Assistant Professor of English
Bryan Hall 118
Office Hours: T/TH 11-12 and by appointment.
Class Schedule: T/TH 9:30-10:45
Modern and Contemporary Novel, Environmental Humanities, Theory
I specialize in the modern and contemporary novel, environmental humanities, novel studies, theory, and how literature and humanities methods can address public advocacy and policy change on climate and environmental justice. My research interests include the novel and post-novelistic media, archives of biodiversity loss and species extinction, the literature of planetary crisis, and the critical methods and ways of thinking the novel affords to address the climate and biodiversity crises.
My first book project is Novel Proximities: On Closeness and Relational Life. It explores extreme proximities between characters and nonhuman worlds in modern and contemporary novels of late realism. It argues that these texts’ cultural and philosophical significance is their pursuit of relations that exist at the limits of the identifiably relational. In doing so, they speak to the most urgent question of our historical moment: how to envision, write, and bring to visibility complex relations to the nonhuman and material world?
Emerging from a long-term engagement with extinction studies and a multi-year research project, my second book-length project, provisionally titled Archives of Extinction: Mass Biodiversity Loss and the Aesthetics of Everyday Life, tracks the multi-scalar effects of ‘everyday’ practices and the documents that record them, reframing the biocultural significance of novels, songs, advertisements, and art in the 20th and 21st centuries.
From 2022-2023 I was a Humanitarian Collaborative Practitioner Fellow at the UVA Global Policy Center where I was co-creator of a global initiative at the intersection of literature, literary studies, and public policy and advocacy, Read for Action: Climate, Conflict, and Humanitarian Crisis, in partnership with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Ph.D New York University, 2014
M.A. New York University, 2008
B.A. University of Chicago, 2000
B.A. University of Chicago, 2000
“His Dark Materials: Ivory Black and Perceptual Experiments with Megafauna,” Modernism/Modernity Print + forum: “Modernism, Energy, and Environment,” forthcoming.
“Roland Barthes,” Oxford Bibliographies, Literary and Critical Theory (Oxford University Press), forthcoming.
“What Does Biodiversity Loss Feel Like? Realism in the Age of Extinction,” New Literary History 53.1 (2022).
“Cultural Theory on the Micro-scale. Roland Barthes’s Lectures at the Collège de France,” L’Esprit Créateur: The International Quarterly of Francophone Studies, Special Issue, “What’s So Great about Roland Barthes?” 55.4 (2015): 39-55.
Public Humanities Research Outcomes:
In partnership with the United Nations and with collaborators Kirsten Gelsdorf (UVA Batten) and Ruth Mukwana (Fmr. Senior Humanitarian at UNOCHA), "Read for Action: Climate, Conflict, and Humanitarian Crisis," (fiction for public advocacy and policy change campaign): readforaction.org
Project Analysis (Nov 2022 - Mar 2023) with Kirsten Gelsdorf: Read for Action: Climate, Conflict and Humanitarian Crisis, for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Strategic Communications Branch, Geneva and The Hague, June 2023.
Concept Note (United Nations): “Leveraging Fiction for Humanitarian Action: Migration, Displacement & Climate,” with Ruth Mukwana, for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Strategic Communications Branch, Geneva and The Hague, March 2022.
White Paper: “Fictions of Displacement: How the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) Can Incorporate Fiction into their Humanitarian Advocacy Campaigns on Displacement and Migration,” for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Strategic Communications Branch, New York, January 2020.
Public Exhibition: “Extinction in the Archive” (Sept 2019-Jan 2020), Harrison Small Special Collections, University of Virginia.
Selected Recent Presentations:
“Global Contemporary Realism and Collective Social Action on Climate and Environmental Justice,” The Novel Under Pressure, American Comparative Literature Association, Chicago, Mar 16-19, 2023.
“Everyday Extinction: An Aesthetics of Biodiversity Loss,” Georgetown University and Blackfriar’s Hall, Oxford University lecture series: Art, Literature, and the Environment, “The Future of the Humanities Project,” Jan 24, 2023 (virtual).
“Raymond Williams’s Fireflies: Structures of Feeling as Systems Change,” Special Session: Extinction Studies Beyond the Scholarship of Witness, Modern Languages Association, San Francisco, Jan 5, 2023.
“Novel, Installation Art, Virtual Reality: Immersive Experiences of the Insect Apocalypse.” Green Transitions Conference, The Greenhouse at University of Stavanger, Nov 17-19, 2022.
“What Does Biodiversity Loss Feel Like? And Why Is This the Question?” Nineteenth Century Ecologies Seminar, Department of English, Georgetown University, Oct 25, 2022.
“The Uses of Literature for Public Advocacy and Global Humanitarian Climate Action,” Environmental Futures Forum, Institute for the Environment, University of Virginia, Oct 14, 2022.
“Unforeseeable Fascism: Richard Hughes’s Theory of the Novel in The Human Predicament,” The Unforeseeable (Prose Fiction), Modern Languages Association, Washington D.C. Jan 7, 2022.
“Why Fiction Should Be Incorporated into the UN’s Public-Facing Humanitarian Advocacy Campaigns on Migration.” UVA Humanitarian Collaborative Research Workshop with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and other INGOs. Jan 27, 2020.
“‘Ecologically Unprecedented’: Novel Forms of Species Extinction in Henry James and H.G. Wells.” Representing the Unprecedented (Victorian and Early-20th-Century English), Modern Languages Association, Seattle, Jan 11, 2020.
Convener’s Introduction, “Burning the Library of Life: Species Extinction and the Humanities,” Convergences: Sciences, Arts, and Humanities in Conversation, University of Virginia Environmental Humanities Week, Sept 26, 2019.
Selected Awards and Grants:
Environmental Resilience Institute Spark Grant with Kirsten Gelsdorf (Global Policy Center), University of Virginia, 2022.
Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures Grant, University of Virginia, 2022.
Page-Barbour Workshop Grant for Environmental Humanities with Enrico Cesaretti (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese), Mary Kuhn and Brian Teare (English), University of Virgnia, 2022.
Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures Working Group Grant for Environmental Humanities, with Enrico Cesaretti (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese), 2022.
Curriculum Development Grant, Institute for the Humanities and Global Cultures, University of Virginia, 2020.
Faculty Research Sprint Award, University of Virginia, 2020.
Page-Barbour Endowment Award, University of Virginia, 2019.
Buckner W. Clay Award in the Humanities, University of Virginia, 2019.
Thrive Grant for Innovative Pedagogy, University of Virginia, 2019.
Global Inquiry and Innovation Grant, University of Virginia, 2018 - 2021.
Tuttleton Dissertation Fellowship Award, 2008-9, New York University.