Welcome to the Alumni page for the Humanities and Cultural Studies Department. If you are a graduate of any of our programs and wish to contribute to this page please email us.

Rachel Ekblad (M. L. A., Humanities, 2016) has accepted a position teaching high school English to freshmen and sophomores at Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, FL. Prior to embarking on her master’s degree, Ekblad spent four years teaching English at Craig High School in Janesville, WI. As she returns to the classroom with the benefit of the USF master’s experience, Ekblad looks forward to bringing a humanities focus to the rigorous Shorecrest curriculum.

Ekblad’s thesis, “The Dislocated Spectator’s Relationship to Enchanted Objects in Early Film and Modernist Poetry,” gestures towards several questions Ekblad will continue to explore in the role of a teacher: what is it about poetry and film that makes us feel a sense of enchantment, and what is the social value of this enchantment? In her thesis, Ekblad examines how poetry and film contribute to a socially constructed sense of bodily dislocation and simultaneously relocate us in a fictional object world. This creates a circuitous relationship between subject and object that remediates both entities and opens avenues for intersubjective and interobjective encounter. Ekblad’s theoretical inquiries ground her long-held conviction that the study of literature—particularly the type of study that phenomenologically engages students and primes them to experience a sense of magic in a text—enables these students to cultivate a better theory of mind.

Janine Villot's (M. L. A. Film Studies, 2013) essay "Chasing the Millennium Actress" was accepted for publication in a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal SCIENCE FICTION FILM AND TELEVISION. The article explores the ways in which Kon Satoshi's 2011 anime, Millennium Actress, presents an analogy between filmmaking and memory. Because it is animated, Satoshi's work brings out less objective—what Villot calls "plastic"—relationships to the past, which, she argues, approaches to film and memory typically overlook. The result gives viewers new ways to think about the subjectivity of history, including Japan's relationships with its own past and its historical encounters with the West.

Jonathan Hendricks's (M. L. A. Film Studies, 2015) paper "Ontology of the Cinematic Lamella," will appear in FilmMatters, a peer-reviewed journal for undergraduate film scholars. Hendricks uses the work of experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage to complicate conventional understandings of cinematic representation. Coupling Brakhage's film MOTHLIGHT (1963) with the theories of French critic André Bazin and French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, Hendricks explores how cinema removes objects from physical reality yet also transposes them to another dimension within which it gives them new life. The result, he argues, gives us new ways to think about cinematic representation, particularly in an era when digital animation increasingly removes images from their bases in physical reality.