Associate Professor, English
Fellow, Simone de Beauvoir Institute & Womens Studies
BA, Honours, English & Drama, with High Distinction, University of Toronto
BEd, English, Drama, & French, University of Toronto
MA, English, Concordia University
PhD, English, Rutgers University
My research interests include eighteenth-century literature, gender and sexuality, and humour studies. My first book, The Closet: The Eighteenth-Century Architecture of Intimacy shows how the various private rooms known as closets shaped extrafamilial relationships in eighteenth-century Britain, including the strangely virtual intimacies of print, the first mass medium. My new research focuses on the assumptions about joking that have fueled humour controversies, past and present. Sex and violence have long been not only common themes of jokes but also important metaphors in theories of comedy and irony. Inspired by sex-positive feminism, transformative justice movements,and the expansive approach to feelings in affect psychology, my project, tentatively titled “Flayed: Eighteenth-Century Satire and Twenty-First-Century Un/Laughter,”proposes that disentangling comedy from the rhetoric of sexuality and violence can help us to disagree about jokes more effectively and enjoy them more. This research has especially benefited from the talks, performances, and workshops I’ve hosted for Concordia’s Feminism and Humour working group.
17th- & 18th-century literature & culture
gender & sexuality
feminist cultural studies
intimacy & affect
print culture & media shift
The Closet: The Eighteenth-Century Architecture of Intimacy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2020.
"Satire and Offensive Humor," Options for Teaching Modern British and American Satire, eds. Evan Davis and Nicholas D. Nace, Modern Language Association Press, 2019.
“Toward a Humor-Positive Feminism: Lessons from the Sex Wars," Online: Los Angeles Review of Books (17 December 2017) and Print: Special Issue: Comedy, Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal 17 (February 2018), 48-57.
“Coming Out: Closet Rhetoric and Media Publics,” History of the Present: A Journal of Critical History 5.1 (Spring 2015) 31-64.
"The Literature and Culture of the Closet in the Eighteenth-Century: A Pedagogical Resource,” Digital Defoe: Studies in Defoe and his Contemporaries 6.1 (October 2014) 70-94.
"Intimate Points: The Dash in the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin,” Papers on Language and Literature 49.4 (2013) 1-29.
"Female Favouritism, Orientalism, and the Bathing Closet in Memoirs of Count Grammont," Eighteenth Century Fiction 24.1 (2011) 1-30.
"Lady Mary’s Imperfect Employment,” Aphra Behn Online: Interactive Journal for Women in the Arts 1640-18301 (2011)1-23.
"Sodomy, Geography, and Misdirection in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure," Special ed. Novelists on the Novel / La Poétique des romanciers, Eds. Isabelle Daunais and Allan Hepburn. University of Toronto Quarterly 79.4 (2010) 1035-1045.
"Carriages, Conversation, and A Sentimental Journey," Studies in Eighteenth Century Culture 35 (2006) 243-66.
With Joseph Drury, McKenzie Lee, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue.The Eighteenth Century Commons (April 2018).
Claude Rawson, Swift's Angers, Eighteenth-Century Studies 49.1 (Fall 2015) 104-106.
Chloe Wigston Smith, Women, Work, and Clothes in the Eighteenth-Century Novel, Eighteenth-Century Fiction 27.2 (January 2015) 309-311.
"Belle: A New View of Eighteenth-Century Racism," ABO Public: Interactive Forum for Women in the Arts, 1640-1830 (August 25 2014).
with Meredith Evans, “Why We Love Paulo Sorrentino’s This Must Be the Place," Lemon Hound (September 27 2013).
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