Monique Allewaert

Monique Allewaert
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

Select Publications

Current Projects

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 American writers and artisans from New England elites to largely unknown 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. 

Recent Books

  • Ariel’s Ecology: Personhood and Colonialism in the American Tropics, 1760-1820

    Monique Allewaert

    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.