Professor Lori Merish

Lori Merish, Associate Professor, English

Lori Merish is an Associate Professor of English. Her research and teaching interests are in U. S. literature and culture, especially 1800-present; feminism and women’s writing, including contemporary women’s fiction; multi-ethnic and working-class U. S. literatures; cultural studies; literature and material culture (including “thing theory” and critical approaches to commodity culture); cultural theory, especially theories of gender, race, sexuality, class, and nation; and literature and economic justice.

She earned her M. A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from the College of William and Mary.

Publications include two books, Archives of Labor: Working-Class Women and Literary Culture in the Antebellum U. S. (Duke UP, 2017) and Sentimental Materialism: Gender, Commodity Culture, and 19th-C American Literature (Duke UP, 2000). In addition, she has published a wide range of critical articles on 19th-and 20th-century U. S. literature and culture, including articles on visual culture (film, advertisements, photography), “cuteness” as commodity aesthetic, material culture and “thing theory,” and the literature of immigration, as well as essays exploring the intersection of class and sexuality, the feminization of poverty in U. S. literature, and theoretical approaches to class subjectivity.

She is currently at work on three commissioned articles: on nineteenth century working-class culture; on depictions of female labor in Emily Dickinson’s poetry and letters; and on figurations of transatlanticism and globalization in the writing of contemporary Native American authors Leslie Marmon Silko and James Welch. For the past several years she has been exploring two different book-length projects: one on theoretical approaches to class “identification” as figured in 19th- and 20th-C U. S. literary texts and films; and another on nineteenth-century poverty narratives.

Merish also has won a number of honors, grants and awards, including: a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowship; a Mellon Fellowship, English Department, Stanford University; a Charlotte W. Newcombe Fellowship; a U. C. Berkeley Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities Fellowship; and the A. S. A.’s Constance Rourke Award for best article in American Quarterly (1993).