My teaching and research focus on American literature of the long nineteenth century (1776–1914), as well as literary and critical theory. Situated at the intersection of the fields of literature and philosophy and literature and psychoanalysis, my scholarship is primarily preoccupied with examining the ways in which American Romantic writers, through their various engagements with German Idealist philosophy (especially its theories of subjectivity, aesthetics, and ethics), ended up producing prescient glimpses of what would later become fundamental psychoanalytic concepts such as the unconscious, the uncanny, the death drive, and jouissance. In short, I am interested in how authors like Emerson, Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman, and Fuller used the literary to perform a different mode of philosophical and (proto-)psychoanalytic thinking.
My work has appeared in journals and edited collections including Arizona Quarterly, The Comparatist, Continental Thought and Theory, ESQ, Open Philosophy, Poe Studies, Ahab Unbound: Melville and the Materialist Turn, and The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of the American Renaissance. I am also the editor of the books Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Literature but Were Afraid to Ask Žižek (Duke University Press, 2017) and (with Slavoj Žižek) Subject Lessons: Hegel, Lacan, and the Future of Materialism (Northwestern University Press, 2020). I am currently completing a monograph titled A Gainful Loss: Melville avec Lacan, which looks at how the fiction of Melville’s “major phase” (Moby-Dick, Pierre, “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” and “Benito Cereno”) simultaneously engages German Idealist thought and anticipates many crucial insights of Lacanian psychoanalysis.
- Ph.D., University of Rochester
- M.A., University at Buffalo
- B.A., Canisius College
- A Gainful Loss: Melville avec Lacan. In progress.
- Editor (with Slavoj Žižek), Subject Lessons: Hegel, Lacan, and the Future of Materialism. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2020.
- Editor, Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Literature but Were Afraid to Ask Žižek. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017.
Journal Articles and Book Chapters
- “‘The King Is a Thing’; or, Ahab as Subject of the Unconscious: A Lacanian Materialist Reading,” in Ahab Unbound: Melville and the Materialist Turn, ed. Meredith Farmer and Jonathan D. S. Schroeder (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2022), 161–78.
- “The Subject,” in Understanding Žižek, Understanding Modernism, ed. Jeffrey R. Di Leo and Zahi Zalloua (New York: Bloomsbury, 2022), 222–25.
- “Notes Toward an Extimate Materialism: A Reply to Graham Harman,” Open Philosophy 4 (2021): 106–23.
- “Enjoyment as an Ontological Factor: Sex, Death Drive, and the Subject of Jouissance in Hannah Webster Foster’s The Coquette,” The Comparatist 44 (2020): 156–81.
- “Subject Matters,” Introduction to Subject Lessons: Hegel, Lacan, and the Future of Materialism, ed. Russell Sbriglia and Slavoj Žižek (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2020), 3–28; with Slavoj Žižek.
- “From Sublimity to Sublimation: Hegel, Lacan, Melville,” in Subject Lessons: Hegel, Lacan, and the Future of Materialism, 227–47.
- “Emancipating Hegel: Synthesis, History, and the Example of Whitman,” Continental Thought and Theory 2, no. 4 (2019): 11–48.
- “Specters of Marxism in Frank J. Webb’s The Garies and Their Friends: Class, Race, and the Critique of Ideology,” ESQ: A Journal of Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Culture 64, no. 4 (2018): 564–602.
- “Object-Disoriented Ontology; or, the Subject of What IS Sex?” Continental Thought and Theory 2, no. 2 (2018): 35–57.
- “The Trouble with the Gothic: Poe, Lippard, and the Poetics of Critique,” in The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of the American Renaissance, ed. Christopher N. Phillips (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 38–51.
- “Did Somebody Say Žižek and Literature?,” Introduction to Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Literature but Were Afraid to Ask Žižek, ed. Russell Sbriglia (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017), 1–32.
- “The Symptoms of Ideology Critique; or, How We Learned to Enjoy the Symptom and Ignore the Fetish,” in Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Literature but Were Afraid to Ask Žižek, 107–36.
- “Feeling Right, Doing Wrong: Poe, Perversity, and the Cunning of Unreason,” Poe Studies 46 (2013): 4–31.
- “Revision and Identification: Emerson and the Ethics of Skepticism and Sympathy,”
Arizona Quarterly 66, no. 2 (2010): 1–33.