I am Director and Academic Advisor for the BXA Intercollege Degree Programs at Carnegie Mellon University. The BXA programs offer students the opportunity to combine a concentration in the College of Fine Arts with an academic concentration in the Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural and Physical Sciences, or Computer Science. In this position, I am able to work directly with students who are researching and working in areas ranging from visual art and psychology to music and anthropology to design and mathematics. My challenge is to provide these students not just with basic advising but with a vocabulary for talking about their work in critical and theoretical contexts across multiple disciplines. My reward is to watch them produce some amazing projects, like a video game based on the prehistory of The Winter’s Tale and an annotated edition of Arrested Development. I teach the BXA Freshman Research Seminar every fall, where we investigate modes of representation across media. I also oversee BXA Senior Capstone sequence, in which students spend a year researching and producing some kind of object that represents their interdisciplinary work over the course of their undergraduate career.
I graduated from the University of Chicago in December 2011 with a doctorate in English Literature. My dissertation, “Dead Reckoning: Knowing and Telling in Early Modern English Revenge Tragedies and History Plays,” argues that the process of transforming individual experience into publicly accessible narratives requires extensive testing for accuracy. The plays I consider by Kyd, Marlowe, and Shakespeare use contemporary technologies of information management drawn from fields such as forensics, accounting, and navigation to perform this testing. These forms of information management are also deployed to contain and structure the overwhelming emotions the characters must confront.
I’ve begun to delve into areas adjacent to my dissertation as I work on essays on the material presence and absence of objects in The Winter’s Tale and King Lear, and the presentation of female sprezzatura in Webster’s plays. I have also presented at recent conferences on interdisciplinary pedagogy and how to use the methodologies of literary studies to respond to the needs and goals of students interested in multiple disciplines.
Despite the lack of proof presented here, I’m actually more interesting than this dry list of professional interests indicate. I watch some terrible television, listen to a lot of literate songwriters, attempt to knit at least one a month before getting distracted and giving up, and am searching fruitlessly for decent Mexican food in the wilds of western Pennsylvania in my spare time.