Header image: Sandymount Strand, Dublin, on the morning of Bloomsday, June 16th, 2012.
Welcome to my academic webfolio!
I am currently Neag Assistant Professor of English at Alvernia University in Reading, Pennsylvania, where I teach a wide range of courses in literature and film studies. I received my Ph.D. in English literature from Tufts University in May 2013. My scholarly interests include nineteenth and twentieth-century British, Irish, and Anglophone literature, especially the aesthetic, legal, and medical discourses that characterize the “scene of the modern.” As the recipient of a dissertation fellowship at the Center for the Humanities at Tufts (CHAT), I spent my last year of graduate school investigating the complicity of the humanities in the formation of the modern national security state, as well as humanism’s capacity to resist—or even sabotage—the militarization of the liberal arts. My current book project, Spyography: Modernism, Espionage, and the Militant Aesthetic State, examines the recruitment of writers into the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS or MI6), the resulting literary infringements of the UK Official Secrets Act, and the appropriation of the figure of the spy by what Lionel Trilling called the “adversary culture,” the leftist intelligentsia of the 1930s.
In my refereed publications I explore other ways in which literary form lends itself to acts of unveiling in traditions outside of British modernism. My article in the spring 2011 issue of Biography, “A Hermeneutics of Recruitment: The Case of Wordsworth,” contributes to life-writing theory through a deconstructive analysis of Kenneth R. Johnston’s The Hidden Wordsworth: Poet, Lover, Rebel, Spy, arguing that the genre of literary biography constitutes a form of conscription in which the Romantic subject is posthumously “recruited” into Cold War conflicts. In “Coming to Accounts: Fraud and Muckraking in Charles W. Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition,” published in the European Journal of American Studies in November 2013, I show how Chesnutt’s novel prefigures forms of investigative journalism in its exposé of racist “monopolies” of both literary and political representation. Turning to the clinical gaze, “Slices of Life: The Artist as Vivisector in Giacomo Joyce” reconsiders Joyce’s Trieste notebook in the context of his medical studies. Published in Hypermedia Joyce Studies in December 2010, this paper serves as the basis for my second project, Vivisective Modernism, in which I argue that the turn-of-the-century vivisection debate transposed the question of medical ethics to literary aesthetics.
Like my research, my teaching emphasizes the material conditions of literary production and reception. After working for five years as an ESL instructor in Prague, an often unacknowledged center of the modernist avant-garde, I realized that the communicative or realia-based approach to language learning could be adapted to teaching literature. My courses at Alvernia draw upon my interests in global modernism, combining works by Franz Kafka, James Joyce, and Gabriel García Márquez with role-plays and other activities aimed at encouraging students to engage texts not as isolated artifacts, but as dynamic intersections of art and lived experience. Moreover, as a contributor to the Public Domain Review, a website showcasing the scholarly potential of online archives, I am committed to the practical application of Digital Humanities in the classroom. My courses often juxtapose literary with audiovisual materials, asking students to get their critical hands dirty by exploring library holdings or delving into online repositories in quest of forgotten texts, images, and films. For example, I invite students to map the evolution of fairy tales from Ovid’s Metamorphoses to Anne Sexton’s Transformations, researching how illustrations bring to life historical and cultural contexts that are absent in the narratives themselves.
Similarly, my courses in modern and contemporary British literature emphasize the role of aesthetics and performance in fields that seem, at first glance, to have little to do with the humanities, from science and technology to law and national security. In addition to surveys and major author courses, my syllabi include specialized seminars: a course on the relationship between artists, surgeons, and (mad) scientists, titled “Medical Modernism”; a theoretical course called "A Modern Bestiary," reconsidering the figure of the animal in works by Kafka, Orwell, Woolf, and other writers through the lens of Critical Animal Studies; and “The Culture of Intrigue,” an interdisciplinary course exploring the Edwardian and modernist parallels of twenty-first-century security issues, from Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent to the War on Terror.
The purpose of this website is to present my scholarship, teaching philosophy, teaching competencies, teaching experience, and sample syllabi. For a printer-friendly version of my teaching portfolio, please click here. You may also find a printable version of my curriculum vitae here. Feel free to explore the site by clicking on the links at the top of the page, or you may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments, questions, or feedback.