My work focuses on two areas: the colonial dimensions of British theatre in the long eighteenth century and writing from and about Aotearoa/New Zealand. My perspective on Restoration and eighteenth-century literature and culture was shaped by experiences in New Zealand in the year prior to my departure for graduate study at Cornell University, where I undertook doctoral work under the direction of Laura Brown. I participated in the campaign against the South African rugby team touring New Zealand in the winter of 1981, a process that forced me to think about the racist inequities enjoined by my nation’s colonial past and present. Doctoral study of eighteenth-century British literature and theatre provided a means of thinking through the colonialist origins of pakeha culture while teaching at Cornell offered the possibility of engaging with postcolonial literature.
My first book, Empire on the English Stage, 1660-1714 (Cambridge, 2001) describes and analyzes the plethora of ways in which late Stuart theatre dramatized the potential – and costs – of empire in the early stages of colonial expansion. My second, British Enlightenment Theatre: Dramatizing Difference (Cambridge, 2020), focuses on radical dimensions of early eighteenth-century English theatre, exploring plays about religious toleration, indigenous critique of imperial invasion, masonic concerns over commercial capitalism and the ‘local savagery’ of the countryside. I am currently researching a book about rural drama from the early modern period forward to explore the role of the countryside in England’s theatrical imaginary.
My first publication was an essay about Katherine Mansfield and settler criticism and I continue to write about Aotearoa/New Zealand poetry, fiction and film, as well as eighteenth-century voyage literature. My current New Zealand project concerns Bruce Mason, a pakeha playwright who was involved in the creation of the Maori Theatre Federation.
Empire on the English Stage, 1660-1714 Cambridge University Press, 2001.
Voyages and Beaches: Pacific Encounters 1769-1840 ed. with Alex Calder and Jonathan Lamb University of Hawaii Press 1999.
The Pacific Eighteenth Century Introduction and ed. Special Issue Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 38.3 (1997 Fall) 195-286.
‘Painting Empire and the Seven Years War’ Huntington Library Quarterly: Studies in English and American History and Literature 74. 4 (2011) 617-626.
‘Galland, Georgian Theatre and Popular Orientalism’ in The Arabian Nights in Historical Context: Between East and West eds. Saree Makdisi and Felicity Nussbaum Oxford University Press, 2008: 103-129.
‘”Maui and Orphic Blood”: Cook’s Death in Contemporary Maori Poetry’ Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 49.2 (2008: Summer) 165-179.
‘Poetic Plate-Fleets and Universal Monarchy: The Heroic Plays and Empire in the Restoration’ Huntington Library Quarterly: Studies in English and American History and Literature 63 1-2 (2000) 71-97. Reprinted in John Dryden:A Tercentenary Miscellany eds. Susan Green and Steven Zwicker Huntington Library 2001, 71-97.
‘”Stifling Pity in a Parent’s Breast”: Infanticide and Savagery in Late Eighteenth-Century Travel Writing’ in Travel Writing and Empire: Postcolonial Theory in Transit ed. Steve Clark Zed Books, 1999: 131-146.
‘Birth of a Nation? From Utu to The Piano’ in Piano Lessons: Approaches to The Piano eds. Felicity Coombs and Suzanne Gemmell Libbey, 1999: 148-160.
‘Margaret Drabble’ in British Writers: Supplement IV eds. George Stade and Carol Howard Scribbner’s, 1997: 229-254.
‘The Maori House of Fiction’ in Cultural Institutions of the Novel eds. Deirdre Lynch and William B. Warner Duke University Press, 1996: 73-95.
‘”Southern Passions mix with Northern Art”: Miscegenation and the Endeavour Voyage’ Eighteenth-Century Life 18.3 (1994 Nov.): 212-231.
‘”The only free people in the Empire”: Gender Difference in Colonial Discourse’ in De-Scribing Empire: Post-Colonialism and Textuality eds. Chris Tiffin and Alan Lawson Routledge, 1994: 152-168.
‘”Reading with the taint of the pioneer’: Katherine Mansfield and Settler Criticism’ Landfall: New Zealand Arts and Letters 43. 4  (1989 Dec) 447-461. Reprinted in Critical Essays on Katherine Mansfield ed. Rhoda B. Nathan G.K. Hall, 1993: 48-60.
‘”Blushing for her mother”: Jane Austen’s Embarassed Representation of Maternity’ Remembering Representation ed. Howard McNaughton University of Canterbury Occasional Papers in English 1, 1993: 52-64.
‘Whore’s Rhetoric and the Maps of Love: Constructing the Feminine in Restoration Erotica’ in Women, Texts, and Histories, 1575-1760 eds. Clare Brant and Diane Purkiss Routledge, 1992: 193-214.