Meet the Committee

Thais Rutledge (2021-2024)

My name is Thais Rutledge, and I am a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Texas at Austin. After a rewarding teaching experience, I decided to return to school to become a professor. I work primarily with Modern British and Brazilian literatures with a transnational and multilingual focus. I am interested in narrative forms, cultural history, space, trauma, and memory — all of this through the context of intersectionality where race, class, gender, and ethnicity meet. I have a Master’s degree in Literature from Texas State University. I joined the MLA many years ago, and now I have the privilege to be part of the Committee for the Status for Graduate Students where I hope to advocate for inclusion, equity, and diversity in the academy. My article “Woolf’s Feminist Spaces and the New Woman in To the Lighthouse: The Cases of Mrs. Ramsay and Lily Briscoe” was published in the South Central Review (2020), which focuses on women and gendered spaces in Woolf’s’ To the Lighthouse

Kay Sohini (2021-2024)
I am a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellow and a fifth year PhD candidate in English at Stony Brook University, where I am currently drawing her doctoral dissertation as a comic. In both my creative and academic work, I focus on how comics can be utilized by scholars and artists alike in ethnography, in narrative medicine, in public health discourse, in resisting disinformation, and in espousing an equitable future for all. 

My work on comics has been published in The Nib, Graphic Mundi’s Covid ChroniclesAssay: A Journal of Non-fiction Studies, Women Write About Comics, Solrad, and Inside Higher Ed, Handbook of Comics and Graphic Narratives, amongst others. Apart from MLA’s Committee on the Status of Graduate Students in the Humanities, I serve on the editorial team of The Comics Grid, in the Executive Committee of the International Comic Arts Forum (ICAF), and I am a member of the Feminist Leaders Council at Feminist Press

Nina Ellis (2021-2024)

I am a third-year PhD candidate in American Literature at the University of Cambridge, where I am researching twentieth-century short fiction under the supervision of Dr Kasia Boddy. My academic interests range widely — but my doctoral thesis is a critical biography of the American short story writer Lucia Berlin, funded by a Full Studentship from the British Arts and Humanities Research Council. I am Co-Representative to the AHRC Student Liaison Group; and I was Graduate Representative to the Faculty of English from 2019–2020 and Co-Convenor of Cambridge’s American Literature Graduate Research Seminar from 2020–2021. I also teach undergraduates at Cambridge, and have supervised dissertations on a wide range of American literatures. 

Prior to PhD study, I gained my BA at Jesus College, Cambridge in Archaeology and Anthropology, and my QTS and PGCE (British secondary school teaching degrees) from the Institute of Education. I taught English Literature in a London state school for five years, and I completed my MA in English and American Literature at University College London. I have written about Berlin for Granta, and I am a regular columnist for Review 31. My short stories have appeared in Ambit, American Chordata, Granta, The London Magazine, 3:AM and elsewhere, and I recently won an Editors’ Choice Award in the 2021 Raymond Carver Short Story Contest. I am currently working on my first novel.

Mario De Grandis (2020-2023)

My name is Mario De Grandis. After receiving my Ph.D. at the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at The Ohio State University, I have joined the Irish Institute of Chinese Studies at University College Dublin (Ireland) as an assistant professor/lecturer. My research focuses on ethnic minority literature (shashu minzu wenxue) and its filmic adaptations. I am also active as a translator and I’ve subtitled documentaries and translated fiction from Chinese into Italian. Among these translations are documentaries by Ai Weiwei and works by Alat Asem, Chen Xiwo, and Lu Min.

Viana Hara 

My name is Viana Hara, I am originally from Panama, but I consider my hometown Durham, North Carolina, since I have lived there for 18 years before moving to Portland, Oregon. I hold a M.A in Foreign Language and Spanish Literature from NC State University.Currently, I am a first year Ph.D. graduate student in the Department of Romance Language ( Spanish and Portuguese) at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Before coming to Portland, I taught upper-level undergraduate Spanish courses at Duke University under Dr. Walter Mignolo. Then, in Portland, I taught lower-level Spanish classes at the University of Portland as an adjunct instructor. 

My research interest is Panamanian Caribbean Narratives: the traces of Colonialism( race, sexism, nature abuse, control of knowledge/Subjectivities), Post-Dictatorship, Present Democracies with the theory of Coloniality, Decoloniality. I am also studying for a certificate with specialization in translation studies.

I have worn many hats in my career journey: I was in U.S Army Reserve for eight years, worked at a hospital as a phlebotomy technician ( while studying for my bachelor as a nontraditional student), and was a flight attendant in my natal country before coming to the U.S. I  love to share this knowledge and life experience with my students because I wholeheartedly believe that motivation for learning and intellectual curiosity comes from within. It does not depend on circumstances; learning is a never-ending process, and life is not in a straight line.

Ariadne Wolf (2019-2022)

Hello! I graduated with her MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College, where I now sit on the Board of Governors, in 2019. I earned my Master’s in English from the University of Rochester in 2021 and moved immediately into my present role of Women’s Center Coordinator at Colgate University. My professional advocacy extends to my role with the MLA, where I focus on protecting the minimal rights of Master’s-level students and trying hard to ensure that the needs of marginalized students are recognized. As an academic, I am most interested in Performance Studies, Whiteness Studies, and other elements of Cultural Studies that I hope to see come to fruition in the near future.

Didem Uca (2019-2022, co-chair)

I began my time on CSGSH while at the University of Pennsylvania, where I received my Ph.D. in Germanic Languages and Literatures in 2019. After spending one year as Visiting Assistant Professor at Colgate University, I began my current role as Assistant Professor of German Studies at Emory University. My research analyzes post/migrant cultural production within an intersectional framework and through a variety of media, including the Bildungsroman, multilingual hip-hop, and transnational social media movements. My research has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Monatshefte, Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies, and Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German.

I love teaching and developing inclusive pedagogies, which led to my contributing to the new intermediate German language textbook Impuls Deutsch 2. In 2020, I was awarded the Goethe-Institut/American Association of Teachers of German Certificate of Merit. As a Turkish-Arab-American from Long Island, New York, I became fascinated by Turkish-German cultural production as an undergrad, because it was the first time I saw representations of Turkish diasporic identity. I am now co-editor of Turkish-German Studies Yearbook and translate from German and Turkish into English, with translations forthcoming in TRANSIT and SAND. I truly enjoy the translation process and am grateful whenever I have the opportunity to make someone else’s words accessible to a new audience.

G. Edzordzi Agbozo (2019-2022)

I joined the committee as a graduate student in the interdisciplinary humanities program at Michigan Technological University from where I received my PhD in Rhetoric, Theory and Culture. Prior to my doctoral studies, I received a Master of Philosophy degree in English linguistics and language acquisition from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and a BA in English and Linguistics from the University of Ghana. Currently, I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. I am also a Junior Fellow at the Pan-African Scientific Research Council. 

I work at the intersections of Scientific, Medical and Technical Writing, Critical Discourse Studies, Rhetoric of Health and Medicine, and Applied Linguistics. My recent publications appeared in Applied Linguistics Review, Journal of African Rhetoric, Current Issues in Language Planning and Programmatic Perspectives, and forthcoming in Technical Communication.

You can see more on my work at I am a recipient of ​​the Barbara Heifferon Graduate Students Fellowship in Rhetoric of Health and Medicine, CPTSC Diversity Scholarship Award from the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication, Graduate Research Award from the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing, Dean’s Award for Outstanding Scholarship, and Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award at Michigan Technological University among other recognitions. I am currently co-editing two books on cross-cultural communication of Covid-19, and election rhetorics in West Africa.