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Hello! I am an Associate Professor of Literature (currently on leave) at Bard College, where I was the founding director of the concentration and Center for Experimental Humanities until 2020.

My research interests include media studies and digital culture, childhood, fantasy and the afterlives of medieval literature, and the role of the humanities in contemporary society. I have published academic work in all of these areas, including my recent book Re-Enchanted: The Rise of Children’s Fantasy Literature in Twentieth Century, which was nominated for a Mythopoeic Scholarship Award.Maria2 copy.jpg

My colleagues and I conceived of Experimental Humanities at Bard, offering courses in the academic concentration from 2012 and formally launching the Center in 2017. EH focuses on how technology mediates what it means to be human and embraces historical, theoretical, and practice-based approaches to this question, often through interdisciplinary collaboration and justice-minded work in the community. We inaugurated the international Experimental Humanities Collaborative Network, part of the Open Society University Network, in 2020.

I experiment with form in my own public-facing work, which has included a computational text analysis / digital humanities project based on The Babysitters Club corpus called The Data-Sitters Club (ongoing); a trio of video documentaries that explore staging and understanding early English drama; a podcast called In Theory about the relevance of academic theories to everyday life, co-hosted with Noorain Khan; and short speculative fiction.

I have been honored to work with the American Library Association since 2014 as a National Project Scholar for their Great Stories Club reading and discussion program for underserved youth across the United States. I am currently working on a new interdisciplinary research project about the intellectual lives of teen participants based on GSC survey data.

I received my master’s in English Medieval Studies and doctorate in English from the University of Oxford, where I was a Rhodes Scholar, and my BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago. I grew up in Newport News, Virginia.

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