Academic Research

I'm a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English at the University of Pennsylvania. My research focuses on twentieth- and twenty-first century literature, primarily American. My dissertation describes rise of the legal procedural in the context of mid-twentieth-century American criminal rights law. You could also think of it as a genealogy of Law and Order. Basically, I argue that the legal procedural is more than just an off-shoot of the police procedural -- it's a genre that developed over the course of a couple decades in response to anxieties about region, race, individual rights, and a rapidly changing criminal justice system. Some of the texts I look at include Richard Wright's Native Son, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, Sidney Lumet's film Twelve Angry Men, Netflix's Making a Murderer, HBO's The Wire, and NPR's podcast Serial.

In addition to this project, I have done a significant amount of research on museum culture and its intersections with political violence. I wrote my master's dissertation in history about the use of art vandalism as a militant tactic by the British women's suffrage movement. Across these topics, I use a methodology that combines historicism with formal analysis and genre theory. Both projects study how justice and violence are differentiated across axes of race, class, and gender. 

Research and teaching interests

  • Law and literature
  • Criminal rights law
  • Cinema and TV studies
  • Historicism
  • Race and class
  • African-American fiction
  • Southern fiction
  • War, violence, and trauma
  • Genre theory
  • Formalism
  • Popular fiction
  • Gender
  • Museum studies
  • Visual art

A complete academic CV is available on request.