I am a Lecturer in History and Literature at Harvard University. My research and teaching focus on nineteenth-century American literature and culture, with particular interests in the history of science, material culture, and museum studies. I have taught HL90 seminars on “Museums in America” and “Science, Exploration, and Empire,” as well as a sophomore tutorial on material culture. I have also taught junior tutorial and advised a range of senior thesis projects.
My book project, Useful Objects: Museums, Science, and Literature in Nineteenth-Century America, examines the literary and cultural debates surrounding the formation of scientific museum collections in nineteenth-century America. This book explores how writers explicitly engaged in challenging the role of museums in producing, preserving, and sharing knowledge. As museums sought to expand their public role, many visitors considered who would have access to collections and the expertise to interpret them. By examining the development of nineteenth-century museums through their writings, Useful Objects shows how cultural debates about knowledge, authority, and ownership contributed to broader understandings of the value and purpose of museums in American culture.
At Harvard, I also curated an exhibit on “Fossil Histories" in collaboration with the Ernst Mayr Library that examined museum history, women in science, and the making of dinosaur exhibits at the Harvard Museum of Natural History.
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.