Renée Michelle Ragin
Ph.D. student in Literature, Duke University
Thesis Title: Picking up the Pieces: The Literary Re-Negotiation of History in the Post-Trujillo Dominican Republic
What Now: I am currently a PhD candidate with Duke University’s Program in Literature and am finishing my dissertation, Dwelling in the Barzakh: Mad Archives of the Lebanese Civil War. My research generally focuses on world literature and war.
What Next: I am preparing to pursue a career in academia.
Read More: "Women's Literature of the Lebanese Civil War" in The Literary Encyclopedia (July 2019); "Haunting the Barzakh: The Wartime Émigré in Ghāda al-Sammān's Al-qamar al-murabba" in Mashriq & Mahjar: Journal of Middle East and North African Migration Studies (June 2018)
After graduating from Harvard, I joined the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer where I served in Washington D.C. as well as Saudi Arabia. About three years into my time with State, I found myself caught quite off-guard: my experiences throughout the Middle East were steering me back towards key questions on political violence, memory and collective identity that had been at the heart of my undergraduate research--albeit in a new geographical context. My thesis advisors had long predicted a PhD would be in my future, and after much deliberation, I had to admit that they were right!