Current Research

Dr. Alice Dailey's recent book, The English Martyr from Reformation to Revolution, studies one of the most popular genres of the English Middle Ages and Renaissance, the martyr story.  Observing how martyrdom is constituted through the interplay of historical event and literary form, Dr. Dailey explores the development of English martyr literature through the period of intense religious controversy from the heresy executions of Queen Mary to the regicide of 1649.  Her current project is an interdisciplinary book titled How to Do Things with Dead People: Temporal Conjecture and the Shakespearean History Play.

Prof. Alan Drew’s second novel, Shadow Man, was published by Random House in May 2017, and was named a one of the “Best Mysteries of 2017” by the Wall Street Journal.  His first novel, Gardens of Water, was published by Random House in 2008 and received widespread critical praise. His work has been translated into twelve languages and published in over twenty countries.  Prof. Drew’s writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Omnivoracious, Glimmer TrainThe Manchester Review, Largehearted Boy, Fogged Clarity, among others.

Dr. Joseph Drury’s book, Novel Machines: Technology and Narrative Form in Enlightenment Britain was published by Oxford University Press in 2017. It argues that many of the most important formal innovations in eighteenth-century fiction were critical responses to the new prominence of machines in Britain’s Industrial Enlightenment. His second project explores the representation of idolatry and iconoclasm in eighteenth-century culture. He is also currently working on an essay on "Science" for the upcoming Oxford Handbook of Samuel Johnson.

Dr. Travis M. Foster is finalizing a monograph, After Emancipation: Genres of the New Racial Ordinary, which tracks the role played by popular literature and culture in the transition from slavery to Jim Crow. He’s also co-editing a special issue of Legacy titled “American Women’s Writing and the Genealogies of Queer Thought." During the spring 2018 semester, he will deliver papers on religious panic and homonationalism at MLA and C19 respectively.

Dr. Heather Hicks is author of The Post-Apocalyptic Novel in the Twenty-First Century: Modernity Beyond Salvage (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), which analyzes how major novelists since 2000 have imagined the fate of modernity in the wake of global catastrophe. Her first book, The Culture of Soft Work: Labor, Gender, and Race in Postmodern American Narrative (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), examines the ways that a wide range of cultural texts from comic strips to films to major novels responded to the changing nature of the American workplace (and American workers) after World War Two.  She is currently at work on a new book about the history of apocalyptic fiction, covering the evolution of this genre from the early 18th century to the present.  She is also writing several articles focused on depictions of gender and race in this body of literature, especially its reliance on the figure of the “femme fatale” and its many representations of indigenous peoples.

Dr. Karyn Hollis uses Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) to investigate discursive events in the public realm.  She most recently published articles on the diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks regarding the conflict in Iraq as well as on the media and the Trans Pacific Partnership Treaty.  She is currently working on a book project about civic education and service learning in Cuba.

Dr. Brooke Hunter is the author of the book Forging Boethius in Medieval Intellectual Fantasies, which reconsiders the influence of the Pseudo-Boethian forgery De disciplina scolarium on medieval understandings of Boethius (d. 524). Tracing the medieval popularity of De Disciplina's reimagined vision of Boethius alongside the current scholarly neglect of this forged Boethian persona offers insight into how medieval schoolmen saw themselves and the past, and how modern scholars imagine the medieval past.  

Dr. Yumi Lee is working on a book manuscript titled Someone Else’s War: Race, Empire, and the Korean War in American Literature that traces the effects of the Korean War and U.S. militarism in Asia on racial formations in the United States from midcentury to present. She will be presenting a portion of this project at the Association of Asian American Studies annual meeting this spring. She is also currently writing an essay on incarceration in Asian American literature and culture.

Dr. Joseph Lennon is researching and writing about the origins of the modern hunger strikes in the early twentieth-century British Empire.  The work centers on the first “modern” hunger strike of Marion Wallace-Dunlop in 1909, but also traces the pre-history of the hunger strike in Britain, Ireland, and India.  Dr. Lennon has also recently written several essays on postcolonial understandings of Irish antiquity in Irish literature, as well as an essay on lyricism and gender in Marina Carr's plays.

Dr. Crystal Lucky is working on a book project, tentatively titled On the Threshing Floor: The Image of African American Women’s Piety in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century, which traces the image of the pious black woman, whom she defines as dedicated to enacting and promoting the tenets of Protestant Christianity, as both an historical and a cultural figure from her appearance in autobiographical and expository writing and visual images of the nineteenth century through her reinvention in American literary and popular cultural forms of the early- to mid- twentieth century.

Dr. Jean Lutes is working on a book about the genre of the personal advice column and its impact on American literary history; her essay “Lovelorn Columns: A Genre Scorned” is forthcoming in American Literature. She is also working with a team of student researchers to recover and analyze the work of Alice Dunbar-Nelson, an early twentieth-century African American fiction writer, essayist, journalist, and poet whose archive is housed at the University of Delaware. Dr. Lutes will present part of that work at the upcoming biennial conference of C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists. She recently gave a paper at a conference in Bordeaux, France, on legendary affect in Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927).

Dr. Mary Mullen is the author of the book Novel Institutions: Realism, Anachronism, and the Nineteenth-Century Novel, which turns to the nineteenth-century realist novel, perhaps surprisingly, to point us to different ways of inhabiting institutions. It argues that Victorian realism, which functions as an institution in its own right but also participates in the consolidation of institutions such as marriage, the nation-state, and the rule of law, can actually offer strategies for more capacious political imagining. Her other recent published work includes essays on cultural authority in public humanities initiatives, metaphors of indigeneity in nineteenth-century Irish nationalist writing, and national time in Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South.

Dr. Megan Quigley is hard at work on a new book project on the poet T. S. Eliot and his relationship to the novel.  In particular, she is writing an article entitled “Reading The Waste Land as a Novel,” which tackles the newly published Eliot archive.  Her second project, stemming from her interest in philosophy and literature, is called, ““Reading Woolf logically: The Voyage Out and Wittgenstein’s Tractatus.”  This article, a revision of a talk that she delivered last year at the “Logic and Literature” conference at Berkeley, is under review for a special edition of Poetics TodayMegan will be presenting other new work at the American Comparative Literature Association conference at UCLA in March and the Novel Theory conference at Cornell in June 2018.

Dr. Evan Radcliffe is working on essays that explore the interrelationships among justice, benevolence, resentment, and revenge as they first emerge in British moral philosophy of the 18th century and then play out in the political controversies of the 1790s and Wordsworth’s play The Borderers.  This work is part of Dr. Radcliffe’s focus on Romanticism as a response to the French Revolution.

Dr. Lauren Shohet is researching the long history of media change and its impact on literary form, and this year is completing a book on how John Milton's representation of Eve - and later writers' adaptations of Milton's Eve - engages these issues. She has just edited Temporality, Genre, and Experience in the Age of Shakespeare: Forms of Time (Bloomsbury/Arden, 2018) and Gathering Force: British Literature in Transition 1557-1623 (Cambridge UP, forthcoming).

Dr. Kamran Javadizadeh recently published his article, "The Atlantic Ocean Breaking On Our Heads: Claudia Rankine, Robert Lowell, and the Whiteness of the Lyric Subject," in PMLA, the official journal of the Modern Language Association. He argues that, in Citizen: An American Lyric, Claudia Rankine discovers new forms of lyric subjectivity by rerouting the expressive lyric’s investment in the singular self, recognized in well-­established lines of American genealogy, into a sustained and historicizing attention to dispersed networks of black kinship. She does so in a revisionary allusion to Robert Lowell’s Life Studies and thereby lays bare the fact that his landmark book, which she treats as a paradigm of the expressive lyric tradition, relies on the (usually unspoken) whiteness of its lyric subject for the force of its autobiographical disclosures. Dr. Javadizadeh is also at work on a book that connects the institutional structuring and theorizing of modern American poetry at mid-century to the institutionalization and mental illness of so many of the period's poets (Pound, Lowell, and Plath, for example) and argues that modernist and New Critical notions of impersonality underwrite postwar poems of mental breakdown.

Dr. Michael Berthold’s current research focuses on 19th-century literary representations of Johnny Appleseed.  He recently published an essay in The Journal of American Culture on Appleseed’s literary debut in James M’Gaw’s little-known 1858 novel Philip Seymour and is currently working on an article about St. Louis Hegelian Denton J. Snider’s extensive revision of the Appleseed legend.

Dr. Lisa Sewell is working on a book of poems, currently titled" A Cartography of Reading," which explores the centrality of reading to the formation of identity.  She is also editing a third volume of American Women Poets in the 21st Century, a collection of essays that focuses on the work of important North American women poets.

Dr. Chiji Akoma is working on two research projects.  The first is co-editing a volume of essays on new and established issues on African oral performance traditions.  The second is a study of postcolonial discourses in popular drama in southeastern Nigeria.

Dr. Tsering Wangmo recently published an article in the journal boundary 2 discussing the rhetoric surrounding sovereignty, compromise, and equality in relation to Tibet. In her article, Dr. Wangmo observes that since 1950, the Chinese government has determined the status and position of Tibetans, but it has not won the battle for Tibetans’ hearts and minds. On the contrary, ongoing Tibetan resistance under Chinese rule points to serious fissures in the Chinese state’s ideological and cultural project of “liberating” Tibet.


Books By Our Faculty