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.
I was the founding director of the academic program and Center for Experimental Humanities at Bard from 2012-2020. 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.
My own public-facing work also experiments with form, and 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 was a National Project Scholar for the American Library Association’s Great Stories Club reading and discussion program for underserved youth across the United States from 2014-2020. I am currently working on a 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.