently submitted an article to Cultural Critique on the aesthetic of the irresolute in post-war Lebanese contemporary art. Finally, Renee's interview with "Cohort Sistas" (a digital community of 1300+ black women in academia) was selected to launch their podcast series, and Renee formed a small mentorship collective for black women earning their PhDs.

Marlon James Sales accepted the invitation to join the editorial board of Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice. He was a BBC resource person for a news feature on Spanish in the Philippines that came out in January 2021. In February 2021, he delivered a lecture on literary translingualism and the imperial imaginary in Masterlanguage, the inter-university postgraduate program in languages and literatures in the Netherlands. He was also invited to talk about Hispanofilipino literature at CUNY Citytech in November 2020, translation, multilingualism, and racialism at the Global Philippine Studies Forum of NYU in March 2021, and multilingual identities as a decolonial ethic at Amherst College in April 2021. In July 2020, he delivered the paper Language Teaching at the Empire’s End: The Cátedra of Tagalog at the Universidad Central de Madrid (1870-1872) at the Philippine Studies conference organized by the Ateneo de Manila University. He has written a book chapter on translation, censorship, and the Inquisition for The Spanish Pacific Reader, edited by Christina Lee and Ricardo Padrón. He is currently writing a solicited chapter for a multi-volume book project about the cultural history of translation edited by Lieven d’Hulst. He is also collaborating in The Languages of Covid 19, an international research project funded by The British Academy. He has organized two events at the U-M Center for Southeast Asian Studies: Press Freedom and the Pandemic in Duterte’s Philippines: Views from the Ground Up in September 2020, and The Indies of the Setting Sun: Asia and the Early Modern Spanish Geopolitical Imagination in October 2020. He was asked by the U-M Library to moderate the symposium Books and Press Under Different Regimes of Power in October 2020. He has likewise been asked to convene a panel on multilingualism in postcolonial contexts at the international conference World Literature and the Minor: Figuration, Circulation, and Translation in May 2021 at KU Leuven, Belgium. Finally, he has led CompLit’s second Sawyer Seminar earlier this year about translation and the archive in the Midwest.

Niloofar Sarlati co-translated Mary Warner Marien’s Photography: A Cultural History from English into Persian; the book was published by Herfe-Nevisandeh early this year in Iran. She presented a paper entitled “Sovereign Gifts” in the seminar “Poetics of Sovereignty” at the ACLA and will be presenting another part of her book project on colonial law, bribery, and gifts at the Council for European Studies (CES) conference in June. She will also participate in Global Publishing and the Making of Literary Worlds Conference at Princeton this summer. Niloofar’s course, “Circulating Worlds” (CL 422), was awarded funding from Arts at Michigan’s Course Connections, which allowed her to invite two visual artists and an award-wining film director to her class.

Anton Shammas is working on a current project, entitled “Blind Spots and Other Essays on Translation.”

William Stroebel's article on a Karamanli refugee ballad came out in the most recent issue of PMLA. He designed and co-taught with Ana Popovic an iteration of CL 322 called "Translation and Migration" that incorporated units such as interpreting for asylum seekers and refugees, crowd-sourced journalism in war zones (, ethnographic translation and public-facing service translation, children's picture books, and film subtitling, among others. He was invited to give a guest lecture, "Translating Islamic Piety with Greek Aljamiado" at Princeton University, for their Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication (October 2020). Will and his family moved across the country in the middle of a pandemic and have survived a year of remote learning with a new elementary school that his older son Orpheus just managed to set foot in for the first time a couple weeks ago.

Antoine Traisnel's book, Capture: American Pursuits and the Making of a New Animal Condition, was published in September 2020 by the University of Minnesota Press. Antoine published an essay on Thoreau's garden politics for a volume on Thoreau and Vegetal Thought and an op-ed on France's fear of American theory in the Chronicle of Higher Education. He also gave a series of virtual book talks at Columbia, UNC, Université Paris 3, and Uppsala University, and presented new work at MLA.

Ruth Tsoffar participated in three events around her book, Life in Citations: Biblical Narratives and Contemporary Hebrew Culture. The first event was at the 48th Meeting of the Israeli Anthropological Association. The second event was held at the Berkeley Center for Jewish Studies, UC Berkeley and the third event was in The Stroum Center for Jewish Studies, University of Washington. Ruth also gave a lecture, “A Crisis of Education: Israel and Palestine,” as part of a lecture series to Leaders of Jewish Organizations at Hillel on Feb. 3, 2021 (Zoom, Ann Arbor).

Silke Weineck's book, City of Champions: A History of Triumph and Defeat in Detroit (co-authored in 2020 with Stefan Szymanski) appeared with The New Press in Fall of 2020, and they have been presenting it at Literati, various public libraries in the area, the Eisenberg Institute, the Detroit Historical Society, and the Detroit Center. The book won a Michigan Notable Book Award from the Michigan State Library. Silke chaired CompLit's first ever MICHHERS group in Summer 2020, served as translation advisor in CompLit, published an opinion piece in the Chronicle for Higher Education arguing that the only ethical austery measures taken at universities need to "chop from the top," presented at the GSA, the ACLA, and NASSH (National Association for the Study of Sports History), took the lead in satirically renaming Weiser Hall the "Weiser Center for Voter Suppression, Witch Burning, and Political Assassination," and learned how to photograph birds in flight.