I study, write, and teach about nineteenth-century U.S. literature, particularly the intersections between literature, political philosophy, and cultural history.
My first book project, "'The Vision of Principles': Political Liberalism and the Rise of the American Literary Romantic Tradition," explores how US writers, working within a burgeoning Romantic movement, grappled with the pervasive disagreement and strife over the moral ideas at the core of democracy during the nation's formative years. It argues that the growing interest in the Romantic imagination during this period was not a retreat from public life but an earnest attempt to examine the habits of mind and feeling that are integral to moral experience and acts of political judgment. By situating literary works in relation to both contemporaneous debates about US democracy and broader conversations about liberal ideas, "The Vision of Principles" contends that American writers made purposeful contributions to political liberalism's long-running, and always-ongoing, quest to understand how individuals embracing a diverse array of moral, philosophical, and religious beliefs might nevertheless form a stable and just society--a topic with important resonances in our own moment of deep division and moral strife.
Before pursuing the study of English, I majored in math and worked as a health insurance actuary for several years--part of my full-hearted embrace of the liberal arts!
RESEARCH & TEACHING INTERESTS
19th-Century U.S. Literature
Ph.D., English, Boston College
Chestnut Hill, MA
M.A., English, Trinity College
B.S., Mathematics, Dickinson College
Moral and Political Philosophy
Intellectual and Cultural History
Literature of Slavery & Abolition
African American Literature