I joined Penn's faculty in 1999, after receiving my B.A. from Yale and my Ph.D. from Rutgers. My primary field is American literature, and I teach courses in all of its forms and phases, from the beginnings of English contact and settlement to the present day. My first book, published in 2007, is American Elegy: The Poetry of Mourning from the Puritans to Whitman, and I am presently completing another book on early American literature, culture, and history, called Richard Nisbett's Privacy and Yours. I have also published articles on early American print culture; African-American poetry and prosody; aesthetics and free verse in Stephen Crane; Emma Lazarus and the Statue of Liberty; literature and the U.S. Constitution; Emily Dickinson and exceptionality; Whitman and the erotics of poetic address; and early American portraiture.
I also spend a good deal of time working on cinema, and I've published articles on films by François Ozon, Jean Cocteau, and Michael Lucas. Forthcoming articles explore the experimental film-work of Patti Smith; gender in Jean-Luc Godard; translation and mourning in a film collaboration by Safaa Fathy and Jacques Derrida; and Gus Van Sant's use of the long take.
My work in these and other fields, including psychoanalytic theory and gender and sexuality studies, extends from teaching and research to a variety of institutional roles at Penn and elsewhere: co-editor of the book series Early American Studies (University of Pennsylvania Press); advisory editor of the journal Eighteenth-Century Studies; member of the Advisory and Executive Councils of the McNeil Center for Early American Studies; consortium member of the Project on Bioethics, Sexuality, and Gender Identity in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy; member of the collaboration committee of the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania Department of Psychiatry; member of the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy.
In these various pursuits, I have been the grateful recipient of fellowships and grants from the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation, the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati, the Penn Humanities Forum, Cornell's Society for the Humanities, and Penn’s Provost’s Interdisciplinary Arts Fund.
More information, including forthcoming speaking engagements and other events, is available at: