I am Assistant Director of Studies and a Lecturer on History and Literature at Harvard University. At Harvard, I have taught seminars and tutorials on “Museums in America,” “Museums and Material Culture,” and “Science, Exploration, and Empire.” I have also advised a range of senior thesis projects. As Assistant Director of Studies, I oversee the American Studies and Ethnic Studies fields and advise students across the concentration.
My research and teaching focus on nineteenth-century American literature and culture, with particular interests in material culture, museum studies, and the history of science and technology. My book, Useful Objects: Museums, Science, and Literature in Nineteenth-Century America (under contract with Oxford University Press), examines the literary and cultural debates that surrounded the development of American museums during the nineteenth century. As museums gradually transformed from encyclopedic cabinets into more specialized public institutions, many writers questioned who would have access to collections and the authority to interpret them. Throughout this period, they reflected on loss and preservation, raised concerns about the place of new ideas, and resisted increasingly fixed categories. These conversations shaped broader debates about the role of museums in American culture that continue to resonate today.
At Harvard, I am currently guest curating an exhibit at the Harvard Museum of Natural History that features the early history of women working at the museum in the late nineteenth century. In 2019, I curated an exhibit on “Fossil Histories" in collaboration with the Ernst Mayr Library that examined museum history and the making of dinosaur exhibits at the Harvard Museum of Natural History. I also teach in the Museum Studies program at the Harvard Extension School.
I received my PhD in English from Boston University in 2016 and my AB in English from Harvard University in 2009. My research has been supported by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Amherst College and short-term research fellowships at the American Antiquarian Society, American Philosophical Society, Boston Athenaeum, Hagley Museum, Huntington Library, Smithsonian Libraries, and Winterthur Museum. My work has been published in J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists and Early American Literature.