My interdisciplinary scholarship pursues the environmental humanities. More particularly, I explore how people have understood and expressed their interconnectedness with the material world. My analyses take me to the nineteenth-century emergence of professional science; the transatlantic aesthetics informing national landscapes; and the various forms of power and oppression now manifest in our landscapes. My research takes me to archives and through scholarship in various fields, including art history, philosophy, and ecology. It also takes me into physical landscapes, particularly those of New England and the Susquehanna River valley. I frequently collaborate with students in my research, pursuing these issues as they shape both our immediate and our global communities.
I have co-edited four volumes: two collections of scholarly essays, and two editions of writings by the nineteenth-century naturalist, Susan Fenimore Cooper (1813-1894). While my authored publications have examined a range of figures, Henry David Thoreau and his nineteenth-century contemporaries have been a focal point. My first monograph, Passions for Nature: Nineteenth-Century America’s Aesthetics of Alienation (U of Georgia, 2009), centers on Susan Fenimore Cooper, an increasingly recognized writer who made key contributions to the rise of environmental thought in the United States. My book examines Cooper's groundbreaking arguments toward the emergence of national environmental consciousness and demonstrates the specific aesthetic contexts of her work, which included landscape art, landscape design theory, and the rise of professional science.
My recent lectures and essays pursue the emergence of environmental-justice concerns in nineteenth-century natural history and the transatlantic professionalization of science. I am also collaborating with my students, as well as with colleagues and students at Bucknell University and SUNY-Oneonta, on a project that seeks to develop the digital environmental-humanities: an interactive, digital edition of Cooper’s Rural Hours (1850). My second monograph, now underway, will serve as the first scholarly biography of S. F. Cooper. This project is informed by over a decade of research in thirty-five archives across the U.S. and Europe and has been supported by fellowships from various organizations, including the American Antiquarian Society, the Idaho Humanities Council, and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).