Substance/Matters of Transatlantic Literary Culture

Elizabeth Polcha

Northeastern University

Elizabeth Polcha is a PhD candidate in English at Northeastern University, specializing in eighteenth and nineteenth century American and Caribbean literature. Her dissertation, "The Sable Curtain: Redaction and the Exchange of Women in Eighteenth-Century Transatlantic Print Culture" theorizes the redaction of interracial sexual encounters in colonial Caribbean writing.

Elizabeth Hopwood

Loyola University

Elizabeth Hopwood is an Instructor at Loyola University Chicago’s Center for Textual Studies and Digital Humanities. Her current book project focuses on food production and consumption in nineteenth-century Atlantic World texts.

Kate Simpkins

Wallace Community College

Kate Simpkins is an Assistant Professor at Wallace Community College. She has most recently presented her work at this year’s Haitian Studies Association 29th Annual Conference. Her dissertation, “The Absent Agronomist and the Lord of Poison: Cultivating Modernity in Transatlantic Literature, 1758-1854,” reads Early American Literature about the plantation as a means of tracing the relationship between Afro-diasporic knowledge ways and scientific modernity.

Valeria Tsygankova

Columbia University

Valeria Tsygankova is a PhD candidate in English at Columbia University, specializing in nineteenth-century American literature. Her dissertation, “Touching the Inanimate: Thinking with Things in Slavery’s Shadow,” traces a Transatlantic conversation about object ontology among enslaved artisans and ritual practitioners in the Americas, abolitionists in Britain and the US, and philosophers and activists Ralph Waldo Emerson and Frederick Douglass. Her research has most recently been supported by the John Carter Brown Library.

Michele Currie Navakas

Miami University of Ohio

Michele Currie Navakas is Assistant Professor of English and Affiliate of American Studies at Miami University of Ohio. She is the author of Liquid Landscape: Geography and Settlement at the Edge of Early America (University of Pennsylvania, 2017) and currently holds an NEH Fellowship for her book in progress, Coral in Early American Literature, Science, and Culture.


This roundtable gathers together four scholars who address the significance of granular, malleable, elemental, and composite substances to writers, thinkers, and makers of the nineteenth-century Americas. Our roundtable asks... [ view full abstract ]


  1. Elizabeth Polcha (Northeastern University)
  2. Elizabeth Hopwood (Loyola University)
  3. Kate Simpkins (Wallace Community College)
  4. Valeria Tsygankova (Columbia University)
  5. Michele Currie Navakas (Miami University of Ohio)

Topic Area



P 99 » Substance/Matters of Transatlantic Literary Culture: A Roundtable (10:45 - Sunday, 25th March, Fiesta III-IV)

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