I specialize in American literary and cultural studies, critical race theory, antebellum American literature, the American novel, and social theory. My work looks at the intersections of literature with political, historical, and social contexts that affected citizenship and civic identity in the United States. My current research explores the persistent antebellum in contemporary literature, questioning the ways that we live in an antebellum present. I ask how and why our contemporary moment, from the Obama Presidency to the Trump Era, calls for antebellum settings and narratives to explain where we are. What is our antebellum present?
In recent years, I have taught courses in American Literature and composition. Recent courses include The Black Atlantic and African Diaspora in Literature and Culture, African American Literature, Nineteenth Century American Novel, Melville at 200, American Literature to 1865, American Literature after 1865, American Masculinities, The Gilded Age(s) in American Literature and Culture, American Literatures and Radical Democracies, Introduction to Literature, and Compositions I and II. My courses typically include Digital Humanities elements, particularly critical GIS to help students develop a visual and geographical perspectives of American Literature.
Originally from Jamestown, NY, I received my B.A. in English from Canisius College, in Buffalo, NY. I hold an M.A. in English from Indiana State University, where I also received the College of Arts and Science’s Dean’s Educational Excellence Award for my teaching.
I completed my Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky, focusing on 19th Century American Studies. At UK, I received numerous awards for my research and teaching, including the Graduate School’s Dissertation Year Fellowship, the Provost’s Outstanding Teaching Award, and the College of Arts and Science’s Certificate for Outstanding Teaching.
“The Racial Veil: Small Government Rhetoric, Neoliberalism, and School Resegregation.” Present Tense: A Journal of Rhetoric in Society. Forthcoming.
“Black Lives Matter: Teaching African American Literature and the Struggle.” CEA Forum 45.2 (Summer/Fall 2016): 26-53.
“Sustaining Refusal and Imagining New Societies: The Scarlet Letter, ‘Bartleby,’ and the Production of Space.” CEA Critic 75.3 (November 2013): 212-23.
“Boyish Play and Manifest Destiny: The Transition from Civilizer to Killer in America and Abroad.” South Atlantic Review 73.2 (Spring 2008): 59-80.
My paper, “Sustaining Refusal and Imagining New Societies: The Scarlet Letter, ‘Bartleby,’ and the Production of Space,” received the James R. (Dick) Bennett Award for Literature and Peace at the 2013 College English Association national conference.
In addition to scholarly work, I am editor for The Whole Horse Project, a public humanities project in the spirit of Wendell Berry’s commitment to community and resistance.
Aside from teaching and writing, I am a runner and an NBA fan.