I am a Lecturer in the History and Literature program at Harvard University. I work on nineteenth-century American literature, with particular interests in the history of science, material culture, and the history of collecting. I received my PhD in English from Boston University in 2016 and my AB in English from Harvard University in 2009.
My book project, A House of Ideas: Museums, Science, and Knowledge in Nineteenth-Century America, examines the literary and cultural debates surrounding the formation of scientific museum collections in nineteenth-century America. By reading essays, newspaper accounts, and guidebooks against transformations in museums from Enlightenment cabinets to public institutions, I argue that museums shaped wider preoccupations about what kinds of knowledge are worth collecting and preserving and challenged writers to imagine how their own work might achieve a similar longevity.
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.
At Harvard, I advise History and Literature students in the American Studies and Modern World fields and teach seminars on “Museums in America” (Spring 2018) and “Science, Exploration, and Empire in Nineteenth-Century America” (Fall 2018).