MemberBarbara J. Eckstein

Sustainability; ecocriticism; global circulations–human and not–especially through the Upper and Lower Mississippi River Basin. Among the circulations that especially interest me are people (e.g. different kinds of laborers), cultures, mosquitoes, diseases, and modes of human interaction alternative to capitalism. Among the writers and thinkers that most engage me now are William Wells Brown, Eddy Harris, and Joseph Nicollet. I am also interested in other rivers–the Narmada, Zambezi, Limpopo, Murray-Darling, Hawkesbury–struggles over technologies to control them, water rites, the ecosystems they support, their use as boundaries, and their appearance in literature.

MemberSamantha Elizabeth Bassler

I am a musicologist specializing in cultural studies of early modern English music, music and disability studies, and the historiography of early music. I am currently pursuing an alternative academic career as an adjunct professor in New York City, a freelance editor and professional indexer, and I own and operate and teach private and small group music lessons at Stellar Music Space in Brooklyn, NYC. I am also a certified yoga teacher specialising in modifications and routines for chronic pain and disabilities.

MemberBen Carver

Ben Carver teaches literature and theory at Aarhus University in Denmark. He writes about speculative fiction, and his recent book (Palgrave) on alternate history in nineteenth-century thought and writing has been described by Fredric Jameson as a “stimulating history of plural virtualities that demonstrates how poetic our prosaic 19th century was in fact, and how productively it confronted its own unrealized possibilities.” He is now working on a project on conspiracy culture and literary form.

MemberMariela Mendez

I am an Associate Professor of Latin American, Latino, and Iberian Studies and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Richmond. My research engages comparative literary studies and feminist and queer theories to interrogate representations of genders and sexualities in print culture throughout Latin America. In particular, I address the various ways in which women writers have used the press to craft alternative spaces of cultural, aesthetic, and political intervention that disrupt heteronormative ideologies. I teach at the intersection of Latin American Studies, Transnational Feminisms, Queer Theory, and Feminist New Materialisms, and I am also interested in the political potential of a transnational feminist critical practice.

MemberTatiana Klepikova

Tatiana Klepikova is a Faculty of Arts & Science Postdoctoral Fellow at the Women & Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto, where she is working on her postdoctoral project about contemporary Russian queer theater and drama. She defended her Ph.D. in Slavic Literary Studies at the University of Passau, Germany, in 2019, after obtaining degrees in Teaching Foreign Languages (English and Spanish) in Yaroslavl (Russia), and Russian and East-Central European Studies in Passau. She is co-editor of several collections of interdisciplinary essays on privacy, including Outside the “Comfort Zone”: Private and Public Spheres in Late Socialist Europe (forthcoming in 2020 by De Gruyter). Tatiana’s work strives to capture and elucidate sites, experiences, and articulations of “marginality” in Russian cultural imagination, especially in literature, media, and the arts of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. A meeting point of hegemonic and alternative discourses, “marginality” as a social, political, and cultural construct fascinates her by the multiplicity of meanings and readings that may be (counter-)coded in it. It thereby has immense potential to reveal the structures of power, control, and difference that have to do not only with political oppression, but also with imaginativeness and agency, which are often overlooked in connection to (neo)authoritarian settings like Russia. Tatiana’s broader research interests include Soviet and contemporary Russian history and culture, political art, cultural privacy studies, queer studies, performance studies, and histories and cultures of LGBT communities in Eastern Europe.

MemberJonas Richter

My PhD thesis (2017) analyzes Erich von Däniken’s ancient astronaut mythology (ancient aliens). I work as part of the team creating a new Middle High German dictionary. My interests include the history of games (mostly late medieval/ early modern games), and dice (in particular uncommon dice). The study of Däniken’s para-scientific alternative archaeology and its inherent mythology also brought me into anomalistics. Combined with my background in the study of religions my interest is particularly piqued by the diverse cultures surrounding UFO phenomena, ranging from rigorous research to full-blown new religious movements.