I teach a wide range of courses at IUSB – from freshman writing and ESL to British Literature – but my training and passion are for eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British Literature in particular. I like to learn about the changing lifestyles, material environments, and modes of reading and storytelling that characterize previous centuries. My hope is that students will learn to become aware of their own cultural environments, and become better readers and storytellers in the process, by reflecting on the histories of Enlightenment, commerce, and industrialization that still very much inform our cultural practices.
These interests also inform my book-length project, entitled Traveling through the Pages: Reading Realisms in the Age of Transport Revolutions, which explores the history of eighteenth and nineteenth-century novels in conjunction with the history of communication infrastructures from stage-coaches to railroads and from letters to telegraphs. My book explores how our culture moulds the literary canon (what we consider to be “classic” literature) not only through tradition and abstract aesthetic value, but more importantly by assessing what does or does not “matter” to us based on our historically specific understanding of communication practices.