Personal profile

Research interests

I'm a feminist scholar working on women writers and artists in Twentieth Century America. I’m an expert on Muriel Rukeyser and my research and teaching explore how gender politics shape literary and aesthetic cultures, with interests in archives and the unfinished, modernism, the avant-garde, poetry and poetics, multi-ethnic literatures, feminist and queer theories, war and peace studies, and Cold War cultural and political institutions.

My monograph, Unfinished Spirit: Muriel Rukeyser’s Twentieth Century (Cornell, 2022), won the Modern Language Association Matei Calinescu Prize for distinguished work in twentieth- or twenty-first century literature and thought, and I have published three editions of Rukeyser’s unpublished and out-of-print writing, The Muriel Rukeyser Era: Selected Prose (Cornell, 2023), her novel Savage Coast (Feminist Press, 2013), and Barcelona, 1936 (Lost&Found 2011).

My essays have appeared in Modern Fiction Studies, The Journal of Narrative Theory, Textual Practice, Modernism/Modernity, Literature and History, The Paris Review, Harper’s, and Lit Hub, and others. And I edited a special issue on Women's Experimental Forms for JNT.

Extending from my scholarly book, I am writing the first biography of Rukeyser for Bloomsbury USA (2026), for which I was awarded an NEH Public Scholars Fellowship.  For the 2024-25 Year I’ll be a visiting scholar at the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing.

Unfinished Spirit explores Rukeyser's unfinished experimental, interdisciplinary texts written between 1939 and 1960. Despite her status as an influential poet and writer whose work was often at the forefront of artistic and political movements, many of Rukeyser’s most ambitious projects were suppressed by Cold War gender and political orthodoxies, remaining unpublished in her archive. Theoretically ambitious, multi-genre, sometimes collaborative, these texts continued the radical, avant-garde project of modernism and traced a polyphonic American tradition that challenged an increasingly hegemonic Cold War culture. Rukeyser’s unpublished works give us a unique view of the conditions that produce a text’s unfinished-ness—the sexism of editors, the withdrawal of funding and publishing contracts, political censure and intellectual derision, motherhood and economic precarity—and they are also bound together by Rukeyser’s radical vision of artistic creation and political engagement. It is through the recovery of these unfinished, “wasted” texts that we can better understand how twentieth-century ideologies of exclusion have been formed through literary and academic values; but it is also through these texts that we can uncover the kinds of complex, feminist approaches necessary for dismantling these very same ideologies.

You can hear me talk about this work, here and here.

Research and Supervision Interests:
Women writers; theories of feminism, gender, and sexuality; modernism, especially in transnational contexts; critical race studies; writing on war; political commitment; the archive and textual scholarship; experimental forms and the avant-garde; American literature; transatlantic cultural studies; poetry and poetics; the documentary; multi-ethnic literatures; political activism and protest; visual culture.

I’ve supervised PhD students on a range of topics, including modernist women’s anti-fascist journalism, women writers and the BBC, modernism and the politics of education, post-war feminist graphic novels, spirituality and the feminist avant-garde, and feminist sensory studies.

Current and recent courses include:

Women on the Verge: Gender and Experimentation in the Twentieth and Twenty-first Century

The American Avant-garde
War Stories: Women Writers and Conflict from WWI to 9/11
Twentieth-Century Women Writers
The Spanish Civil War in British and American Writing
Transatlantic Women Modernists
Celebrity Cultures: Icons, Industry and Aesthetics.
Literature 1900-Present

American Revolutions


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