Our PhD Students

Thomas Caffrey is a PhD student at the School of English, DCU. His research focusses on the roles of post-modernism and myth in formations of the self in the work of Haruki Murakami. Thomas is the recipient of a School of English doctoral research scholarship and is keenly interested in the works of Murakami, David Byrne, and David Lynch. He works at the intersection of the myth and the modern and is interested in representations of the monster in media.

He obtained his MA at Maynooth University in Literatures of Engagement in 2020. He previously obtained his BA at Dublin City University, studying English Literature and Communications Studies. His chief theoretical influences include Walter Benjamin, Elizabeth Freeman, and Deleuze & Guattari.

Allison McBain Hudson is a part-time PhD candidate researching material culture and the role of objects in children’s literature, specifically the novels of L.M. Montgomery, best known for 1908’s Anne of Green Gables. Using a close reading of the author’s Emily trilogy, Allison is investigating the fictive roles of physical objects such as houses, books, and clothing in the narrative. Although material culture theory has generally been used in anthropology and archaeology, it has great potential as a lens through which to study children’s literature, providing a new perspective by focusing on fictional objects. Not just symbols, objects can also help to advance the narrative, develop and connect characters, create atmosphere, and provide historical and cultural context. This research follows the recent turn toward the material in the humanities, away from a focus on the purely discursive.

Originally from Alberta, Canada, Allison obtained a BA in English from the University of Calgary in 1995 and moved to Ireland in 1997. She completed DCU’s MA in Children’s and Young Adult Literature in 2019 with a focus on Montgomery’s unique Romanticism and “everyday magic.”

Jinan Ashraf is the recipient of the Laura Bassi Scholarship Summer 2021 for research on neglected literary traditions broadly construed and Ireland India Institute PhD Fellow at Dublin City University. Her doctoral study situates itself in the context of Irish and Indian Modernisms, proposing as methodology a close reading of select texts, correspondences, critical and political writings that expose and explore James Joyce’s connections with the modern Indian novel in English, with a focus on avant-garde women writers in India, through an exploration of key formal, thematic and postcolonial concerns in the novel. She is published in The Modernist Review and her essay on James Joyce and critical pedagogy in India is published in English Teachers’ Accounts, a Routledge publication on English Studies in India (ed. Nandana Dutta). Jinan has presented at the James Joyce Italian Foundation and the James Joyce International Symposium and has attended the Dublin James Joyce Summer School on a scholarship since 2019. Her articles are published/forthcoming in the James Joyce Broadsheet and the Dublin James Joyce Journal. 

Annalisa Mastronardi is from Rome. She received an undergraduate degree in Languages and Foreign Cultures from Roma Tre University in 2016 and completed her M.A in Literatures and Intercultural Translation in 2018. Her research project explores James Joyce’s legacy in contemporary Irish women’s writing, specifically in the works of Anne Enright, Eimear McBride and Mary Costello. She has written for The Irish IndependentHeadstuffWriting.ieHook Magazine and The Bookish Explorer.

Aashima Rana is a Government of Ireland-International Education Scholar at the DCU School of English. Her research interest explores connections between the United States of America, India and Ireland, emphasising folk cultures there. She aims at walking down the lane of trans-continental, trans-national, trans-cultural homogenisation through orality. She looks towards how folklore and its performance critiques the perpetuation of violence and will reflect on the novel ways of engaging with history offered by the women folk orally, later in writing. 

An aspiring folklorist, she has been published in C.I.A.O. MTL, Daath Voyage (UGC Journal), RTÉ Brainstorm and Breaking Ground Ireland. She disseminates folklore of nursery rhymes with MIDAS production, Ireland. Her interest lies in twentieth-century African American literature, folklore studies and comparative literature.

Iuliia Ibragimova, a holder of the Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship, studies the sentient spaceship trope in popular culture. Her research covers Science Fiction (SF) literature, film, and TV Series, featuring the trope, from 1941 to 2020. The sentient spaceship, a hybrid, merging the human, the non-human, including alien, animal, insect, and the machinic, functions as an agential being. Due to the hybridity and agential potential, the evolution of the trope reflects changing socio-cultural attitudes and philosophical approaches to the interaction of the human, technology, environment, and non-human animal species within the indicated period. Posthumanism, providing the theoretical toolkit for the analysis, critiques the Humanist ideal of “Man” and challenges human exceptionalism, relying on which the dissertation considers how the sentient spaceship trope contemplates the place of the human in the world.

 Iuliia obtained MA degree in Modern and Contemporary Literature from University College Dublin in 2019, and a Specialist degree in Interpreting and Translation, majoring in English and German languages from Astrakhan State University (Russia) in 2009. In 2009-2018 she worked as a staff translator and interpreter in Astrakhan State University and taught courses for BA and MA students majoring in Translation, Interpreting and English.

Adel Cheong is a PhD candidate at the School of English, DCU. Her project is centered on the formal and thematic concerns of experimental twenty-first century fiction, particularly the work of writers such as Ali Smith, Mike McCormack, John Banville, Deirdre Madden, and Max Porter. Her project looks into how the deployment of ekphrasis acts as a self-conscious narrative technique that stops short of destabilising the ontological statuses of these fictive worlds in ways that are typical to postmodern fiction, even if it underlines the linguistic nature of artistic description in these novels. By paying attention to how these works straddle the boundaries between realist and non-realist narrative conventions, literary genres, and art forms, her project suggests that what underpins their thematic and formal characteristics is a self-conscious inquiry into why we read or how we read, as part of a broader meditation on why ‘art matters’. The affective dimensions of the encounter with art are further explored in relation to how the polyphony of voices and conversations between characters engender dialogue between the work and reader. In this, her thesis examines what is termed the dialogic aspects of these novels, and how it hinges on the active participation of the reader from both cognitive and affective standpoints.

Mairéad Jordan. 

B.Ed (DCU)

PGDip in SEN (DCU) 

PGDip in Educational Leadership (Maynooth University)

M.A. in Children's Literature (DCU, 2011)

Primary teacher.

PhD Title: 'Know Beauty, Know Justice?' - 'Dichotomies' of Nature/Culture and Aesthetics/Ideology in Visual Narratives 

Full-time Faculty of Humanities Scholarship recipient ('Climate and Society' scholarship - School of English/SALIS) 

Supervisors: Dr. Keith O'Sullivan and Dr. Áine McGillicuddy

First year (commenced academic year 2021/22)

This research interrogates the perceived binaries of nature and culture, as a central preoccupation of ecocriticism, in a selection of visual narratives for children and young adults. It also examines the age-old so-called 'dichotomy' of instruction and delight in children's literature by exploring tensions, convergences and entanglements of aestheticism and ideology in the chosen texts. 

Currently a funded Phd student at Dublin City University, Laëtitia Nebot-Deneuville is working on Anglo-American Literary Tourism in Northern Italy at the Beginning of the Twentieth-Century. Her corpus is composed of two American and two British novels in total: The Desire and Pursuit of the Whole (1908) by Frederick Rolfe, Arctic Summer (begun in 1911 and published unfinished in 1980) by E.M. Forster, Glimpses of the Moon (1922) by Edith Wharton, and Across the River and Into the Trees (1950) by Ernest Hemingway. After simultaneously completing two Bachelor’s degrees, one in English Literature and Culture, and one in Italian Literature and Culture at Paris-Sorbonne University in 2018, Laëtitia Nebot-Deneuville undertook a Research Master’s in English Literature that she completed at Cambridge University in 2020. Her PhD project research emerged as a natural progression from her MA thesis, which she wrote on: “Travelling Between Oneself and the Other in A Room with a View by E.M. Forster”. Her interests are twentieth-century British and American literature, the representation of Italy in fiction, Edwardian literature and gender and queer writings. 

I am under the supervision of Sharon Murphy and Michael Hinds (School of English). My thesis title is: Anglo-American Literary Tourism in Northern Italy at the Beginning of the Twentieth-Century.

“Among Love’s Apartments”: A Practice-led PhD project

Máighréad Medbh

School of English

The Project

A creative-critical exploration of cultural representations of love within the framework of poetic practice.

Research Question

Given an organic approach to the writing, what kind of poetry-based textual structure will evolve from an experiential, philosophical and literary interrogation of a range of literary, theoretical, scientific and popular texts on the subject of love?

I undertook this research as a poet, interested in “mixed genre” and “lyric essay.” The goal is to enact a knowledge methodology and produce an informative aesthetic text, encompassing poetry, personal essay, criticism and theory.

Research / Reading

  • On love:
  • “root” texts—classical, medieval and early modern
  • literary, scientific, journalistic, critical, memoir-based and creative non-fiction works
  • works of philosophy, psychology and criticism
  • random material from popular culture.
  • Various works of/on experimental literature, essay and mixed genre.
  • A series of diaries recording thoughts, experiences and responses to the texts. In total, 22 notebooks.
  • Close reading of four authors: Anne Carson, Maggie Nelson, Susan Griffin and Kathy Acker.

Thesis and Contribution

  • six poetic essays using an allegorical framework and written in thematic sections with close readings, poetry, criticism and theory
  • one critical essay elaborating a new term for this process and how it might be applied.


Héctor Muiños is a PhD Candidate in Creative Writing at DCU working under the supervision of Dr Darran McCann. His research explores how characters are created in historical fiction from both a creative and a theoretical perspective.

The creative component is a historical novel, My Name is John Tyndall, which, though based on the life of the eponymous Irish scientist, incorporates significant fictional innovations – the story follows an unnamed protagonist, a gifted, impoverished young autodidact with scientific aspirations who assumes Tyndall’s identity and goes on to become the pioneer physicist the public knows today.

The critical component is a dissertation analysing the relationship between historical figures and their fictional representations. It focuses on the Cromwell trilogy (Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies and The Mirror & the Light) by Hilary Mantel, and on her depiction of Henry VIII’s minister.

Héctor holds an MA in Creative Writing from DCU. His research is supported by DCU’s School of English.

Zornitsa Lachezarova is a PhD student at the School of English, DCU. Her academic interests include poetry and literature. She is in the fourth year of her PhD studies. Her research is focused on the comparative analysis of Irish and Bulgarian poetry. One of the key aspects of her work is her creative practice of poetry translation and its contribution to analysis. Zornitsa has seven awards for poetry translation. Her PhD thesis explores Irish and Bulgarian poetry within a post-independence context, approaching the historical aspects as a common background for personal poetic experience. The poems are interpreted through the lens of natural imagery, which emphasises a universality residing within the local. The thesis considers the various types of poetic expression of the historical period with a view to how they challenge canonical narratives and construct their own realities. The analysis also focuses on close reading of the poems and their use of language within the literary context of reassessing the urban and the rural and their interaction with the worldview and personal philosophy of the poets.