indiana university bicentennial professor, 2019-2020
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, 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. 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.
My academic research and teaching are informed by my work in public humanities. As Project Director of Thirteenth: Literature and Legacy (2017), I partnered with university and local 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 faculty at The Odyssey Project of Illinois Humanities. 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. As Indiana University Bicentennial Professor (2019-20), I will be giving public talks across the state that are drawn from my book project, “Pathographies.”
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.