My teaching and research interests center on Restoration and eighteenth-century literature, and include the history and theory of the novel, seventeenth and eighteenth-century British philosophy, early children's literature, as well as broader issues of literary form and genre. I also work on the history of philosophical thinking about the animal, and am particularly interested in the intersection between literary representation and animal studies.
I am currently working on a book titled "Animals and Other People: Forms of Life in Eighteenth-Century Literature," which examines how a range of eighteenth-century writers link issues of literary form to ontological and political questions about animal life. I begin this project by asking why so many eighteenth-century poets, novelists, and children's writers take up literary figures and forms that foreground the relationship between humans and other species: forms like personification, the life narrative, or fable. I argue that writers use these literary forms to rethink the mechanisms by which social and political community is shaped, and to consider who or what this community includes. Most generally, then, my research explores the particular formal resources that literature has for representing or reflecting on nonhuman animals, and conversely, how attention to animals can help us to think about aspects of literary form that are shaped by ideas of human or animal being, or by the logic of species.
2016-17 courses: Autumn 2016, Greenhouse Romanticism (graduate); Winter 2017, Introduction to Fiction (undergraduate).
Graduate: The Lives of Animals; Frankenstein; Enlightenment Education and the Invention of Children's Literature; Empiricism, Ideas, and the Realist Novel
Undergraduate: British Women Writers, 1660-1800; The Lives of Animals; The Rise of the Novel; Shelley, Wollstonecraft, Godwin; The Animal: Theories of Nonhuman Life; Media Aesthetics
- “The First-Person Form of Life: Locke, Sterne, and the Autobiographical Animal.” Critical Inquiry (Fall 2012, forthcoming)
- ed., Animals, vol. 2 of British It-Narratives, 1750-1830 (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2012, forthcoming).
- "Personification for the People: On James Thomson's The Seasons." ELH 76.2 (Summer 2009).
Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2008. Teaching at Chicago since 2008.