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

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

Research Interest: Queer and trans theory, feminist theory, visual culture of security

Samantha Carter

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

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

Research Interest: Asian-American studies, feminist and queer theory, memory, and race

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 art history and visual culture, trash art, socially engaged collaboration and artist collectives, eco-aesthetics, biopolitics, and critical theory

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.A.F., Photography, San Francisco Art Institute

Research Interest: Theory and conceptual art; photography and appropriation practices; Jack Goldstein; experimental film; realism in avant-garde practices; einfuhlong; ecology, milieu, and immanent critique

Kathie Foley-Meyer

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

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

Julian Francolino

FrancolinoM.A., Visual Studies, UC Irvine
B.F.A., summa cum laude, Studio Art, Biola University

Advisor: Aglaya Glebova
Research Interests: Modernism and modern art, socialist realism, art and communism, art of the so-called Eastern Bloc, Soviet art, public monuments, monumental propaganda, posters and print propaganda.

Finley Freibert

FreibertPh.D., Applied and Industrial Mathematics, University of Louisville
M.A., University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
B.A., DePauw University, Greencastle, IN

Advisor: Bliss Cua Lim
Research Interests: Media industries, film history, exploitation and cult film, queer studies and film, horror, transnational and digital media

Sarah Fugfugosh-Munoz

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

Research Interest: Seventeenth century visual culture in Italy and France, aerial illusionism [di sotto in sù and quadratura], Baroque religious theater and scenography, the development and tradition of iconographic and emblematic literature.

Mehra Gharibian

GharibianB.A. with honors, English and Ethnic Studies, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Research Interests: Critical Muslim Studies, New Media Studies, Virality, Postcolonial Theory, Critical Theory, Psychoanalysis

Anirban Gupta-Nigam

M.A., Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University
M.Phil, Cinema Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University
B.A. (with honors), History, University of Delhi

Advisors: Lucas Hilderbrand and Bliss Cua Lim
Research Interests: Media and environmental studies, technologies of interiority, obviousness and the mundane

Eric Hahn

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

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

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

Deanna Kashani

KashaniB.A., History of the Modern Middle East, Brown University

Advisor: Bridget R. Cooks
Research Interests: Modern and contemporary Iranian art, the history of exhibition practices in Iran, feminist art history, and the history of the modern museum

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
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 & distinction) Communications/New Media Theory and Production, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Research Interests: 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
Research Interests: Esports, skillful play, the temporality of new media, game studies, and the politics of digital experience

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”

Ashley Bryan Marin

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

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 Inferior in American Print"
Research Interests: Visualization of social stereotypes, print culture, text and image, image as science, portrait genres

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

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

Research Interest: History of photography, photojournalism and documentary, particularly images of violence and atrocity; contemporary visual culture and new media.

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: Land art, postminimalism, modern and contemporary art, California modernism, political ecology, climate change, energy history, critical theory

KT Wong

WongB,A., Music and Theater, Lafayette College

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

Xinyue Yuan

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

Research Interests: Modern Chinese art and visual culture in global context and exchanges, history of antiquarianism, art and materiality, environmental art, performance art

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: Synthetic Ecologies and Polymer Plastics in the Art of Eva Hesse and Lynda Benglis (1960s-1970s)
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