Deputy Director, English and Literary Studies Coordinator
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.
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 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.
Sarah received her BA in Comparative Literature from the University of Georgia, where she specialized in Japanese language and literature. Like many MAPH students, she realized during the course of her MA year that she wanted to try something different from her undergraduate coursework, and was luckily in the kind of program that allowed her the flexibility to explore. She ended up with a thesis on Flannery O’Connor’s “Good Country People” and the concept of ugliness, applying ideas from affect theory and psychoanalysis. However, she still considers it, like most of her life, a work in progress. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys weird fiction, crocheting, horror movies and Vietnamese food.
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.
Instructor, Teaching in the Community College
Jason (MAPH ’02) teaches the “Teaching in the Community College” course for MAPH. After graduating from MAPH, Jason was an adjunct professor in Ohio, and since 2003 he has been teaching English and basic writing as a full-time English professor at Prairie State College, where he was Chair of the English Department from 2006-2011. In 2012, he completed his PhD in English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research investigates the busy intersections of social class, race, and language in college writing classrooms. Recently, Jason was a faculty coach in a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded national teaching-research project, Global Skills for College Completion, which aims to improve students’ success in basic skills courses in community colleges.
Career and Alumni Outreach Coordinator, Preceptor
Kerri Hunt received her PhD English at the University of Chicago in June 2014. She received a BA in English and American Literature from NYU in 2003. A Victorianist by training and inclination, Kerri also studies and teaches a course on early 20th-century detective fiction. Her dissertation, “Reality Effects,” treats novels by Scott, Gaskell, and Dickens with an eye to the formal implications of their object-cluttered interiors. These writers, she argues, select and arrange the apparently innocuous objects which form the authenticating backgrounds of their narratives so that their novels also invoke and participate in contemporary debates about the nature, possibilities, and limits of fictional representation. Although she rarely escapes the ivory tower, Kerri does find some time to pursue outside interests including vintage fashion, world travel, and 1930s slang.
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 class society. 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 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 is a PhD candidate in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies. 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 (currently between titles) 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.
Daniel Smyth is a Ph.D. candidate in the Philosophy Department at the University of Chicago. He received his BA in Philosophy from the University of Chicago in 2005. His dissertation, “Infinity and Givenness: Kant’s Critical Theory of Intuition,” defends Immanuel Kant’s heterodox view that it is precisely the sensible, finite character of human cognition which enables knowledge of the mathematically infinite. When he isn’t indulging his Kant obsession, Daniel worries about how pictures picture, whether wrongs can be righted, and how group action affects personal accountability. Daniel also translates contemporary German philosophy, tries to paint, and fawns over his two kitties.
Megan Tusler is a Ph.D. candidate in the English Department, 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, Windy City Soul Club, and spending time with her husband and French Bulldogs.
Lucy received her B.A. in English from Connecticut College in 2010, but the highlight of her undergraduate experience came from studying in Dublin for a year. After graduating, Lucy followed her interests in baking and pastry to work in different restaurants, bakeries, and even a food truck. She also tried her hand in publishing, tutoring, and got to work for her favorite bookstore, The Tattered Cover. Her work at the bookstore made her more interested in contemporary fiction, which informed her classes and thesis in MAPH. MAPH gave Lucy the chance to volunteer at SISTERS Inc, enjoy frequent walks to the Point, and discover the incredible world of comics. Lucy enjoys drinking copious amounts of coffee, watching too much television, and trying to make fetch happen.
Matt received his B.A. in Literature from Harvard College in 2011, where he studied 20th-century French and English drama. After college, Matt spent two years freelancing in NYC theater as a director and sound designer. He also tutored extensively, primarily teaching writing skills and various standardized tests. During MAPH, Matt developed interests in performance studies and German literature, and he wrote his thesis on the premiere of Wagner’s Parsifal, arguing that its spatial dramaturgy relates to Alain Badiou’s concept of modern ceremony. Other academic interests include sound art/sound studies and bodies of water in 19th-century German literature. In his free time, he enjoys distance running and going to concerts and shows around the city.