Graduate Students

Benjamin Aaron

M.A. (with distinction), Japanese Language and Culture, University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign
B.A., Japanese Literature, University of Florida

Advisor: Bert Winther-Tamaki
Research Interests: Post-WWII Japanese visual arts, trauma Studies, memory/memorialization, representation of trauma/atrocities, cultural memory, avant-garde/modernism, East-West dialectical influences

Shane Breitenstein

M.A., Visual Studies, UC Irvine
B.A. (with highest honors) Sociology/Anthropology and English Literature, Swarthmore College

Advisor: Lucas Hilderbrand
Dissertation: "Latchkey Law: Media Regulation and the Imperiled Tween"
Research Interests: The visual culture of adolescence and childhood, the 1980s, queer and feminist theory, media regulation, television, horror and melodrama, pornography

Dan Bustillo

BustilloM.F.A., Art and Technology, Integrated Media, California Institute of the Arts
B.A., Art, Hunter College City of New York

Advisor: Bliss Lim
Research Interest: Queer and trans theory, latinx studies, feminist theory, feminist security studies.

Samantha Carter

CarterM.A., New Media and Digital Cultures, University of Amsterdam
B.A., Modern Culture and Media, Brown University

Advisors: Bambi Haggins and Allison Perlman
Research Interest: Experience of marginalized creatives in film & television in the digital era.  She is investigating this topic through what Dawn Mannay calls a researcher-initiated production, recruiting interested artists to collaborate in the development of an experimental television pilot.

Kylie Ching

ChingM.A. Art History, University of California, Irvine
B.A., Art History and English, University of California, Irvine

Advisors: Cécile Whiting and Bert Winther-Tamaki
Research Interest: Asian American visual culture, Asian American Movement, artist collectives, cultural memory, and alternative press

Marianna Davison

DavisonM.A., Visual Culture, Illinois State University
B.A., Art History, University of Texas at Austin

Advisor: James Nisbet
Research Interests: Modern and contemporary American art history and visual culture, the history of photography, museum studies, critical environmental studies, landscape reclamation, indigenous sovereignty and activism, socially engaged collaboration and artist collectives.

Maggie Dethloff

DethloffM.A., Visual Studies, UC Irvine
B.A., Art History, Smith College

Advisor: Cécile Whiting
Research Interests: Photography, 20th-century American art, appropriation, text, especially found text, linguistics and semiotics, materiality, and death, and curatorial practice

Kelly Donahey

DonaheyM.F.A., Art, University of California, Irvine
B.F.A., Photography, San Francisco Art Institute

Advisor: Catherine Liu
Research Interest: Art theories and practices of the nineteen seventies; media art; persistent modernisms, realism and appropriation; art criticism; art pedagogy.
Website: http://www.kellydonahey.com/

Kathie Foley-Meyer

Foley-MeyerM.F.A., California Institute of the Arts
B.S. International Politics, Georgetown University

Advisor: Bridget Cooks
Research Interests:  the history of African Americans in Los Angeles-1940s and beyond, invisibility and hyper-visibility of black women in art and popular culture, social issues in contemporary black visual culture
Website: http://www.kf-m.com/

Julian Francolino

FrancolinoM.A., Visual Studies, UC Irvine

Advisor: Aglaya Glebova
Dissertation: "Variations on Monumentality: Laboring Bodies and Socialist Imagery, 1930-1970"
Research Interest: Modern art, realism and modernism, Interwar art and visual culture, Cold War art and visual culture, Socialist Realism, monuments and monumentality, Monumental Propaganda.

Sarah Fugfugosh-Munoz

Fugfugosh-MunozM.A., California State University, Los Angeles
B.A., Art History, California State University, Los Angeles

Advisor: Lyle Massey
Research Interest: Early modern art, visual culture and gender studies in Italy and France. Early modern subjectivity, social identity construction and corporeality in art, literature and natural philosophy; 16th and 17th century female artistic production, portraiture, visual and literary self-portraiture, and epistolary culture.

Eric Hahn

HahnM.A., New York University
B.A., Purchase College State University of New York

Advisor: Peter Krapp
Research Interest: Emotion & Affect, Popular Memory, Technology & Culture, Body Genres, Autonomism

Sharrissa Iqbal

IqbalM.A., History and Theory of Contemporary Art, San Francisco Art Institute
B.A., Art History, University of Southern California

Advisor: Cécile Whiting
Research Interests: California Modernism, Minimalism, abstract art, design

Shawn Jewett

JewettM.A., Humanities, Visual Studies, University of Colorado at Denver
B.S., Marketing, Georgetown University;
B.A., Theatre Film & Television, University of Colorado at Denver

Advisor: Victoria Johnson
Research Interest: Representations of class in popular American film and media, class and political economy, social semiotics, film history/industry and neoliberalism

Asako Katsura

KatsuraM.A., (with distinction) Japanese Studies, Sophia University, Japan
B.A., Art History, International Christian University, Japan

Advisor: Bert Winther-Tamaki
Research Interests: Asian American visual culture, modern and contemporary Japanese art, contemporary Asian Art, artist collectives of SOutheast Asia, California modernism, queer theory, photography, crafts

Aaron Katzeman

KatzemanB.A. (summa cum laude with honors) Art History, certificate in Environmental Studies, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Advisor: James Nisbet
Research Interests: Modern and contemporary art, infrastructure, land art, cultural geography, climate change, socially engaged art, postcolonialism,  environmental justice, global studies.

Tavleen Kaur

M.S., Architectural History & Theory, University of Washington
M.S., History & Theory of Architecture, University of Michigan
B.A., University of North Carolina-Charlotte

Advisor: Bridget Cooks
Dissertation: "Sikh Diasporic Necropolitics: Hate Violence Against Bodies and Buildings in the Age of Empire"
Research Interests: How the bodies and buildings of ethno-religious minority communities become victims of hate violence. In particular, she looks at how the contemporary Sikh American community has been racialized and victimized due to state violence in the form of Islamophobic rhetoric and policies; Sikh American community’s buildings (gurdwara) becoming targets of racist graffiti, vandalism, and arson, as fueled by Islamophobic and xenophobic hate speech and policy. She examines how the Sikh American community reproduces narratives of nationhood and belonging and how it challenges various tropes of state violence that target its bodies and buildings.

Justin Keever

KeeverB.A. (with highest honors & highest distinction) Communications/New Media Theory and Production, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Advisor: Braxton Soderman
Research Interests: New Media, Game Studies, Modernity and the experience of digital space, Semiotics, Post-Structuralism, Structural Marxism, Subjectivity, Autonomism

Matthew Knutson

KnutsonM.Ed., Secondary Education, University of Minnesota
M.A., English, Boston College
B.A., University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

Advisor: Braxton Soderman
Dissertation: "Frame-Perfect: Temporalities in Competitive Gaming"
Research Interests: Esports, skillful play, the temporality of new media, game studies, and the politics of digital experience
Website: https://uci.academia.edu/MatthewKnutson

Nastasya Kosygina

B.A., University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Research Interest: Archaeology and material culture of the late antique eastern Mediterranean and western Asia, human relationships to materiality and their effect upon the material debris of praxis, etic and emic concepts of "magic" vs premodern landscapes of doing, non-luxury material culture and human intentionality, the unintelligible word and the non-legible inscription, Greek and Syriac epigraphy and paleography.

Benjamin Kruger-Robbins

Kruger-RobbinsM.A., Radio-Television-Film, University of Texas, Austin
B.S. (with highest honors), Radio-Television-Film, University of Texas, Austin

Advisor: Victoria Johnson
Research Interests: Television and LGBTQ studies, marginalized audiences, network branding, and critical race theory
Dissertation: “Queering and Qualifying the Wasteland: Network Television, Awards Discourse, and Gay Legitimation in Primetime from 1971-1997”
Website: https://uci.academia.edu/BenjaminKrugerRobbins

Austen Leopold

LeopoldB.A. (with high honors), English, Oberlin College

Research interests: Reality television, U.S. media culture, historical materialism, queer subjectivity, citizenship, the national imaginary

Ashley Bryan Marin

MarinB.A., (with highest distinction) in Art History and Criticism, University of California, San Diego

Advisor: Allison Perlman
Research Interest: The Sublime; Popular and Visual Culture; Mexican Diaspora; 18th - 19th century European art; Latin American Surrealism; Psychoanalysis; Phenomenology; the Uncanny; Intersections of Art and Technology; Post- Humanism; Classical Art and Architecture; Italian Renaissance

Christine Mugnolo

M.A., Early Modern Art History, Courtauld Institute of Art, London
M.F.A., Studio Art Concentration in Painting and Printmaking, University of Connecticut
M.F.A., Studio Art, Concentration in Painting, Indiana University
B.A., magna cum laude, Art History, Princeton University

Advisor: Cécile Whiting
Dissertation: "The Adolescent in American Print"
Research Interests: Comic studies, image as a science, American print culture, relationship between text and image in Western art, history of 19th and 20th century comic strips and visual satire, visual models of childhood from popular cultural and medical venues.
Website: http://www.christinemugnolo.com/

Mary Schmitt

SchmittM.A., Humanities, University of Chicago
B.A., (with university honors) Art History, University of Illinois at Chicago

Advisor: Allison Perlman
Dissertation: "Neoliberalism and Black Radical Memory in Popular Culture"
Research Interests: Race and political economy in popular culture, cultural memory, black radical politics and cultural production, postcolonial theory and cultural studies, African and African diaspora art and politics
Publications: “By Any Means Necessary” A Neoliberal Sound Byte? The Memory of Malcolm
X in the 1990s CBS Documentary Malcolm X: The Real Story.” Black Camera:
An International Film Journal 9, no. 2 (Spring 2018): 10-32.
Website: https://uci.academia.edu/MarySchmitt

Molly Katharine Thrailkill

ThrailkillM.A. (with distinction), History of Art, The Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
B.A., Art & Art History and French, Colgate University

Advisor: Cécile Whiting
Research Interest: History of photography, photojournalism, and documentary; American art and visual culture; new media and digital rendering.
Website: https://mkthrailkill.com/

Lucena Lau Valle

ValleM.S., Art History, Pratt Institute, NY
B.A., Art History, San Francisco State University, CA

Advisor: Cécile Whiting
Research Interests: Museum studies, urban studies, cultural political economy, Latina & Latino studies, Asian American studies, Los Angeles, cultural memory and public humanities

Scott Volz

VolzM.A., Art History and Criticism, SUNY Stony Brook
B.A., Art History, Kent State University

Advisor: James Nisbet
Research Interests: Earth art, media practices, modern and contemporary art, political ecology, environmentalism, ecocriticism and geophilosophy, biopolitics, climate change, the Anthropocene, historical and new materialism, critical theory

Mallory Elizabeth Wells

B.A., Art History, Occidental College

Advisor: Matthew Canepa
Research Interests: Transcultural exchange and visualities of authority in the late antique Mediterranean, the late antique Near East, and the early European Middle Ages.

KT Wong

WongB.A., Music and Theater, Lafayette College

Advisor: Bonnie Ruberg
Research interests: Game studies, ludomusicology, media archaeology, translation studies, transmedia storytelling

Siavash Yansori

M.A, Film & Media Studies, Columbia University
M.F.A, Photography, University of Cincinnati

Research Interest: Iranian and Middle Eastern Cinema,
Melodrama, History of Photography, Postcolonialism, Gender, and Queer Studies

Xinyue Yuan

YuanM.A. (with distinction), History of Art and Archeology, University of London
B.A., Liberal Arts, Sun Yat-sen University

Advisor: Roberta Wue
Research Interests: 20th-century Chinese art in the global context, visual culture studies, visual anthropology, graphic arts & design, print culture, artists' illustration, book arts, abstraction, intermediality, history of senses.

Layah Ziaii-Bigdeli

Ziaii-BigdeliM.A., Art History Concentration in Cultural Heritage and Preservation, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
B.A., Art History & Archeology, Columbia University

Advisor: Matthew P. Canepa
Research Interests: Sasanian Art and Archaeology, Islamic Art and Archaeology, Persian Language and Literature, Numismatics, Museum studies, Cultural Heritage, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Website:http://uci.academia.edu/LayahZiaiiBigdeli

Jessica Ziegenfuss

ZiegenfussM.A., Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, The Ohio State University
B.A. (with honors) Women's Studies and History of Art, The Ohio State University

Advisor: James Nisbet
Dissertation: The Matter of Eva Hesse: Industrial Collage, Latex, and Plastics within Post-War Material Culture, 1964-1969.
Research Interests: Feminist and queer theory, critical theory, ecological studies of art, postminimalism, issues of materiality and art, scientific experimentation in art, and the history of synthetics and the petrochemical industry
Website: https://jziegenfuss.weebly.com