The principal aim of my current book project, “National Enchantment: Time, Sovereignty, and U.S. Settler Postcolonialism, 1790-1840,” is to understand the new nation’s complex affiliation with its colonial past, and the array of colonial practices, ideologies, and emotional attachments that survived independence. To this end, “National Enchantment” identifies “enchantment” as a defining feature of U.S. settler postcolonial literatures and cultures. Drawing together discussions in literary studies, philosophy, and political theory, the project theorizes enchantment as an experience that produces the sudden synchronicity of heterogeneous times and spaces. This device offered early nationals an important historical possibility: it granted insight to relationships between ostensibly unrelated peoples across vast spatiotemporal distances. While this interest in comparing cultures from different ages was part of a larger intellectual development within Romantic historicism, for many American writers and thinkers it became the entry point for examining political and cultural sovereignty in a postcolonial nation.
Areas of Specialty
- Early and Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Culture
- Postcolonial Theory
- Political Theory and Literature
- Time Studies
Two journal articles from the book project are forthcoming in 2013.