- 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
- "Toward a Materialist Figuration: A Slight Manifesto" ELN (forthcoming).
- Ariel’s Ecology: Personhood and Colonialism in the American Tropics, 1760-1820 (University of Minnesota Press, 2013).
- Special Issue on Ecocriticism, American Literature, with Mike Ziser (2012).
- “Swamp Sublime” (PMLA 2008).
I am currently working on a book that investigates empiricist claims as well as literary and extra-literary practice in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Atlantic world to offer a materialist account of figuration. This book focuses primarily on the tropes of synecdoche and personification because both were central to metropolitan writers' efforts to conceptualize the Atlantic world and also because the practices of the diverse American populations I investigate in the book challenge these metropolitan uses. Looking at the ways that synecdoche and personification are theorized and used by New England philosophers and poets like Jonathan Edwards, Phillis Wheatley, and Emily Dickinson, Mid Atlantic Afro-American activists like Frederick Douglass, apologists for slavery like James Grainger or Edgar Allen Poe, and Afro Americans in plantation spaces, I argue that changes in the practices of personification and synecdoche that developed in the eighteenth century and escalated in the first decade of the nineteenth century do not simply index emerging modern conceptions of the person or the relation of parts to wholes: they also evince the circulation of antinomian conceptions of persons, parts, and wholes that might be resuscitated for the present to show that persons and totality might be composed otherwise than they are currently.
I am also researching a book project on mythologies of an American Atlantis that circulated amongst post (and often anti) Hegelian geologists, anthropologists, and occultists and also Afro-American mythologies of an undersea American Atlantis that date from the middle passage and remain in circulation today.
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.