I recently wrapped up a PhD in the Literary Studies program at Madison and started a position at the UW-Madison Center for the Humanities as the Assistant Director of Scholarly and Academic Programs, working with faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students in a variety of research programs. In my scholarly time, I work on early twentieth-century philosophy, art, and mathematics, with broader interests in critical theory, the literary avant-garde, and the history of science. My dissertation project is titled: “Axiomatic Modernism: Poetics, Logic, and Mathematics in the Early 20th Century.” It’s a mouthful. If I could do it over, I’d probably write my dissertation on Mars. (But how would I get there?)
[ETA: I’ve just begun writing my second book-length project. “Life on Mars: 1877-2027” traces patterns in the modern cultural mythology of Mars, from Giovanni Schiaparelli’s telescopic observations to the speculative colonies of Mars One, particularly in broadcasting, literature, architecture, and critical theory. So, Mars it is!]
Before joining the Center I taught courses in composition and literature at UW-Madison, and lectured in the Women’s Studies and English departments at UW-Whitewater. In July 2014, I joined the folks at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery for a year as a Marie Christine Kohler Fellow.
I grew up in Tucson, Arizona. I was a downtown-ie. My elementary, middle, high school, and college were all bordered on one side by the same street (6th). I started my working life in a café three blocks from the house I grew up in, and lived in a succession of low-rent and high-charm (read: dilapidated and in “bad” neighborhoods) apartments, all walking distance from work and university. At 21, I went out into the world. Or rather, I moved to Madison–far away from home but arguably a midwestern clone of the place I grew up. At 25, I “got into trouble” as they used to say, and had my son, H, who is now six years old and deeply rad. In the summer of 2013 we welcomed A, another son, into the mix.
It turns out that I love Wisconsin. I support Wisconsin unions and labor rights for all workers. I’m committed to the Wisconsin Idea–that the boundaries of the university are the boundaries of the state. My classrooms are intense, productive lab-spaces, but my commitment to higher education is not merely the two fields of teaching and research. I believe in the mission of the public humanities–to enhance campus culture, to broaden access to learning and discussion, and to use the resources of the university to work for positive change in the larger community.