Associate Professor of Comparative Literature; Associate Professor of English Language and Literature
Languages: French, English, German
Affiliations: Comparative Literature; English Language and Literature
Teaching interests: Broadly speaking, my teaching focuses on environmental literature and theory of the past two centuries. At the moment, I'm especially interested in texts that center around issues of environmental justice and articulate alternatives to dominant narratives of ecological collapse and extinction.
- COMPLIT 100, Becoming Animal Werewolves and shapeshifters seem to be everywhere in contemporary US culture, but stories about human beings who transform into nonhuman animals are found in literature and other cultural representations from across the globe and from across history. What makes such representations so compelling? What cultural debates or developments do they respond to? What can they tell us about the difference between people and animals, and what do they tell us about what it means to be human? Exploring a diverse range of textual and visual representations from across the globe, we will examine the different meanings and functions of human-animal figures, and how they express social identities and configurations of power and dominion. Course requirements include regular brief writing assignments; midterm and final exams; engaged class presence and participation.
- COMPLIT 140, How To Save the Planet The climate apocalypse is no longer the stuff of science fiction. How do contemporary literature and cinema represent the end of the world when the world is ending now? Which stories are most helpful to make sense and raise public awareness of environmental issues and the social and racial inequality they perpetuate? And what solutions do these fictions advance in the face of this unprecedented predicament?
- ENGLISH 298, Artificial Natures When he declares that “Nature is an imitation of Art,” Oscar Wilde playfully troubles the assumption that art is derivative and nature authentic. In this seminar, we will ask how the study of literature can help us to understand this paradox, and to what end. How, for instance, does fiction fashion worlds that look natural? Conversely, how can the tools of literary criticism be used to denaturalize what often passes as mere “facts” of nature, from the climate to plants and animals, and even to humans ourselves?
- COMPLIT 600, Theory Today What is the work of critical theory in the 21st century? At the turn of the millennium, Bruno Latour infamously announced that critique had “run out of steam,” calling for a radical reevaluation of our theoretical instruments and critical postures. Pivoting on Latour’s provocation and organized around the (purposely vague) concept of “life,” this seminar explores new and experimental methods and discourses that have gained traction over the past decades. This seminar is by no means an exhaustive survey of contemporary theory but an introduction to the practice of theory. Discussions and assignments will give you opportunities to test your critical voice and develop skills in reading theory. This course will expose you to a wide array of emergent paradigms including, but not limited to: critical race studies, afropessimism, posthumanism, anthropocene studies, bio/necropower, neoliberal studies, critical disability studies, queer and trans theory.
- COMPLIT 770, History and/as Biopolitics This course explores the cultural and intellectual history of the United States through the lenses of affect, embodiment, and biopolitics. We will adopt an interdisciplinary approach to major historical developments, with an emphasis on the nineteenth century. Our sources will be recent scholarship in a range of fields, including critical race theory, gender and sexuality studies, disability studies, media theory, and STS. Throughout, we will ask how cutting-edge work in these fields can help reframe our understanding of topics ranging from science, religion, and law to violence, technology, and empire. The goal is to rethink assumptions (personal and disciplinary) and identify new ways of analyzing and appreciating our own topics. For students, the course can also serve as a foundation for further reading, either for preliminary examinations (with one of us or someone else) or in the preparation of a dissertation prospectus.
Research interests: My recent and current research examines cultural and literary works through the lens of biocapitalism and extinction. I explore the historical, aesthetic, and philosophical footholds of the administration of life, concerns made all the more urgent in our present of escalating necropolitical and environmental crises. I am currently at work on a fourth monograph on the biopolitics of conservation, tentatively titled "Climate Arks: Toward a Cryopolitics of the Living." In 2021, I co-founded the Critical Futures Project, a research collective that explores theoretical methods for addressing the new urgency of climate change under digital and racial capitalism.
- "Captivity: Three Ways of Missing Animals," Cambridge Companion of Animal Studies (forthcoming)
- "In the Doldrums: Plastic, Haunting, and the Sea," with Thangam Ravindranathan, Substance (2022)
- "No, American Academe is Not Corrupting France," The Chronicle of Higher Education (2021)
- “Thoreau’s Garden Politics,” Dispersion: Thoreau and Vegetal Thought, eds. Branka Arsic and Vesna Kuiken, Bloomsbury (2021)
- “The Poetics of Geopower: Climate Change and the Politics of Representation,” with Ingrid Diran, Climate Realism, eds. Lynne Badia, Marija Cetinic, and Jeff Diamanti, Routledge (2020)
- “The Birth of Geopower,” with Ingrid Diran, Diacritics, eds. Karen Pinkus and Derek Woods (August 2020)
- “What Gives (donner le change),” with Thangam Ravindranathan, SubStance, (2016)
- “American Entrapments: Taxonomic Capture in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Prairie,” Novel: A Forum on Fiction (2016)
- “Palafox-Terrier: Heidegger suivant Chevillard,” Animaux d’écriture : le lien et l’abîme. Numéro hors-série de la revue Romanesques, Classiques Garnier (2014)
- “Capitalisme et capture : actualités d’un concept chez Deleuze et Guattari et Agamben,” Théorie, Littérature, Enseignement (2014)
- “Huntology: Ontological Pursuits and Still Lives,” Diacritics (2012)
- “Le Faune et la Sirène : la situation de Cuvier dans l’économie de The Marble Faun de Nathaniel Hawthorne,” Transatlantica (2012)
- “Zarathustra’s Philosafari,” Humanimalia (2012) "Comment Parler d'Occupy Wall Street?" Aux Forges de Vulcain (2012)
- “Comment une figue figure sans en avoir l'air: mimésis, langue, et figure dans Comment une figue de paroles et pourquoi de Francis Ponge,” Contemporary French and Francophone Studies, (2012)
- “Moral Obliquity : les détours de la morale dans The Blithedale Romance,” Littérature et politique en Nouvelle-Angleterre, eds. Thomas Constantinesco and Antoine Traisnel (2011)
- “Le montage aléatoire de l’histoire : Walter Benjamin et l’allégorie,” Théorie, Littérature, Enseignement (2010)
- “Chasser le naturel : le préjugé métaphysique de Lolita,” Sillages Critiques (2010)
- “La Défaite de la transcendance dans ‘The Wedding Knell’ de Nathaniel Hawthorne,” Les Figures de la comparaison (2010)
- “Writing in the Name of: Hawthorne’s ‘Chiefly About War Matters,’” Nathaniel Hawthorne Review (2009)
- “The Temptation of Kitsch: The Fall of Hawthorne,” Nathaniel Hawthorne Review (2008)
- Les placements de la France dans Woman in the Nineteenth Century de Margaret Fuller,” Revue Française d'Études Américaines (2008)