Associate Professor, Department of English
Chair, Committee on Creative Writing
Office: Rosenwald 411
Phone: (773) 702-2204
My research and teaching interests are localized with respect to historical period-Early American Cultures-but broad with respect to interest in discourses, peoples and cultures of the colonial period, and with respect to scholarly method. My current research focuses on what might be called the "culture of religious emotion" in the context of women's experience in Early America. I am interested in reflecting on expressions of spiritual ecstasy, melancholy, hauntedness, and possession as they are embodied and contained within such conventional genres as narratives of conversion, captivity, revelation, and spiritual disease. Archival research, historical contextualization, the study of theology and religious practices, gender and genre theory, the history and theory of emotion, and methods of cultural ethnography inform my analytic practice. My recent publication, "Telling it Slant: The Testimony of Mercy Short" (Early American Literature, 2002), gives a sense of my current interests. Other publications include Orthodoxies in Massachusetts: Rereading American Puritanism (1994), as well as articles on colonial women’s reading practices and Jonathan Edwards’ mystical reading of the natural world. My teaching interests include comparative colonialisms in Early America, Native American cultures, origins and rhetorics of religious nationalism, as well as such topics as gender and genre formations, and deviance and crime in colonial America.
My teaching interests include comparative colonialisms in Early America, Native American cultures, origins and rhetorics of religious nationalism, as well as such topics as gender and genre formations, and deviance and crime in colonial America. My recent courses include "Spirit Worlds" (Eng. 559), "Crime in Colonial America", "Redeemer Nation: America 1585-1750" (Eng. 444), "Typologies of Gender in Early America" (Eng. 456), and "Colonial Encounters" (Eng. 551).
Graduate: Spirit Worlds; Crime in Colonial America; Redeemer Nation: America 1585-1750; Typologies of Gender in Early America; Colonial Encounters; Women, Writing, and Spirituality
Undergraduate: Reading Cultures; Chicago; New England Literary Cultures; Colonial Encounters; Emily Dickinson
- Orthodoxies in Massachusetts (Harvard University Press, 1994).
- "The Word Made Flesh: Reading Women and the Bible in Colonial America," in The Transatlantic Emergence of the Female Reader, ed. Heidi Brayman Hackel and Catherine E. Kelly (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007)
- "Reading Creation: Jonathan Edwards and the World in Types," The Princeton Companion to Jonathan Edwards (2005).
- "Telling It Slant: The Testimony of Mercy Short," Early American Literature (March, 2002).
- "New England Ways: Two Traditions in New England Puritanism?" American Studies (Summer 1992).
- "Learning the Language of God: Jonathan Edwards and the Typology of Nature," William and Mary Quarterly (October, 1991).
Ph.D., Harvard University, 1988. Teaching at Chicago since 1991.