Julia Rossi

Cohort Year: 2017
Research Interests: Nineteenth-century British literature and culture; political economy and labor history; realism and the novel; the built environment; urban experience; public humanities.
Education: B.A., English and Urban Studies, The University of Pennsylvania (2015); MSt., English and American Studies, University of Oxford (2017)


My dissertation project centers on the organizing theme of “maintenance” in Victorian Britain.  I am interested in the ways in which the conditions of market growth, capital accumulation, urbanization, and imperial expansion that so characterized the nineteenth century produce vivid demands and anxieties about maintaining, or “keeping up.”  Put another way, my project explores the relationship between “maintenance” – roughly defined as the work that goes into keeping things (from physical infrastructures to formations of state control) the same – and the dominant Victorian discourse of “progress.”  My project considers maintenance as both a necessary precondition for paradigms of growth and progress and as a disavowed, suppressed consequence of those paradigms.  I take up this study through a set of Victorian novels, including works by Charles Dickens and Anthony Trollope. 


·         Fall 2019 and Fall 2020: Course Assistant, “The History of the Novel”
·         Spring 2021: Course Assistant, “Black Shakespeare”
·         Fall 2021: Instructor of Record, “Making Progress with the Victorian Novel”