Research

My research is located at the global intersections of new modernist, material culture, and postcolonial studies, and my work charts the global circuits of power and exchange that shaped culture and art in the early 20th century.

I’m currently writing a dissertation that examines the cultural impact of four tropical commodities – bananas, chocolate, Coca-cola, and cocaine – that were produced by neo-colonialist corporations between 1880-1950. The four commodities that I study are representative of the rapid growth of imported tropical goods in the United States, and I argue that the naturalizing of these goods into daily life bolstered the growing sense of American exceptionalism and supported American imperialism. You can read my full dissertation abstract here.

This interdisciplinary project has lead me to create an unconventional archive of primary and secondary sources. In addition to recognizably literary and artistic texts, I also draw on advertisements, annual reports, business and personal correspondence, educational pamphlets, newspaper reports, pulp novels, speeches, and trade magazines to analyze the full range of discourse surrounding these commodities. Such research has been made possible through the increasingly large and invaluable digital archives maintained by libraries, private collections, and Google Books, and I hope that my work will also open doors for thinking about how the humanities can harness these new digital resources.