Amanda Shubert


Research Interests: 

Victorian Literature, realism, pre-cinematic visual cultures, cinema, psychoanalysis, affect theories

Dissertation Title: 

Victorian Optical Fictions, 1832-1896


18th- and 19th-Century Atlantic Cultures Workshop, English Department; Mass Cultures Workshop, Cinema and Media Studies Department



My research explores the intersection of Victorian fiction and pre-cinematic optical image media such as magic lanterns, stereographs, persistence of vision toys and illusionistic stage spectacles. I am interested in the way these technologies produce virtual images—images that exist only insofar as they are perceived, meaning that the viewer’s active optical engagement is necessary to both create and sustain them. In my dissertation, Victorian Optical Fictions, I argue that Victorian fiction posits an active reader who, like the viewer of the virtual image, participates in the imaginative construction of an illusion. My project is supported by grants from the Social Science Research Council and the Nicholson Center for British Studies.
My scholarship is motivated by a commitment to teaching and pedagogical praxis. As a fellow at the Chicago Center for Teaching, I help support graduate student teaching at the university through peer-led workshops. 

Teaching Experience: 

Environments of Literature, Winter 2017
Department of English, University of Chicago
Course Assistant

Introduction to Fiction, Fall 2016
Department of English, University of Chicago
Course Assistant

Fundamentals of Teaching Literature, Fall 2016
Chicago Center for Teaching, University of Chicago

History and Theory of Drama I, Fall 2015
Department of English, University of Chicago
Course Assistant

Introduction to the Advanced Study of English, Winter 2010
Department of English, Oberlin College
Writing Associate