Areas of Research
19th-century British literature; science and literature; Victorian literature and evolutionary science.
Primitive Minds: Evolution and Spiritual Experience in the Victorian Novel. Ohio State University Press, 2013.
British Discovery Literature and the Rise of Global Commerce. Palgrave, 2002.
Selected Articles, Chapters, Review Essays
"Marvelous Plasticity and the Fortunes of Species in The Water Babies." Philosophy and Literature 38: 1A (October 2014), 162-77.
"The Machinate Literary Animal: Butlerian Science for the 21st Century." Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology 22.1 (Winter 2014), 57-77.
""Developmental Nonsense in the Alice Tales"." Style 47.3 (Fall 2013): 382-98.
"Sympathy, Superstition, and Narrative Form; Or, Why is Silas Marner so Short? A Response to John Mazaheri." Connotations: A Journal of Critical Debate 21.1 (2012), 20-27.
“Evolution and Epilepsy in Bleak House.” Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 (SEL) 51:4 (Autumn2011), 803-22.
“The Savage Genius of Sherlock Holmes.” Victorian Literature and Culture 37.2 (2009): 611-26.
“The Primitive Mind of Silas Marner.” ELH 75.4 (2008), 939-962.
“Criticism, Ethics, and the Problem of Rehabilitation,” Law, Culture and the Humanities 2 (2006), 284-300.
"New Museology and the Nation." On Display: Essays in Cultural Tourism. Ed. Anna Smith and Lydia Wevers. Wellington, New Zealand: Victoria University Press, 2004. 180-96.
“Civilization and the Rights of Woman: Liberty and Captivity in the Work of Mary Wollstonecraft.” Women’s Writing 8.1 (2001), 99-117.
“‘A Land Without a Past’: Dreamtime and Nation in The Piano,” in Piano Lessons, eds. Felicity Coombs and Suzanne Gemmell (Sydney: John Libby Press, 2000), 136-147.
Kemper Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2011
Conger-Gabel Teaching Professor, 2010-12
Keeler Family Intra-University Professorship, Fall 2009
Humanities Research Fellowship, Hall Center for the Humanities, Fall 2000
Ahmanson-Getty Post-doctoral Fellowship,UCLA, Spring 2000
Most of my research focuses on British literature of the 18th- and 19th-centuries. My most recent book, Primitive Minds: Evolution and Spiritual Experience in the Victorian Novel, links evolutionary science with both Victorian psychology and spiritualism. Currently, I am writing a book tentatively titled “Strange Stories and the Descent of Mind.” This project explores 19th-century speculation about the impact of imaginative literature on human evolution. I teach courses in my literary fields, also teach critical theory at both the introductory undergraduate and the graduate levels. In the past, I have helped organize and teach poetry classes at Douglas County Jail, and I have published on the relationship between criticism and corrections. I have also written articles on film, on the post-colonial politics of museum display, and on the institutional career of cultural studies.