Associate Professor of Literature
Co-Chair, Literary Studies
In my teaching and research, I examine the power of literature as well as its deployment in social and political reform movements. My writing focuses on Victorian authors, French travelers, and American sentimental fiction as well as contemporary fiction, Victorian psychology, slave narratives, and the performance of race and gender (both onstage and off).
My current book project, tentatively entitled “Representing the People: Dickens, Parliament, and the Popular Press,” explores the interplay between efforts to depict, solicit, and advocate for "the people" in the Victorian novel and the Victorian parliament, with an emphasis on Charles Dickens and the parliamentary publications of his time.
Ph.D., Comparative Literature, Brown University, 2000
M.A., Comparative Literature, University of Minnesota, 1993
B.A., College of Letters, Wesleyan University, 1990
Creole Crossings: Domestic Fiction and the Reform of Colonial Slavery. (Cornell University Press, 2006)
This book provides a critical cultural history of the figure of the Creole woman in nineteenth-century British, French, and American fiction, as well as in anti-slavery discourse of the period. It focuses on domestic novels including Belinda, Indiana, and Jane Eyre, as well as anti-slavery bestsellers like Paul and Virginia and Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Illuminating a literary genealogy that crosses political, familial, and linguistic lines, it establishes the crucial importance of the Creole character as a marker of sexual norms and national belonging. In so doing, it shows how the campaign to reform slavery in the colonies converged with literary depictions of family life.
"Reform in Literature." The Encyclopedia of Victorian Literature. Ed. Dino Franco Felluga, Pamela Gilbert, and Linda K. Hughes. Wiley-Blackwell, 2015.
“On the Reform Act of 1832.” BRANCH: Britain, Representation, and Nineteenth-Century History. Ed. Dino Franco Felluga. Extension of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net. 2013.
Review of Marie-Françoise Bosquet and Chantale Meure, Ed., Le Féminin en Orient et en Occident, du Moyen Âge à nos jours: Mythes et réalités (Saint-Étienne: Publications de l’Université de Saint-Étienne, 2011), Eighteenth-Century Fiction 26.1 (October 2013): 156-158.
Review essay on Andrew S. Curran, The Anatomy of Blackness: Science and Slavery in an Age of Enlightenment (Johns Hopkins UP, 2011), H-France Forum 7.4 (Fall 2012): 29-33.
“Créoles de l’île de France: L’éducation sentimentale de Paul et Virginie.” Bernardin de Saint-Pierre et l’océan indien. Ed. Jean-Michel Racault, Chantale Meure, and Angélique Gigan. Paris: Garnier, 2011.
“‘Awful Unknown Quantities’: Addressing the Readers in Hard Times.” Victorian Literature and Culture 37.2 (September 2009): 561-82.
“The Known World in World Literature: Bakhtin, Glissant, and Edward P. Jones.” Theories of the Novel Now, Part 1. Ed. Nancy Armstrong. Spec. issue of Novel: A Forum on Fiction 42.2 (Summer 2009): 231-38.
Review essay on Christopher Miller, The French Atlantic Triangle: Literature and Culture of the Slave Trade (Duke UP, 2008), H-France Forum 3.3 (Summer 2008): 62-66.
“Impersonating the Creole: The American Family and its Lines of Flight.” Just Below South: Intercultural Performances in the Caribbean and the Southern United States. Edited by Jessica Adams, Michael P. Bibler, and Cécile Accilien. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2007. 25-48.
Intro to Literary Theory