Scholarship

After months of nail-biting suspense, I received the happy news that I have been named a Fulbright-Botstiber grantee. In 2022 I will serve as a Visiting Professor at the University of Graz, Austria, to pursue my project, “Perspectives of American Protest Literature and Culture from Abroad.” I am thrilled to reconnect with colleagues at Graz, collaborate on publications, teach at the graduate level, and hike the Alps! Read more here.

Interests

19th C, 18th C, American Literature, Women’s Studies, African American Studies, Protest Literature and Culture, Social Justice, Environmental Humanities, Print Culture, Material Culture, Periodical Studies, Rhetoric and Composition

flashes of brilliance screenshot
Announcement detailing my Fulbright U.S. Scholar award. Link: https://tinyurl.com/3df7d79z

Publications

“Bottling Death and Brewing Resistance in Temperance Literature and Reform.” Elusive Archives: Material Culture Studies in Formation, edited by Sandy Isenstadt and Martin Brückner, University of Delaware Press, Aug. 2021.

Abstract: Faced with a deluge of alcohol, nineteenth-century temperance activists intervened by supplying a literature of resistance. Author-reformers offered at least two solutions to combat the liquor trade: sensorial abstention and monetary intervention, including boycott and charitable giving. Using print culture as a mode of interference in the sprawling liquor trade, temperance reformers ultimately sought to effect a reformation of consumer behavior through the boycott of alcohol. By considering temperance print culture as an archive of resistance, we are really studying the ways print can be used to effect the spirit and nature of social or political change.

“Interfering Women: Consumer Activism, Charity, and Women’s Rights in Frances Harper’s Sowing and Reaping,” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 144, no. 3, October 2020, pp. 349-374.

Abstract: This essay reads Frances Watkins Harper’s novel Sowing and Reaping, which pairs boycott with charity, as an artifact of intersectional women’s empowerment, offering scholars a glimpse into the ways reformers effected women’s suffrage and Black racial uplift through temperance reform. By marshalling the power of the purse through consumer activism women fought both for better lives, free from the dangers they perceived in the liquor trade, and for the power of legal enfranchisement. Harper’s novel calls women’s place into question, arguing for women’s right to interfere in political, social, and economic spaces in order to defend the stability of the national domestic space.

“Polluted Luxuries: Consumer Resistance, the Senses of Horror, and Abolitionist Boycott Poetry.” American Literature vol. 90, no. 1, Mar. 2018, pp. 1-26.

Abstract: This essay examines the ways abolitionist boycott poets used poetic language to describe the psychological and political effects of touching and consuming slave-produced goods. Boycott literature ultimately introduced into the literary landscape a complicated view of what readers and writers increasingly saw as a suspect “free” market. Writers such as Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Elizabeth Margaret Chandler, and John Greenleaf Whittier imagined a world of goods haunted by the touch of enslaved laborers—goods that in turn haunted consumers. By parsing out the language of abolitionist boycott literature alongside its historical and material cultural moment, this essay argues that such literature posits a very literal and as yet unaccounted-for version of material relations that collapses the boundaries between consumer and producer, self and Other, in ways that have horrific, haunting implications for market society, then and now.

“Boycott: Literary Interventions in the American Marketplace, 1820-1880,” Dissertation, unpublished, recipient of the Wilbur Owen Sypherd Prize for Outstanding Dissertation in the Humanities.

Conference Presentations (select)

“Change is Not a Luxury: Writing for the Future in Butler’s Parable Series” at the European Association of American Studies Conference, Madrid, April 2022

“Penning Protest under Patriarchy: Frances Harper and Elizabeth Chandler’s Abolitionist Boycott Poetry” at the Northeast MLA, Philadelphia, March 2021

“Playing the Game: Aspiration, Speculation, and Female Sociopathy in Rush’s Kelroy” at the Northeast MLA, Boston, March 2020

“‘A Flood of Demoralizing Influence’: Consumer Resistance and Moral Capital in Frances Harper’s Sowing and Reaping” at the Midwest MLA, Cincinnati, November 2017

“An Economy of Self: From Singleness to Sovereignty in Domestic Writings of Catherine Beecher and Louisa May Alcott” at Single Lives: 200 Years of Independent Women in Literature and Popular Culture, University College Dublin, October 2017

“Bottling Death and Brewing Sanctuary in Temperance Literature and Reform” at the Refuge of Objects/ Objects of Refuge Material Culture Symposium, University of Mainz, Germany; December 2016

Invited Lectures and Presentations (select)

“Interfering Women: Boycott, Women’s Rights, and Temperance Reform in the Volunteer State.” Invited public humanities lecture at Belle Meade Plantation, June 2019

“‘Polluted Luxuries’: What Nineteenth-Century Poetry Can Teach Us about Buying and Selling in a Factious Political Economy.” Invited public humanities lecture at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, March 2019

“Workshop: What’s the Thing with Temperance Tales?” Invited workshop at “The American Short Story: New Horizons” hosted by the American Studies Association Society for the Study of the Short Story and the Obama Institute; University of Mainz, Germany; October 2017

“Farm Fantasies: Humans and Things in Hawthorne’s The Blithedale Romance.” Invited symposium presentation at “Re-reading Melville and Hawthorne: Contemporary Approaches” at the University of Vienna, May 2017

“Polluted Luxuries: Consumer Resistance, the Senses of Horror, and Abolitionist Boycott Literature.” Invited lecture at the University of Graz, Master Research Methods seminar, American Studies, March 2017

“Books as Things and Things in Books, or, What Material Culture has to do with Literary Studies.” Invited lecture at the University of Heidelberg, American Studies seminar, May 2017

“Boycott: Literary Interventions in the Marketplace, 1820-1880.” Invited graduate consortium presentation at the John F. Kennedy Institute, Free University of Berlin, May 2017