Congratulations to the new PLAS Ph.D.s!

May 6, 2024

Congratulations to PLAS Graduate Certificate Students! Gabrielle Girard (History), Alejandro Martínez Rodríguez (Spanish & Portuguese), William Mullaney (Comparative Literature), Javier Rivero Ramos (Art & Archaeology) and Jessica Womack (Art & Archaeology) have successfully defended their dissertations and received their Ph.D. degrees and PLAS graduate certificates academic year 2023-24.


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Gabrielle Girard’s degree was conferred on November 18, 2023. 
Adviser: Jeremy Adelman
FPO: October 31, 2023

Dissertation Title & Summary:
Modeling Democracy: The Global History of an Argentine Human Rights Experiment, 1983-2000 studied Argentina’s influence on the global history of human rights during the 1980s and 1990s. The first half of the project examined how democratic Argentina tackled the legacies of its former military regime. The second half explores how Argentina’s efforts caught the attention of global human rights actors, who used its experience to debate the issue of accountability and invent the “truth commission.” This project explains how Argentina’s improvised initiatives circulated within the global human rights movement, arguing that its experience played a key role in motivating the movement to begin campaigning against impunity.

Current Position: Applying for job opportunities

 


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Alejandro Martínez Rodríguez’s degree was conferred on September 23, 2023. 
Adviser: Javier Guerrero
FPO: May 22, 2023

Dissertation Title & Summary:
Poesía expandida. Artefactos poéticos, medios y participación en Chile durante la Guerra Fría (1952-1989) examines the role of expanded poetry in Chile as an imaginative response to the Cold War. It highlights the expansive and political nature of this poetry through the analysis of four Chilean poets and artists: Nicanor Parra, Juan Pablo Langlois, Guillermo Deisler, and Cecilia Vicuña. The dissertation explores various poetic practices such as installations, urban interventions, mail art, postcards, found objects, artist's books, video, street actions, and performances. It argues that these practices not only question the rigid structures of literature and art as institutions of power but also recover the originally expansive and creative dimension of poetry. It contends that expanded poetry transcends mere medium extension by intervening in other public spheres, opening the poetic space to reader creativity and promoting political imagination. In the framework of an Inter-American Cold War, where Chile played a crucial role, the dissertation proposes that expanded poetry constitutes a form of imaginative confrontation to the Cold War, transcending ideological dichotomies and exploring diverse territories, bodies, and experiences to generate new forms of participation and collective creation through the works of Parra, Langlois, Deisler, and Vicuña.

Current Position: Assistant Professor, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, Chile

Projects:

  • Working on a book based on his dissertation.
  • Writing a book titled Opacidad transparente. Proyecto Nautilus, casa de vidrio (2000), a research funded by the "Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Cultural y las Artes de Chile". 

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William A. Mullaney's degree will be conferred on May 28, 2024.
Adviser: Susana Draper
FPO: May 7, 2024

Dissertation Title & Summary:
Literatures of Diasporic Witness in Brazil 1960-2017
Analyzing the political interventions of Black collective writing projects in the Brazilian redemocratization period beginning in the late seventies and ongoing in the contemporary, Mullaney’s dissertation seeks to highlight enunciations of a diasporic cultural orientation, inheritance, and historicity, which rethink and contest the Brazilian national text. It argues that these irruptions should be understood in relation to a longer minor literary and cultural tradition in Brazil which, across the twentieth century, innovated literary language in order to assert a Black aesthetic time-space that lays a foundation for the mobilization of Black politics and ongoing proliferation of writings from marginal positions.

Post Doctorate Position:
Tenure Track Professor, Cabrillo College, California.  Will be teaching English and Composition and contributing as a teacher and mentor to their Rising Scholars program, which helps incarcerated and formerly incarcerated students achieve higher education.

 

 

 

 


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Javier Rivero Ramos’ degree was conferred on September 23, 2023.
Adviser: Irene Small
FPO: May 30, 2023

Dissertation Title & Summary:
Responsive Communication: The Emergence of Mail Art in Latin America was supervised by Irene V. Small and analyzed the precedents, characteristics, and ramifications of mail art as it emerged in the context of social upheaval and political strife within and beyond the region during the 1960s and 1970s. The dissertation argued that one of the defining aspirations of mail art in Latin America was recasting art as a form of responsive communication premised on the postal circulation of paper objects addressing a distant audience through a range of linguistic and visual signs.  

Current Position: Assistant Curator, Art Bridges Foundation, Bentonville, Arkansas

Projects:

  • Co-curating the exhibition Ulises Carrión: Bookworks and Beyond, which will be on view at Firestone Library’s Ellen and Leonard Milberg Gallery in the spring of 2024.
  • The exhibition will be accompanied by a scholarly publication forthcoming from Princeton University Library and a campus-wide public program that will feature scholarly panels, artist-led workshops, radio broadcasts, and object study sessions.   

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Jessica Womack's degree will be conferred on May 28, 2024.
Adviser: Chika Okeke-Agulu
FPO: May 7, 2024
 

Dissertation Title & Summary:
“Nation in the Making”: Art, Politics, and Statecraft in Jamaica after 1962.
Womack’s dissertation focuses on Jamaican art after independence in 1962 and examines the negotiations, partnerships, and tensions between artists, arts institutions, and government officials; her research probed the politics and practices of exhibition and display in mid/late twentieth century Jamaica and the entanglements between tourism, the economy, the state, race, and art by artists from Jamaica and the broader Caribbean.

Post Doctorate Position:
Before reentering the workforce, Jessica will be spending time with her new infant, who was born just a few months before her defense. Additionally, she will work to prepare sections of her dissertation for publication as well as on a curatorial/writing project focusing on Jamaican art.