Postdoctoral Fellows

2019 - 2020 Pembroke Center Postdoctoral Fellows


Nasrin OllaNasrin OllaNasrin Olla
Ph.D. 2019, English Literature, Cornell University
Inaugural Shauna M. Stark '76, P'10 Postdoctoral Fellow

Nasrin earned her PhD in English Literature from Cornell University in 2019. Her dissertation, "Reaching for Opacity: Contemporary Afro-Diasporic Literature," contends that afro-diasporic writers use strategies that deny "transparency"—like erring, blurring, and wandering—as a means to redefine identity, collectivity, and critique itself, and create a basis for ethical relations. At the Center, Nasrin will further develop this manuscript, looking at writers including Edwidge Danticat, Claudia Rankine, and others. In the spring, she will teach "Poetics of the World: The Making and Unmaking of the African Diaspora," which will examine the genre of Afro-diasporic literature and delve into themes of opacity, entanglement, identity, race, gender, and sexuality. 


Leah PiresLeah PiresLeah Pires
Ph.D. 2019, Art History, Columbia University
Nancy L. Buc Postdoctoral Fellow


Leah earned her PhD in Art History from Columbia University in 2019. Her dissertation, "Finesse: Louise Lawler's Pictures," examines the social, political, and theoretical horizons of the circa 1980s "Pictures Generation" artists. At the Center, Leah will build on her dissertation research and make a study of art and politics in New York between 1976 and 1985, looking in particular at how the seeds of intersectional identity politics were sown by women artists in that era. In the spring, she will teach the course "Masquerade as Critique," which forefronts tactics of critique historically used by women, queers, and people of color, including code-switching, mimicry, and appropriation.



Dominik ZechnerDominik ZechnerDominik Zechner
Ph.D. 2019, German, New York University
Artemis A.W. and Martha Joukowsky Postdoctoral Fellow

Dominik's dissertation, "The Survival of Literature: Kafka and the Problem of Finitude" explored how an element of survival often interfered with Kafka's attempts to frame a narrative of perishing. This year, Dominik is working on a project called "Modern Scenes of Instruction: A Critique of Education." In it, he aims to conceptualize the pedagogical as a key dimension of modern literature and decisive facet of social interaction. This fall, he is teaching the GNSS course "Scenes of Instruction: Pedagogy, Punishment, Perversion," which investigates the classroom as a site of potentially violent interaction and a sexualized space. The course will trace critical discourse on campus rape culture, the question of consent, debates around Title IX, and the connection between learning and sex.