Professor of English
Professor Davis is currently working on two book projects. Somatic Awareness: Teachers of Embodied Consciousness approaches the topic of embodiment through a historical and critical study of somatics, a field of bodywork focused on cultivating sensory awareness. The book explores the somatic teachers Genevieve Stebbins, Elsa Gindler, Carola Speads, Charlotte Selver, Charles Brooks, and Moshe Feldenkrais through their writings, memoirs written by their students, and recordings of their work. Interpreting this largely unknown field for humanities scholars, Professor Davis discusses how somatics challenges accounts of embodiment’s relationship to materiality, representation, and subjectivity that have been central to the humanities. Attachment Issues: Explorations of Intersubjectivity in American Literatureuses work on attachment theory, in particular the work of Daniel Stern, to discuss the formation of intersubjectivity in the work of nineteenth-century American writers including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harriet Wilson, and Herman Melville.
Her first book, Formalism, Experience and the Making of American Literature in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2007), argued that nineteenth-century American writers conceived of the experience of reading as a realm of typical responses that was, itself, the true medium of literature. She also proposed such work be thought of as an “affective formalism,” one that looked to the structure and shape of responsive experience as a domain of aesthetic interest. Her second book, Ornamental Aesthetics: The Poetry of Attending in Thoreau, Dickinson, and Whitman (Oxford Univ. Press, 2016), built off of that approach to argue that ornamentation is a practice of honoring and attending, one that figures a particular way of being in relation to the world. Together, these books pay intense attention to the difference language makes, but always with an eye to that difference as it manifests in perception and behavior, or in the felt range of human experience.
- Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship 2018-2019
- “Ornamental Aesthetics” chosen 2017 Outstanding Academic Title, “Choice”
- “Emerson Attuning: Issues in Attachment and Intersubjectivity,” ALH 31.3 (Fall 2019): 369-394.
- Ornamental Aesthetics: Thoreau, Dickinson, Whitman (Oxford Univ. Press, 2016)
- “Interpreting the Survey,” J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists Vol 4.1 (Spring 2016): 160-64
- “Hawthorne’s Rage: On Form and the Dharma,” in American Impersonal: Essays with Sharon Cameron, ed. Branka Arsiç (New York: Bloomsbury, 2014).
- “Opening Up Close Reading: Melville and Decorative Aesthetics,” in Melville and Aesthetics, ed. Samuel Otter and Geoffrey Sanborn (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).
- “Harriet Jacobs’s ‘Excrescences’: Aesthetics and Politics in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” Theory & Event 13: 4 (2010): n.p.
- Formalism, Experience, and the Making of American Literature in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge University Press, 2007).
PhD in English and American Literature, 2002, Johns Hopkins University
421 Holmes Hall
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Offers writing instruction for students in the D’Amore-McKim School of Business. Students practice and reflect on writing in professional, public, and academic genres—such as proposals, recommendation reports, letters, presentations, and e-mails—relevant for careers in business. In a workshop setting, offers students an opportunity to evaluate a wide variety of sources and develop expertise in audience analysis, critical research, peer review, and revision.
Designed for students to study and practice writing in a workshop setting. Students read a range of texts in order to describe and evaluate the choices writers make and apply that knowledge to their own writing and explore how writing functions in a range of academic, professional, and public contexts. Offers students an opportunity to learn how to conduct research using primary and secondary sources; how to write for various purposes and audiences in multiple genres and media; and how to give and receive feedback, to revise their work, and to reflect on their growth as writers.
Introduces the history and current scholarly practices of English studies. Surveys theoretical, methodological, and institutional issues in the development of the discipline; introduces students to the research of the English department’s graduate faculty; and offers opportunities for the practice of key components of scholarly production, including formulating research questions, using databases, conducting literature reviews, and writing and presenting scholarship in common formats other than the long research paper, such as conference proposals, oral presentations, and book reviews.
Studies the nineteenth-century development of an American national literary tradition in the context of democratic and romantic attitudes toward experience, nation formation, and national crisis. Includes such writers as Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Fuller, and Melville.
Emerson and Thoreau
Focuses on Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, two major American Romantic writers whose ideas about the individual, spirituality, nature, and politics have had a wide-ranging impact on American culture. Readings include essays, poetry, and journals by these two Massachusetts-based authors.
Director of Africana Studies Program; Associate Professor of English and Africana Studies
Professor of English
Associate Professor of English
Professor of English
Associate Professor of English; Graduate Program Director
Kathleen Coyne Kelly
Professor of English; Undergraduate Program Director
Elizabeth Maddock Dillon
Distinguished Professor of English; Co-Director, NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks
Professor of the Practice in English; Director, Digital Scholarship Group
Vice Chancellor for Global Learning Opportunities; Professor of English
Professor of English
Associate Dean of Teaching, Learning, and Experiential Education; Professor of English and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Davis Distinguished Professor of American Literature; Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Ruderman Professor of Jewish Studies; Director of Jewish Studies Program; Director of Humanities Center; Professor of English
Chair and Professor of English
Associate Professor Emeritus of English