- Assistant Professor
- 6131 Helen C. White Hall
- E-mail Monique Allewaert
- 18th- and 19th-Century American literatures, Colonial and Postcolonial Theory, Ecocriticism, Political Theory
Degrees and Institutions
BA, English and Political Science, University of California, Irvine
MA, English, University of California, Santa Barbara
PhD, English, Duke University
- Ariel’s Ecology: Personhood and Colonialism in the American Tropics, 1760-1820 (University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming 2013).
- Special Issue on Ecocriticism, American Literature, with Mike Ziser (2012).
- “Colonialism’s Pathetic Fallacy” (under review).
- “Swamp Sublime” (PMLA 2008).
I am currently working on two new projects. One explores the development of the concept of personification. The now widely accepted definition of personification as the improper imputation of human characteristics to nonhuman forms has its origins in colonialism. My working thesis is that the spread of the term and concept of personification in the nineteenth century attempts to deflect attention away from a surprisingly widespread concept of the person as a not-necessarily human entity composed through relations amongst human and nonhuman forms. A second work in progress focuses on how theorizations of immanence, which understand all politics and possibility to be inside of the existing world, might reinvigorate the critical methodologies used in American Studies, which often rely on dialectical approaches that position political change as a transcendent event.
I teach eighteenth and nineteenth-century literatures, critical theory, ecocriticism, and poetry. My courses include American Colonialisms (English 606), Continental Prophecies (English 621), and the gateway course for American Literature (English 217). Upcoming classes are likely to include Animals, Cannibals, Vegetables, American Natures, as well as a seminar on personification.
University of Minnesota Press
What happens if we abandon the assumption that a person is a discrete, world-making agent who acts on and creates place? This, Monique Allewaert contends, is precisely what occurred on eighteenth-century American plantations, where labor practices and ecological particularities threatened the literal and conceptual boundaries that separated persons from the natural world.