I teach and write about nineteenth-century British literary, visual and media cultures, from the rise of the novel to the invention of cinema. My current book project, Virtual Realism: Victorian Fiction as Optical Technology, explores the relationship between the realist novel and pre-cinematic optical technology in Victorian Britain. It argues that the realist fictional aesthetics of writers like Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell and Thomas Hardy are embedded in the visual culture of popular nineteenth-century optical devices such as magic lanterns, stereoscopes, and moving image toys. What distinguishes such devices is the way they create virtual images that exist only through the interface of the viewer’s perception and the apparatus. One of the central endeavors of this project is to show how the Victorian realist novel understood itself like an optical technology: as a medium for creating virtual experience. My research has been supported by the Social Science Research Council, Andrew Mellon Foundation, Franke Institute for the Humanities and the Nicholson Center for British Studies.
As a Lindsay Family Humanities Teaching Fellow, I teach courses in the Departments of English and Cinema & Media Studies and the Humanities Core. Much of my teaching is interdisciplinary and invites students to think across different types of media, from fiction and poetry to film, photography, and graphic novels. I am committed to what is broadly called “inclusive pedagogy”: a set of strategies and practices for ensuring that every student has equal access to learning. From 2016-2018, I was a Teaching Fellow at the Chicago Center for Teaching, where I led workshops on the fundamentals of teaching and inclusive pedagogy. I am also a past coordinator of the Race and Pedagogy Working Group at the University of Chicago and have developed workshops and resources on implementing anti-racist pedagogies in the classroom.
- “’A Bright Continuous Flow’: Phantasmagoria and History in A Tale of Two Cities.” Victorian Literature and Culture, forthcoming.
- “The Ghost of Pauline Kael.” Book chapter in Talking About Pauline Kael, ed. Wayne Stengel (Lanham, MA: Scarecrow Press, 2015).
CoursesFall 2019: Realism, or Illusions of the Real (English); Film and the Moving Image (Cinema and Media Studies) Winter 2020: Media Aesthetics II: Text (Humanities Core)