Ph.D., English (specialization: American Literature to 1900), with a five-course minor in American Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill
B.A., Classics and Literatures & Cultures, Brown University
Areas of Expertise:
literary geographies, print culture, gender studies, and American Studies.
My essays have appeared in New England Quarterly, ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance, Studies in American Fiction, and Early American Studies. My book, Suburban Plots: Men at Home in Nineteenth-Century American Print Culture, is forthcoming from the University of Massachusetts Press in Spring 2014, and I've begun work on a second book project, currently titled The Architecture of Sympathy: Situated Encounters in Nineteenth-Century American Literature.
Whenever possible, I enrich close readings with conversations about cultural artifacts and historical contexts. Interpretation of Uncle Tom's Cabin benefits from a discussion of blackface minstrelsy and a focus on the ways in which Stowe's characters were re-imagined in popular culture through songs, plays, advertisements, and political movements. A short introduction to early photography propels analysis of character and the romance genre in The House of the Seven Gables, as students hold daguerreotypes to the light and attempt to see faces appear momentarily on a mirrored surface. My senior seminar on literary geographies positioned a study of narrative shapes within considerations of people’s relationships to architectural space, whether it be Huck's raft, an attic with yellow wallpaper, Thomas Sutpen's plantation, or an immigrant's room in a boardinghouse.
While my research focuses on mid nineteenth-century American literature, I have strong grounding in American literature from European contact through the end of the nineteenth century. I also have expertise and experience in Digital Humanities. From American literature surveys to upper-level seminars, I encourage students to explore the potential of digital tools such as electronic and hyperlinked editions of texts, online databases, discussion forums, and virtual recreations of spaces to facilitate more nuanced understandings of the literature they read. I added English 385: Digital Literary Studies to the college curriculum, a course that explores the range and ramifications of what is now being recognized by scholars as a "new media encounter" between the literary and the digital. As we assessed technology's impact on the field of English through our readings, discussions, and presentations in the first iteration of the course, we were especially interested in questions of how the realm of the digital is reshaping educational theory and scholarly practice. At the same time, our focus on nineteenth-century American literature helped us remain attentive to the fact that reading experiences have always been mediated by technologies of some kind or another. Throughout the semester, I asked students to actively utilize technology as a tool to hone and enhance both their close reading and distant reading skills and to reflect upon the extent to which cultural, possibly generational, proclivities might influence reading habits and analytic perspectives. In the process, we considered what we mean by "the literary" and how technology complicates our sense of that term.