Collage of images representing the speakers' dissertations

Next-Generation Dissertations—New Projects for an Engaged Academy

Event Description

Event Details

Monday, March 7, 1pm CST // 2pm EST

Dissertation reform is an essential thread in the tapestry of reimagining doctoral education. More and more scholars are finding creative ways to share their scholarly research and intellectual insights in dynamic, engaging forms such as graphic novels, mobile games, documentary films, and more, and are having an impact both within and beyond the academy. Join several humanities and social science scholars and the advisors who have supported them to learn more about these projects and why this kind of work matters.

This event is co-sponsored by the Graduate School at Syracuse University and the Andrew W. Mellon-funded Humanities for the Public Good Initiative at the University of Iowa Obermann Center for Advanced Studies. It celebrates the launch of the Next-Generation Dissertations website (Syracuse) and adds to the ongoing reflections on graduate education reform taking place through the Humanities for the Public Good program (Iowa). It has been coordinated in collaboration with Katina L. Rogers.

This virtual event was free and open to the public. Watch the video here.

Participant Bios

Lisa Diedrich is Professor and Chair of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Stony Brook University. She received her PhD in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Emory University in 2001. Since then she has taught in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Stony Brook. Her research and teaching interests include critical medical studies, disability studies, feminist science studies, and interdisciplinary feminist and queer theories and methodologies. She is the author of  Indirect Action: Schizophrenia, Epilepsy, AIDS, and the Course of Health Activism (Minnesota, 2016) and  Treatments: Language, Politics, and the Culture of Illness (Minnesota, 2007). She is also editor (with Victoria Hesford) of the collection Feminist Time Against Nation Time: Gender, Politics, and the Nation-State in an Age of Permanent War  (Lexington, 2008) and a special issue of Feminist Theory, “Experience, Echo, Event: Theorising Feminist Histories, Historicising Feminist Theory” (August 2014). She is affiliated faculty in the Department of Philosophy and with the PhD concentration in Disability Studies in the School of Health Technology and Management.

Sonia Estima is an Associate Professor at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA, and currently serves as an Academic Specialist. She supervises the Faculty Development and Immersion programs at the school. She successfully defended her dissertation, Multimodal Meaning Making, in December 2020 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her current work and interests revolve around helping teachers become engaged in their own professional development. Looking through the lens and the principles of critical pedagogy, she tries to help faculty reflect on their practice and begin questioning their role in helping students and also themselves become critically conscious and develop a sense of agency in their practice—as teachers working in the classroom, and also as writers and professionals. Watch a video introduction of Sonia Estima from our interview archive, and visit her website to learn more.

Matthew K. Gold is Associate Professor of English and Digital Humanities at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). At the Graduate Center, he holds teaching appointments in the Ph.D. Program in English, the M.A. Program in Liberal Studies (MALS), the M.A. Program in Digital Humanities, the M.S. Program in Data Analysis and Visualization, and the doctoral certificate programs in Interactive Technology and Pedagogy and American Studies. He is Director of the M.A. Program in Digital Humanities and the M.S. Program in Data Analysis and Visualization. He serves as Advisor to the Provost for Digital Initiatives, Director of the CUNY Academic Commons, Co-Director of the CUNY Digital Humanities Initiative, and Director of the GC Digital Scholarship Lab. His collaborative digital humanities projects, including Looking for Whitman, Commons In A Box (with the CUNY Academic Commons team), Social Paper (with Erin Glass), DH Box (with Stephen Zweibel), and Manifold Scholarship (with Doug Armato, Susan Doerr, Zach Davis, and the Manifold Team) have been supported by grants from the NEH Office of Digital Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation.

Mary Kalantzis is Professor in the Department of Education, Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is a world leader in the ‘new literacy studies’, focusing on multimodality and diversity in contemporary communications. In recent years she worked to conceptualize the nature of communication and learning in the digital age, focusing on the policy, practice and pedagogical design implications of new technologies in education, from early childhood to higher education. With Bill Cope, she is co-author or editor of: Multiliteracies: Literacy Learning and the Design of Social Futures, Routledge, 2000; New Learning: Elements of a Science of Education, Cambridge University Press, 2008/2nd edition 2012; Ubiquitous Learning, University of Illinois Press, 2009; and Literacies, Cambridge University Press, 2012. In recent years, her work has focused on developing and testing a web application supporting teachers in the pedagogical design process.

Jesse Merandy is the Director of Digital Humanities and Digital Exhibitions (DH/DX) at Bard Graduate Center. He received his PhD from The Graduate Center, CUNY, studying mobile technology, Walt Whitman, and composition & rhetoric.  His dissertation, Vanishing Leaves, is a location-based mobile experience which takes players to Brooklyn Heights to learn about Walt Whitman in the neighborhood where he wrote and published the first edition of Leaves of Grass. Watch a video introduction of Jesse Merandy from our interview archive.

Ana M. Rodríguez-Rodríguez specializes in Early Modern Spanish Literature. She completed a Ph.D. in Spanish Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2007 and a second Ph.D. in Philology at the Universidad Complutense (Madrid, Spain) in 2021. She has published  on a variety of topics such as Christian-Muslim relations in the Mediterranean, women’s writing, and the Asian Spanish empire. Her passion for public engagement materialized in the exhibition Tan sabia como valerosa: mujeres y escritura en los Siglos de Oro (Wise and Valiant: Women and Writing in the Spanish Golden Age), which she curated at the Instituto Cervantes (Madrid) in 2020 and whose online version was named by the Smithsonian one of the top ten online exhibitions of the year.

Katina L. Rogers is the founder of Inkcap Consulting and author of Putting the Humanities PhD to Work: Thriving in and beyond the Classroom (Duke University Press, 2020). With over a decade of experience as a researcher, administrator, and educator, Dr. Rogers works with colleges and universities to design and implement creative, sustainable, and equitable structures for graduate education. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Justin Schell is the Director of the Shapiro Design Lab, a peer and engaged learning community in the University of Michigan Library. In addition to his work at the Design Lab, he is a filmmaker, visual artist, and podcast producer. He holds a PhD from the University of Minnesota’s Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society program, where he completed We Rock Long Distance, a multimodal dissertation and full-length documentary film on immigrant hip-hop in Minnesota.

Kay Sohini is a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Fellow, a comics-maker, and a PhD candidate in English at Stony Brook University, where she is currently drawing her doctoral dissertation, “Drawing Unbelonging” as a comic. As a Graphic-Medicine-centric project, it engages the sociopolitical through the lens of the personal, to critically look at pressing issues of our time, and to draw attention to systemic and interconnected issues pertaining to race, gender, disability and environmental inequality. Her work on comics has been published in The Nib, Graphic Mundi’s Covid Chronicles, Women Write About Comics, and Inside Higher Ed, amongst others. She works on the editorial team of The Comics Grid, and in the Executive Committee of the International Comic Arts Forum (ICAF).

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