Karen received a BA in French and History from Vassar College in 2003, where she wrote her senior thesis in History on the beguines, a medieval women's religious order. She is in her fourth year of the PhD with MA en route. Her research interests include Catholicism in French history and literature, in particular women, gender, and spirituality in the Middle Ages, and saints' lives.
Eléonore received her M.A. in English and American Literature and Civilization from the Université Paris-X, Nanterre, where she wrote her thesis on two first First Ladies and their pioneering role in the shaping of the American nation. She is currently a fifth-year Ph.D. student in the French Program and working on her dissertation entitled The Failure of the Self: Siblings, Twins, and Best Friends in French Modernity. She is the recipient of a Lillian B. Lawler Fellowship for 2011-2012 and she now lives in New Haven, CT with her husband Leonel. She nurtures a deep interest in the transitional nation rebuilding itself from the shipwreck of past events. Her primary research interests include the notion of exile in 19th-century France, particularly the sentiment of étrangeté. Chateaubriand and Madame de Staël embody a generation of men and women that is lost in the present and who paradoxically find themselves constrained to live a life in abeyance. Finally, she loves writing, and is particularly interested in the oulipian creative / recreative act of writing.
Mert received his B.A. in French from the University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB) in '07. He previously received his B.S. in Finance ('89-UAB) and his M.B.A. ('93-UAB). He is studying towards a PhD degree in French Literature and his area of interest includes the negotiation of literary identity during the height of the “philosophe vs. anti-philosophe” conflict in the middle of the 18th century. His research focuses on the literary output of writers whose careers were influenced by the two camps during the period of 1750-65, as well as writers who neither joined one camp nor the other during the conflict.
Mert Ertunga was born in Istanbul, and has a daughter, Erin.
Anne received her BA in Political Science from American University in Washington D.C. and her MA in French from Middlebury College. She is currently in her second year of the PhD program. Her general research interests include 20th century French literature, self-writing, gender studies and politics. Most recently, her research has focused on theories of subjectivity and truth in the autobiographical writings of Simone de Beauvoir.
Awards and Achievements: A&S Fellow (2010-2011); Recipient of le Prix Bambas for excellence in literary studies, August 2010, Middlebury College; Participant in the French Cultural Studies Institute, Dartmouth College, June 2011.
Andrea Jonsson is a Montana native currently working towards a PhD in French Literature. She received the DALF (Diplôme Approfondi de la Langue
Française) from the Université d’Aix-Marseille I in 2003, and her Bachelor’s Degree in Music from McGill University in 2004. She then lived in Paris teaching English, consulting, and translating in advertising agencies for three years while working towards an MA in English Literature at the Open University. Her research interests include pedagogy, affect theory, space, architecture, topography, and cartography in literary discourse. A writer herself, Andrea recently had her first short story published in the anthology Strangers in Paris by Tightrope Books.
Maeva is currently working towards a PhD in French literature. A French native, she received her BA in English from the University of Nanterre (Paris X) in 2007 and completed her first year MA in British literature in 2008, before she came to Pitt as an exchange student/French TA. She wrote a Master’s thesis centered on George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, in which she considered the dialogue between the private and public spheres during the Victorian period. A significant part of this work treated the consequences resulting from the gender-related conflicts and tensions within society. Her current research includes: la femme du 18ème siècle qui lit et écrit/lire et écrire la femme du 18ème siècle in French literature.
Zach received a BA in Philosophy and French Literature from Taylor University in 2003. He then completed an MA in Philosophy from Ohio University in 2005, writing a thesis focusing on functional analysis and its use in understanding Freudian psychoanalysis. He is currently a PhD student in the French & Italian Department where his dissertation contrasts a postmodern picture of language with a Wittgensteinian picture, suggesting that the latter allows us to understand repetition in the works of Duras, Sartre, and Genet as a movement towards knowledge, rather than its deferral.
Delphine, a French native, is currently working towards a PhD in French Literature. She received her B.A. in English, her M.A. in English and her M.A. in Teaching French as a Foreign Language from the Université Paris IV Sorbonne. Her research interests include second-language acquisition, translation and comparative stylistics.
Charles-Louis Morand-Métivier is a PhD Candidate in the Department of French and Italian. A Mellon Predoctoral Fellow, he is currently finishing his dissertation, entitled "Apprendre des massacres: émotions et nations dans la littérature du Moyen-age et de la Renaissance." He examines how the literary representation of the emotional consequences of three massacres -the Crusade of Nikopolis (1396), the Battle of Agincourt (1415) and the first french war of Religion (1560-1563)- creates emotional communities that help redefine the idea of the French nation. He is also interested in the history of the Church, anti-religious writings in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and medieval poetry. A native of Tours, France, he hopes to be able one day to work on the history of literary production in Tours during the early modern period.
Katie double-majored in International Studies/Political Science and French at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (BA 04). As a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, she received a DEA in Etudes europeennes (politique, economique et societe) from the Institut europeen de l'Universite de Geneve. In the Fall of 2007, she began the PhD program in French Literature and Politics. Katie is particularly interested in the French nation of the late 20th and 21st centuries. For her dissertation, she hopes to explore the effects of the European Union on the French nation in literature during these times periods.
Franco-ontarien de souche, j'ai fait mes études antérieures au Canada, ayant completé deux maîtrises: en Etudes interdisciplinaires (Camus et le christianisme), et en littérature française (Sartre et la subjectivité). Du fait de mes origines, je me suis toujours interessé à la littérature franco-canadienne, surtout en fonction de son rapport de fascination et de ses conflits avec les communautés anglophones environnates. Pourtant, mon principal champs d'intérêt est l'héritage "classique" du sujet de Troie pendant le moyen âge. Répétition, différence, et transformation du paradigme ethico-martial d'Homère à Virgile, puis à Bruno de St. Maure, ainsi que de la conception philosophique de la vie telle que vécue par les protagonistes à travers les épreuves militaires, religieuses et amoureuses.
David Spieser-Landes is another one of these language enthusiasts, which likely has something to do in the first place with the trilingual setting of the Alsace region where he grew up speaking French, Elsässerditsch (Alsatian) and Hochdeutsch (German).
As part of his doctoral research here at Pitt (PhD in French with a Track in Politics, M.A en route), David Spieser-Landes is planning to work on the preservation of minority languages, and especially on the intersection between Literature and Language Policy regarding his native Alsatian dialect. The two authors he will study in his dissertation are Robert Grossmann, former Mayor of Strasbourg, capital of the European Union, and André Weckmann, “spokesperson” of the Cercle René Schickelé, who represent two quite distinct views on how the dialect could/can/should be saved, entailing also sharp viewpoint differences on the very nature and role of the European Union.
Before coming to Pittsburgh, David Spieser-Landes earned a French Master’s Degree in American Civilization from Université Lyon 2, France; the title of his paper read “The Amish Conception of Citizenship –a Challenge for the American Democracy.” He then held a Teaching Assistantship at Penn State University, and taught French for two years at Lycoming College in Williamsport, PA.
Marina holds an M.A. in French from the University of Utah, 2005. She is currently in her fourth year of the doctoral program in French at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research interests include semiology, thematics and aesthetics of clothing, fashion history, dandyism, gender, and sexuality in 19th and 20th century French literature, visual art, film and popular culture.
Justin Swettlen received a BA in French and Spanish at the University of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania in 2005 before moving on to complete an MA in French Language and Literature at the University of Pittsburgh in 2007. He then spent two years as a lecteur d’anglais at the Université de Paris X – Paris Ouest and returned to the University of Pittsburgh in the fall of 2009 to begin a PhD in French Language and Literature. Justin is particularly interested in questions of gender and sexuality in the French Middle Ages and Renaissance. His doctoral thesis, Corporal Commonplaces: Constructing the Comedic Body in Medieval and Renaissance France, explores the role of cultural commonplaces in the creation of gendered bodies in comedic texts spanning this time period. It highlights, in particular, this phenomenon in the Fabliaux, Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, Marquerite de Navarre’s Heptaméron, as well as in the works of François Rabelais.
John is a first-year student pursuing his PhD with MA en route. He is a native of southwestern Pennsylvania, but received his first BS in the Recording Industry from Middle Tennessee State University in 2003 where he minored in French, Mathematics and Electro-Acoustics. During his studies at MTSU, he participated in an exchange program and interned as an engineer for France Bleu Cotentin. After graduating he was a language assistant at Lycée Boissy d’Anglas in Annonay, France. During his travels, John nourished a taste for the culinary world and a strong interest in French colonialism. After a short stint in the recording industry in Nashville, he moved to the booming city of Phoenix, Arizona in 2005 to pursue a career in the restaurant industry to support his graduate studies.
Unexpectedly, John became caught up in the business and found himself, several years later, as an executive chef. Realizing that he had lost sight of his academic goals, he decided to hang up the chef coat and attended Arizona State University where he completed his BA in French with additional coursework in Economics in 2011. His interest in food continues with the hybridity of cuisine and culture as well as his interest in colonial and postcolonial studies. Other research interests include economics (exchange, trade and growth) and politics in literature (across all periods), mobility and migrations of people, travel literature, exoticism, and materialism.
Paul Wallace (A&S Fellow, 2010-2011)
Paul is starting his first year as a PhD student in the Department of French and Italian. Originally from the small town of Fairmont in West Virginia, he studied Foreign Languages (French and Spanish) at West Virginia University and received his BA in 2009. He stayed on at WVU for another two years during which he finished his MA in French Literature. He is interested by almost everything to do with French literature and culture and is making a mighty effort to coalesce these varied curiosities into a more focused corpus. In his spare time, Paul enjoys reading (obviously), camping, and dabbling in creative fiction.
Angelica received her B.A. in Italian/Anthropology from the University of Notre Dame in 2008, after which she moved back to her native California home to substitute teach in Los Angeles County’s public schools. In the fall of 2009 she joined the Italian Literature M.A. program as a Leroy K. Irvis Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2010 she was the recipient of the Frances and Sully Nesta graduate award via the Italian Nationality Rooms program at Pitt which allowed her to travel to Italy and do sociolinguistic research on Northern Italian dialects. She is currently in her second of the program and her current research interests include language development, standardization of Italian, current dialectal usage/literature, and sub-cultural art in Italy.
Amanda double-majored in French and Italian and received her BA from the University of Pittsburgh in 2009. She also worked for a year in France after studying Interior Design for two years at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. A recipient of the French and Italian Quasi Scholarship, Amanda studied in Sicily at the Mediterranean Center for Arts and Sciences in the summer of 2008. Her research interests include second language acquisition in Romance languages, sociolinguistics, and narrative poetry.
Laura is a second year MA student in the Italian program. She graduated magna cum laude from Muhlenberg College in 2007 with a BA in English and Political Science. During her time as an undergraduate, she spent a semester studying abroad in Perugia, Italy. Immediately after obtaining her BA, she became certified in TESOL and consequently worked in central Italy for four years as both an English teacher and a translator. She also helped manage a countryside bed and breakfast with her boyfriend, Manuele. In 2012, she was the recipient of an Italian Nationality Room grant that allowed her to do summer research in Italy on regional responses to Fascism and was the recipient of an Outstanding Presentation Award at the University of Pittsburgh's annual GradExpo. Laura was also named the TA mentor for the 2012-2013 academic year. Her research interests include notions of southern backwardness, issues concerning national identity, theories on authorship, and 20th century narrative, especially peasant novels and any literary production from the "ventennio nero." Laura is currently working on her MA thesis, in which she explores interactions of power and class relations in Ignazio Silone's trilogy of exile.
Mandi is a Pittsburgh native who graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with BAs in French, Italian, and International Studies. She also studied at the Université de Montpellier III - Paul Valéry in Montpellier, France and studied Italian language and art in a small town in Umbria as an undergraduate student. Her research interests involve sociolinguistics as well as Romance languages and linguistics.
Lisa Dolasinski is a first year MA student in the Italian department. She graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Italian and a minor in sociology from The Ohio State University in spring 2010. During her undergraduate career, Lisa spent a semester studying in Siena, Italy in the Siena Italian Studies program. She also taught elementary students Italian in Columbus, Ohio. She was the 2009 winner of the Order of the Sons of Italy Foundation’s Pearl Tubiolo Memorial scholarship for Italian Language Scholarship. She was also the 2009 Miss Youngstown Italian, and is a member of the National Sicilian American Association and the Order of the Son's of Italy. Lisa’s interests include Italian neorealist film and modern culture studies. She is interested in using Italian film as a social artifact and tool to understand the impact of crises, such as the fall of Fascism, on the Italian culture and society at large.
Gina is a first year MA student in the Italian program. She received a BA in Comparative Literature with a minor in Italian from Franklin & Marshall College in 2012, where she wrote her senior thesis on mother-daughter relationships in Italian and American Y.A. literature. During her undergraduate career, Gina spent three summers studying with F&M in Vicchio, Italy, while in the last two acting as the T.A. for the program. During her senior year at F&M, Gina worked as the research assistant to Dr. Faleschini Lerner on her recently published book, Carlo Levi’s Visual Poetics. She also published an essay of her own, “La fusione tra la scrittura e l’arte visiva: Adriano Spatola & la poesia visiva” in The Kennesaw Tower (vol 4), an undergraduate foreign language journal. Gina’s interests include portrayals of the south, immigration, and women in post 18th century literature and film.
Danielle Marsh is a first year MA student in the Italian Department. She graduated magna cum laude in 2011 with a BA in Italian and Communication Rhetoric and a minor in French from the University of Pittsburgh. She studied abroad in the six-week Pitt in Italy program in Siracusa, Sicily in 2009, and has since returned to the city to work and to volunteer. During the 2011-2012 school year, she taught high school English as an Assistante d’Anglais at Lycée Jean Guéhenno in Flers, Normandy. Danielle’s interests include the “Questione del Mezzogiorno” and Sicilian identity through rhetoric, dialect literature, and issues related to Mediterranean immigration.
Sabrina graduated from the University of Bologna where she received a BA in Foreign Languages and Literatures (American and German) and earned a Master Degree cum laude in Language, Society and Communication. During her undergraduate studies, she spent two semesters as an Erasmus fellow student at the Universität Klagenfurt (Austria). After graduation she collaborated with the English Linguistic Division and the CeSLiC Center at the University of Bologna and she published the article, “L'African American Vernacular English: una varietà linguistica sovra-regionale”, in Quaderni del CeSLiC. Her experience as Italian Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at Saint Louis University in 2009-2010 was fundamental in her decision to apply to a master's program in the US. Her academic interests include Twentieth-century Italian Literature and History, especially the Fascist Era and the Resistance period. She also is very interested in Language Pedagogy and Second Language Acquisition.