My research and teaching are anchored in the literature and culture of the nineteenth-century British empire, with a particular focus on the unique blend of social criticism, high art, and mass entertainment that characterizes the Victorian novel, as well as on the history of the emotions and affect theory. My first book, The Masses are Revolting: Victorian Culture and the Political Aesthetics of Disgust (Cornell 2021), is a historical study of the negative emotion of disgust in the nineteenth century. It narrates the unexpected centrality of the experience of collective revulsion and of unwanted feeling to various domains of social transformation and social control throughout the Victorian period, from the development of modern obscenity law and sanitary norms to the emergence of social theory and the operations of colonial bureaucracy. I am also fascinated by the ways in which major theoretical innovations of the nineteenth century, such as Marxism and psychoanalysis, have outlived their own historical moment and continue to influence critical discourse in the present, structuring ongoing debates in literary, aesthetic, and cultural theory. My current book project, Theories of the Nineteenth Century, is devoted to exploring this dynamic, mapping out the ways in which concepts fundamental to comtemporary critical theory retain active historical connections to the crumbling lifeworld of the nineteenth century. I am especially interested in the unstable and often disavowed role of race-thinking and civilizational ideology within the development of critical theory. My teaching takes up these broad interests in a variety of ways, from undergraduate seminars such as "Marx in His Cultural Context," "Literature of Disgust," and "The Age of Obscenity," to graduate seminars including "Ideologies of Civilization" and "The Victorian Unconscious."
Fellowships/Honors: Faculty Seed Grant, Institude on the Formation of Knowledge (University of Chicago); Faculty Fellowship, Franke Institute for the Humanities (University of Chicago); Doctoral Faculty Prize for Most Distinguished Dissertation (CUNY); ACLS/Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowship