University of Southern California USC

Fall 2011 Cohort

Julia Sun-Joo Lee received her AB in English from Princeton University and her PhD in English from Harvard University.  She has published widely in Victorian, transatlantic, and African-American literature and culture.  She is author of The American Slave Narrative and the Victorian Novel (Oxford UP, 2010), and her articles have appeared in Nineteenth-Century Literature, Victorian Literature and Culture, and African American Review.  She has received fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Huntington Library, and the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Before coming to USC, she was Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Loyola Marymount University.  She is currently working on two projects, a monograph on nineteenth-century black transnationalism and an anthology of Caribbean women writers (with co-editors Jamaica Kincaid and Marie-Denise Shelton). Lee will join UNLV as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English.

Anri Yasuda received her PhD from Columbia University in 2011.  She was a Visiting Researcher at Waseda University in Tokyo in 2009.  She is interested in how late nineteenth and early twentieth century Japanese writers’ critical and creative outlooks were informed by their receptions of Western visual art and aesthetics.  Her dissertation investigates how the writers’ attempts to articulate in Japanese literary language new ‘universal’ aesthetic ideals and perspectives necessitated a conceptual navigation between multiple modes of ‘images’—visual, mental, linguistic, and otherwise—and how these hybrid processes reflected the formation of their identities and self-images as individual subjects within the rapidly shifting social and material conditions of Japan’s modernization.  As a Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar, Anri aims to revise her dissertation, “Imaging the World: The Literature and Aesthetics of Mori Ogai, the Shirakaba School, and Akutagawa Ryûnosuke” into a publishable manuscript.

A recent graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a PhD in Philosophy and a minor in Linguistics, Alejandro Pérez Carballo is interested in how theories of language constrain theories of the mind.  While at USC, Alejandro aims to complete a book that examines whether the constraints imposed on mathematical theorizing by epistemic goals account for the objectivity of mathematics.

Benjamin Wright received his PhD in Film and Cultural Studies from Carleton University in 2011.  His dissertation addressed changes in modern Hollywood sound practices by exploring how the art of sound production is tied to current institutional demands, commercial expectations, stylistic norms, and technological options.  Specifically, it examined how sound editors, mixers, designers, Foley artists, and engineers in the “sound chain” go about the job of creating sound for film.  His research interests include the history and theory of industry studies, Hollywood sound and visual style, technologies of film practice, and representations of Jewish humor in film and television.  His essays have appeared in Music, Sound, and the Moving Image, Offscreen, and the Journal of Popular Culture.  He also maintains a personal website ( where he publishes short essays on issues of film and television history and style.

Nathan Perl-Rosenthal received his PhD in history from Columbia University in 2011.  His work focuses on the political and cultural history of the eighteenth century North Atlantic, especially the first age of revolutions, ca. 1760-1815.  His dissertation, “Corresponding Republics,” was a comparative study of the influence of old regime letter writing practice on elite political organizing in the American, Dutch and French Revolutions.  As a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow, he is working on a book about cosmopolitan sailors in the age of revolutions, provisionally entitled Worldly Americans, which is under contract with Harvard University Press.  Worldly Americans, the first trans-national history of American seamen in the revolutionary era, examines how the maritime world connected political movements around the Atlantic while also serving as a zone in which working people (sailors and other members of the maritime community) influenced policy and law across national lines.  Nathan has published in the William and Mary Quarterly, the Journal of the Early Republic, Research in Maritime History and other publications.  When not thinking about the eighteenth century, he is probably learning to make bread or trying to organize his books. Perl-Rosenthal is now an Assistant Professor of History at USC Dornsife, College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Tracy McMullen received her PhD in Music from UC San Diego and in 2007-2008 was a Postdoctoral fellow with the “Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice” research initiative at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.  She was a faculty member in the Music and the Gender & Women’s Studies departments and a resident fellow with the Beatrice Bain Research Group at UC Berkeley from 2009 to 2011.  She is currently completing her book manuscript, Replay: Repetition and Identity Compulsion from ABBA to Žižek (solicited by Duke University Press).  Replay examines the late 20th/early 21st century fascination with the live re-enactment of the past as a form of popular entertainment.  The work references re-enactments in film and theater, but focuses on music, with a special emphasis on popular and jazz music in the United States.  A follow-up project to Replay considers improvisation and the idea of an “improvisative.”  In this work, McMullen argues that the improvisative offers a necessary alternative to the approach of Replay for understanding our relationship to the past, history, and identity.  Her articles have appeared or are forthcoming in Current Musicology; Critical Studies in Improvisation; Big Ears: Listening for Gender in Jazz Studies; People Get Ready: The Future of Jazz is Now; Sounding the Body: Improvisation, Representation and Subjectivity; The Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies; The Dictionary of African American Music; and The Grove Dictionary of American Music.  As a saxophonist in the jazz and improvised music traditions she has recorded on the Cadence jazz label and numerous other independent labels and maintains an active performance schedule. McMullen is now an Assistant Professor of Music at Bowdoin College.