Areas of Expertise

Victorian literature and culture, the novel, film studies, feminist studies.


MA, PhD, Rice University 1996
BA with Honors, Scripps College 1989


January 01, 2009 - May 01, 2011
Humanities Division Chair

Previous Courses

Austen and Bronte, Victorian Realism, Victorian Mystery, Literary Theory, Romanticism and Gender, Feminist Film Studies,


Currently, my research focuses on the strange and fascinating intersection of Victorian aesthetic theory and sanitation reform. This is an interdisciplinary project that explores a set of unarticulated connections between the history of the arts and the development of social sciences.



Avuncularism: Capitalism, Patriarchy and Nineteenth-Century English Culture (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2004).

The Sanitary Arts: Aesthetic Culture and the Victorian Cleanliness Campaigns (book manuscript in progress).


“Home Trading: Domestic Economy, Political Economy, and Hannah More’s Coelebs in Search of a Wife.” ELH (74.1) Spring 2007.

“Victorian Dust Traps.” Filth: Dirt, Disgust and Modern Life. Eds. William Cohen and Ryan Johnson. University of Minnesota Press, 2005.

“Dirty Pictures: John Ruskin, Modern Painters, and the Victorian Sanitation of Fine Art.” Representations(78), Spring 2002.


Invited Lectures and Presentations:

“Intensive Culture: Aesthetics and Purity in the Eugenic Novels of Sarah Grand.” Women’s Studies Lunch Lecture, Texas A&M University. March 2008.

“‘Implicit Faith in the Deception’: Misanthropy, Curiosity, and Natural History.” Morning Lecture. The Dickens Universe, UC Santa Cruz..
August 2003.

“Sanitizing Sublimity: Romantic Art/Victorian Dirt.” Department of Art and Art History, Texas State University, January 28, 2003.

“Sanitizing Sublimity: A Seminar.” Nineteenth-Century Interdisciplinary Studies Group (NICE), Rice University. December 14, 2002.

“Dirty Pictures: John Ruskin and the Victorian Sanitation of Fine Art.” British Studies Seminar, University of Texas at Austin. April 5, 2002.

Selected Conference Papers:

“Hyperaesthesia: Art After Ruskin.” North American Victorian Studies Association. New Haven: Nov. 14-16, 2008.

“Brown Studies: Painting and Pestilence in Late-Victorian Fiction.” NAVSA, Charlottesville. September 2005.

“Home Trading: Domestic Economy, Political Economy, and Hannah More’s Coelebs in Search of a Wife.” Society for the Study of Narrative
Literature, Lousiville. March 2005.

“Victorian Dust Traps.” Modern Language Association, New York City. December 2002.

“‘Art or Dirt’ William Morris and Late-Victorian Sanitary Aesthetics.” North American Conference on British Studies. Baltimore, November 2002.

“Dado or Dust-Trap? Aesthetic Borders and the Late-Victorian ‘Healthy House.’” Midwest Victorian Studies Association, Chicago. April 2002.

“Sanitizing Sublimity: Romantic Art/Victorian Dirt,” Modern Language Association, Washington D.C. December 2000.

Honors and Awards

2009-2010: Brown Research Fellowship, Southwestern University.

2006: C.P. Snow Fellowship, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center.

2002: Sam Taylor Fellowship.

2001-present: British Studies Junior Fellowship, University of Texas at Austin.

2001: Yale Center for British Art Fellowship.

2001: Mayers Fellowship, Huntington Library (Declined).

2001: Fleur Cowles Fellowship, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center.

2000: British Academy Fellowship.

2000: Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation Fellowship for Research and Travel.