Her research and teaching in the nineteenth century focus on slavery and antislavery, race and American culture, the history of the book and print culture, material and visual culture, and genre studies. She is also developing a new research agenda in sustainability studies. At Vanderbilt, she designed and directed “The Sustainability Project,” a cross-campus initiative to embolden Vanderbilt’s efforts toward sustainability. As part of that broader initiative, she also co-directs “The Cumberland Project,” a faculty development workshop to integrate sustainability across the curriculum. She has organized a panel on “Sustainability and Pedagogy” for MLA 2013.
Gothic America: Narrative, History, and Nation. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.
Selling Antislavery: Corporate Abolition and the Rise of Mass Culture in Antebellum America (in progress).
“The Slave Narrative as Material Text.” The Oxford Handbook to the African American Slave Narrative. Ed. John Ernest. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
“The African American Slave Narrative and the Gothic.” The Blackwell Companion to American Gothic. Ed. Charles Crow. West Sussex: John Wiley and Sons, forthcoming.
“‘To Thrill the Land with Horror’: Antislavery Discourse and the Gothic Imagination.” Gothic Topographies: Language, Nation Building, and Race. Eds. Paivi Mehtonen and Matti Savolainen. Farnam: Ashgate, forthcoming.
“The Discourse of Numeracy and the Antislavery Almanac.” Book History 12 (2009): 129-155.
“American Gothic.” The Routledge Companion to the Gothic. Eds. Catherine Spooner and Emma McEvoy. London: Routledge, 2007.
“Hawthorne and Class.” This is What Democracy Looks Like: A New Realism for a Post-Seattle World. Eds. Cecelia Tichi and Amy Lang. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2006. 131-143.
“Integrating Hawthorne.” Poe Studies/Dark Romanticism 37 (2004): 36-37.
“Historicizing the American Gothic: Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland.” Approaches to Teaching Gothic Fiction: The British and American Traditions. Eds. Diane Long Hoeveler and Tamar Heller. New York: Modern Language Association, 2003. 184-189.
“Poe, Sensationalism, and Slavery.” The Cambridge Companion to Poe. Ed. Kevin J. Hayes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. 92-112.
Introduction to “Representations of the Holocaust in the Arts” and “Monuments and Memorials” in The Holocaust and other Genocides. Ed. Helmut Walser Smith. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2002. 91-92, 121-130.
“Letters Turned to Gold: Hawthorne, Authorship, and Slavery.” Studies in American Fiction 29 (Spring 2001): 49-76.
“Rethinking Race and Slavery in Poe Studies.” Poe Studies/Dark Romanticism 33 (2000): 15-18.
“Introduction” to Gothic America. Reprinted in The Horror Reader. Ed. Ken Gelder. London: Routledge, 2000. 265-270.
“Vampire Gothic.” American Literary History 11.1 (Spring 1999): 125-41.
“The Ghost of Race: Edgar Allan Poe and the Southern Gothic.” Criticism and the Color Line: Desegregating American Literary Studies. Ed. Henry B. Wonham. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1996. 230-250.
“Bloody Daggers and Lonesome Graveyards: The Gothic and Country Music.” South Atlantic Quarterly 94 (Winter 1995): 57-80. Reprinted in Readin’ Country Music. Ed. Cecelia Tichi. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1998.
“Placing Poe.” Letters: The Semiannual Newsletter of the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities 2.1 (Fall 1993): 6-7.
“Reconstructing History in Gloria Naylor's Linden Hills.” Gloria Naylor: Critical Perspectives Past and Present. Eds. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Kwame Anthony Appiah. New York: Amistad Press, 1993. 231-248.
“The Circulation of Women in The House of the Seven Gables.” Studies in the Novel 23.1 (Spring 1991): 119-127.
“Scenes of Writing in Frederick Douglass's Narrative: Autobiography and the Creation of Self.” The Southern Review 25.4 (Autumn 1989): 822-40. In collaboration with Craig V. Smith.
Shades of Green: Visions of Nature in the Literature of American Slavery, 1770-1860; Laughing Fit to Kill: Black Humor in the Fictions of Slavery. American Literature 82 (June 2010): 421-422.
“Early African American Print Culture in Theory and Practice.” Early American Literature 45 (2010): 733-737.
Edited Special Issue
Guest Editor with Leland Person, Studies in American Fiction 29 (Spring 2001). Special Issue “The Scarlet Letter after 150 Years.”