My research has a number of distinct but interlinked strands. First, I write about antebellum American literature, particularly in relation to questions of how print and performance culture interact in this era. My first monograph, entitled The Drama of the American Short Story, 1800 – 1865, came out in October 2016 with University of Michigan Press. In the book I develop a new generic theory of the antebellum short story by utilising performance and ritual theory.
My second area of research developed out of a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship I held at The University of Nottingham and concerns how realist fiction explores the effect of emergent theories of culture upon radical, transnational conceptions of class solidarity. The planned monograph is entitled After Haymarket: Class and Culture in the American Gilded Age.
I have recently been awarded an AHRC Early Career Grant with Dr. Sara Lyons in the Department for a project entitled "Literary Culture, Meritocracy and the Assessment of Intelligence, 1880 -1920". The project considers how the bildungsroman in late- nineteenth century and early twentieth century culture responded to increasingly fixed and immutable definitions of "intelligence" organised around IQ.
I am Faculty Deputy Director of American Studies and Admissions Tutor.
Since 2014 I have been a Charitable Trustee for the Open Library of Humanities
Connected with my academic work on the history of intelligence and education is my position as Head of Research for The Kent Education Network [http://kenteducationnetwork.org]: a cross-party campaign group "championing progressive, equal and excellent education in the county" by seeking the abolition of the 11+ test.