Book project

Skull by Niki at the Missouri Botanical Gardens

Mourning the Nation to Come: The Scryptural Economy of Post-Revolutionary American Literatures

In my project I argue that a structure of mourning, spoken through and effected by the historical romance, underlies the narratives of national culture and that the writing, consumption and preservation of these texts reveal not only the psychic life of community but also the material basis for that psychic life. The project draws from work done in the fields of philosophy, historiography, literary criticism and theory, Latin American and American Studies and religious studies. The book thus works in a comparative scope not only insofar as language or national literature but also in its breach of traditional disciplinary divides.

Ongoing Projects

This year I am working on a few key projects that intersect with and yet exist separate from the book. This includes a developing project on companionality in frontier narratives that draws on the resources of Philadelphia's Library Company and the Draper manuscripts at the Wisconsin Historical society. An early version of this work, an essay titled "Significant Otherness" won the Society of Early Americanists' Annual Essay Contest in 2015. As part of this investigation of intimacy between companion species, I am also working on a consideration of the alien and alienating affect of boundless landscapes in the far west. Both of these projects will form part of my second book project, tentatively title The Unthinkable World.

In addition to these larger projects I am developing two articles, one on early American archaeology, particularly in relationship to early Mormon church writings, and a second on dissociation in Charles Brockden Brown's Wieland.