Associate Professor of English
My research interests have been focussed generically and institutionally: I have published several works on “prison literature” (both writing about the prison and writings by prisoners) in relation to the history of the prison, and on science fiction, the gothic, and other non-realist modes in relation to institutions of identity (esp. race, gender, and sexuality). I am currently working on two ongoing projects: one concerns the representation of the prison in nineteenth-century American fiction, and is a sort of companion piece to my first few books, which included a monograph analysing writings by political prisoners and slaves in the US, England, and South Africa, an edited collection of essays, and an edition of a suffragette prison autobiography. My second project examines the interconnected representations of gender and race in American science fiction from the nineteenth century through to the end of the twentieth, looking specifically a works that develop out of the utopian tradition. Several essays and my edition of Tarzan of the Apes are part of that project. In addition to these ongoing research projects, I am currently working on a collection of essays, Public Intellectuals and the Culture of Hope, which I am co-editing with Joel Faflak (U of Western Ontario).
Out of the dual interests in confinement and non-realism of these ongoing studies, I am beginning work on a future project concerning nineteenth-century gothic representations of the Atlantic Ocean and the institutions that developed on it (including slavery and prisoner transportation, whaling, and scientific exploration). My aim in this project is to show how the gothic is used a) to represent the containment and institutionalization of northern Atlantic identities and b) to indicate the vitality and potentially monstrous outgrowths of the identities created via this disciplinary manoeuver. The gothic, in other words, serves to highlight both the constrictive and generative natures of the new modes of being that exploration of the Atlantic allowed.
19th-century American literature; prison literature; SF; the Beat generation; critical race and gender studies
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