Mollie Barnes, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English
Department of English, Theater, and Interdisciplinary Studies
My specialty is nineteenth-century U.S. literature—a field that invites us to trace dynamic changes in our world, globally and locally, at the same time. At USCB, I have the pleasure of teaching courses about this cultural moment but also about the broader contexts and periods that transcend my research focus and made me love English studies in the first place. This spring, in addition to the first-year composition sequence and our survey in American Literature, I'm excited to offer a seminar in African-American Literature (Spring 2018: our special focus on expatriates, including Anna Julia Cooper, Jessie Redmon Fauset, Gwendolyn Bennett, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, and Ta-Nehisi Coates). This summer, I'll run "Abolitionism in the Sea Islands," the Maymester course I've designed to dovetail with my research on social reform (click here to read our course description). This fall, I'm happy to teach our sophomore cohort in Introduction to English Studies and our seminar in American Literature 1860–1910 (Fall 2018: we'll study texts with complex composition, publication, circulation, revision, and reception histories). In varying ways, all of these courses challenge me to grapple afresh with debates that motivate my scholarship. While my current projects first began as studies of place, I have come to appreciate the ways transatlanticism (an approach to critical reading) urges me to pose more encompassing questions: What intellectual borderlines define "American Literature"? How do our critical dispositions affect how we read what we read? Finally, what do transatlantic studies do, and how might we think of them as historically located reading practices (not just as theoretical perspectives)?
I'm working now on essays about Margaret Fuller, Charlotte Forten Grimké, and Emma Lazarus that address these kinds of issues as they surface in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. I'm also revising my book project, "Unifying Ambivalence: Transatlantic Italy and the Anglo-American Historical Imagination," which studies "problem" texts written by Anglo-American expatriates during the Risorgimento and the Unification of Italy, and the years immediately following this revolutionary period. In the process of researching and editing this project, I became totally absorbed with other stories that I want to tell about some of these writers' works and cultural afterlives. I'll turn next, then, to a series of pieces on nineteenth-century social reformers whose essays, journals, and letters powerfully shaped transatlantic debates about social reforms ranging from immigration to abolitionism. Like the Italy project, this new series of essays on the Sea Islands explores the ways that transatlantic reading practices help us to historicize the literature of social reform locally and globally. Fuller is the heart of my current scholarship: her weekly conversazione drew people to her work and into her circle, and with well-known intensity that matches the respect she now garners as an author and editor, an activist and feminist. I count Fuller's love of conversation as just one of many literary pearls reminding me how fortunate I am to think and talk about ideas with good people every single day. In fact, that's my very favorite part of teaching and working with students, especially English, Theater, and Liberal Studies Folks, at USCB.
Dr. Hoffer and I are the founding faculty sponsors of May River Review, USCB's Interdisciplinary, Critical Journal (sign up for English 211: Editing and Publishing Practicum!). I also run The Show (check out our upcoming events on the English, Theater, and Liberal Studies Facebook and Instagram pages!).
"Edith Wharton's Old New York: Nineteenth-Century American Literary History and the Art of Selection in The Age of Innocence." Critical Insights on Edith Wharton, edited by Myrto Drizou, Salem, 2017, 139–154.
"'My Mere Narration': Fanny Kemble's Intercessions in Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation." Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies, vol. 13, no. 3, winter 2017.
"Historical Imagination in Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Casa Guidi Windows." Victorian Poetry, vol. 54, no. 1, spring 2016, pp. 41–68.
with Rebecca Weber, "Lions and Tigers and Bears and Environmentalists, Oh My: An Ecocritical Reading of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." The Oswald Review, vol.7, 2005, pp. 1–45.
Profiles & Reviews
Scholar Profile. 19 Cents: Nineteenth-Century Studies Association Blog, forthcoming spring 2018.
"SSAWW 2015 Conference: 'Liminal Spaces, Hybrid Lives.'" Review of Society for the Study of American Women Writers Conference. U.S. Studies Online, 8 Jan. 2016. Web.
with Kristin Boudreau, "Early Nineteenth-Century Literature." American Literary Scholarship. Duke UP, 2007, pp. 257–279.
composed bibliography for the 1800–1850 chapter; collected materials for review
with Kristin Boudreau, "Early Nineteenth-Century Literature." American Literary Scholarship. Duke UP, 2006, pp. 221–250.
composed bibliography for the 1800–1850 chapter; collected materials for review; wrote section on Harriet Beecher Stowe
"Abolitionist Bodies in Charlotte Forten's Sea Islands Journals and Atlantic Monthly Articles." Society for the Study of American Women Writers Conference, Denver, CO. November 2018.
"'To Mold in Clay and Carve in Stone': Temporality and Literary Form in Margaret Fuller's Italian Dispatches." Transcendentalist Intersections: Literature, Philosophy, Religion, sponsored by the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society, the Margaret Fuller Society, and the Center for American Studies at the University of Heidelberg. Heidelberg, Germany. July 2018.
"Margaret Fuller's Abolitionist Borderlines and the Columns of the New-York Daily Tribune." Society for the Study of American Women Writers Conference. Bordeaux, France. July 2017.
"'My Mere Narration': Precarious Observation in Fanny Kemble's Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation." British Women Writers Conference. Athens, GA. June 2016.
"Newport, Still: Interiority and Temporality in Emma Lazarus's Revisionist Elegy." Society for the Study of American Women Writers Conference, Philadelphia, PA. November 2015.
"Margaret Fuller's Illegibilities: Afterlives of an Unreadable, Unrecoverable Manuscript." Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Conference. Atlanta, GA. April 2015.
"'I think I should write a book about the Austrians': Effie Ruskin's Ambivalent Venetian Letters." British Women Writers Conference, Boulder, CO. June 2012.
"'A Strange, Strange Contrast': Risorgimenti Hauntings in Vernon Lee's Polite Stories." British Women Writers Conference. Columbus, OH. April 2011.
"Remembering Rightly: Fictional Narrative in Henry James's Italian Hours." American Literature Association Fiction Symposium. Savannah, GA. October 2010.
"Rome, Concord, and The Art of 'Momentary Circumstance.'" Nathaniel Hawthorne Society Summer Meeting. Concord, MA. June 2010.
"Heavenly Belongings, Earthly Belongings, and Felicia Hemans's The Restoration of the Works of Art to Italy." British Women Writers Conference. College Station, TX. April 2010.
"Imagination Like Likeness: The Copyist Aesthetic in The Wings of the Dove." American Literature Association Fiction Symposium. Savannah, GA. October 2009.
"Photographic Mourning: Amy Levy's The Romance of the Shop and the Development of Feminine Subjectivity." British Women Writers Conference. Iowa City, IA. April 2009.
Presentations for the English Graduate Organization Colloquium, April 2008, March 2009, and March 2010. Athens, GA.
Selected Scholarship of Teaching & Learning Presentations
"Abolitionism in the Sea Islands: Teaching Reform Literature Locally and Transatlantically." College English Association Conference. Hilton Head Island, SC. April 2017.
with Lauren Hoffer, Ellen Malphrus, and Erin McCoy. "The Show: How ETLS Develops Departmental Programming to Support Recruitment and Retention." Chancellor's Retention Symposium. USCB. February 2017.
"Teaching Revision and Remediation with Audio Essays." Student Success in Writing Conference. Savannah, GA. March 2016.
NEH Summer Institute: Transcendentalism and Social Reform in the Age of Emerson, Thoreau, and Fuller
Nathaniel Hawthorne Society Travel Grant
Emerita Faculty Award for Dissertation Research