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Caitlin S

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley)


Comparative Literature; Film Studies; Literary Analysis; Cultural Studies; Francophone, Anglophone and Arabophone Literature & Cinema; Postcolonial Theory


I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, and I received my BA in English from Reed College, where I wrote a senior thesis on women and gender in the West African Sunjata oral epic tradition. Following graduation, I spent two years in francophone Cameroon serving as a Peace Corps volunteer before returning to the US to begin my PhD program in Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB). While at UCB, I have spent several summers studying in France and Morocco, and I conducted research in Morocco on a Fulbright grant. I'm currently at work on my dissertation, which focuses on the relationship between changes in economic form and narrative form in late 20th- and early 21st-century literature and film from West Africa and the Maghreb. The main languages that I work in are French, Arabic (Modern Standard and Moroccan), and English, though I have also studied Bambara, Medumba, and Spanish. I have designed and taught twelve Comparative Literature courses at UCB focused on developing students' critical thinking, analytical, and research abilities (including courses such as "Not Places and Bad Places," on utopias and dystopias; "Cash Rules Everything Around Me," on texts that grapple with capitalism, from Shakespeare to Jia Zhangke; "Reading for Plots," on the intersections of conspiracy, paranoia, and narrative plot; and "Literature, Empathy, and Human Rights"), and two courses focused on studying American history through literature and film (including the popular "Postapocalypse Now"). I have also taught one year of immersion-style first-year French. I have been awarded UCB's Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award, as well as a Teaching Effectiveness Award for my how-to essay "Helping Students Master Research": In 2019, one of my students received UCB's American Cultures Student Award for the amazing graphic novel panel that she created for my Postapocalypse Now course: I currently work as a consultant in the UCB Graduate Writing Center, helping my fellow graduate students with their writing projects. In addition, I volunteered for a number of years in a local high school for immigrants and refugees who are learning English and have had the opportunity to work with many international students and non-native English speakers at UCB.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Literary analysis and research

I will work with the student to choose a text or set of texts that interest them for analysis; work through the text(s) with them; teach them how to write an analytical essay and how to work with secondary sources; and work with them on editing their work. I can also help the student find opportunities to share their work in various venues for high school or undergraduate literary analysis (conferences, essay contests, academic journals, etc.).

Teaching experience

I have six years' experience teaching analytical writing and research at the University of California, Berkeley, where I have also taught immersion-style first-year French. I am currently a consultant in UCB's Graduate Writing Center, where I help my fellow graduate students with their writing projects. Before beginning my studies at UCB, I taught afterschool programs for low-income youth in Portland, Oregon and French-language community health programs as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon.



Reed College
BA Bachelor of Arts (2004)
University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley)
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Comparative Literature


"Our time has been phenomenal, I've learned so much and I have even felt inspired, focused, and enlighten though partly due to the subject matter that we studied. There has never really been a time where I felt disconnected, in fact Chelsea provided a space for a young individual like me to be listened to, instead of being commonly ignored. She took notes of some of my interests and problems along the way even if briefly mentioned and then tried to help by going temporarily into it, eventually tying it to our main subject."


I.H. profile

"Caitlin is such an amazing mentor! Her accessible teaching style and expertise on literature, human rights, and my paper’s particular area of focus were so wonderful to have throughout the development of my project. Also, Caitlin’s guiding questions and clear explanations during our discussions about readings on human rights in literature provided me a smooth, intellectually-stimulating entryway into the field of human rights theory, which I now know I would love to explore more in my future undergraduate studies. Thanks to Caitlin’s encouragement and thorough feedback on my essay drafts, I can confidently place my pride in the final paper – in both the clarity and nuance of the arguments as well as the strength of the writing itself. Overall my experience working with Caitlin has been incredibly inspiring and fulfilling."


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