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Maria Cichosz

Maria Cichosz

Profile / Bio: 

Maria’s work explores the history of ideas as told through literary and visual forms, tracing the trajectories of literary and art-historical tools, methods, and epistemological frameworks. She is drawn to rich, multivalent objects that exceed categorical definition and demand forms of attention that cross disciplinary and medium-based boundaries. Through these, she seeks to tell stories about human imagination and its conditions of possibility: what can be known, and what can be thought. Her dissertation relays the untold history of allegory as a form of thought from the 1950s to today, tracking how changes in allegorical form reflect and inform a broader set of cultural assumptions about how we relate to our world and what we allow ourselves to find therein.

Maria holds a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Toronto, as well as a Stanford Ph.D. Minor in Art & Art History. She is the coordinator of the Stanford Interdisciplinary Working Group in Literary and Visual Culture. As a practicing novelist, she explores the broad category of strange experience our culture calls “drugs.”



  • “Postmodern Allegory and 1960s Melancholy in Pynchon’s Inherent Vice.” Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction (June 2017).
  • "The potential of paying attention: Developing an ethics of attentiveness in affectively-mediated experiences.” Emotion, Space and Society 10 (February 2014). 55-62.




  • Canada Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellow, 2014-2018
  • G.J. Pigott Scholar, 2017-2018
  • Mellon Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, 2018-2019
  • Centennial Teaching Award, Stanford University, 2017-18