I specialize in race and empire in colonial and antebellum American print culture, with a particular emphasis in Native American studies. I recently completed writing my dissertation, “Printing Indians and the Imperial Contest in America” in the Department of English at the University of Delaware. I received my Ph.D. in May of 2016.
I grew up in the northwest Chicago suburbs. After receiving my Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Illinois with concentrations in early twentieth-century American literature and a minor in Philosophy, I moved to Austin, Texas. Interested in taking a few years off before graduate school, I unexpectedly developed a successful career in finance. Over a period of eight years I progressed from underwriting loans, to executing transactions in excess of $350 million for Wall Street firms, to serving as Vice President for a national company where I managed an office of fifty-five people.
Eventually, however, I recognized that my deep desire to study literature endured. I wanted to learn more about literature and writing, and to help others master the integrated skills of reading, writing, and thinking. I enrolled in the Master of Arts in English program at the University of Houston. In a graduate survey of antebellum literature, I realized how many of the questions about American identity explored by writers of the early twentieth century, such as Willa Cather or F. Scott Fitzgerald, were first posed by writers of the nineteenth century like Herman Melville or Catherine Maria Sedgwick. And the questions posed by these writers were in turn inspired by the literatures of eighteenth century British colonists. I grew to comprehend how the representation of Native Americans functions as a vector of imperialism throughout writing of the antebellum period.
As a Ph.D. student at the University of Delaware, I focused these insights toward my current research on race and empire in early American culture. After enrolling in an interdisciplinary semester dedicated to the integrated study of the art and literatures of the Age of Revolutions, co-taught by faculty in the departments of English and Art History, I saw the underlying connections between early American literary and visual cultures. I expanded my disciplinary focus to consider the interaction between early American visual and literary cultures. At Delaware I also began to study Native American literatures, and how Native Americans adapted and resisted European writing and narrative forms.
“Printing Indians and the Imperial Contest in America” has been written under generous support from several institutions. In its earliest stages, the project was supported by a short-term research fellowship at the Winterthur Museum and Library, as well as a competitive nine-month University Graduate Scholars fellowship from the University of Delaware. In 2013-2014, I worked under a twelve-month dissertation fellowship at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC. In the summer of 2015, my research was supported by a residential fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society.
I am currently in the process of revising my dissertation into a book manuscript, as well as completing two related articles.