Catherine Kushan is pursuing her Master’s Degree in English at the George Washington University. Her research interests include disability and trauma theory in the context of primarily contemporary and modern fiction, with the particular goal of integrating psychoanalytic and cultural theory about mental disabilities into the analysis of English literature through textual close reading and application of historically and contemporarily contextual cultural analysis. She is passionate about literature’s potential as a pedagogical tool to mitigate the stigma and subjugation so prevalent in the lives of disabled people, because reading fiction can provide a holistic and affirming view of disabled life, rather than merely an “objective” presentation of facts or statistics. Disabled characters in literature invite one to try on a different mode of living, enabling neurotypical readers to experience empathy and understanding for non-normative individuals.
She is currently completing her masters thesis under the guidance of Marshall Alcorn and Robert McRuer, and working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the writing-intensive engineering course entitled “Critical Infrastructures” with Royce Francis. She served as a principal discussant at the 2016 Toni Morrison Society Conference in New York while working as both a student and graduate teaching assistant with Evelyn Schreiber, and has presented several papers at GW-specific symposiums, as well as at the 2016 Washington Conference on Trauma: Listening to Trauma, and the Southwest Popular and American Culture Association’s 2017 conference in Albuquerque.
In addition to her academic work, Catherine writes articles for the GW English Blog, and does graphic design and PR for the Creative Writing program. Concurrently with her studies, she has worked in the nonprofit sector for four years, as well as doing freelance editorial work and tutoring for private clients.