I'm an Assistant Professor of English at Colby College. I also teach in and serve on the Advisory Board for the program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS), and teach a range of interdisciplinary courses on British literature and the Enlightenment. For AY 2018-19 I'm on sabbatical as a visiting scholar in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge (UK).
I'm a literary historian specializing in 18th-century British and transatlantic literatures, as well as literature and culture of the Enlightenment. I'm broadly interested in literature’s contributions to conceptual engineering, or the capacity of literature and literary studies to help us develop and refine knowledge concepts (for example, my current work is on the role of literature in shaping the concept of "data" during the Scientific Revolution).
My particular interests include epistemology and the organization of knowledge, science writing, the relationship between data and narrative, and political theory in the novel. My first book, A World of Disorderly Notions: Quixote and the Logic of Exceptionalism, is forthcoming from University of Virginia Press in Spring 2019. I am also writing monographs on (1) the historical relationship between data and narrative and (2) science denialism from the trial of Galileo to global warming. Here you can find more details about my research, including links to my peer-reviewed scholarship.
Along with my academic work, I write essays for the wider public about politics, literature, teaching, and higher education. My essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Atlantic, Vox, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and others.
I completed my doctorate in English at the University of Oxford in 2012, and hold prior degrees from Bucknell University and Dartmouth College. At Oxford I was a member and CR president of Linacre College.
Raised in Pittsburgh, PA, I ran Division I track and cross country at Bucknell, where I was an All-Conference and IC4A All-East selection multiple years.