Generally, my research interests focus on the long nineteenth century with a particular emphasis on backcountry settlements and conflicts between settlers, Native peoples, and the federal government. My work embraces a number of theoretical formations including postcolonialism and ecocriticism as well as scholarship associated with the “spatial turn” in the humanities.
My current book project, Paper Nation: American Literature and the Surveying of North America, contributes to ongoing conversations about nineteenth-century American nationalism and the territorial expansion of the United States.
I argue that technological innovations in land surveying were instrumental to American expansion and provided the means through which new territories were incorporated within the rapidly growing nation. I also examine how a vast archive of images, narratives, and histories produced by the national survey diffused into the furthest reaches of American thought, social life, and representational practice, forming a powerful conceptual framework for imagining the nation during the most critical decades of American expansion.