As we begin the semester, we're highlighting Bryn Mawr's newest faculty members. The College supports faculty excellence in both research and teaching.
Assistant Professor of English Chloe Flower
My research and teaching interests include transatlantic nineteenth-century literature and culture, histories of childhood, spatial theory, material culture, and gender and sexuality studies. My current book project argues that British culture during the long nineteenth century understood childhood identity as a spatially distinct formation. The project examines the pre-history of our current society’s “inner child” archetype, which imagines the child as a stand-in for bourgeois selfhood. I examine a number of commonplace nineteenth-century childhood objects and their representations, arguing that each object models a spatial conception of childhood subjectivity that coincides with a temporal shape of experience departing from the normative path of progressive growth. Different experiences of gender and class were conceived of as contingent developmental shapes, which have come to be obscured by the ascendance of the child as a trope for adult interiority. The alternative developmental shapes I describe have been submerged over time; their recovery reveals that the dominant conception of self eventually accepted by the Victorians was, during the nineteenth century, neither inevitable nor uncontested. In recovering these alternatives, I hope to contribute to present-day efforts to rethink ostensibly universal models of childhood subjectivity.
Bryn Mawr's English Department offers a wide range of courses in literatures of the English-speaking world, from medieval romances to contemporary novels and film. Students develop their own paths through the major, experimenting with historical periods, genres, forms and methodologies that might be unfamiliar, while also developing expertise in areas of specific interest to them.