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Bio

I am Associate Professor of English and American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where I also serve as Director of The Jack and Stella Kerouac Center for the Public Humanities and as Coordinator of the Public Humanities and Arts option of the university’s Master of Public Administration program. I typically teach courses in American literature and culture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as classes in contemporary Arabic literature, museum studies, digital humanities, and current cultural theory. My scholarship often situates American culture within its political history. I have served as the president of the New England American Studies Association, and, before arriving at UMass Lowell, I was a Harper fellow in the Society of Fellows at the University of Chicago. I live in Cambridge, MA, with my dog, chickens, tree frog, finches, rabbits, and family — although perhaps not in that order.


Projects

In the past year or so, I’ve published essays on identity politics in contemporary American crime novels and on Jack London’s early experiments in film and other mass cultural media. Several other projects are also in the works. I’m currently constructing a digital mapping project about the uneven urban development of Lowell, Massachusetts, in relation to Boston, and I’m writing an essay that uncovers the historical relationship between behavioral economics and neoliberalism. Some recent work on Dylan and Warhol’s meeting in 1965 has appeared in various magazine outlets, like the Brooklyn Rail. I’m the author of Fever Reading: Affect and Reading Badly in the Early American Public Sphere, and my work has appeared in various academic journals and mainstream publications including The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Weekly Standard, and The Conversation.


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Teaching

In recent years, I’ve taught courses on post-WW2 Hollywood film, American satire, Dylan/Warhol, and post-’68 Arabic fiction. The histories of American popular genres — like crime fiction, comedy, financial dramas — have been a particular interest in my teaching. I’ve often taught the English Department’s survey of American literature and the American Studies Program’s introductory course. My teaching is organized more around themes than periods, more around coaching students in how to be researchers in their community and world than the imparting of facts and information. I have recently written about my pedagogy of writing instruction in The Chronicle of Higher Education.