Kellen Bolt

I’m a 6th year PhD candidate in the English department. My research and teaching are rooted in early and nineteenth-century American literature and politics, particularly the intersections of the environment, migration, and citizenship. My dissertation, “Cultivating Citizens: Ecology and Nationality in US Immigrant Literature,” explores how and why American ecosystems became objects of appreciation, intervention, and attachment within immigration literature published during the open door era (1783-1882). It argues that naturalization narratives generated nature-centered understandings of citizenship by organizing their representations of civic belonging around environmental aesthetics and ethics. Most of the authors I study are pretty obscure these days––J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, Charles Sealsfield, Mary Anne Sadlier, and A.J.H. Duganne, for example–but you should totally check them out!!

Aside from this, I am beginning to start assembling an archive of xenophobic literature published between 1835 and 1861. I am hoping to build a digital database of these materials, which have acquired new relevance in this particular historical moment, in order to show academic and non-academic audiences how American nativist movements are profoundly literary phenomena.

I’m a pretty fresh fish when it comes to DH, but I am greatly looking forward to developing strategies for better integrating digital practices into our classrooms!!