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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Alexandra O'Connell

Alexandra portrait

Graduate Student

PhD Student and Teaching Assistant

PhD

English

400 Hall of Languages

315.443.2173

aoconn02@syr.edu


  • Degree: Began PhD program in 2017
  • Concentration: American Literature (20 & 21st Centuries)
  • Advisor: Carol Fadda 

Alex (any pronouns) is a PhD candidate whose research focuses on the construction and representation of self-harm in American culture. Their dissertation project is situated at the intersections of literary studies, queer theory, affect theory, critical race studies, and American studies, and utilizes an interdisciplinary and intersectional framework to explore how narratives of self-harm have developed and circulated in legal, medical, and cultural texts since the mid-twentieth century. Analyzing sexual practices, activities, and lives that have been cast as self-harmful—like masturbation, BDSM, abortion, AIDS, and trans embodiment—their project situates self-harm as uniquely positioned to question how dominant understandings of violence and harm are integral to understanding and critiquing normative formulations of sexuality, citizenship, and belonging in the US during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Alex has served as a teaching assistant for film, literature, and popular culture classes, and as an independent instructor for Class & Literary texts and Gender & Literary texts.

  • B.A. English Literature, Fordham University