academic research


Academic Research

I am a postdoctoral fellow in the Society of Fellows at the University of Southern California, affiliated with the English department. I received my Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania.

My research focuses on twentieth- and twenty-first century literature, film, and television, 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. 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. 

Recent courses taught

  • “The Vigilante in American Literature” (upper-level literature seminar) - USC

  • “Narrative Studies Capstone Workshop” (critical/creative senior thesis workshop) - USC

  • “Incarceration in Popular Culture” (gen. ed. literature/media studies course for first-years) - USC

  • “How A Story Works: The Art of Fiction” (graduate-level creative writing workshop) - UPenn

  • “Detective Fiction” (upper-level literature seminar) - UPenn

  • “Literature and Criminal Justice in the Twentieth Century” (upper-level literature seminar) - UPenn

  • and more!

Research and teaching interests

  • Law and literature

  • Criminal rights

  • Film, TV, and media studies

  • Race and class

  • African-American fiction

  • Southern fiction

  • War, violence, and trauma

  • Genre theory

  • Formalism and historicism

  • Popular fiction

  • Gender

  • Museum studies

  • Visual art

A complete academic CV is available on request.