Faculty and Staff Directory
Department of English Language and Literature
|Phone Number:||(803) 576-5842|
PhD, Brandeis University , 2009
Areas of Specialization
• Science, Medicine, and Literature
• Victorian Literature and Culture
• Women's and Gender Studies
• Darwin/Evolutionary Theory
• Environmental Literature
• Animal Studies
Current Research Projects
My first book project, Captivating Subjects: Victorian Fiction and Animal Science, examines the long-overlooked study of animal behavior in the nineteenth century as an emergent scientific field that provoked fascination, antipathy, ethical anxiety, and creative rebellion in writers of British fiction. As I argue in chapters on Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, George Eliot, Charles Darwin, and Richard Jefferies, many writers shrewdly recognized that zoological studies of behavior involved the exertion of imaginative and rhetorical control over animals, suspending them in a state of "epistemological capture." Moreover, Captivating Subjects identifies a persistent anxiety expressed in a wide range of Victorian novels that these zoological modes of apprehension would be deployed to capture and interpret human behavior to disastrous social ends.
I am currently developing a new project, tentatively titled Out of Body: The Supersensual Nineteenth Century, which studies works by British writers whose experiences of pain, disability, and longing compelled them to resist a purely physiological explanation of feeling and sensation. In diverse works of poetry, fiction, and scientific writing, I argue, these writers struggled to define and understand supersensory perceptions and experiences that seemed to occur 'out of body.' I have presented parts of this project at the North American Victorian Studies Association (NAVSA) and The Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA) in 2012.
• "Existential Eliot." nonsite.org [online-peer reviewed journal], Fall 2014.
• "When Zoophytes Speak: Polyps and Naturalist Fantasy in the Age of Liberalism." Nineteenth-Century Contexts, 34.1 (February 2012): 19-36.
• "Charlotte Brontë's Shirley and the Consolations of Natural History." Victorian Review, 36:2 (Fall 2010): 118-132.
• "Gaskell's Naturalist." Nineteenth-Century Literature, 63:3 (December 2008): 346-375.
• "Sketches by Boz, 'So Frail a Machine.'" SEL: Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, 48:4 (Autumn 2008): 801-812. Reprinted in Victorian Hybridities: Cultural Anxiety and Formal Innovation. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010.
• "Dickens at 200: The Risky Ascent of Boz." English Speaking Union, University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Greensboro, North Carolina, January 2013.
• "Political Animals: Polyps in Victorian Science and Literature," Department of English, Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA, February 2011.
• "Mary Barton and the Crisis of Nomenclature in Natural History," Harvard Humanities Center, Victorian Literature and Culture Seminar, Cambridge, Massachusetts, November 2006.
• "Beyond Cognition: The Strange Agency of the Lower Animals," Modern Language Association (Victorian Division Meeting) in Vancouver, January 2015.
• "Charles Dickens, Human Zoology, and the Species of London," North American Victorian Studies Association (NAVSA) in London, Ontario (Canada), November 2014.
• "Supersensitive Souls: Jude the Obscure and the Legacy of Psychophysics," North American Victorian Studies Association (NAVSA) in Madison, Wisconsin, September 2012.
• "George Eliot's Ugly Animals," Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies (INCS) in Lexington, Kentucky, March 2012.
• "Eliot's Animal-Girls," Northeast Modern Language Association (NEMLA) in Rochester, New York, March 2012.
• "When Zoophytes Speak: The Naturalist Fantasies of G. H. Lewes," Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies (INCS), Pitzer College in Claremont, California, April 2011.
• "Political Animals: Polyps in the Victorian Imagination," North American Victorian Studies Association (NAVSA) in Montreal, November 2010.
• "Darwin's Anecdotes: a Study in the Survival of Literary Form," Modern Language Association, (Victorian Division Meeting) in Philadelphia, December 2009.
• "Vulnerable Bodies: Medicine, Race, and Gender in Twentieth-Century American and African American Literature," Organizer. Modern Language Association (MLA) in Chicago, January 2014.
• "Bodies of Evidence: Victorian Poetry and Sense Perception," Organizer. North American Victorian Studies Association (NAVSA) in Pasadena, California, October 2013.
• "Tiny Creatures, Great Wonders," Organizer. North American Victorian Studies Association (NAVSA) in Montreal, Canada, November 2010.