Department of English
2009 to 2010
Dissertation Research Fellow
Isolating Liberty: The Home, the Prison, and the Asylum in Antebellum Literature
Abstract. My project for the PACHS fellowship involves the research and writing of my dissertation, “Isolating Liberty: The Home, the Prison, and the Asylum in Antebellum Literature,” which investigates 19th-century American writings and periodicals alongside documents on the construction and maintenance of the Eastern State Penitentiary and the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane. My study argues that ideologies and models of isolation affected many facets of antebellum American life and that isolation emerges as a crucial concept for understanding some of the major reforms of American society. With the PACHS fellowship, I will be able to complete archival research on the science, technology, and medical philosophy informing the design of these sites and demonstrate how Philadelphia led the nation in its transformation of the private and institutional spaces we occupied. Here is a report on her work.