Digital research grounds my approach to affect studies, science studies, and literary history. Human feelings may not change over time, but my work reveals that how we understand and represent embodied experience evolves in concert with cultural mores and scientific research. This is especially true in the era of New Psychology (roughly 1880 to 1940), in which popular interest in emotion and cognition generates a host of new terms and rapidly alters their meanings.
My scholarship combines traditional methods of archival research with quantitative methods derived from the digital humanities. In my book project, for example, analytic programs like Google Ngram help me to establish that scholarly conversations about sentimentalism as a modern literary aesthetic have not kept pace with sentiment’s cultural purchase in the twentieth century. I theorize why this disparity persists and demonstrate that feminine feeling, far from being peripheral to twentieth-century modernism, centrally shapes its principles and preoccupations.
My classes similarly involve students in digital research to enhance traditional modes of textual analysis. My essay on teaching quantitative methods to undergraduates appears in a volume currently under review for the MLA Options for Teaching series.