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Gabriela S

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at Stanford University


American Literature, Philosophy and Film, Feminist and Queer Literature, Confessional and Autobiographical writing, Political Theory and Philosophy, History


I earned a PhD in the English Department at Stanford, where I studied postwar and contemporary American literature, focusing on works produced by thinkers who are working between the cultures of creative and scholarly writing. During my nine years in the department I served as Teaching Assistant for several courses, including Victorian Literature, Native American Folklore and, more recently, Philosophy and Film. Before Stanford, I was a middle school teacher and spent one summer teaching SAT reading to high school students in Palestine. As much as I loved working with younger students, my absolute favorite pedagogical experiences have involved working with high school students and undergraduates on their own projects and thesis writing. Outside of my work, I adore music, writing letters, home cooking, and the outdoors. I'm an avid reader of political theory and history, and follow contemporary events and social movements closely. In addition to my full-time teaching at Stanford, I volunteer on collaborative editorial projects for online and print publications that cover contemporary political movements. Telling stories and sharing ideas with others is my passion, so even when I'm not teaching, intellectual exchange occupies a large part of my life.

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.

Review of Reviews: How Canons Are Made

For this project, you'll select a very recently published work of American literature and conduct a survey of the critical reception of the work. Putting your own reading of the work together with research on the author and on the genres with which that author is staging a conversation, you will determine, in an analytical piece of writing, whether the work you have read merits the reception that it has received. For example, if the author you've chosen has written a novel, how does the work speak to the history of the novel? Does it perform any innovations on the genre? Or does it abide by certain conventions visible in other novels belonging to a similar body of works? To answer such questions, you will bring your own reading of the text and the survey of its critical reception with together with a historical understanding of the genre to which it belongs or to which it aspires to belong. This project is intended both to deepen your relationship to a contemporary living author, and to engage your critical sensibilities with the question of canon formation. What kinds of works earn accolades? How do critics make determinations about generic belonging? When and how are new genres born? Depending on your own interests, your project can take a more scholarly tone or it can be written more in the style of a New York Review of Books feature, helping you hone your own voice as a public intellectual.

Languages I know


Teaching experience

I have over a decade of teaching and mentoring experience, most recently as a professor at Stanford University teaching in the liberal arts program called Structural Liberal Education. Ahead of this position, I spent nine years as a teaching assistant in Stanford's Department of English while I completed my doctoral work. Before my time at Stanford, I was a corps member for Teach for America in both Los Angeles and then in Oakland, where I taught middle school English and humanities. The summer between my Los Angeles and Oakland teaching appointments, I taught SAT reading to high school seniors at the Friends School in Ramallah, Palestine. In addition to these professional experiences, in college I worked as the opinions editor my the campus newspaper, and I mentored many budding writers in that capacity. More recently, I have served in editorial positions with publications like Endnotes and Commune. These experiences, together with my formal experiences serving as a classroom educator, add to the number of tools and capacities I bring to collaborative work with others. What interests me most in my teaching and mentoring is helping others find their voice and expressing their ideas with greater clarity, nuance, and beauty than they thought possible!


Work experience

Commune Magazine (2019 - 2020)
Assistant Editor
Teach for America (2011 - 2013)
Humanities/English Teacher
Bitch Magazine (2009 - 2013)
Contributing Writer


Whitman College
BA Bachelor of Arts (2010)
Stanford University
MA Master of Arts (2016)
Stanford University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy

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