Participant Bios

Andrew Aprile

Tromba through Marovany performances of “Midegana”: Trance, Dance, and Harmonic Rhythm in Antandroy Song from the South of Madagascar

Andrew Aprile, a doctoral candidate in the CUNY Graduate Center’s Urban Education Program and an adjunct lecturer at City College’s Center for Worker Education, holds a BA in music and sociology from Wesleyan University. His research interests include multicultural music education (with a focus on percussion and African music), musical cognition and development, equity in arts education, socio-cultural theory, and indigenous traditions in formal classroom contexts. He has contributed a chapter, “Music-Making with Young Children: African Orff and Rhythmic Intelligence”, to the recently published book, Young Children and the Arts: Nurturing Imagination and Creativity and plays the guitar in the African-influenced funk/hip-hop band, Mamarazzi.

Hilarie Ashton

Textless Writing

Hilarie Ashton is a second-year doctoral student in English at the CUNY Graduate Center, where she focuses on composition and rhetoric, memoir, embodied writing, and 20th and 21st century literatures. She also teaches first-year composition at Queens College. She works with several journals, including serving as an assistant manuscript editor for Harlot and as an editorial board member of Shift. In her spare time, she practices and teaches yoga and kickboxing.

Miriam Atkin

The Concept Hurts

Miriam Atkin is a writer and performance artist based in New York City. Her work has been largely concerned with the possibilities of poetry as an oral medium in conversation with avant-garde film, music and dance. Since 2010, she has collaborated with artist Kurt Ralske on various multimedia experiments combining poetry with the moving image. Their 2011 artists’ book, Rediscovering German Futurism: 1920-1929, accompanied a series of performative lectures which were presented in New York at St. Mark’s Poetry Project, Soloway Gallery and Spectrum Performance Space, as well as in Providence at the Empire Black Box Theater and the Granoff Center at Brown University. Miriam regularly contributes art criticism to Art in America and ArtCritical, and her poetry has been published in the Boog City Reader and This Image journal. She is a 2014 Emerge-Surface-Be fellow at St. Marks Poetry Project and is pursuing a PhD in English at CUNY Graduate Center.

Seth Auster-Rosen

Narasimha: Masking and Possession on the Cosmic Stage

Seth Auster-Rosen is a scholar-practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism currently getting his MAR, c. Asian Religions, at the Yale Divinity School. He holds an MA in Philosophy from University College Dublin, where he concentrated on Plotinus. His scholarly focus at this time is broadly Mahayana thought applied in Himalayan Vajrayana practices. He has written on a mandalic mountain on the Himalayan borderlands; the ecological history of sacred place in the Tibetan region; the spiritual autobiography of a 19th-century Nyingma “mad” yogin; and the Jowo Shakyamuni, the most sacred image in Tibet. He is ultimately interested in the way Buddhist modes of thought applied to indigenous practices can inform the problems of a modern world in crisis.

Nick Bazzano

Sound Performance: “Butterfly Crystals”

Nick Bazzano is a PhD Candidate in performance studies at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. His work focuses mainly on the intersections of sound, affect, speculation, and performative regimes of aesthetic capitalism. He is also a Harlem–based experimental electronic music producer and free jazz saxophonist.

Lynne Beckenstein

Last Words, Revised: Aesthetics of the Suicidal Woman Writer

Lynne Beckenstein is a doctoral student in English at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her areas of interest include feminist aesthetics, critical race theory, and experimental writing that crosses generic boundaries. She teaches literature and writing at Brooklyn College.

Jeffrey M. Binder

“A Talisman of Superstition”: Coleridge and the Prophetic Machine

PhD Student, Department of English, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Aaron Botwick


Aaron Botwick is a second-year doctoral candidate in English at The Graduate Center, CUNY.  His areas of interest include British Modernism, Holocaust fiction, and the history of suicide.  He teaches writing and literature at Lehman College.

Jason Ciaccio

Ecstatic States, Redemption Visions: Benjamin and Nietzsche at the Limits of Experience

Jason Ciaccio is currently a doctoral candidate in the CUNY Graduate Center’s department of comparative literature.  His research interests include modernism, poetics, and continental aesthetic theory.  His dissertation addresses intoxication and modernism, focusing on the work of Thomas Mann, James Joyce, Friedrich Nietzsche and Walter Benjamin.

Jaime Shearn Coan

The Butcher Paper Essay: An Improvisatory Field (Performance Reading)

Jaime Shearn Coan is a poet and a PhD student in English at The Graduate Center, CUNY.  He is a regular contributor for the dance section of the Brooklyn Rail. Jaime has received fellowships from Poets House, VCCA, Tin House, and the Saltonstall Foundation. He is the recipient of a 2014 Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant and his chapbook, Turn it Over, will be published by Argos Books in 2015.

Christine Costello

Women in Trance: D.H. Lawrence’s New Mexico Period

I came to New York to study and create art. After receiving a strong foundational training in how to experience art in the city I left art school to pursue a B.A. and an M.A. in English literature from CUNY where I immersed myself in text; the great illustrator of experience. Through critical thinking, analysis, and literary associations I am able to best render the world, as I understand it. I have worked as an Adjunct Lecturer at Brooklyn College for two years teaching English Composition and Literature. As a devoted 2nd generation New Yorker I work to help my students understand that being able to think critically about any kind of content, and to respond intelligently, and singularly to that content, will get you everywhere. My goal is to continue my academic journey with CUNY towards a Doctorate degree. My focus is 20th century fiction with a comparative concentration on D.H. Lawrence and Paul Bowles.

Iris Cushing

Robert Lax: Negative Theology and Spiritual Affinity 

Iris Cushing is a poet and editor living in Queens. She is the author of Wyoming (Furniture Press Books, 2013). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Fence, the Boston Review and Barrelhouse, and her critical writings on art and literature have appeared in Jacket2, Bomblog, and Hyperallergic, among others. Iris was recently a Process Space resident through the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and has been a writer-in-residence at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, her former home. She is a founding editor for Argos Books and studies in the Ph.D. program in English at the CUNY Graduate Center.

LeiLani D. Dowell

The hypnotic effects of “homophobia”

LeiLani D. Dowell is a Ph.D. student in English at the CUNY Grad Center. She is interested in formations and expressions of identity in literature by queer people of color in the 20th century, as well as understandings of solidarity and resistance across race, gender and sexuality. Her essay, “Violence against women: the U.S. war on women,” was published in the book “Feminism and War: Confronting U.S. Imperialism,” edited by Robin L. Riley, Chandra Tapalde Mohanty and Minnie Bruce Pratt (Zed Books, 2008).

Laura Eldridge

“The Bores and the Bore”: Non-Cathartic Boredom as Trance in Jane Austen

Laura Eldridge is a PhD candidate in English at the Graduate Center, CUNY.  She studies Victorian literature and is the author of “In Our Control: The Complete Guide to Contraceptive Choices for Women”(Seven Stories Press, 2010), “The No-nonsense Guide to Menopause”(Simon and Schuster, 2009) and is co-editor of the anthology “Voices of the Women’s Health Movement” (Seven Stories Press, 2012).

Catherine Engh

An ‘Intermediary State’ of Illusion: Reading and Absorption in Coleridge

Catherine Engh is a first year doctoral student at the Graduate Center at CUNY. She holds a master’s in British and American Literature from Hunter College and a BA in feminist theory and fiction from NYU Gallatin. Her master’s thesis was titled “On Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa and Ann Radcliffe’s The Italian: Towards a Reading of Embodied Subjectivity in the Seduction Plot.” Interested in Romantic and 18th century literature, her critical work is inspired by theories of affect and embodiment. She is a senior contributor to the literary blog This Recording.

Brad Fox


Brad Fox is writer and former relief contractor who lived outside the US from 1996 to 2011, mostly in the former Yugoslavia, Berlin, Mexico City, and Istanbul. His novel God’s Boot was published by Rende (Belgrade) in 2004. He wrote a weekly column for the Slovene magazine, Mladina, and has published articles in Blackbook, The European (London), and DAMnation (Brussels). He has been a resident at the Sacatar Foundation in Brazil, and won grants from the Soros Center for Contemporary Art and the Berlin Senat. His work in Macedonia during the Roma refugee crisis of 1999-2000 was recognized by a distinguished service award from the Roma World Congress. In 2012 he was a Hertog Fellow at Hunter College. Recent work has appeared in Guernica, The Letters Page, Urban Omnibus, and in the 2014 Whitney Biennial.

Donatella Galella

Marisol (Staged Reading)

Donatella Galella is a PhD Candidate in Theatre at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Her dissertation is a critical history of Arena Stage, the pioneering regional theatre of Washington, D.C., and she argues that by studying this national institution, we can better understand struggles over capital, race, and U.S. identity. She has taught theatre at Eugene Lang College and Baruch College, speech at Brooklyn College, and English at Hostos Community College. She is the dramaturg-in-residence of Leviathan Lab, an Asian American creative studio.

Erin Glass

Action, Literature and the Trance of Spectatorship

Erin Glass is Ph.D.student in English and Digital Fellow at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Lane Glisson

Suspended in the Space between the Text: the Series, the Spaces and the Punctum.

Lane Glisson studies literature and its relation to memory and identity in the Masters of Liberal Studies program at The Graduate Center, CUNY.  She teaches research skills to students at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY.  Lane is currently collaborating on a grant-funded project that develops the research skills of students in English composition courses.  Before coming to CUNY, she worked in the art departments of motion pictures, television shows, and in the theatre.

Elizabeth Goetz

Writing like a Witch: Experimental Procedures in Trance (Workshop)

A doctoral candidate in English at the CUNY Graduate Center, Liz studies the relationships between space and community in New York School poetry, especially that of David Antin, Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka, Bernadette Mayer, and Alice Notley. She teaches at Hunter College and reads and writes in Brooklyn. Her writing has appeared in eccolinguistics, Hypocrite Reader, Foothill, Aubade, and Journey, among other publications.

Mariana Goycoechea

Trance’s Traces: Allan Kardec’s Spiritism in Religions and Spiritual Practices of the Hispano-phone African Diaspora

GC-CUNY, French dept., PhD student

Paul Hebert

Detective Fever: Victorian Detective Fiction and the Aesthetics of Withdrawal

Paul L. Hebert is a PhD student at The Graduate Center, CUNY and an adjunct lecturer at Queens College, CUNY. His research interests are 19th century American and transatlantic literature and postcolonial theory. He has an MALS degree in Urban Education from The Graduate Center, CUNY and a BA in English from the University at Buffalo, SUNY. Paul is the English Program Social Media Fellow and Co-chair of the English Student Association at the Graduate Center.

Bethany Ides


Bethany Ides is the Founder & Artistic Director of DOORS UNLIMITED, a roving vessel devoted to investigative operatics, presently located in the Hudson Valley.  Ides’ proposes conditions communicatively & communitarian-ly, finding ways to reconfigure them.  Her intermedial practice— typically incorporating performance, installation, text, video & song— having been presented at places like The Brooklyn Museum, Fragmental Museum, Dixon Place, PS122, Governor’s Island & St Marks Church.  Last October, she mounted her month-long opera, Transient’s Theme, at the Knockdown Center in Queens.  She is the author of several poetic projects for the page, including Indeed, Insist (a mystery) [UDP] & is currently working on Deathbeds, a politicized melodrama for over 100 aggregate voices, while also hosting a sprawling collaborative soap-opera-making initiative by the same name.  Ides teaches across the curriculum at Pratt, Bard, SVA, SUNY-Albany, etc, but for now lives in the woods.

Patrick James

Turning: Six Propositions

Born in Mannington, NJ, Patrick Clement James received his B.M. in classical music from the Manhattan School of music and his M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Houston. He is currently a Ph.D. student in English literature at the CUNY Graduate Center.  He has taught creative writing at the University of Houston, as well as a member of Houston’s Writers in the Schools. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in China Grove Literary Journal, Podium, and Gigantic Sequence.

Seohyon Jung

A Blakean Conversation: Reading the Senses in Trance

Seohyon Jung is currently a Ph. D. student in English at Tufts University. She graduated from Seoul National University with a B. A. in English literature (minored in Aesthetics) and also received her M. A. in English literature at SNU. Her academic interests include nineteenth century British novels, late eighteenth and early twentieth century British novels, feminist theory, cultural studies, and translation. Her recent research project focuses on the theme of “contested maternity” in the nineteenth century Britain. She presented a paper titled “London as the House of Hostility in Andrea Levy’s Small Island” at the 2014 MMLA conference. 

Alexis Larssen

Filmic Trance in the Environmental Baroque

Alexis Larsson studies media, affect, and the normative conditions around writing through the fields of composition and US cultural studies. She seeks to develop a robust theory of agency. In aesthetics, she seeks to trace this theory through contemporary production that grapples with the domination of nature. In composition, she wishes to employ this theory toward multimodal production that interrogates the legacy of the domination of nature.

Alec Magnet

Melville, Tennyson, Mesmerism, and Love

Alec Magnet is a doctoral candidate in English at the CUNY Graduate Center, where he’s writing a dissertation about queer, gothic aesthetics in nineteenth-century British and American literature. He has a chapter on Tennyson and Melville in the recently published collection Queer Victorian Families: Curious Relations in Literature and an article co-written with T Meyerhoff forthcoming from The Writing Instructor. He teaches at The City College of New York.

Kate McIntyre and Jessica Hallock

Ghosting the Archive: Susan Howe’s “Dead Breathing Friends”

Kate McIntyre is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in English Literature at Columbia University, where her work focuses on 19th-century American literature. She is interested in transhistorical formal experimentation, material poetics, experimental criticism, and performative pedagogies. She co-edits the micro-press Projective Industries.

Jessica Hallock is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in English Literature at Columbia University, where her work focuses on 20th-century American literature.

Christina Katopodis


Christina Katopodis is an English PhD student at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her research in 19th Century American Literature explores the Transcendentalist Pragmatist underpinnings of feminist thought. Christina lives in New York City and teaches at Hunter College.

Kristin Moriah

Entranced and Enthralled by War: Racial Performance and the Aesthetics of War in WWI Propaganda

Kristin Moriah is a doctoral candidate in English Literature at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center. She researches African American literature and performance in transnational contexts. Kristin is currently an IRADAC Archival Dissertation Fellow. Her research has been supported by grants from the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada and the Freie Universitaet Berlin. Born in Toronto, Ontario, she now lives in Brooklyn.

Thomas Muzart

Pointless sex: The scripto-seminal economy of the punctum in Pierre Guyotat’s Eden Eden Eden

Thomas Muzart is a Ph.D student in the French program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). He earned his Masters degree at Sciences Po Lyon in Communications and Culture. His studies in France led him to work on cultural activism and sexuality studies, especially in his thesis on gay and lesbian film festivals in France. After working for several theatre companies in New York and Paris, he decided to combine his academic and professional interests to further question issues on identity and performance. He published several articles on gender studies for the online magazine non.fiction. In 2014, he presented his work on the filmmaker and gay activist Lionel Soukaz at the “Art and Conflict” conference at University of Virginia. As a participant to the Summer School for Sexualities, Cultures and Politics 2014 in Belgrade, he presented his latest research on the pornographic discourse in France. He also gave a paper on Gide and the exile at the Nineteenth Century French Studies Colloquium in San Juan.

Bradley Nelson

Mesmerism and the Phenomenology of Conversion

Bradley Nelson holds an M.A. in English from Brooklyn College and a B.A. in English and philosophy from DePaul University. His master’s thesis was entitled “Emerson, Melville and the Problem of Self-Help: A Phenomenological Consideration.” Bradley is also an Adjunct Lecturer in the department of English at Brooklyn College. His research interests include nineteenth century American literature, phenomenology, religious studies, self-help, and digital pedagogy.

Jason Nielsen

Mesmerism and the Word in Freud’s Conception of Psychoanalysis as Science

Jason Nielsen is a student in English at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is interested in early American religious experience, transcendentalism, and the history of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic theory. He is attempting to think about intersections between William James, pragmatism, and psychoanalysis in the United States in the 20th-century.

Isaac Overcast

Patterns of Trance Across the Tree of Life

I am an evolutionary biologist with specific interest in comparative phylogeography, however my academic history is broadly interdisciplinary. It is in the boundaries and overlaps between fields where the most surprising and fruitful inquiry obtains.

Maryam Parhizkar

Resonance, Reckoning, Repetition: the Poetics of the Feedback Loop

Maryam Parhizkar completed her MA in the Liberal Studies Program at the CUNY Graduate Center, concentrating in American Studies. Her interdisciplinary research encompasses performance, poetics, African American and comparative ethnic studies within the 20th/21st centuries, with particular interest in how experimental practices and collectivities might offer new ways of thinking about intersectionality. A poet and violist by musical training, she is the author of two chapbooks: pull: a ballad (The Operating System, 2014), and a forthcoming hybrid essay (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, 2015). By day she works for the early music series Music Before 1800 and Brooklyn-based publisher Litmus Press.

Fernando Quigua

The Import of Trance: an Aesthetic Study of Ibogaine Experiences

Fernando Quigua is a doctoral student of Critical Social and Personality Psychology at The Graduate Center, CUNY.  His research interests include imagination, the reaches of experience, radical empiricism, and the methods and epistemology of psychological science.  Fernando has a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University as well as an M.S.W from N.Y.U.  A psychotherapist in New York City, he recently published his first peer-reviewed article, “Imagine the Feeling: An Aesthetic Science of Psychology.”

Jake Sanders

The Irishman’s House is his Coffin”: Recognizing Personal and Cultural Trauma in Ulysses

Jake Sanders is a student studying toward a Master of Arts degree in English Languages and Literature at Brooklyn College.  His primary area of research has been in postcolonial studies in the nineteenth and twentieth century novel.  More specifically, his work examines the role of trauma in shaping cultural identities distinct from the postcolonial identity, and how the novel addresses the “colonial other” both directly and indirectly.

Gwendolyn Shaw

Vodou Iconography in the Work of Maya Deren

Gwendolyn Merrick Shaw is a doctoral student in the Art History program at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is an Instructional Technology Fellow at Macaulay Honors College and the 2014-15 IRADAC/Schomburg Digitization Fellow. Her areas of interest include the body, corporeality, trauma and violence, critical race theory, and gender and sexuality theory in art since 1900, as well as the pedagogy of art history and the humanities.

In addition to her Ph.D., she is earning doctoral certificates in Women’s Studies, Film Studies, American Studies, Africana Studies and Interactive Technology and Pedagogy.

Sara Jane Stoner

Interdiscursive Music for Indiscriminate Motility: The Poetic Politics of the Reader’s Invocation in Fred Moten and Stefano Harney’s “The University and the Undercommons”

Born and raised in Colorado, Sara Jane Stoner is a writer and teacher living in Brooklyn who holds an MFA from Indiana University and is pursuing a PhD in English at CUNY Graduate Center with a focus on critical pedagogy and queer theory, particularly in the context of contemporary experimental writing. She has taught writing and literature at Brooklyn and Baruch Colleges, as well as The Cooper Union, where she has also worked in the Writing Center for almost a decade, in addition to teaching classes on queer theory, Gertrude Stein, and “radical” education. Presently, she serves as the Reviews Editor for The Poetry Project Newsletter, works on her dissertation, and continues to boldly, speculatively hire people to work at the unaccredited free college she will help found in the not-so-distant future. Her first book, EXPERIENCE IN THE MEDIUM OF DESTRUCTION, was released in February by Portable Press @ Yo-Yo Labs.

A.W. Strouse

Saint Augustine and the Boy with the Very Long Foreskin

A.W. Strouse studies and teaches medieval literature at CUNY. His research has appeared in Pedagogy, Names, and the Romanic Review; his poems and short stories in various journals; and he is the author of Retractions & Revelations (Jerk Poet).

Ryan Tracy

In the Thrall of Others: Mother-Child Adoration and Scenes of Writing in Samuel Beckett and Marianne Moore

Ryan Tracy (b. 1976) holds degrees in Music Composition and Gender Studies, and he is a first-year PhD student in English at the CUNY Graduate Center. His work currently focuses on “narcissism” as a central concept of social, psychoanalytic, political, literary and queer theories. Ryan has written about performance for The American Reader, The New York Press, The Gay & Lesbian Review, and Performa Magazine, among others. Ryan’s music and theater have been presented at venues throughout New York, including Brooklyn Academy of Music (Fall 2014), The Kitchen, The Abrons Arts Center, and Dixon Place.

Anders Wallace


Anders Wallace is a PhD student in the Anthropology program at the CUNY Graduate Center. His research interests are in masculinity, linguistic anthropology, performance and new media. Specifically, his dissertation focuses on the ethnographic study of pickup artists and so-called seduction communities, and how neoliberal ethics of self-management integrate with changing norms of intimacy for men. Anders has previously conducted ethnographic fieldwork in locations such as Italy (on immigration and community identity in a small town in rural northern Italy), and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (on community and dispossession in preparations for the 2016 Olympic Games), as well as in Harlem, New York (on the politics of gentrification and food consumption). He was raised in Rome, Italy, and is fluent in English and Italian, as well as conversant in French, Portuguese, and Arabic.