Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies and Undergraduate Outreach

For CV click here

Many of the books I love to study and teach come from nineteenth-century America and Britain. My work situates literature at the crossroads of intellectual and cultural history, while also projecting such histories forward to such twenty-first century topics as racial politics, information overload, and the relationship of science and art. My first book explores how writers engaged philosophical ideas when addressing the American slavery crisis. My second examines how authors encountered changing theories of chance and probability, not only in the domain of ideas (science, philosophy, theology), but also through developing social practices (such as gambling, insurance, warfare, and weather forecasting). I have edited a collection of essays on Frederick Douglass and have recently published a book on how the nineteenth-century information revolution shaped modern conceptions of literature, thereby conditioning current attitudes toward information overload, media technology, and the digital humanities. Like my scholarship, my teaching asks how literature mediates ideas and experience, rational systems and everyday life. In addition to a range of survey, genre, and topic courses in nineteenth-century literature,  I also teach African American literature and advanced seminars for graduate students.

Teaching and Research Interests
  • Nineteenth-Century American and British Literature and Culture
  • Print History, Information History, and the Digital Humanities
  • Literature and Science; Literature and Philosophy
  • African American Literature
Selected Publications
Fellowships and Awards
  • Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies Fellowship, Harvard Univ. (2017-2018)
  • Henderson Senior Research Fellowship (BU Center for the Humanities, Spring 2014)
  • Hariri Institute Grant in the Digital Humanities (2013-2014)
  • Choice Outstanding Academic Title (for Uncertain Chances, 2012)
  • Neu Teaching Award (Boston University, College of Arts & Sciences, 2009)
  • Charles A. Ryskamp/ACLS Research Fellowship (2009)
  • NEH Research Fellowship (2007)
  • James Gargano Prize (Poe Studies Association, 2003)
  • NEH Summer Fellowship (2003)
  • Hennig Cohen Prize (Melville Society, 2001)