About me

I am a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of English and an Affiliated Faculty Member in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Miami. My book project, (Un)Civilized Humans: Empathy, Disgust, and the Representation of Animals in America (1850-1900), enumerates the representational strategies used by the writers of the late nineteenth-century to  incite in readers empathy for animals and disgust for animal abusers and put an end to our use of other animals. Other research interests include: American pragmatism, pragmatist aesthetics, environmental ethics, interspecies ethics, animal minds, animal studies, care ethics, ecofeminism, and the history of distributed cognition. My articles have appeared or are forthcoming in Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment, Journal of Modern Literature, and Hypatia.

 

Research

My book project, (Un)Civilized Humans: Empathy, Disgust, and the Representation of Animals in America (1850-1900), investigates the representational methods used by writers in this period of American history to draw attention to the norm-transgressing nature of violence, and to distance readers from humanity’s barbaric and violent tendencies. In particular, it focuses on the practices of anthropomorphizing animals and othering violent humans in the work of Margaret Marshall Saunders, Louise Sharpton, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mark Twain, Henry David Thoreau, and Jack London, among others, and examines the emotions involved in these practices. By cultivating in readers an empathy for animals and a disgust for those who harm them, the literature of the humane movement exploited the political potential of these emotions to eliminate our relationship of use with other animals and to liberate animals from captivity.       

 

Publications

"Pragmatist Feminist Utopias: Gilman, Mead, and the Problem of Choice." Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, forthcoming.

"Jack London's Poetic Animality and the Problem of Domestication." Journal of Modern Literature, forthcoming.

"Rethinking Wilderness: Wendell Berry, Philip K. Dick, and the Absence of the Wild." Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment, isaa184October 2020. web

"The (Non)Modern Imagination of a Noisy Williams." William Carlos Williams Review, vol. 34, no. 1, 2017, pp. 64-92. pdf

 

Teaching

A central focus of my work is how media affect the way that we think. With the rise of multi-media approaches, students are gaining some skills and losing others. I believe good teaching begins from an awareness that current media ecologies offer us endless possibilities for exploration and learning, but they can also narrow our horizon. The logarithmic logic of the internet poses challenges to a new generation of students who have grown up interacting with digital technologies, which is why I believe media literacy should be the central humanistic focus in the classroom. How do we avoid the trappings of google and the internet, technologies that currently serve the needs of coorporations by reducing our likes, opinions and personalities to “data” in order to better serve our so-called consumer-needs? How do we help students navigate digital media environments where it is difficult to identify authoritative sources so that they might become better researchers and well-informed citizens? I believe that a liberal arts education at its best arms students with the analytical tools that they need to arrive at carefully-weighted opinions.