My work expands the archives of literature and the history of medicine by exploring genres of nineteenth-century life writing in conjunction with scientific and cultural models of personhood, agency, and wellness. My book project, “Pathographies: Sensation, Susceptibility, and Desire in Nineteenth-Century America,” which has been supported by grants from the Newberry Library, Huntington Library, and Indiana University Kokomo, focuses on hospital captivity narratives to understand the proliferation of diagnostic categories in the nineteenth century aiming to account for women’s affective experiences. In this work I develop pathographia as a critical term to describe a medico-literary practice that ratifies the symptomatological subject as an author of neurological reality.
The methodology of much of my research combines close reading of literary texts with theoretical analyses of philosophical and scientific taxonomies of illness and health, traversing the disciplinary boundaries of literature and medicine. For example, my forthcoming article, “Demanding Blood: Race, Injurability, and Textual Triage in Civil War Nurse Narratives,” develops the critical concepts of nurseability and textual triage to highlight new narrative modes for understanding Civil War medicine as well as contemporary patient care. This essay forms part of my second book project on U.S. cure cultures and narrative medicine.
My academic research and teaching are informed by my interdisciplinary work in public humanities. As Project Director of Thirteenth: Literature and Legacy (2017), I partnered with university and community institutions to organize a reading and conversation series funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and Indiana Humanities. This semester-long program generated community dialogue about three centuries of U.S. history and African American literature, culminating in a reexamination of race, mass incarceration, and social justice in the twenty-first century. I first developed my interest in public humanities administration as Programming Fellow with the Chicago Humanities Festival and as English faculty at The Odyssey Project of Illinois Humanities. I continued to work in public contexts in Indiana, where I was Scholar-Facilitator for the Next Indiana Humanities Campfires Trek & Talk series on ecological literature and environmental stewardship. Starting in Fall 2019 I will serve as Co-Editor (with Eric Bain-Selbo and Tony Harkins) of Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal.
I completed my Ph.D. at Northwestern University in 2013. From 2013-14 I was Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Northwestern University, and from 2014-19 I was Assistant Professor of English at Indiana University Kokomo, teaching courses in American literature, critical theory, and the health humanities. I now live and teach in the Bay Area. My writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Mississippi Quarterly, Literature and Medicine, ESQ, Callaloo, and Arab Studies Quarterly.