Bio


Hello. I am an associate professor of English at Georgetown University. I also direct Georgetown’s Program in American Studies.

I am a cultural historian. My interests in American Studies span a wide range of fields: 19th- and 20th-century U.S. literature and culture; race and ethnicity; film and visual studies; comparative media studies and media theory; and the history of technology and communications.

I am the author of two books. The most recent, The Listeners: A History of Wiretapping in the United States (Harvard University Press, 2022), explores the history of wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. The research for this project received support from the National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholars Program and the Library of Congress John W. Kluge Center. My first book, Savage Preservation: The Ethnographic Origins of Modern Media Technology (University of Minnesota Press, 2014), was named as a finalist for the American Studies Association’s Lora Romero Prize in 2015.

In addition, my academic writings have appeared in American Literature, African American Review, Callaloo, Notes and Queries, Post45: Peer Reviewed, Resilience, and The Multilingual Screen: New Perspectives on Cinema and Linguistic Difference (Bloomsbury, 2016). My research on electronic surveillance has been featured in Smithsonian Magazine and the Washington Post, among other venues.

I received my PhD from Harvard University’s Program in the History of American Civilization (now American Studies). At Georgetown, I teach courses in nineteenth- and twentieth-century U.S. literature and culture.

I live in Washington, D.C.

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