Malynne Sternstein


Malynne Sternstein is Associate Professor of Russian and East European Studies at the University of Chicago, Associate in Cinema and Media Studies, Affiliate in Germanic Studies, and Chair of the Fundamentals Program in the College. Author of The Will to Chance, a study of the Czech historical avant-gardes, Czechs of Chicagoland, a photographic history, articles and lectures on such topics as iconic language, gender and citizenship, Kafka's fleshly laughter, the folded discourse of monstrosity, the anaesthetics of kitsch, surrealism as a modus vivendi, Lacan's oblative anxiety, the sexualized child in horror film, the power of architectural spoliation, among others, this particular Sternstein is invested in art, literature, film and politics as and through dialectics.  She is sustained by the work of Vladimir Nabokov and reads him against main tendencies of "confrontation," either with the man or his narrators, instead upsetting product-oriented readings with ones that focus on process, game, and play.  Her recent work is on modes of horror, social anxiety, and the legal-literary discourses of hooliganism.  Her current book project argues that French, and other "western," liberal left critique of Czech New Wave cinema and socialist realpolitik of the 1950s to 60s are best understood as operations of ressentiment.

Hilary Strang

Deputy Director

Hilary Strang

Hilary Strang is MAPH's Deputy Director and Lecturer in the Department of English. She has degrees in cultural studies and critical theory from Brown University and Carnegie Mellon, and a Ph.D. in English from Chicago. Her research interests include nineteenth century British literature, the novel, radical culture, science fiction and Marxism. She has published on Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley and biopolitics. Her current research is on unemployment as a biopolitical category in the mid-Victorian novel. Hilary also teaches literature in The Odyssey Project, a college-credit liberal arts program for low-income adults.


Maren Robinson

Associate Director

Associate Director Maren Robinson holds a B.A. in English Literature from Montana State University. She graduated from MAPH in 2003 where she wrote an original play and a thesis length paper using Virginia Woolf and Peter Brook to examine gender, space and theatrical creation, a version of which was published in the Center for Classic Theater Review. Her interests include renaissance drama, dramaturgy, performance studies and new play development. Maren toured with Montana Shakespeare in the Parks and was an artistic intern at Steppenwolf Theatre Company.  In her spare time, Maren teaches dramaturgy and script analysis at another four-year university, and works as a dramaturg for many Chicago theaters, especially TimeLine Theatre where she is a company member and resident dramaturg and Lifeline Theatre where she is an ensemble member. She is happy to discuss MAPH, give recommendations for current dance and theater productions, trade knitting patterns, or talk about Yellowstone National Park.


Jane Bohnsack

Program Manager

Jane Bohnsack is MAPH’s Program Manager. She is originally from Cleveland, Ohio where she spent much of her childhood as a pre-professional ballet student. Ultimately deciding not to pursue a dance career, Jane moved to Chicago in 2007. She received a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies from DePaul University, and she has a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration and Policy from Northwestern University. Her master’s research looked at how low-income undergraduate students’ identities may develop during their time at highly selective institutions. In her spare time, Jane still dances, enjoys reading genre fiction, and is learning how to powerlift.


Jeff McMahon

Writing Advisor

Jeff McMahon helps MAPH students adapt their writing to the particular demands of graduate school, and he teaches journalism courses as a lecturer for the Committee on Creative Writing. He writes about the environment and green technology for Forbes. He has been a reporter and columnist for daily newspapers, alternative weeklies, and innovators in online journalism including The New York Times Company's Lifewire syndicate. He is a founding editor, along with other MAPH alumni, of Contrary magazine. He completed MAPH in 2002.


Kamran Swanson

Instructor, Teaching in the Community College

Kamran Swanson graduated MAPH in 2006 and was a MAPH mentor for the class of 2007. After MAPH, he took positions as adjunct philosophy instructor at Oakton Community College and Harold Washington College. He worked as an adjunct for over two years before being hired for a full-time tenure-track position at Harold Washington, where he is still teaching. He has since served as his department chair, faculty council member, and faculty development coordinator, and plays an active role in hiring and evaluating new adjunct instructors.

Dustin Brown


Dustin Brown is a PhD candidate in the Department of English Language and Literature, where he works on the literatures and cultures of nineteenth-century Britain.  Currently, he is completing a dissertation on the aesthetic and ideological valences of “personality” in Victorian literature and sciences of mind. The project reads novels, poems, articles and monographs to track the strange and surprising ways that forms of psychic individuality marked by incoherence, ambivalence and depressive withdrawal perform legitimating functions in the stories the Victorians told themselves about imperial domination and classsociety. His quasi-research interests include vernacular avant-gardes in our own moment (e.g. heavy metal subcultures, trolling communities on twitter), genre fiction/TV, and the evolving language of neoliberalism. 

Darrel Chia


Darrel Chia is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at the University of Chicago, where he is working on a dissertation titled "Forms of Diplomacy: Figuring Ethical Life in 20th Century Imperial Publics". The dissertation explores developments in thinking about empire, world democracy, and transnational publics, from the turn of the century, to the Paris Peace Conference, through a variety of literary and intellectual sources. He is also interested in travel-writing and ethnography, the regulation of gender and sexuality, literary modernism, and nationalism. He received his LL.B. and B.A. in English and Comparative Literature from Murdoch University in 2000, and his B.A. (Hons) in English from The Australian National University in 2004. Prior to undertaking studies at the University of Chicago, he practiced for a number of years as an Australian lawyer specializing in contract law and commercial transactions. He enjoys walking his dog around the parks and lakeshore paths of Hyde Park.


Matt Hauske


Matt HauskeMatt Hauske received his PhD from the University of Chicago in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies in 2015.  He received BAs in English and Film Studies from the University of California, Irvine in 2002 and an MA in Cinema Studies from NYU in 2005. His dissertation, "Cowboy Modernity: Contexts of the Hollywood Western, 1946-1964," concerns the cultural background and context of post-World War II Hollywood westerns, including the genre's intersection with contemporary aesthetic movements such as abstract expressionism; other forms of leisure, including automobile tourism and gambling; and alternate moving images practices, especially television. Other research interests include theories and practices of play and the aesthetics of scale. 


Nic Koziolek


Nic Koziolek received his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Chicago in 2015. His current project is in the metaphysics of mind. The aim of the project is to say what it is to be a thinker, or to have a mind. Nic’s view is that to be a thinker, or to have a mind, is to be capable of both knowledge and action. The focus of his present work is thus on developing the idea that to have a mind is to have a certain set of capacities, and that each of those capacities needs, ultimately, to be understood in terms of either knowledge or action. One upshot of this work is that, contrary to an important strand of contemporary analytic philosophy, the concept of a reason––and, with it, the concept of believing or acting for a reason––is not philosophical fundamental, but must instead be explained in more fundamental terms. Nic’s ultimate hope, in other words, is to be able to provide an account of something that many philosophers have come to think of as basic and so, in a certain sense, inexplicable. When he is not thinking about thinking, Nic enjoys riding his bicycle, practicing yoga, reading things other than philosophy, and (of course) watching copious amounts of television, ideally with one or both of his cats nearby.


Agnes Malinowska


Agnes Malinowska is a Ph.D. candidate in the Committee on Social Thought, where she is working on a dissertation (tentatively) titled Technocratic Evolution: Scientific Rationality and the Human Animal in Darwin’s American Modernity. Her project examines turn-of-the-century American literature, social theory, and popular journalism to gauge changing attitudes about nature, nonhuman animals, and the human body in light of two concurrent historical developments: The impact of evolutionary theory and the rise of technological modernity in America. The dissertation analyzes conceptions of the organic and technological environment at this period in conjunction with contemporary debates in Animal Studies and Posthumanist theory. In her free time, she enjoys UChicago’s Animal Studies workshop, dabbling in cheese making and other kinds of fermentation, learning to garden, regimented movie watching, audiobooks, and spending time with friends and family. Prior to beginning graduate work, she received a B.A. in Philosophy and History from the University of California, Berkeley.

Tristan Schweiger


Tristan Schweiger received his PhD in English from the University of Chicago in 2015, where he studied the literature of the British long eighteenth century. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor's degree in English and Classical Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Currently, he is completing his dissertation, "Planters, Mariners, Nabobs, and Squires: Masculine Typology and Imperial Ideology, 1719-1817," which assesses the intersection of gender and empire in texts spanning Robinson Crusoe to Rob Roy. His broader research interests include historicism, postcolonialism, political philosophy, gender theory, and economics. Before coming to the University of Chicago, Tristan worked as a newspaper reporter, covering state and local politics at a series of publications on the East Coast.

Jenn Sichel


Jenn Sichel is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History studying modern and contemporary art. Her dissertation, Criticism without Authority: Gene Swenson, Jill Johnston, Gregory Battcock, examines a group of critics working against the grain of dominant sixties-era art criticism to advance possibilities for other, queerer, more sympathetic ways of coping with art. Jenn holds a B.A. in Art History and Philosophy from Boston University (2006) and an M.A. in Art History from Williams College (2008). While at Williams, she curated an exhibition at MASS MoCA titled "Being Here is Better Than Wishing We'd Stayed: An Installation by the Miss Rockaway Armada." Before coming to the University of Chicago, she was the researcher and contributing author to the exhibition and catalogue Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, which opened at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in 2010.  

Megan Tusler


Megan Tusler received her PhD in English from the University of Chicago in 2015, where she has taught courses in the American novel and photography, girlhood and American literature, and literary culture in Los Angeles. Her undergraduate degrees from Mills College are in English with a creative writing focus and Ethnic Studies, focusing on literature and race. Her dissertation, American Snapshot: Urban Realism from New Deal to Great Society, argues that minor and counter-culture movements in the 20th century United States produce unique forms of realism in response to social crisis, particularly through the mode of the photo-text. The project evaluates photographs, poetry, novels, short fiction, public documents, and documentary and narrative films. In addition to precepting, she also works as a teaching consultant for the Chicago Center for Teaching mentoring fellow graduate teachers. When not writing, she volunteers for Sit, Stay, Read, a literacy program that brings dogs into elementary school classrooms and Girls Rock! Chicago, a girls’ empowerment rock and roll camp. She enjoys sewing, true crime television and Windy City Soul Club.


Clancey D'Isa


Clancey received her B.A. in English and Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan in 2014, where she was part of a collective that founded the feminist magazine What The F. While in MAPH, Clancey pursued an interest in 19th-century British literature and gender studies, and wrote her thesis on the use of the body politic in Thomas Carlyle’s The French Revolution: A History, arguing that its mythological figurations of women ought to be read in light of a consideration of embodied history. Her other academic interests include feminist theory, the historical novel, contemporary American fiction and Victorian literature. She enjoys good coffee, bad puns and mediocre podcasts. 


Jess Hannah 


Jess is from the north-east of England and received her B.A. in English Literature from the University of Cambridge in 2012. After a two-year stint working as an English teacher and freelance editor in Hong Kong, she relocated to Chicago to join MAPH, where she developed her interests in the novel and Russian postmodernism. Jess wrote a MAPH thesis on Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire and The Original of Laura, and took classes in the English, TAPS and Slavic departments. Outside her academic interests, MAPH gave Jess the chance to explore Chicago’s neighborhoods, find free events in the city, hang out at the Cove and play kickball for the first time.


Michael Long


Michael received his B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Georgia in 2013.  In the months between his undergraduate and MAPH, he spent time working on his family’s tree nursery, hiking in Utah, and reading novels.  During his MAPH year, he further developed his interest in analytic philosophy and wrote a thesis on the capacity to recognize emotional expression in music.  He also interned with the Civic Knowledge Project at UChicago and taught pre-collegiate philosophy to middle school students on the south side.  An avid classical music and opera fan, Michael frequents the CSO, the Lyric Opera, and other music venues around the city.  When the weather is warm he enjoys distance running around Hyde Park and along the Lakefront Trail.