Abigail L. Palko
PhD in Literature, Graduate Minor in Gender Studies
I defended my dissertation, entitled “Motherhood, Declined: Negotiating Maternal Subjectivities in Irish and Caribbean Novels, 1934-2007,” in December 2009 and will graduate in May 2010 with the Ph.D. in Literature and a graduate minor in Gender Studies from the University of Notre Dame. My research interests include women’s transatlantic writing in the Anglophone and francophone traditions, especially from Ireland and the Caribbean, and I have published articles on Dorothy Macardle and Maeve Brennan. I have also taught classes on the mother-daughter relationship in 20th c. Irish fiction, Caribbean women’s novels, Introduction to Gender Studies, and Jane Eyre and its literary and film adaptations. Because I work on 20th c. novels, especially women's writing, I've found that Gender Studies gives me the theoretical framework through which to view the texts I'm reading/analyzing. In a particularly lovely bit of fortuitous timing, I took the Core Seminar during the semester that I was struggling to map out the theoretical framework of my dissertation. In the process of writing my final paper for the course, I realized how my dissertation should be organized. Making the necessary deletions and additions produced the coherent argument I been searching for, enabling me to write a dissertation that I now find exciting to read.