A site covering the annual convention, the job market, and other issues relevant to graduate student members of the MLA

Meet the 2016-2017 Members of CSGSP!

Meet the 2016-2017 members of the Committee on the Status of Graduate Students in the Profession! We are passionate about advocating for graduate students — please feel free to reach out to us individually or at csgsp@mla.org with your concerns. You can also run into us in person while we host the Grad Lounge at any MLA convention.

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Ryan Calabretta-Sajder is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Italian at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, where he teaches courses in Italian, Film, and Gender Studies.  His research interests include the integration of gender, class, and migration in both Italian and Italian American literature and cinema. Ryan is currently the Director of Communications for the American Association of Teachers of Italian, the President of Gamma Kappa Alpha, the National Italian Honors Society, an Executive Committee member of the Italian American Studies Association, and Secretary/Treasurer of the American Association of University Supervisors and Coordinators.

Barbra Chin HeadshotBarbra Chin is a Ph.D. student in the Department of English at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Her research primarily explores notions of nation, race, mixed-race, gender, and identity in late 19th and early 20th century African American literature with a tendency to be comparative in its approach. As a member of the CSGSP, Barbra is looking forward to providing a voice for and representing the HBCU graduate experience. (Twitter: @bchin_19)

Lisa Chinn Lecturing Fellow Thompson Writing Program

Lisa Chinn is a Lecturing Fellow in the Thompson Writing Program at Duke. Her research focuses on 20th-century American poetry, particularly post-1945 poetry and its intersection with printand sound cultures. When she’s not researching, writing, or teaching, she is learning how to play the upright bass, likes to run in her Old North Durham neighborhood, and enjoys good cuisine. (Twitter: @LisaChinn1)

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Caroline Egan is a Lecturer in Colonial Literary and Cultural Studies in the Spanish and Portuguese Department at the University of Cambridge. She studied Comparative Literature at Penn State (BA, MA) and Stanford (PhD). Her research looks at 16th- and early 17th-century portrayals of Amerindian languages in a transatlantic context. A member of the CSGSP since 2014, Caroline is especially interested in issues related to graduate student pedagogical training and teaching opportunities.

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Meredith Farmer is an Assistant Teaching Professor at Wake Forest University, who is finishing her Ph.D. in American Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her current research focuses on Herman Melville’s surprisingly unexamined relationship to science—or, more aptly, the way a set of scientific narratives (biology, chemistry, meteorology, electromagnetism) enabled Melville to think differently about the idea of the “person.” And she is especially passionate about work that the Committee might do to support unionization efforts, to raise awareness about different kinds of work in the public humanities, and to help develop a revised and visible set of best practices for search committees in the era of online interviews. (Twitter: @farmerm)


Fatma Tarlaci received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Texas at Austin in 2016. She is currently an Eric Roberts Computer Science Fellow at Stanford University. Her research interests include digital humanities, interdisciplinary teaching in computer science, and artificial intelligence, particularly in the context of higher education. (Twitter: @thecomparatist)



Niko Tracksdorf is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Literatures, Cultures and Languages at the University of Connecticut. His research interests include interdisciplinary language teaching, intercultural competence, and online and blended learning. Working for dual degree program in German and Engineering, his research and teaching currently focus on the intersections of language and culture education and STEM.


Christine “Xine” Yao is currently a SSHRC postdoc at the University of British Columbia in the Department of English. She earned her PhD in English, American Studies, and Feminism, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Cornell University. She works on how the connection between feeling and political action impacts structures of race, gender, and sexuality through histories of science and law in long nineteenth-century American literature. In her advocacy work Xine is especially interested in the precarity of graduate student labor and issues facing women and people of color in the university. (Twitter: @yao_christine)

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