If we understand the structural inequalities inherent in nineteenth-century literacy and education, we can channel that understanding to recognize and combat the persistence of such inequalities today. It is this challenge which constantly motivates my research and pedagogy. In my teaching, I strive to apply my knowledge of class politics in nineteenth-century education in order to create a diverse and open classroom. When I teach a Victorian novel or scientific work, my lesson plans are informed by an awareness of the ways in which that text has challenged or upheld social hierarchies for past generations of readers and what power it might hold for students now.
Teaching forms an integral part of my intellectual identity and continually informs my scholarship. My book project, “You Are What You Read: The Politics of Literacy in the Nineteenth and Twenty-First Centuries,” actively unites teaching and research in the same conversation by weaving together archival nineteenth-century education history, close readings of Victorian texts, and reflections on the affordances those texts provide when taught in twenty-first-century classrooms. One of the main goals of the project is to understand the formation and impact of two kinds of specialization: that which separates academic disciplines from each other, and that which separates the academy from surrounding communities. I strive to combat both kinds of specialization in my own work by emphasizing community engagement and public humanities, by exploring how we might export literature to non-literary settings (like science classrooms and corporate board rooms), and by maintaining a reciprocity between my research and my teaching.