Associate Professor

On Leave AY 2024-2025

For CV click here

I specialize in early and nineteenth-century American literature, the history of the book, early Black Atlantic literature, transatlantic studies, and the history of race and racism. In my work I tell new stories about the relationship between the technology of print and the literature, history, and culture of the Anglophone world, from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries.

My current book project, The Racialization of Print (under contract with the Omohundro Institute and UNC Press), was awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment of the Humanities for the 2024-2025 academic year. The book traces the historical emergence of the belief that a single book, by virtue of its author’s racial identity, can reveal profound truths about an entire race of people. What cultural conditions were necessary for such an idea to make sense, and how did such conditions arise? I begin in the early modern period, with the spread of printing in Europe and the rise of modern racial categories, and end in the nineteenth century, with the industrialization of print and the codification of scientific racism. I argue that it was only after the Age of Revolution that readers in the Anglophone world came to believe that a printed book provides insight into the nature of its author’s race. Drawing on a decade of archival research, as well as the works of authors like John Smith, Mary Rowlandson, Phillis Wheatley, Baron de Vastey, William Apess, and Frederick Douglass, this project offers a corrective to our still common desire to approach books with assumptions about extracting racial knowledge. For an overview of the project’s argument and a case-study involving Wheatley and Samson Occom, see my 2020 essay in American Literary History.

My first book, London and the Making of Provincial Literature: Aesthetics and the Transatlantic Book Trade, 1800-1850 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), considered Romantic-era authors from Ireland, Scotland, and the United States, who sought the prestige and exposure that only publishers in London could provide.

For more about my scholarship, see my webpage on

From 2021 to 2024, I served as Director of BU’s American & New England Studies Program. I currently Co-Chair of the American Literature and Culture Seminar at the Mahindra Center at Harvard University, which I co-founded in 2012. I was Associate Editor of Studies in Romanticism from 2014 to 2023.

Recent Publications:

Honors, Grants, and Awards

  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (12 months), July 2024-June 2025.
  • American Antiquarian Society, NEH-funded archival fellowship (one semester), Spring 2020.
  • Library Company of Philadelphia, NEH-funded archival fellowship (one semester), Fall 2016.
  • Huntington Library Travel Grant to the United Kingdom, 2016.
  • Reese Fellowship in American Bibliography, Library Company of Philadelphia (one month), 2016.
  • Steven Botein Fellowship, American Antiquarian Society (one month), 2016.
  • Junior Faculty Fellow. Boston University Center for the Humanities, 2013-2014.
  • Short-Term Resident Fellowship. Newberry Library, Chicago, IL (one month), 2012.
  • Katharine Pantzer Fellowship in the British Book Trades. Bibliographical Society of America, 2012.
  • Richard Beale Davis Prize. Awarded biennially by the MLA Division of American Literature to 1800, for the best article published in Early American Literature. 2009-2010, for “The Orations on the Abolition of the Slave Trade and the Uses of Print in the Early Black Atlantic.”
  • Barra Postdoctoral Fellowship, McNeil Center for Early American Studies, University of Pennsylvania, 2009-2011.
  • Carl H. Pforzheimer, Jr., Research Grant, 2008.
  • Mayers Fellowship, The Huntington Library, San Marino, CA (three months), 2008.
  • Albert M. Greenfield Dissertation Fellowship, Library Company of Philadelphia (one semester), 2008.