Heather Keenleyside

Heather Keenleyside
Associate Professor
Rosenwald 425
Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2008
Teaching at UChicago since 2008
Research Interests: Eighteenth-Century British Literature| Animal Studies| Literature and Philosophy| The Novel


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.