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Chris Chan


BA in English and chemistry, summa cum laude, Rutgers University (2013)

MA in English, University of Pennsylvania (2015)


Chris Chan is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English at Penn. His dissertation project, titled “Lyric Communities and Communal Lyricisms in Eighteenth-Century British Poetry,” traces a political history and genealogy of lyric practices in the period. Its primary goals are to reconceptualize lyric in the long eighteenth century as a 'horizontal' mode of political engagement rather than a 'vertical' taxonomy of verse genres; to revise critical histories which conscript the lyric into narratives of pre-/proto-Romanticism; and to redress modern misperceptions about the lyric's apolitical character by examining the material and political practices of eighteenth-century poets. To fulfill these aims, the project specifically engages genres and poets – retirement and retreat poems (Abraham Cowley, John Pomfret, Anne Finch); laboring-class verse; devotional lyrics; antislavery poetry (William Roscoe, John Jamieson, James Field Stanfield) – which have variously been neglected or marginalized from canonical accounts.

At Penn, Chris has served as a co-coordinator (with Mayelin Perez) of the Restoration-to-Victorian Studies working group, which regularly invites scholars from the greater Philadelphia region and beyond to present their most recent work. He has professional experience in analytical chemistry, pharmaceuticals, copyediting, and writing pedagogy through various positions prior to his tenure in the department (see LinkedIn for details).

Courses Taught

fall 2017

ENGL 200.301 The English Lyric