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 and Huntington Libraries, reads hospital captivity narratives to understand the proliferation of diagnostic categories in the nineteenth century aiming to account for strange 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. One of my articles-in-progress, “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 article has been accepted for publication in a special issue of Mississippi Quarterly and forms part of my second book project on U.S. cure cultures and narrative medicine.
I have had the opportunity to bridge the world of academic research and public humanities administration as Project Director of Thirteenth: Literature and Legacy (2017), a reading and conversation series on African American literature, race, and politics in the U.S. that was supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and Indiana Humanities. For this project I collaborated with scholars across four universities to design a semester-long program. I first developed my interest in public humanities work as a Programming Fellow with the Chicago Humanities Festival, and I continue to work in public contexts in Indiana, where most recently I was a Scholar-Facilitator for the Next Indiana Humanities Campfires Trek & Talk series on ecological literature and environmental stewardship.
I completed my Ph.D. at Northwestern University, and I am currently Assistant Professor of English at Indiana University Kokomo where I teach courses in American literature, critical theory, and the health humanities. My writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Mississippi Quarterly, Literature and Medicine, ESQ, Callaloo, and Arab Studies Quarterly.