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Carolina Alvarado, Department of English

Carolina Alvarado joined the English department in 2010. Her dissertation focuses on the role of editors and publishers in shaping popular conceptions of region and regional identity in the early 20th century. More broadly, she works on 19th and 20th century American literature, with particular interest in the novel, regional studies, editorial theory and textual criticism. Carolina received a dual B.A. in English and Religion from Brooklyn College (CUNY) in 2008. 

April C. Armstrong
, Department of Religion

April C. Armstrong entered the Ph.D. program in the Department of Religion in Religion in the Americas in 2007. She is scheduled to defend her dissertation, "'That's What Makes me a Jew and Him a Baptist': Jews, Southern Baptists, and the American Public Square in the Era of Reagan," in October 2014. She is interested in the challenges and costs of American pluralism, especially as related to church-state issues. Prior to enrolling at Princeton, she earned her B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Oklahoma and her M.A.Th. in Theological Studies from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Matthew Axtell, Department of History

Matthew A. Axtell is a PhD student in Princeton’s history department primarily interested in studying how legal concepts and actors have shaped (and been shaped by) markets, property relations, geography, and economic reasoning in American History.  His dissertation, titled "American Steamboat Gothic: Law, Commerce, and Collective Action in the Aquatic West, 1832-1868," analyzes the papers of steamboat captains, river laborers, attorneys, and court officers to tell how the bustling commercial nature of the 19th century steamboat economy eventually joined with its interstate nature, its undercapitalization, its egalitarian spirit, and its intense private litigiousness to upset balances of power on Ohio River waterfronts in the mid-1800s, blurring the line between debtors and creditors, buyers and sellers, and masters and slaves.  He is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley (B.A., History, Highest Honors) and the University of Virginia School of Law (J.D., Traynor Prize for Best Writing by Law Graduate). 

Kimberly Bain
, Department of English

Kimberly Bain joined the Department of English at Princeton University in 2015. Her most pressing intellectual interests include: transnational American literature and the literatures and cultures of the Global South (with a particular focus on Hong Kong, the Caribbean, and India). More broadly, her interests have consolidated around questions of diaspora, structural power, resistance, embodiment, trauma, and subjectivity as a character and as a reader in narratives of postcolonialism and enslavement. She also makes frequent forays into media studies, digital humanities, and machine aesthetics.

Olivier BurtinDepartment of History

Olivier Burtin is a graduate student in the History Department. He is writing a dissertation on the American Legion and veterans' politics after the Second World War. More broadly, he is interested in U.S political, social, and cultural history in the twentieth century. He is a graduate of Sciences Po Paris (France), where he received his Masters’ Degree in History in 2011.

Kameron Collins
, Department of English

Kameron entered the English department in 2009. His project, "The Afterlives of Incorporation: Readings in Law, Literature and Philosophy" examines the statuses of affect and bodily materiality in 19th and 20th-century conversations about legal personhood. More broadly, he works at the intersection of legal theory and philosophy, legal history, and literary theory/studies. He was the recipient of an AMS summer research prize in 2010 and is co-organizing the AMS graduate conference for Spring 2013.

Peter Conti-Brown
, Department of History

Peter Conti-Brown is a PhD candidate in the Department of History and is primarily interested in studying the intellectual, legal, and political evolution of central banking in the United States. More generally, he is interested in the history and law regarding the regulation of debt, public and private, within the contexts of banking, bankruptcy, public finance, and administrative law. He has published articles in the Stanford, UCLA, and Washington University Law Reviews, and co-edited the book When States Go Broke: The Origins, Context, and Solutions for the American States in Fiscal Crisis, published by Cambridge University Press. He is a graduate of Harvard College (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and Stanford Law School, where he remains a non-resident Academic Fellow with Stanford's Rock Center for Corporate Governance. Prior to coming to Princeton, he worked as a law clerk for the Hon. Stephen F. Williams in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, and the Hon. Gerard E. Lynch in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. 

Brittney Edmonds
, Department of English

Brittney Edmonds is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of English. She is currently working on a dissertation examining black literary cultures and economies  of consumption. She is interested in the intersections among political economy, black subject formation, and cultural constructions of agency. Her research interests include 20th and 21st Century African-American Literature, Black Feminisms, and Queer Theory. She is the co-founder of the Black Queer Sexuality Studies Collective at Princeton University, which hosts an annual conference on black sexuality. She received her B.A. in English and American Studies from Cornell University in 2010 and completed her M.A. at Princeton in 2012. Brittney was a recipient of the AMS Summer Research Prize in 2011.

Justin Fowler, School of Architecture

Justin Fowler is a PhD candidate at the Princeton School of Architecture and a founding editor of Manifest, a journal of American architecture and urbanism. He received his Master of Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and previously studied Government and the History of Art and Architecture at the College of William and Mary. He is the editor of Evolutionary Infrastructures by Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi (Harvard GSD, 2013), an assistant editor of Invention/Transformation: Strategies for the Qattara/Jimi Oases in Al Ain (Harvard GSD, 2010) and his writing has appeared in Volume, Pidgin, Speciale Z Journal, Thresholds, PIN-UP, Domus, Conditions, and Topos, along with book chapters in Material Design: Informing Architecture by Materiality (Birkhauser, 2010), and Aircraft Carrier: American Ideas and Israeli Architectures after 1973 (Hatje Cantz, 2012). He has worked as a designer for Dick van Gameren Architecten in the Netherlands, Somatic Collaborative in Cambridge, and managed research and editorial projects at the Columbia University Lab for Architectural Broadcasting (C-Lab) in New York. He also served as managing editor for C-Lab issues of Volume magazine and co-directed think tank research for the GSAPP/Audi Experiments in Motion initiative.

Sean Fraga, Department of History

Sean Fraga is a doctoral candidate in the History Department. His academic interests include human geography, waterways and bodies of water, movement and transportation networks, race, indigeneity, and settler colonialism—all considered within the broader frame of the cultural history of the late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century United States, particularly the U.S. West. Fraga received his B.A. in American Studies from Yale College in 2010. His hometown is Bainbridge Island, Wash.

Alfredo Garcia
, Department of Sociology

Alfredo entered the department of sociology in 2011.  Prior to arriving, he obtained a B.S. from Duke University and a MTS (Masters in Theological Studies) degree from Harvard Divinity School.  His dissertation, “The Walls of Wynwood: Art and Change in the Global Neighborhood,” analyzes the way in which currents of global cultural consumption shape small neighborhoods.  The main question of the project, in its simplest form, is: how do the arts contribute to neighborhood change?  The dissertation, however, shapes this question around recent trends in global wealth inequality—especially the increase in the number and wealth of High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs)—and current writings on cultural consumption in cities—particularly the emphasis that cities place on arts and culture for economic investment.  In a world where the new global elites increasingly, and relatively easily, span the globe for their cultural consumption, how are particular neighborhoods shaped?  Alfredo also freelances for the online magazine, Religion&Politics, and is a former writer for the Religion News Service.

Josh Garrett Davis
, Department of History

Josh Garrett-Davis is a PhD candidate in the history department. His dissertation explores American Indian engagements with phonograph and radio technology from 1890 to the mid-twentieth century. His other interests include American cultural history and the history of the American West. He majored in American studies as an undergraduate at Amherst College, and also received an MFA in nonfiction writing at Columbia University. His book Ghost Dances: Proving Up on the Great Plains was published in 2012.

Brian Gingrich, Department of English

"Brian Gingrich (B.A. Southwestern University; M.A. German Studies, Stanford University) studies modern literature from America and Europe, and he’s also interested in American cinema, Freud, aesthetics, notions of realism, and narrative style. His dissertation focuses on the concept of narrative pace in modern fiction: its crafting, its indeterminateness, its spatial and temporal composition, and its ultimate correspondence to what we try to understand, socially, as the pace of modern life."

Casey Hedstrom, Department of History

Casey N. Hedstrom is a graduate student in the Department of History, where she studies the cultural, intellectual, and political history of the United States in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her dissertation project examines the Civil War pension system, a sprawling and contested federal program that raised – and raises – questions about the nature of disability, work, welfare, and the reach of the state in late nineteenth century America. She is a graduate of New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and the City University of New York, Brooklyn College. 

Justene Hill
, Department of History

Justene Hill is a graduate student in the Department of History.   Her academic interests include African-American History, History of Slavery in the British Atlantic World, and Women’s History. Specifically, Justene is interested in studying the formation of informal and clandestine economies within enslaved communities in the United States and the British West Indies and specifically the ways in which gender shaped participation in informal economic activities.   Justene has a B.A. in Spanish from Swarthmore College and an M.A. from Florida International University in African New World Studies.   She is originally from Oakland, California.

Jennifer Huynh, Department of Sociology

Jennifer Huynh is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology. Her areas of interest include race/ethnicity, Asian American Studies, immigration, and transnationalism.  She received her B.A. degree from UC Berkeley and M.A. degree from the University of Bristol.  In her dissertation, “The City Within: Negotiating race, religion, and diaspora,” she examines the boundaries of the ethnic enclave for the children of Vietnamese refugees. Huynh recently completed a study of Vietnamese-American community organizations under the auspices of the Center for Migration and Development. Prior to attending Princeton, she worked as a sociology instructor in China.

Kurt Karandy
, Department of Religion

Working in the interdisciplinary field of American Studies, my research and writing focus on the popular culture of multiculturalism in the post-Civil Rights era. I'm also interested in transnationalism, performance, religion, and the category of race in US political culture. 

One whose bookshelves are lined with as many TV season box sets as academic monographs, I will likely write my dissertation on sitcoms.

Janet Kong-Chow, Department of English

Janet Kong-Chow is a graduate student in the English department. Her interests include contemporary African-American literature, racial identity formation (and fluidity), transnationalism and diaspora, collective memory, violence and trauma, cultural commodification, and visuality. She received her B.A. in English and History from the University of Pennsylvania in 2013.

Ashley Lazevnick, Department of Art and Archaeology 

Ashley Lazevnick is a PhD candidate in Art & Archaeology, where she studies early 20th-century American art. Her dissertation Precisionism in the Long 1920s, reconsiders the American Precisionist movement by investigating the term “precision” in art criticism, poetry, philosophy, and science in the 1920s and 1930s.  Ashley received a B.A. in Art History and English from Colgate University in 2010 and an M.A. in the history of art from Williams College in 2012. She currently holds the Wyeth Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowship at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C.

Benjamin Lindquist, Department of History 

Benjamin Lindquist began working on a Ph.D. in the History Department in 2015. Before coming to Princeton, he studied studio art at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (BFA) and Yale University’s School of Art (MFA) and taught art history and art theory at Butler University and Purdue University.

Benjamin has received fellowships from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, the American Society of Church History, the Strong National Museum of Play, and Creative Time. He was an Al Held Affiliated Fellow at the American Academy in Rome and a Fulbright Research Scholar in Zurich, Switzerland. He has presented over a dozen papers, both nationally and internationally, on the sensory and visual culture of American religion.

His publications include “Mutable Materiality: Illustrations in Kenneth Taylor’s Children’s Bibles,” Material Religion, Volume 10, Issue 3 (September 2014) and “Testimony of the Senses: Latter-day Saints and the Civilized Soundscape," Western Historical Quarterly, Volume 46, Issue 1 (Spring 2015). The latter won the Western History Association’s Bert M. Fireman Prize.

Jane Manners, Department of History

Jane Manners is a graduate student in the history department. She is interested in 19th century U.S. legal history, and is writing her dissertation on the legal and political aftermath of the Great New York Fire of 1835. She has an undergraduate degree and a J.D. from Harvard, and has tried her hand at teaching, journalism, philanthropy, and politics.
Caleb Maskell, Department of Religion
Caleb Maskell is a PhD candidate in the Department of Religion. His dissertation, "The Kingdom of God and the Transformation of American Religious Imagination, 1830-1877" tells the story of the way that the discourse of the Kingdom of God moved from the margins to the mainstream of American religious life, becoming a lingua franca for describing widely diverse visions of the American religious future. He earned a bachelors degree in Fundamentals from the University of Chicago in 2000 and a masters degree from Yale Divinity School in 2004. Before coming to Princeton, he was the Associate Director of the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale.  

Kijan Bloomfield Maxam, Department of Religion

Kijan Bloomfield Maxam is a graduate student in the Department of Religion. She is in the Religion, Ethics, and Politics subfield. Kijan graduated from Bowdoin College with a AB in Religion and Africana Studies and earned her MA in International & Transcultural Studies, with an emphasis on educational development from Columbia University.  Her research interests include Caribbean Philosophy, African Diaspora Studies,and Gender and Religion. Her current project focuses on religion and social change in the Caribbean from the late 19th century to the present. 

Vladimir Enrique Medenica
,  Department of Politics

Vladimir Enrique Medenica is a PhD candidate in Politics and Social Policy, a joint degree program offered by the Department of Politics and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, at Princeton University. Working at the intersection of political behavior, race/ethnic politics, interest group politics, and public policy, his research focuses on studying the strategies that groups that represent minority interests use to appeal to majority opinion in order to achieve political victories. Vladimir is currently the Marion Levy Fellow in Social Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School and a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellow. 

Maribel Morey
, Department of History 

A PhD candidate in the History Department, Maribel Morey is writing a dissertation on Gunnar Myrdal's An American Dilemma (1944);  a two-volume study celebrated as one of the most monumental texts of the U.S. civil rights movement. The dissertation deconstructs the Carnegie Corporation's reasons for commissioning, funding, and publishing Myrdal's study; and in the process, helps explain how this organization became a civil rights actor in the postwar United States. She received a J.D. from NYU School of Law, and a B.A. in Politics and Romance Languages & Literatures from the U. of Notre Dame. This year, she is a Samuel I. Golieb Fellow in Legal History at NYU Law.

Wangui M. Muigai, Department of History of Science

Wangui is a graduate student in the history of science program with broad interests in race and medicine, history of childhood, and American cultural history. Her research focuses on medical and public health ideas about mortality at the turn of the twentieth century. She received her A.B. in History and Science from Harvard in 2009.

Heath Pearson, Department of Anthropology

Heath Pearson is a PhD candidate in the Anthropology Department and a graduate student affiliate of the Center for African American Studies and the American Studies Program. He is currently undertaking ethnographic fieldwork in a county on the East Coast with four prisons, exploring what happens over time to local institutions and organizations after prisons become the main employer for residents. His most recent article, “The Prickly Skin of White Supremacy,” explores the co-constitution of race and place in Huntington, Indiana, and the many ways racialized violence lingers in the land throughout multiple generations. He was a Lassen Fellow in the Program for Latin American Studies in 2013-14, the recipient of an AMS summer research prize in 2014, and a recipient of a Center for Health & Wellbeing summer research prize in 2015. Currently, in addition to fieldwork, he is co-organizing the American Studies Graduate Student Conference, “Life & Law in Rural America: Cows, Cars and Criminals.” He also spends a great deal of time listening to music.

Emily Prifogle
, Department of History

Emily incorporates her legal and policy backgrounds into the study of twentieth century American history. Her dissertation prospectus, “Views from the Midwest: Rural Communities, Law, and Nation in the Twentieth Century,” examines local government structures in rural Midwestern communities in an effort to make “the rural” legible in new ways to historians as well as legal scholars.  Emily is also interested in public history, narrative, and micro-history projects. Her previous work has focused on recovering marginalized voices within twentieth century social movements, including the civil rights and women’s rights movements.

Ronny Regev, Department of History

Ronny is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History. She studies twentieth century American history with a particular interest in popular culture, the development of mass-media industries and labor history. Her dissertation, “It’s a Creative Business”: The Ideas, Practices, and Interaction that Made the Hollywood Studio System, seeks to reveal the day-to-day reality inside this industry during it’s golden age, c. 1930-1950, by examining the effect work relations and politics had on cinematic production and content. It is a social history of Hollywood that recovers the organization of both labor and the creative process through which movies were produced, and an attempt to understand how everyday routines and interactions shape entertainment. Ronny is an affiliate of the Princeton Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies. She graduated from Rutgers University in 2006 with a BA in history and philosophy. 

Leslie Ribovich
, Department of Religion

Leslie Ribovich entered the Religion Department in the Religion in the Americas subfield in 2011. Her interests include the relationship of church and state in the United States, contemporary character education programs, the history of teaching morality in schools, gender, virtue theory, and religion in the public sphere. She received a BA, cum laude, in Religion and English from Barnard College, earning distinction on both senior theses. Her Religion senior thesis was on the universalizing of moral values in the public sphere among thinkers in the character education and New Atheist movements. Leslie is also a recipient of the Beinecke Scholarship.

Rebecca Rosen, Department of English

Rebecca Rosen joined the English Department in 2010. She studies early American literature, with particular interests in women's manuscript writing, autobiography, captivity narratives and slave narratives, Native American literature and history, and elegiac forms.

Ezelle Sanford, History of Science Program 

Ezelle Sanford III is a doctoral candidate at Princeton University’s Program in the History of Science.  Working at the intersection of history, black studies, and anthropology, he studies race, medicine, and public health from the 19th century to the present.  Specifically, his research interests trace the role of black medical professionals, the institution of the black hospital, contemporary health policy, and health activism.  His dissertation project, “A Source of Pride, A Vision of Progress” proposes to uncover the complex inter- and intra-racial social relationships within and surrounding the Homer G. Phillips hospital of St. Louis, MO, while providing new insights for writing institutional history.

Saul Schwartz, Department of Anthropology

Saul has been a graduate student in the anthropology department since 2008. He does ethnographic and historical research on American Indian language documentation and revitalization with a focus on Siouan languages. He is interested in language ideologies, translation, disciplinary cultures, collaborative methods, and research audiences.

Roy Scranton, Department of English

Roy Scranton completed a B.A. at the New School and an M.A. at the New School for Social Research before joining the Princeton English department in 2010. His dissertation, The Trauma Hero and the Lost War: Political Theology, World War II, and American Literature, 1945-1975, investigates the politics of trauma in World War II literature and explores the hero as metaphor in military-industrial capitalism. Among the issues considered are the trauma hero in modern war literature, representations of strategic bomber crews as victims in “bomber lyrics,” the metaphor of the hero in Wallace Stevens and James Jones, and the rejection of heroism in Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow and the poetry of Kenneth Koch. His research has been supported by the Princeton Program in American Studies, the New York Public Library, and the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation.
Specializing in war culture and 20th-century American literature, Roy has published widely, including peer-reviewed articles in Contemporary Literature and Theory & Event, and essays, feature articles, and reviews in Rolling Stone, New York Times, Boston Review, and Bookforum. With the growing urgency of global warming as a decisive issue for the human species, he has turned toward environmental humanities as a field of research, most notably with his essay in the New York Times, “Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene,” which was chosen for inclusion in the Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014.  
Roy Scranton co-edited Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War (Da Capo, 2013), the preeminent literary anthology from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His philosophical meditation on global climate change, Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene, is forthcoming from City Lights Books next fall. 

Roy can be reached at Scranton [at] More information about his publications and teaching can be found at

Sarah Seo
, Department of History

Sarah Seo is a PhD candidate in the History Department. Her dissertation, “The Fourth Amendment, Cars, and Freedom in Twentieth-Century America,” examines the history of car searches to explore the development of public rights and police powers and to explain the emergence of proceduralism as an integral aspect of American freedom in the twentieth century. She received an A.B. in History in 2002 from Princeton and a J.D. from Columbia Law School in 2007. Prior to graduate school, Sarah served as a law clerk for Judge Denny Chin in the Southern District of New York and Judge Reena Raggi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. This year, she is a Samuel I. Golieb Fellow in Legal History at the NYU School of Law.

Kimia Shahi, Department of Art and Archaeology 

Kimia Shahi is a graduate student in the Department of Art & Archaeology. She studies the history of American art with a focus on landscape and geography in the 19th and 20th centuries.  Kimia  is particularly interested in maps and cartography and their historical intersections with the visual arts in relation to national and cultural identity. Related interests include the roles of vision and representation in cross-cultural exchange and encounter, spatial history, globalism, environmental and ecological history and theory, as well as contemporary art and artists that address these and similar themes. Kimia received an A.B. in art history from Dartmouth College in 2009, followed by an M.A. in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, in 2012.  Last year, she was the recipient of Princeton's George S. Heyer Graduate Fellowship in American/Modern Art History.  This year, she joins the Princeton University Art Museum as a McCrindle Intern in the department of American art, where she will work on the upcoming exhibition Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment  (2018).

Irene Elizabeth Stroud
, Department of Religion

Beth Stroud entered the PhD program in the Department of Religion, specializing in Religion in the Americas, in 2010. She holds an S.T.M. from The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, an M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, and an A.B. from Bryn Mawr College. She is interested in the history of liberal American Protestantism, especially the fissures and contradictions between academic theology, religious social action, and everyday lay religious practice. She also has a strong interest in African-American religion and cities. While completing her S.T.M., she worked as a research assistant on Faith on the Avenue, Dr. Katie Day's ongoing study of nearly 100 congregations on a single city street in Philadelphia.

Joel Suarez, Department of History

Joel Suarez is a PhD candidate in the history department. His dissertation, “Work and the American Moral Imagination,” examines the values ascribed to work in the wake of its transformation in the latter half of the twentieth century. With an emphasis on social critics, novelists, the poor, and the working class, he explores how contending visions of the good life were challenged and reconstituted amid changes wrought by deindustrialization and the ascent of low-wage service sector work.

Sarah Town, Department of Music

Sarah Town is a PhD candidate in musicology, having completed a Masters in musicology at City College of New York, and a BA in history, Portuguese, and Latin American studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her background and research interests span Latin American and North American topics including North American and Cuban jazz and popular dance music; Cuban documentary film; the presence of folklore in the popular and avant-garde; diasporic musics and transnational collaborations; and Afro-futurism. Sarah has presented her research at conferences and events in the United States and Mexico, and at Princeton co-coordinated the 2013-14 Musicology Colloquium Series and has precepted for Black Popular Music Cultures, Sounds in and Out of Africa (Music of Africa), and Introduction to Music. Besides her academic work, Sarah performs and teaches a variety of popular music and dance forms, from Brazilian capoeira and maracatu to Cuban salsa and Latin jazz. Her dissertation focuses on the aesthetic economy of Cuban dance culture in New York City.