Speaker Bios

Manu Samriti Chander, Associate Professor of English, Rutgers University-Newark

Professor Chander’s first monograph, Brown Romantics: Poetry and Nationalism in the Global Nineteenth Century (Bucknell, 2017), examined the appropriation of British Romantic tropes by colonial poets throughout the nineteenth century. He has also edited a collection of short fiction by the nineteenth-century Guyanese author, Egbert Martin (Caribbean Press, 2014), and co-edited, with Tricia A. Matthew, a special issue of European Romantic Review on generic experimentation in Romantic abolitionist literature. Professor Chander is currently working on The Collected Works of Egbert Martin, with the support of a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant, and developing a second monograph, Art Fights: Aesthetic Controversy and the Lessons of Modernity, which traces a trajectory from the controversial poems of Wordsworth and Coleridge to the films of Griffith and Kubrick and the novels of Nabokov and Rushdie.

Meredith Martin, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Center for Digital Humanities, Princeton University

Professor Martin specializes in anglophone poetry, historical prosody, historical poetics, poetry and public culture, and disciplinary and pedagogical history. She is the Faculty Director of the Center for Digital Humanities at Princeton, which started under her leadership in 2014. Her book, The Rise and Fall of Meter, Poetry and English National Culture, 1860-1930 (Princeton, 2012), was the winner of the MLA Prize for a First Book, the Warren Brooks Prize for Literary Criticism, and co-winner of the Sonya Rudikoff Prize for the Best First Book in Victorian Studies. She has been building and directing, since 2007, the Princeton Prosody Archive, which contains writing on poetics, prosody, rhetoric, grammar, speech, and literary history published between 1570-1923. Princeton graduate student Mary Naydan is the project manager. In 2015, Martin received the Andrew W. Mellon New Directions Fellowship for research on her current book project Before We Were Disciplines: Poetry at the Origin of Language. She is also working on a poetic handbook called The Stories of Poetic Forms and a collection of essays, Prosody as Archive.  She has published articles in Victorian Studies, Victorian Poetry, ELH, Modernism/Modernity. She is an original member of the nineteenth-century Historical Poetics Reading Group that has met once per term since 2007, and has co-organized conferences with the eighteenth-century reading group – the upcoming conference is called “Historical Poetics Now” and will take place in Austin, TX in early November. She also oversees that website, with Princeton graduate student John Schultz, at historicalpoetics.org.

Michael Tomko, Associate Professor of Literature, Villanova University

Professor Tomko teaches courses putting literature, religion, and philosophy into dialogue. He is the author of British Romanticism and the Catholic Question: Religion, History and National Identity, 1778-1829 (Palgrave, 2011) and co-editor of Firmly I Believe and Truly: The Spiritual Tradition of Catholic England, 1483-1999 (Oxford, 2011). His most recent book, Beyond the Willing Suspension of Disbelief: Poetic Faith from Coleridge to Tolkien (Bloomsbury, 2016), explores the relevance of Coleridge’s famous phrase for postsecular and postcritical literary theory and received the Conference on Christianity and Literature book-of-the-year award. He also serves as the book review editor for Religion & Literature.

Gauri Viswanathan, Class of 1933 Professor in the Humanities and Director of the South Asia Institute, Columbia University

Professor Viswanathan has published widely on education, religion, and culture; nineteenth-century British and colonial cultural studies; and the history of modern disciplines. She is the author of Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India (Columbia, 1989; 25th anniversary edition, with a new preface, 2014) and Outside the Fold: Conversion, Modernity, and Belief (Princeton, 1998), which won the Harry Levin Prize awarded by the American Comparative Literature Association, the James Russell Lowell Prize awarded by the Modern Language Association of America, and the Ananda K. Coomaraswamy Prize awarded by the Association for Asian Studies. Prof. Viswanathan is coeditor of the book series South Asia Across the Disciplines, published jointly by the university presses of Columbia, Chicago, and California under a Mellon grant. She has received Guggenheim, NEH, and Mellon fellowships. She was a network partner in the international research project “Enchanted Modernities: Theosophy, Modernism, and the Arts” funded by the Leverhulme Trust in the UK. A book catalogue of the project’s art exhibition, Enchanted Modernities: Theosophy, the Arts, and the American West, was published in July 2019. Viswanathan’s current work is on genealogies of secularism and theories of enchantment. Among her recent publications are “In Search of Madame Blavatsky: Reading the Exoteric, Retrieving the Esoteric,” published in Representations, and “Conversion and the Idea of the Secret,” published in Nineteenth-Century Literature. She received the Mark Van Doren Award for Teaching in 2017-2018.

Daniel Williams, Assistant Professor of Literature, Bard College

Professor Williams specializes in nineteenth-century British literature and culture and also works on the literature of contemporary South and Southern Africa. His current book manuscript explores uncertainty as a phenomenon in the nineteenth-century British novel, understood in the context of developments in science, philosophy, and the law. He is also at work on a second project about climate, perception, and social representation in the nineteenth century. His articles and reviews have appeared, or are forthcoming, in journals including ELHNOVELStudies in the Novel, Victorian StudiesVictorian Literature and CultureVictorian PoetryNineteenth-Century ContextsModern Language NotesComparative Literary StudiesGenreAnglia, and Safundi, as well as in edited collections including The Link Between Animal Abuse and Human Violence and The Oxford Handbook of Law and Humanities. He is co-editing a special issue of Poetics Today on “Logic and Literary Form.”


Patrick R. O’Malley, Professor of English, Georgetown University

Professor O’Malley teaches nineteenth-century British and Irish literature and culture, gender and sexuality studies, and critical theory. He is the author of Liffey and Lethe: Paramnesiac History in Nineteenth-Century Anglo-Ireland (Oxford, 2017) and Catholicism, Sexual Deviance, and Victorian Gothic Culture (Cambridge, 2006). He is currently working on a book about New Woman representations of sexual double standards.

Nathan K. Hensley, Associate Professor of English, Georgetown University

Professor Hensley is the author of Forms of Empire: The Poetics of Victorian Sovereignty (Oxford, 2017) and coeditor, with Philip Steer, of Ecological Form: System and Aesthetics in the Age of Empire (Fordham, 2018). His current project is about failing systems.