Research

For my full CV, go here.

My research program has four main tracks. First, I’m interested in how children’s literature plays a shaping role in adult-associated projects like psychology and philosophy. With Fordham University Press I recently published a book on children’s literature, philosophy, and that strange thing we call theory, called Theory for Beginners, or Children’s Literature as Critical Thought. It’s a sequel of sorts to my second book Freud in Oz: At the Intersections of Psychoanalysis and Children’s Culture (U of Minnesota P, 2011), about the mutualities of children’s literature and psychoanalysis. A related project is my fifth co-edited volume, Alt-Kid Lit: What Children’s Literature Has Been, Never Was, and Might Yet Be, under contract with University Press of Mississippi. Like the two monographs, this project considers children’s literature in alternative contexts and registers.

A second interest is gender and sexuality in and around children’s literature. My first book Making American Boys: Boyology and the Feral Tale (U of Minnesota P, 2004), explores literary and cultural programs of “boyology” in relation to stories of boys raised by various animals (what I call the “feral tale”), and I have also co-edited two essay collections dealing with queer childhood and/or children’s literature: with Michelle Ann Abate, Over the Rainbow: Queer Children’s and Young Adult Literature (U of Michigan P, 2011), and with Derritt Mason, Queer as Camp: Essays in Summer, Style, and Sexuality (Fordham UP, 2019).

I’m also curious about the literary capital and material circulation of children’s literature. I’ve published pieces on prizing, classics, archive studies, and anti-censorship work, and with Joseph T. Thomas, Jr., I co-edited Prizing Children’s Literature: The Cultural Politics of Children’s Book Awards (Routledge, 2017).

Finally, I have been teaching courses on Florida children’s literature, which continue my interest in environmentalism, both Florida-specific and more generally. With my amazing colleague UF English Sidney I. Dobrin I co-edited Wild Things: Children’s Culture and Ecocriticism (Wayne State UP, 2004). In my Florida research I consider not only environmental issues but also Florida’s complicated and vexing history of settler colonialism, indigenous exploitation, land development, and ongoing migration from both within and beyond U.S. national borders.