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Research

My research interests are in eighteenth-century and Romantic writing and colonial cultures, with a focus on Anglophone Atlantic literature and the life sciences.

My monograph The Caribbean and the Medical Imagination is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press. The book is a study of how the medical ideas that underpinned discourses of race, landscape, and aesthetics were produced and circulated by colonial literary texts. The project speaks to current concerns in literary and cultural studies, the history of Atlantic knowledge, medical humanities, and postcolonial studies, focusing on the conceptual structures of imperial discourses and cultural practices, and on the relationship between literary form and medical and scientific ideas.

I am currently working on a new project on Empire and Experiment, partly funded by the Wellcome Trust.

I am also working on a project on Colonial Caribbean Visual Cultures with Dr Sarah Thomas (History of Art, Birkbeck). We recently co-organized a conference with Tate Britain which marked the opening of Tate’s major exhibition on art created under the conditions of the British Empire and its aftermath. We are now working on a special issue for Atlantic Studies: Global Currents. Please see the call for papers.

Previous projects include ‘Aesthetic Enlightenments: Cultures of Natural Knowledge’, with Dr Sarah Easterby-Smith (University of St Andrews), which examines the relationship between the aesthetic production and social circulation of knowledge about the natural world in the long eighteenth century, focusing on the hybrid and plural forms through which knowledge was made, practiced, textualized, and viewed. We held a conference at the Huntington Library, California, in January 2014, and published a special issue of the Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies.