Nicole Gervasio

Nicole Gervasio is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English and Comparative Literature who studies intersections between contemporary postcolonial literature from Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and South Asia and women's, gender, and sexuality studies. Her work focuses on the politics of representing violence from the perspectives of women writers and exiles who disidentify with ongoing state-sponsored political repression in their countries of origin. Her dissertation is on the ethical problems of representing systemic violence during eras of military dictatorship, civil war, and genocide. In her view, histories of systemic violence provoke postcolonial writers to puzzle out ethical strategies for representing the traumatic absences of victims, stories, and events that perforate dominant narratives in the aftermath of mass killings, forced disappearances, and ethnic cleansing. She owes much of her thinking to her affiliations with Columbia's Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality, which she has served as a 2014-15 Graduate Fellow and teaching assistant, and Center for the Study of Social Difference, where she is part of Women Mobilizing Memory, a feminist working group for faculty, graduate students, artists, and activists.
As a Javits Scholar, Beinecke Scholar, Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, and Institute for Recruitment of Teachers Associate, Nicole complements her work as a feminist scholar at Columbia with civic engagement in New York City that reifies her commitment to eradicating disparities in higher education for other first-generation college students. She is currently a mentor at Girls Write Now, an arts education nonprofit that empowers young women through creative writing and college admissions counseling. As a Public Humanities Fellow with the New York Council for the Humanities, she is working on a city-wide literacy project that aims to foster a love of reading among public high school students through exposure to postcolonial literature that speaks directly to the marginalized experiences of immigrants, students of color, and women. An avid educator, she has taught in adjunct as well as volunteer capacities for both university and underrepresented populations across the U.S., including Barnard College, Columbia College, the Student Press Initiative at Teachers College, 826 Valencia, Citizen Schools, Greater Philadelphia Cares, and the Teaching & Learning Initiative at Bryn Mawr College. She received her B.A. in English and Growth & Structure of Cities with concentrations in creative writing and Africana studies in 2010.
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Academic Interests:

contemporary postcolonial literature from Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and South Asia; comparative literature (Hispanophone & Francophone); women's, gender, and sexuality studies; queer theory; trauma studies; human rights; history of violence; politics and ethics of representation