Samuel Diener

I specialize in early modern and eighteenth-century British and American literature, culture, and history of the book, informed by the new materialisms and affect theory. I do comparative work in Spanish and Portuguese, and I am working on a book of poetry inspired by the years I spent in the fishing and foodservice industries before attending university. I am currently an Arts Junior Research Fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge, and I have taught literature and writing as a Preceptor in the Harvard Writing Program, as an adjunct professor of English at Emmanuel College, and as a teaching fellow in Harvard's departments of English and Comparative Literature.

My current book project, The Maritime Travel Book and the Collective Imagination, considers maritime exploration narratives from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries, focusing on the ways that readers articulated national identity, inflected by race, gender, and class, both on and with the physical books they used. The project has been supported by residential research fellowships at the John Carter Brown Library and Huntington Library, as well as a Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship and a Mellon/ACLS Fellowship (2020-21). My July 2019 article in Women Writers in Context approaches this topic through the work of Eliza Haywood, and offers a set of digital tools I built to trace Anglophone women writers' engagement with global geographies. 

I've also been busy with a long-term project on affect and emotional practices in early merchant-capitalist societies, read through material culture. My January 2019 article in Eighteenth Century Fiction is part of this work. I write more broadly about new materialist scholarship for The Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory and in reviews for other journals.

I received my PhD in 2022 in English and Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University.