Cogut Institute for the Humanities

Graduate Fellows

  • Portrait photo of Devon Clifton

    Devon Clifton

    2023–24 Graduate Fellow, Ph.D. Candidate in English

    Devon Clifton is a sixth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of English. Her dissertation, titled “Psychoanalytics: Towards a Black Object Study,” makes use of psychoanalytic object relations theory to examine both African American literature and literary criticism. Using the work of Hortense Spillers and D.W. Winnicott, Clifton reads canonical African American women’s literature as theorizing the ways that blackness materializes as an object of thought in the first place. “Psychoanalytics” explains how attending to this materialization is vital to upholding the intellectual and ethical objectives of black feminist scholarship since scholars necessarily orient towards their own “objects” of study. Clifton’s first article “Rededication: Hurston, Black Object Thinking, and ‘the black feminist critical enterprise’” was published in The Journal of American Culture. Her research has received funding from the Pembroke Center and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Clifton was also chosen as a 2022 national finalist for the WW Women’s Studies Fellowship.

  • Portrait photo of Brianna Eaton

    Brianna Eaton

    2023–24 Graduate Fellow, Ph.D. Candidate in Africana Studies

    Brianna Eaton is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Africana Studies. She earned a B.A. in film and media studies and Black studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a M.A. in cinema studies from New York University. Her dissertation project examines symbols of Blackness in film and television in the 21st century, focusing on how visual markers of race link representations of Blackness across political borders and geographies. Black production in film and television in the contemporary moment is prolific and widely accessible, making it deeply embedded in and responsive to fractured, relational, and affective intraracial discourses. She examines Black productions from several countries to highlight how Black creators disrupt, reinforce, and negotiate Blackness, contending with the production of Blackness as art, entertainment, and commercial enterprise and as a political project aimed at undoing centuries of misrepresentation.

  • Portrait photo of Itamar Levin

    Itamar Levin

    2023–24 Graduate Fellow, Ph.D. Candidate in Classics

    Itamar Levin is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Classics, specializing in ancient history. His research combines traditional philology with contemporary frameworks to explore the relationship between power and culture in ancient Greek society. In his two forthcoming publications, “Legal Death and Odysseus’ Kingship” (The Classical Quarterly) and “News and the Family in Ancient Greece” (The Classical Journal), he illuminates tacit cultural institutions in antiquity by applying notions from legal theory and communication studies. He is currently working on his dissertation, which expands the concept of necropower and develops a methodology for studying the politics of commemoration in ancient Greek society. Specifically, he focuses on cenotaphs and the instrumentalizing of the absent dead for the (re)production of civic ideology. His work is situated within broader scholarly conversations about the role of power in shaping cultural practices and the ethical responsibilities of scholars in examining these dynamics.

  • Portrait photo of Goutam Piduri

    Goutam Piduri

    2023–24 Graduate Fellow, Ph.D. Candidate in English

    Goutam Piduri is a sixth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of English and holds a B.A. in English from Ashoka University. He is interested in nonacquisitive forms of imperialist thought and style. His dissertation project focuses on the 17th century, inquiring into the mechanisms by which nonpossession — a cultivated indifference to material goods — is allied to early imperialist thought. To this end, he reads the work of English poets, East India Company ethnographers, and Puritan spiritual authorities to excavate a counter-intuitive relationship between nonpossession and empire. The project thus complicates the ascetics claim that the abandonment of “material” ownership in favor of “spiritual” renunciation is a path of nonviolence or resistance to imperialism. He has attended seminars convened by the Folger Shakespeare Library and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He translates from Telugu, and his translations have appeared in Asymptote and Denver Quarterly.