Graduate Students

Current Students

Rachel Williams headshot

Rachel Williams is a PhD student in the department of Modern Languages and Literatures. Her research centers on Golden Age Spanish literature, with a focus on gender, sexuality, love, and sanity. She is particularly interested in gendered representations of lovesickness and its effects on male and female subjects. Prior to Hopkins, she earned her BA in the College of Letters, with high honors, and the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program, with honors, from Wesleyan University, where she was also awarded the Kevin Echart Memorial Book Prize.

Alicia Piñar Diaz headshit

Alicia Piñar Diaz is a PhD student in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. Her research centers on the intersections of literature and culture studies, with a focus on the deconstruction of the stereotypes and principles that represent the art world. Specifically, those that undervalue or elide expressions of otherness and relegate them to a subjugated space. She is particularly interested in exchanges between different cultures, aiming to theorize a historiographical and critical framework for studying works by marginalized groups. Prior to Hopkins, she received a BA in Art History from the University of Granada. She also earned an MA in Latin American Studies from the University of Granada and an MA in Spanish Literature from the University of Delaware.

Alexis Hernando earned his BA and licenciatura in Hispanic Literature from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. He was the winner of the Scholarship to Stimulate Academic Excellence (BEA) by achieving first place in the Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences. He works professionally in the Department of Humanities and holds the position of analyst at the Office of the President, both at PUCP. Also, he has participated in university educational management projects; among them, the design of the new integrated undergraduate admission system and the coordination of the PUCP Wellness Plan.

Alexis studies the Peruvian and Southern Cone literature of the s. XIX and XX. His interests include memory, gender, coloniality, modernity, urbanism, authorship, and the novel of the Latin American dictator. His thesis “Perverse and incorrigible: subversive motherhood in Lumpérica and Los vigilantes de Diamela Eltit” obtained unanimously the qualification of outstanding and was awarded the Prize for supporting the development of undergraduate thesis (PADET) and the Prize for research 2020. It analyzes the struggle between the military regime of Augusto Pinochet and the American female subject to propose that subversive motherhood is a motive at the base of Eltit’s aesthetics, which seeks to blur the borders of art -lifetime.

Alejandro Alvarez earned his BA and MA degrees in history in the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. He is interested in the Baroque and Early Modern periods and studies the way in which semantics move from metaphor to concept and back. He has worked extensively the production of authors like Baltasar Gracián to try to find semantic traces that lead to an understanding of how Early Modern and Baroque productions thought and projected a notion of society before the concept of it was available. He hopes to continue studying the relationships between semantics and social structures in history through text in the Early Modern and Baroque periods.

Rhiannon Clarke is a PhD student in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. Her research interests include Southern Cone literature, Hispano-Filipino studies, and trauma and memory studies across visual media, particularly film and graphic narrative. Prior to Hopkins, she won a Fulbright award to Argentina and spent two years in the Peace Corps in Indonesia. She earned her BA in Spanish, with honors, and Philosophy, manga cum laude, from Whitman College, where she also won a Louis B. Perry Summer Research Award to research Spanish graphic narrative.


Liliana Galindo Orrego is a PhD student in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. Her research interests include 20th and 21st century Latin American poetry, cinema, cultural history, and philosophy. Her doctoral dissertation focuses on contemporary Colombian poetry and cinema, with special attention to the works of José Manuel Arango and Víctor Gaviria. Her articles have appeared in such journals as Literatura: teoría, historia, crítica and SUNY Buffalo Romance Studies Journal. Prior to Hopkins, she completed an MA in Latin American Literature at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, where she wrote a thesis, which received distinction, on poetic knowledge and revelation in the works of José Manuel Arango and Emily Dickinson. She also received a BA, with honors, in Literature from the Universidad de los Andes and her thesis, titled “Opereta al vacío o lo teatral en Colibrí de Severo Sarduy,” was published by the university. 


Ryan Hill is a PhD student in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. His research interests include 20th and 21st century Latin America, post-dictatorship literature, soccer culture in film and literature, noir and detective literature, and jazz and literature. His current work examines the connection between soccer and society in Latin America and Spain. His dissertation focuses on literary and filmic representations of soccer to explore how it has been appropriated to both perpetuate, as well as subvert and disrupt, traditional political and economic power structures. Prior to Hopkins, he received his BA and MA in Spanish Literature from Brigham Young University where his research focused on narrative fiction of the post-dictatorship period of Southern Cone Latin America. His thesis, titled “The Inefficacy and Expediency of Confession in Post-Dictatorship Literature: A Case Study of Qué solos se quedan los muertos and Cuestiones interiores by Mempo Giardinelli,” focused on the role of confessional literature as a means of coping with the experience of violence and loss suffered during the dictatorships of 1970s and 1980s Argentina.

Tanavi Jagdale

Tanavi Jagdale is a PhD candidate in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and the editorial assistant for the MLN Hispanic Issue. Her research interests include 20th and 21st century Latin American literature, science fiction, fantastic literature, and comparative literature. She is also interested in examining fictional representation of economic crisis periods in Latin America as well as how cross-cultural narratives emerge—an interests that comes from her rich cultural and multilingual Indian background. Prior to coming to Hopkins, Tanavi completed her MA in Economics from Fergusson College, Pune, and received the equivalent of a BA in Spanish from University of Pune, India. She taught Spanish for six years at Symbiosis Institute for Foreign and Indian Languages (SIFIL) and University of Pune, and also worked as Spanish Section Head at SIFIL, Pune. Tanavi has presented at the V Encuentro Práctico de Profesores de Español organized by Instituto Cervantes, New Delhi in 2015. She was one of the five recipients of a MAEC-AECID scholarship from India in 2010. In addition to her academic work, Tanavi is a trained Indian Classical vocalist and holds a Bachelor equivalent degree in Indian Classical Music.


Lauren Benjamin Mushro is a PhD student in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Johns Hopkins University. Her work mainly focuses on comix, zines, and graphic narrative representations of political trauma and historical memory in Spain, Portugal, and Brazil. Mushro’s studies at Hopkins are interdisciplinary, allowing her research on historical memory and “oblivion politics” to overlap with contemporary art, media theory, and film studies. Prior to Hopkins, Lauren earned a BA in Political Science and Hispanic Studies at Boston College, where she graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and won the Andrés Bello Award. In 2019, Lauren received two Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowships to study Portuguese and Catalan, which included being a visiting researcher at the Johns Hopkins University – Universitat Pompeu Fabra Public Policy Center. Just this past year in 2021, Mushro taught a course on Basque Nationalism and independence entitled “Letters from Prison: Homegrown Terrorism and Basque Nationalism” through the Alexander Grass Humanities Institute’s BLAST program.

Lauren has likewise conducted extensive research on LGBTQ films in Latin America, specifically narrative films about the intersex community in Perú, Colombia, and Argentina. In recent years Mushro entered the production side of film, where she learned film editing, production, and montage skills through courses at El Centre de Cultura de Dones Francesca Bonnemaison-La Bonne and Dones Visuals (Generalitat de Barcelona). Her work on production and feminist film practice can be found in her forthcoming co-edited anthology, Radical Equality and Global Feminist Filmmaking: An Anthology (Vernon Press, 2021).

David Patterson

David Patterson is a PhD student in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. His research interests include 20th- and 21st-century Southern Cone literature, migration, and human rights. He is also interested in how texts engage with philosophical notions of existence and what implications this has on ethics and social justice. Prior to Hopkins, he completed an MA in Spanish at Baylor University, where he wrote a thesis on Juan Rulfo, Gabriel García Márquez, and Cristina Peri Rossi and the presence of human rights in their narratives.


Francisco Pérez Marsilla is a PhD student in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and the Graduate Assistant for the Center for Africana Studies. His current research looks at the interplay of race, origins, diaspora, and literature in the Caribbean, paying special attention to its relationship with the U.S. His articles have appeared in Variaciones BorgesAula Lírica, and elsewhere. Prior to Hopkins, he received an MA from Yale University, an MA from Northern Illinois University, and a BA from the University of Navarra. In 2019, he received a Sydney Mintz Student Fellowship for Field Research.


Christian Quattrociocchi is a PhD student in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. His research interests focus on 20th-century Latin American literature, with interests in Caribbean literature, political censorship, and detective fiction. His current work examines the detective novels of the Cuban author Leonardo Padura, in particular the Cuatro estaciones tetralogy, which deals with Cuba’s “Special Period.” This work explores how Padura inserts political commentary into novels that were published under Cuba’s governmentally monitored and regulated publication regime. Prior to Hopkins, Quattrociocchi received his BA in History and Spanish Language and Literature from Colgate University in 2016.

Ian Rogers is a PhD student in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. His research focuses on colonial Latin American literature and Golden Age Spanish literature, with interests in law, religion, and forced conversion. His dissertation examines the forced baptism of moriscos in Iberia and Nahua in New Spain by the Spanish Church and Crown during the first decades of the 16th century. Reading “official history” alongside texts secretly penned by moriscos, the dissertation presents a dialogical account of forced baptism that offers new ways of thinking about writing in the early modern period at the same time that it exposes the historical narratives that sustain the myths of Golden Age historiography. He has presented his research at numerous conferences, including the Northeastern Modern Language Association, as well as organized graduate student conferences at Hopkins. He is currently a J.D. student at Georgetown Law.


Mariangela Ugarelli Risi is a third year PhD student and research assistant at the Johns Hopkins University in the Spanish section. She has a Licenciatura in Hispanic Literature by the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Her study field encompasses Latin American gothic, fantastic and horror literature from a narratological perspective, as well the intersection of these genres with with humour. The fantastic played a focal role in her thesis about Argentine writer Leopoldo Lugones entitled, “La Palabra Secreta: Cuentos Fatales como alegoría literaria del mito del eterno retorno para el funcionamiento de los fantástico”. She has participated in multiple congresses in Perú and the US, most of which focused on the Franco-uruguayan masterpiece Les Chants de Maldoror. Her publications both as an academic and as a short story writer have appeared in several anthologies and other printed media. As an artist, she has illustrated magazine covers and centerfolds and has also exhibited her works in her home country, Perú. 

Recent Graduates


Alfredo Cumerma received his PhD from the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures in 2020. His dissertation examined the narratives behind the intelligence fiction and nation-branding of Cuba during the Cold War. A passionate advocate for career diversity among humanities PhDs, Alfredo has written widely on this subject for both Times Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed. During his time at Hopkins, he completed more than 16 months of professional training at organizations such as The Borgen Project, The Carter Center, the Maryland House of Delegates, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In winter 2019, Alfredo began Alfredo his first post-PhD appointment as an administrative policy analyst in the police reform section of the Baltimore Police Department.


Matteo Cantarello is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies at William & Mary. He received his PhD from the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures in 2018. He is currently working on his first book, tentatively titled How Corpses Make Citizens: The Literature and Cinema of Mexican and Italian Organized Crime. The project analyzes contemporary fictions of organized crime, traversing rural, urban, and border geographies from the 1950s to the present. He work has appeared in Romance NotesMarginalia, Public Books, New Readings, Confluenze, and Lettere Aperteand is forthcoming in Approaches to Teaching the Mexican Revolution.


Francisco Gómez Martos is Assistant Professor of Spanish at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, South Korea. He received his PhD from the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures in 2018. His research broadly focuses on historiography, early modern history and theater, and Golden Age Spanish literature. He is the author of Staging Favorites: Theatrical Representations of Political Favoritism in the Early Modern Courts of Spain, France, and England (Routledge, 2021), which comparatively examines the rise of plays across sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe featuring all-powerful ministers who enjoyed royal favor. His current book project is on the literary theory of Miguel de Cervantes. Contrasting with readings of Don Quijote as a work of “epic historiography,” this proposes a new account of Cervantes’s literary theory, which draws on the Bakhtinian distinction between the epic and the novel to argue that Cervantes approaches history-writing as “novelistic historiography.” Prior to Hopkins, he completed a MA in Early Modern and Modern History at the University of Málaga and a PhD in History at the University Carlos III of Madrid, where his dissertation received the Extraordinary Thesis Award.


Lauren Reynolds is Assistant Professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages at the University of North Alabama and the Managing Editor of the MLN Hispanic Issue. Her research and teaching focus on 20th and 21st century Latin American literature, Latinx studies, and border studies, with particular interests in the comparative representations of youth across the region. Having recently contributed a chapter to the volume Wall to Wall: Law as Culture in Latin America and Spain, she is currently working on her first book, tentatively titled Youthful Protests: Representing Juventud in Latin American and Latinx Literature and Film. The project examines how assumptions of innocence found in the works of Junot Díaz, Roberto Bolaño, José María Arguedas, and other writers reveal how youth are capable of understanding social injustices in ways that remain inaccessible to older members of their communities.


Mary Speer teaches Latin American literature at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). She received her PhD from the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures in 2018. Her research focuses on cross-cultural encounters between Latin American and Chinese literature. Her scholarship has appeared in the Bulletin of Hispanic Studies and she has presented her work at the Latin American Studies Association, American Comparative Literature Association, and the Congreso Internacional de Literatura Hispánica.