Hello! I’m Abigail Droge, an Assistant Professor of English at SUNY Cortland. My work focuses on nineteenth-century British literature and the history of reading. I am particularly fascinated by the ways that readers can use literature to build interdisciplinary learning communities. By studying the archival records that past generations of readers have left behind, I hope to begin conversations about how and why we engage with literature today. The core motivation behind my work is to unite research and pedagogy in the same conversation and to find new ways of applying literary and historical knowledge when navigating current social challenges.
I received my Ph.D. from the Stanford English Department, where my dissertation explored how reading communities in both the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries engaged with the novels of Charles Dickens and George Eliot. The archives at the heart of the project came from Victorian readers across England, ranging from a student literary magazine at a science college, to the meeting notes from neighborhood clubs called “mutual improvement societies,” a common mode of adult education. The project also incorporated reflections on my own experiences teaching Victorian literature.
After graduating, I worked at the University of California, Santa Barbara as a Postdoctoral Scholar for “WhatEvery1Says: The Humanities in Public Discourse” (WE1S), a digital and public humanities project funded by the Mellon Foundation. The project was highly collaborative and represented a partnership across multiple institutions, including California State University–Northridge and the University of Miami. Our main goal was to use digital methods to analyze how the humanities are portrayed in recent media and journalism. As the Director of the WE1S Curriculum Lab, I focused particularly on how college students experience and write about the humanities.
I went on to teach in the English Department at Emory University as an American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Emerging Voices Fellow. I then worked at Purdue University as a Visiting Instructor in the Cornerstone Integrated Liberal Arts Program, a humanities-based general education sequence geared towards science and engineering students.
I received my B.A. in English from Yale University, where I was also a proud member of the Yale Glee Club.