I am an assistant professor of English and affiliate faculty in Native American and Indigenous Studies, Cultural Studies, and Women and Gender Studies at George Mason University. After receiving my PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, I was a Harper-Schmidt Fellow in the Society of Fellows at the University of Chicago for four years before taking up my position at GMU, where I teach classes and supervise research in speculative fiction, American, Indigenous, and world literature, environmental humanities, queer studies, and critical theory.
My work is at the intersection of literary and cultural studies, science and technology studies, the environmental humanities, and critical theories of race, indigeneity, disability, gender, and sexuality. Across two book projects and other article-length explorations I analyze the relationship between aesthetic form, the environment, and sociopolitical constructs such as race, gender, and coloniality, from (most recently) how Lockean narratives of propertization allowed U.S. nuclear biologists to imagine themselves as colonizing the ocean through nuclear testing to how the affordances of speculative fiction have been taken up by Black women writers to both theorize and think beyond the infrastructural violence imposed by U.S. empire.
My book-length research focuses on the cultural forms that shape American nuclearization and how subaltern artists and activists use aesthetic form to theorize and oppose it. My first book, Infrastructures of Apocalypse: American Literature and the Nuclear Complex (University of Minnesota Press, 2020) was awarded the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment book prize and was a finalist for the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present book prize. Infrastructures of Apocalypse shows how minoritized writers in the U.S. have theorized nuclear apocalypse not only as an unthinkable paradox or a future threat – the “nuclear sublime” – but also as a new national infrastructure – the “nuclear mundane” – that has determined the flow of resources and risks across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Through analyses of writers including Toni Cade Bambara, James Baldwin, Samuel Delany, Tony Kushner, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Ruth Ozeki, Infrastructures of Apocalypse develops a critical theory of apocalypse from below, where the imposed futureless of nuclear infrastructures leads to a transfigurative understanding of apocalypse that allows radically different political possibilities to become imaginable in the present.
In my current book project, Nuclear Decolonizations, I extend my work on cultural struggles around nuclearization in the U.S. to the transnational scale. This project analyzes the global manifestations of the U.S. nuclear complex – from power plants to uranium mines to testing sites – as contact zones between American nuclearism and Indigenous communities, revealing a complex and multidirectional relationship in which the U.S. is reshaped by its nuclear experiences abroad even as sites in India, South Africa, Oceania, and Native North America are transformed by their contact with American nuclear technologies. Nuclear Decolonizations shows how nuclearization has impacted the decolonization imaginary in four key sites and how writers and activists in the Global South have both represented the imperial violence of the nuclear complex and used fiction, poetry, film, and performance to theorize alternatives to it. I was fortunate to have a year of work on this project supported by a residential fellowship at the National Humanities Center, and am happy to read application drafts for those applying, especially from underrepresented scholars. Email me!
My work has appeared or is forthcoming in American Quarterly, College Literature, symplokē, Mediations, Comparative Literature Studies, Commonwealth Essays and Studies, American Literature, Extrapolation, Frame, The Faulkner Journal, and the edited collections The Silence of Fallout: Nuclear Criticism in a Post-Cold War World and Toxic Immanence: Decolonizing Nuclear Futures and Legacies, and been recognized by the Annette Kolodny Prize, the Don D. Walker Prize in Western Literature, the 1921 Prize in American Literature (honorable mention), and the Jim Hinkle Memorial Prize. In 2018 I coedited a special issue of ASAP/Journal titled Apocalypse, and in 2021 I co-edited a joint special issue of American Literature and Resilience titled The Infrastructure of Emergency. I also pursue pedagogical research around issues of diversity and inclusion, and recently completed a study on Universal Access for disabled students in humanities classes funded by the Chicago Center for Teaching.