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Professor of English, University of Virginia

As a feminist theorist, my primary interest is in issues of gender and sexuality, whether in "Pride and Prejudice," "Pulp Fiction,"or accounts of homelessness. I write frequently about Jane Austen and edited the Norton Critical edition of "Northanger Abbey.” My study of narratives of female development (“Unbecoming Women”) features chapters on Frances Burney, Charlotte Bronte, and George Eliot as well as Austen.

My newest book, “Extreme Domesticity: A View from the Margins” (Columbia University Press, 2017), considers eccentric and precarious homemakers (queer, working-class, immigrant, homeless) as the basis for a new theory of domesticity. The book has several aims: to value the labor and know-how needed to produce the space we call “home”; to stress the heterogeneity of households; and to free domesticity from its usual tie to stasis, conformity, and sentimentality. Figures treated in this transperiod study include Elizabeth Gaskell, Edith Wharton, Sandra Cisneros, Jamaica Kincaid, Leslie Feinberg, and Lois-Ann Yamanaka. Genres range from novels and decorating guides to women’s magazines and studies of homeless subcultures.

An earlier book, “Cool Men and the Second Sex,” analyzes the gender politics of scholarship by Edward Said, Lee Edelman, and others. My work has appeared in a variety of journals, including “Critical Inquiry,” “PMLA,” “New Literary History,” “American Literature” and “Feminist Studies.” The article “Pussy Panic versus Liking Animals: Tracking Gender in Animal Studies” reflects my growing interest in Animal Studies.


  • –present
    Professor of English, University of Virginia