Graduate Students

James Nate Nichols

James Nate completed his MA degree in literature at UC Santa Cruz, writing on the thematics of exile and return in the films of Raúl Ruiz. Previously, he completed his bachelor’s degree in literature with a minor in education from UC Santa Cruz, as well as two AA degrees, in Spanish and liberal arts, from Cabrillo College. At UCSB his research explores the vast ecologies of the exilic, including literature, art, theater, protest music, and film. His broad interests include critical theory, translation theory, la vanguardia chilena, Psychoanalysis, and film and media studies.

Ali Rahman

Ali M. Rahman holds a B.A. in English Literature from Drexel University and an M.F.A in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. His interests and current work span Qur’anic studies, oral traditions from the Muslim world, Islamic scholarly traditions and pedagogy, modern Muslim American culture, multimodal writing, the Digital Humanities, and the manifestation of Islamic thought in technology and media. He has taught previously at an independent K-12 school, the New York prison system, and a university in the West Bank, Palestine.

John Schranck

       With doctoral emphases in Writing Studies as well as Translation Studies and specializations in memory, sound studies and neuro-humanities, John is a PhD candidate currently at work on his dissertation. Entitled “Sonic Alterities,” the project brings together sound and alterity in and beyond literature in order to rethink sound’s role in the intersubjective encounter, drawing primarily from texts in English, Spanish and French, with a particular attunement to Modernist configurations of the sensorium and memory. John has held associateships in Writing Studies as well as Comparative Literature, including an interdisciplinary course co-taught with Alzheimer’s specialist Dr. Juliana Acosta-Uribe on the brain, memory and music in literature (a favorite with students who suddenly realize they can change their major or have more than one). After advancing to candidacy, John gave courses in English for a year at Paris-8 Université as part of the program’s teaching exchange. He had the pleasure of coordinating UCSB’s graduate Center for Literary Research in 2016–17, culminating in its annual graduate student conference, “Resonance,” and he has co-organized two seminars at the ACLA, one on sound studies in an InterAmerican context, the other on cognitive approaches to William Faulkner. 

       When not doing these things, John readily disappears into the Santa Barbara backcountry for invigorating hikes, having crossed paths with a rattlesnake, tarantulas and, ostensibly, a bobcat. John plays the piano for anyone who will tolerate it, and he previously directed a music program in his native St. Louis and also served as development officer for the St. Lou Fringe performing arts festival.    

Maxximilian Seijo

With a rich Puerto Rican and British heritage, Maxximilian is looking forward to his doctoral studies at UC Santa Barbara. He completed his MA in Film and Media Studies at the University of South Florida. His interests include German Studies and Critical Theory, Film and Media Studies; Translation Studies; and Philosophy. He plans to continue his current work on Weimar intellectual and American exile, Siegfried Kracauer. Maxximilian was awarded a Max Kade Fellowship in Spring 2020. 


Marcel Strobel

A native of Germany with near-native fluency in French, Marcel completed his MA degree in English and French at the University of Mannheim. At UCSB he will work in Cognitive Science, Urban Studies as well as Gender, and Queer Studies, in Anglophone, Francophone, and Germanophone contexts. His other interests include the Medical Humanities, Film and Media Studies, Global/Transnational Studies, Literature and Science as well as Literary Theory, Performance Studies and Visual Culture. Marcel was awarded a Max Kade Fellowship for Fall 2020.