Research

I will be a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Williams College, beginning in Fall 2017.

My Ph.D. dissertation at Cornell University, “Flat Narratology: Surface, Depth, and Speculation in Contemporary Metafiction,” argues for the narrative significance of phrases, frames, and events on a par with character, setting, and plot. To analyze metafictions – fictions that formally or explicitly comment on their own telling – by Colson Whitehead, Margaret Atwood, and Don DeLillo, I develop “flat narratology,” a method of reading textual objects of different scales as equally important nodes in a narrative network.

I argue, for example, that the arrival or appearance of a single, repeated phrase in DeLillo’s The Body Artist becomes the novel’s crucial action – not Rey Robles’s suicide or Lauren Hartke’s performance.

In contrast to critics who have studied how metafictions destabilize their narrators and characters, I emphasize how such texts imbue objects of different natures and different sizes with narrative impetus. This approach draws on recent work in philosophy and the social sciences on nonhuman objects’ agency.

My interests include:

Narrative Studies
Character
Creative and Expository Writing
Science Studies
Speculative Realism
Speculative Fiction

I have begun a second research project, on nonhuman narration. This project emerges from the intersection of my research on contemporary metafictions with my recent article, “Weird Weather: Nonhuman Narration and Unmoored Feelings in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette” (Victorians Journal of Literature and Culture 130). Villette’s formal complexities anticipate contemporary narratorial experiments as various as J.M. Coetzee’s Diary of a Bad Year, Chang Rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea, and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad. I present such experiments as efforts to seed fictions with hybrid forms that reflect our historical moment, when global technologies challenge the borders of our states, economies, and persons.