Associate Professor; Assistant Dean and Director, CAS Writing Program
BA, University of Virginia
My interests have ranged over the years from Victorian literature and culture, to cognitive psychology and cognitive linguistics, to writing studies, writing pedagogy, and writing program administration. The common thread on which these beads are strung is my preoccupation with the ways in which language, especially written language, functions and circulates within social, intellectual, and institutional systems.
My first scholarly passion was Victorian poetry, but I was later drawn to more the explicitly rhetorical discourses of Victorian social and aesthetic criticism. My book Manufacturing Culture: Vindications of Early Victorian Industry (2003), emerged from this interest. In it, I show how British proindustrial writers in the first half of the nineteenth century pressed the characteristic tropes of British Romanticism into service defending and promoting an emerging industrial culture. As I worked on this project, I also became increasingly concerned with rhetorical and institutional matters closer to home: student writing and writing instruction as they are practiced in the modern university. My investment in these issues has been both intellectual and practical. My current scholarly work concerns the intersections of prose style, genre, and argumentation. I have edited or co-edited two textbooks, the 13th edition of the Norton Reader (co-editor) and the 11th edition of Joseph M. Williams’s Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace. I co-directed the Bass Writing Program at Yale and directed the Undergraduate Writing Program at Columbia. I have directed the CAS Writing Program at Boston University since 2008.
- Manufacturing Culture: Vindications of Early Victorian Industry (Virginia 2003)
- “BEAM: A Rhetorical Vocabulary for Teaching Research-Based Writing,” Rhetoric Review 27.1 (2008)
- “Architecture, Railroads, and Ruskin’s Rhetoric of Bodily Form,” Prose Studies 21.1 (1998)
- “Walter Pater and the Ruskinian Gentleman,” English Literature in Transition: 1880–1920 38.1 (1995)
- “Hopkins’ Influence on Percy’s Love in the Ruins,” Renascence 46.4 (1994)
- With Eugene R. Kintgen, “The Cognitive Paradigm in Literary Studies,” College English 55.8 (1993)
- “‘The Wreck of the Deutschland’ and Hopkins’ Theology of ‘News,’” Victorian Poetry 30.2 (1992)
- “The Uses of Toulmin in Composition Studies.” College Composition and Communication 61.1 (2009) W1-W20