I am a professor of Victorian literature and culture, and also currently the Chair, in the English department at Macalester College. My research interests focus on nineteenth-century Britain, including travel and empire, childhood, and inclusive pedagogies that help us think about the complexities of how race was understood at the time. A select list of my publications and presentations can be found here.
I am deeply invested in how we talk publicly about “the Humanities,” including what we even mean by that term, why some people think studying humanities subjects if vital while others are so sure to do so is a luxury. That “we” means both those of us in academic institutions and those of us outside them, as well as how we talk–or don’t talk–to each other. I seek out discussions about these issues from the standpoint of why reading matters, what it means to fund higher education sufficiently, and how and why the relationship between literary arts and history affects people who don’t study that relationship for a living. (Spoiler: I think it affects all of us more than we sometimes realize or acknowledge.)
I find it impossible to get through a whole day without reading something, writing something, or researching something (often, all three), even on days when I am on vacation. While “research” might smack of being esoteric–or worse, dull–I prefer to think of it as an endless rabbit hole of possibility. I assume almost anything might be worth a second glance, and, like Alice’s fall down her rabbit hole, you never know what you’ll find if you ever finally hit bottom.