Students of the REMS DE

Zachary Blinkinsop
Zach’s primary interest is the development of Swedish national identity from the Scandinavian Reformation until King Gustaf III’s assassination in 1792. This research project particularly concerns the depiction of Norse antiquity by authors such as Olaus Magnus, Olaus Rudbeck, and Olof von Dalin. Other interests include the influence of English and French literature on Swedish satire, the rococo troubadour Carl Michael Bellman, and the partisan patronage of writers by Mösspartiet (the Cap Party) and Hattpartiet (the Hat Party). Zach came to UC Berkeley in 2014 by way of Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota where he earned his BA in Scandinavian Studies and Latin.

Molly Borowitz
Spanish and Portuguese
Molly came to Berkeley in 2012 by way of Princeton (A.B. 2009), Cambridge (M.Phil 2010), and the Dominican Republic, where she taught high-school history. She is interested in all things Jesuit—intellectual history, imagination and the fashioning of worlds and selves, world systems and cosmology, and subject-formation under colonial labor systems and the emerging modern State—in early-modern Iberia and Ibero-America. She is a member of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the DE in Critical Theory.

Keith Budner
Comparative Literature
Keith Budner joined UC Berkeley’s Comparative Literature department in 2010 after graduating from the University of Chicago (2007) and three years living and teaching in Madrid.  His primary focus is on Late Medieval and Early Modern Spain with complimentary interests in Latin, Italian, Greek and English literature.  His work and research is guided by questions of individual vs. communal identity, the social function of genre, the relationship between historiography and literature, and the transmission of cultural forms against divergent socio-political backdrops.

Karine Douplitzky
History of Art
A native of France, Karine Douplitzky moved to the Bay area in 2011 having worked for ten years as a documentary filmmaker. Her current research focuses on early modern France, in particular on the period of transition in the iconographical model from Poussin to Rubens during Louis XIV’s reign, and on the shift of influence from Italy to the Netherlands. Her interests include the relation of art and literature, the idea of the “natural” developed by the *précieuses* in feminine literature and the expressions of “passions” codified by Le Brun in art. Overall, she is intrigued by themes such as spontaneity, pleasure, and contingency in painting.

Kate Driscoll
Italian Studies
Kate’s interests are primarily in sixteenth-century Italian literature and their seventeenth- and eighteenth century counterparts in music, opera, and theatre. She particularly focuses on the reception and adaptations of the Italian Renaissance chivalric epics (Boiardo, Ariosto, and Tasso) and their performances on stages throughout Italy, France, Germany and England. Currently, she is studying how these “themes and variations” of Italian literary texts contributed to the birth and popularity of early Baroque opera. Kate joined the Italian Studies department at Berkeley in 2014 after having completed her M.A. in Italian at New York University in 2012, where she also received her B.M. in music performance in 2011.

Shterna Friedman
Political Science
Before coming to Berkeley, Shterna Friedman received a BA in philosophy from Barnard College, and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work explores theories of tolerance (as opposed to toleration), which may be attributable to origins in Christian thought of the assumption that error is culpable, i.e., sinful.

Margaret Jones
Margaret’s current research interests focus on instrumental music circulating in Italy in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.  Her experience as a guitarist and lutenist guides her work more specifically toward music for fretted instruments and the musical texts written and transcribed for them.  She is interested in the ways reading and performativity intersect with the physical objects of books, musical ephemera, notation, and relationships between instruments and bodies.  Her interests also include book history, print and manuscript culture studies, modes of musical text transmission, and sound studies.

Nicole Jones
Comparative Literature
Nicole joined UC Berkeley’s Comparative Literature department in 2014 after graduating with a BA in Comparative Literature from Brown University. Her primary focus is on Late Medieval and Renaissance Italy, with interests in the intersections of Medieval and Early Modern French, English, and Latin literatures. Her work and research explores questions of language and the relationship between Latin and the developing vernaculars; representations of the body, desire, and sexuality (both physical and psychological); conceptions of space, landscape, and travel in epic, romance, and narrative genres; and the influence of theology and biblical readings on literature.

Rupinder Kaur
Rupinder focusses primarily on Renaissance and Early Modern French literature, with additional interests in Art History and Spanish and Latin American studies. Her work deals with theories of affect and emotion, depictions of the body, colonial texts, conduct manuals, art theory, rhetoric and self-writing. Prior to joining UC Berkeley in 2015, she gained her BA in French and Spanish at UCL and worked briefly in university administration.

Kristen Keach
Italian Studies
Kristen joined the Italian Studies Department at UCB after completing her B.A. in Art History and Italian Studies at the University of Southern California, magna cum laude, and her M.A. in Art History at the University of California, Davis. Her primary research interests focus on intertextuality and intervisuality, particularly in relation to Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, Francesco Petrarch’s Triumphs, and the works of Sandro Botticelli. In addition to her interests in late medieval to early Italian Renaissance texts and images, Kristen is also engaged in the reception of Dante’s epic by Modern artists, both European and American.

Aileen Liu
Aileen’s current research interests include Shakespeare, romance, endings, and film. Her work is guided by questions about identity, communality, performance, genre, plotting, and storytelling. She graduated cum laude from Duke University in December 2008 with a BA in English. Before matriculating at UC Berkeley, she taught high school English in Atlanta Public Schools for two years as a Teach For America corps member.

Raphael Magarik
Raphael returned to academia after several years as a journalist, editor, student of classical rabbinic texts, and aspiring dancer. He focuses on the influence of Christian Hebraism on early modern English poetry, particularly Milton; more broadly, he is also interested in secularism, law and literature, and the intersections between theology and poetics. He was born and raised in Brooklyn, and he received his BA in English from Yale. 

Kevin Ogunniyi
Kevin’s study has centered on Elizabethan-Jacobean drama, particularly on the nexus between aesthetics, ethics, representation, and performance, in the tragedies of the period. He works always to descry what literature teaches readers and spectators about how we live and how we ought to live. Subsidiary interests include: the histories of literary criticism and Classical reception; “pre-modern” humanist and other anthropologies; character criticism; critical theory; continental European Romances and romances; (what seems like) the theatre’s (and literature’s) capacities to outstrip life and to fall short of life.

Yessica Porras
History of Art
Yessica is interested in the juxtapositions imbedded in Colonial Latin American art, with an emphasis on the Northern Andes. Part of her current research deals with mural works found inside colonial churches and convents. For Yessica, colonial mural works have an unstable quality that warrants a closer look to explore the way mural programs related to the people that co-existed with these images. Her overall academic work intends to bring attention to understudied artistic expressions and put them in conversation with the larger spectrum of Art History. This includes the role of religious orders in the making of art in Latin America during the sixteenth to eighteenth century. Yessica received her BA in History of Art at UC Berkeley in 2014 and joined the History of Art graduate program in 2015.

Sarah Sands Rice
Sarah focuses on early modern English literature and its continental influences, with particular emphasis on law and literature, depictions of the body, gender and sexuality, and the development of English as a literary language. Her work places literary texts in dialogue with social history, drawing on external sources such as legal texts, midwifery manuals, and rhetoric guides. Sarah joined the English Department in 2015 following a BA at Colorado College and an MLitt at the University of St Andrews. Outside of academia, she has worked as a victim advocate for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, a housekeeper at the Iona Abbey, an AmeriCorps VISTA at a childhood literacy nonprofit, and a writing tutor at Central New Mexico Community College.

Jonathan Shelley
Jonathan’s current research focuses on depictions of friendship in English Renaissance poetry, prose, and drama. He is particularly interested in the notion, prevalent throughout classical antiquity as well as the Renaissance, that friendship is “rare.” His dissertation, “Rare Friendship,” focuses on the works of Spenser, Shakespeare, Donne, and Mary Wroth to track friendship’s complexity and evolution in the Elizabethan and Jacobean period.

Saraswathi Shukla
Saraswathi draws on her musical experience as a harpsichordist and her undergraduate training in history to research the instrumental music and musical culture of 17th- and 18th-centuries France and Germany. She incorporates her passion for material culture, literature, and manuscript studies into her work. Her research often examines the circulation of music across genres and social, geographic, and temporal boundaries. Her current project on the remodeling (ravalement) of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Flemish harpsichords in eighteenth-century Paris is leading her to explore the decorative arts, organology, and academic debates in Golden Age Antwerp and Ancien Régime France.

Jessica Stair
History of Art
Jessica studies the art of the Spanish Empire with particular emphasis on colonial Mexico. Her research interests include the role of art within colonial social and political hierarchies, the transferal of objects, materials, techniques and ideas between Spain and its colonies, the historicization of the conquest, methods of Christian instruction employed by missionaries during the sixteenth century, and the activation of the senses in religious contexts.

David Swensen
David is broadly interested in the Renaissance, its relation to European humanism and rhetoric and its place in intellectual history. He came to Berkeley in 2014 after completing his undergraduate and an MA in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literary Culture at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. Between, before and after degrees he worked in the food industry as a baker, a chocolate maker and a pastry chef.

Ian James Thompson
Ian’s primary area of focus is the literature, culture, and history of the Danish empire, specifically, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland. He is interested particularly in early modern antiquarians and their contributions to the collection, reception and reinterpretations of the literature of the Scandinavian middle-ages. Medieval works of interest for his studies include the Danish ballad tradition, the Danish Latin chronicle Gesta Danorum of Saxo, and the Icelandic vernacular saga tradition, specifically the narrative history Heimskringla. Ian is broadly interested in the distinction and overlap between historiography and literature, and the understanding of medieval histories in the early modern period. Authors of interest to him from this period include Anders Sørensen Vedel, Tycho Brahe, Hieronymus Justesen Ranch, Thomas Kingo, all the way through to his personal favorite Ludvig Holberg. Ian hopes to further expand his research to include more synthesis between Scandinavia and the continent, particularly contacts between Denmark and Germany.

Rosemarie Wagner
Political Science
Rosemarie came to Berkeley after receiving an MSc from the London School of Economics in Political Theory.  Before that, she received a B.A. from Tufts University in Political Science and Philosophy.  Rosemarie’s fields of interest include the history of moral, political, and legal thought, with a focus in Early Modern British and French philosophy.  She is currently working on the legal theory of Thomas Hobbes as it relates to contemporary debates over the Rule of Law.

Samuel Garrett Zeitlin
Political Science
(Major field: Political Theory and Philosophy; Minor field: International relations)
Samuel’s research Interests include political and moral philosophy, history of political thought, intellectual history, Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626), Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), and textual transmission in the early modern period.