Maeve Adams

Director of Digital Arts & Humanities

Associate Professor, Director of Digital Arts and Humanities, English


  • PHD, New York University
  • MA, New York University
  • BA, Smith College

Courses Taught

ENGL 110    College Writing

ENGL 150    Roots: Literature

ENGL 151    First Year Seminar: Love and War

ENGL 151    First Year Seminar: Wonders of Science

ENGL 248    Masterworks of British Literature: Revolution

ENGL 270    Crime and Detection

ENGL 287    Fantasy and Science Fiction

ENGL 306    Introduction to Literary Studies

ENGL 310    British Literature II: Romantics through the Present

ENGL 335    Victorian Literature and Culture: Victorian Media

ENGL 365    Children's Literature

ENGL 392    Bibliomania, Archives and the Afterlives of Books

ENGL 395    Seniore Seminar: #MeToo, Fake News and Some Victorian Origins                                   of Social Justice. 


  • Research

    Research Interests

    • Victorian literature
    • Intellectual history and the history of ideas
    • History of science
    • Literatures and histories of war
    • Gender studies
    • Colonial and postcolonial studies
    • Media studies
    • Visual culture
    • Genre studies
    • Cultural studies
    • Histories of socio-political movements


    Current Projects

    I am currently working on two book projects that explore the intersections of literature, science and social movements in nineteenth-century Britain. The first project—The Rhetoric of Resistance: Persuasion and Protest in Nineteenth-Century Literature, Social Science and Politics—explores the nineteenth-century history of two concepts crucial to the development of literature, social science and the modern nation state: persuasion and protest. In the context of social and political upheaval brought about by war, imperialism and the reform movements of the period, writers from across print culture reinvented the concept and form of persuasion in an era not entirely unlike our own where it seemed increasingly impossible to convince antagonists to what they viewed as urgent political causes. Inventing altogether new kinds of writing, these authors likewise helped to reshape the forms and conceptions of politicized speech that would reshape civic subjectivty, political participation and liberal individualism--all key to the formation and development of modern political institutions. Encompassing literary and non-literary works, The Rhetoric of Resistance identifies networks of writers that were united in this project even as they often vociferously disagreed about the means and political ends of persuasion: poets like William Wordsworth, Percy Shelley and Hannah More; novelists like Walter Scott, Charles Dickens and Elizabeth Gaskell; journalists like Thomas DeQuincey, William Gaskell and George Purkess; and political philosophers like John Stuart Mill, J.R. McCulloch and Carl von Clausewitz. In newly democratizing mass society, the project of theorizing persuasion engendered new written forms of politicized expression that this book retrieves in their complex and dynamic relations to one another as well as to the social and political movements that they shaped and influenced. 

    The second project offers a different kind of literary and intellectual history, investigating the origins of modern academic disciplines by examining and historicizing the emergence of the modern academic journal. Entitled Victorian Forms: A Literary History of the Rise of Modern Disciplines, this second project is a hybrid project combining traditional literary historical practices of close reading with new methods of digital humanities research. Using data-mining software, I study the development of scholarly discourses across a wide range of scholarly journals that emerged in the middle- and late-nineteenth century from across disciplines, including biology, anthropology, political science, and literary studies. I locate a shared origin of such disciplines in a common syntactical pattern that I have identified in those journals: namely, a concern with the “forms of…” things that disciplines study. The project thus also offers a new history of nineteenth century formalism by identifying the unique concept of form that, as I show, writers did not inherit from the Enlightenment but, rather, that they invented in the context of ongoing social, political, intellectual, and scientific developments peculiar to the nineteenth century.

  • Publications and Scholarly Activities


    • “Hannah More,” British Writers Supplement 25 (2018)

    • “Geological Illustration and the Geo-Humane Science, 1811–1840,” Nineteenth-Century Contexts, 39.3 (2017): 145-165.

    • “William Gaskell,” British Writers Supplement 24 (2017)

    • “‘The force of my narrative’: Persuasion, Nation and Paratext in Walter Scott’s Early Waverley Novels,” ELH: English Literary History, 82.3 (2015): 937-967.

    • “Numbers and Narratives: Epistemologies of Aggregation in British Statistics and Social Realism, c. 1790-1880,” Statistics and the Public Sphere: Numbers and the People in Modern Britain, c.1750- c.1950, ed. by Tom Crook and Glen O’ Hara (2011), 103-120.

    • “Amazons, Anarchic Women and the De/construction of Imperial Authority in Nineteenth-Century Colonial Literature,” Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies 6.1 (2010). Web. 

    Conference Presentations

    • “The Measure of Nothing in Elizabeth Gaskell’s Fragmentary Fictions.” Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Conference (June 14, 2018)

    • “Hustlers, Swindlers and Fake News in Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Live Now.” Invited talk. Maine Humanities Council Winter Weekend (March 10, 2018)

    • “‘A struggle on behalf of freedom’: William Gaskell, the Unitarian Herald and the Victorian Politics of Print.” Invited talk. The Dr. Williams’s Library (January 17, 2018)

    • “Dust, Rocks, and Other Geological Findings: Imaging the Earth’s Inaccessible Interior.” International Conference on Romanticism. The Colorado College (October 22, 2016)

    • “Reforming Rhetoric, Deforming the State: William Wordsworth’s ‘Sonnets…Political’ of 1803 and Daniel Stuart’s Morning Post.” North American Society for the Study of Romanticism Conference. University of California, Berkeley (August 14, 2016)

    • “Digital Tools and the Victorian Literature of Science.” Invited talk. Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, Germany (July 7, 2015)

    • “Shrunken Heads, Enchanted Amulets, and Pickled Penises.” Invited talk. Morbid Anatomy Museum, Brooklyn, NY (March 27, 2015)

    • “Discipline and Publish: The Modern Academic Journal and the Reformation of Scientific Scholarship.” Publish or Perish conference, The Royal Society, London, UK (March 20, 2015)

    • “Wonder Women: Gender, Geology and the Arts in Nineteenth-Century Britain.” Invited talk. Women and Gender Studies Group, Manhattan College, Riverdale, NY (February 25, 2015)

    • “‘The Force of my Narrative’: Persuasion, Nation and Paratext in Walter Scott’s Waverley Novels,” Transcending Oppositions in Scottish Culture: A Symposium, Porto, Portugal (June 3, 2014)

    • “Mutable Forms: Money, Cosmopolitanism and the Disciplining of Economics,” Cosmopolitanism, Aestheticism, and Decadence, 1860-1920 conference, Oxford, UK (June 17, 2014)

    • “Using Digital Tools in the Classroom and in Research.” Invited talk. The Humanities Initiative, New York University, New York, NY (February 11, 2014)

    • “'Forms of…': The Academic Journal, Evidence, and the Digital Interface.” North American Victorian Studies Association Conference, Pasadena, CA (October 25, 2013)

    • “The Mixed Media of Nineteenth-Century Science: Mapping Knowledge, Genres and Discursive Networks.” Victorians Institute Conference, Virginia Commonwealth University (October 19, 2012)

    • “Mapping Epistemic Communities in Victorian Britain: A Network Model.” North American Victorian Studies Association Conference, Madison, WI (September 28, 2012)

    • “The Early Academic Journal; or, A (Literary) History of Persuasion.” MLA Victorian Period Division Panel, MLA Conference, Seattle, WA (January 6, 2012)

    • “Recounting the Family: The Census, Reform and Social Accounting in Nineteenth-Century Britain.” Victorians Institute Conference, University of Virginia (October 1, 2010)

    • “The Rhetoric of Science and the Scottish Science of Rhetoric.” The Science of Mind and Body in the Scottish Enlightenment, Princeton Theological Seminary (June 6, 2010)

    • “Darwin’s Voyage on Ahab’s Pequod: ‘Scientific Realism’ and the Strange Case of Moby Dick.” The Culture of Print, Technology, Engineering and Medicine, Center for the History of Print Culture at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (September 12, 2008)

    • “Statistical Realism, Bureaucratic Fiction and Affective Aggregation.” Numbers, Norms and the People, Oxford Brookes University (September 5, 2008)

    • “Melville’s ‘Specimen Mouthful,’ Scientific Realism and Some Nineteenth-Century Origins of Modern Interdisciplinarity.” American Comparative Literature Association Conference, Long Beach, CA (April 25, 2008)

    • “Commendable Objects: Marginal Utility, Financial Realism, and the Novel in 1870s England.” Joint Conference of the North American Victorian Studies Association and Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada, University of Victoria (October 12, 2007) (received Honorable Mention for Best Graduate Student Paper)

    • “Moral Reasoning and the Epistemology of Literary Study in Campbell’s Philosophy of Rhetoric.” Interdisciplinary Nineteenth Century Studies Association Conference, Rutgers, (March 31, 2006)

    • “Law, Narrative and Novels.” Invited talk. Storytelling Across the Disciplines, New York (University, (February 4, 2005)

    • “Rewriting Homoeroticism: John Addington Symonds’ Leaves of Grass.” Victorian Frontiers, North American Victorian Studies Association Conference, University of Toronto (October 29, 2004)

    • “Mouthing Off: Technologies of Indirect Speech and the Androgynous Voice in Victorian (Pseudo)Science Fiction.” Technotopias Conference, University of Strathclyde, Scotland (July 11, 2002)



  • Professional Experience and Memberships
    • Assistant Professor, Manhattan College, 2013-

    • Lecturer, New York University, 2009-2013

    • Prize Teaching Fellow, New York University, 2008-2009

    • Graduate Fellow, New York University, 2002-2008


    Professional Memberships

    • Modern Language Association

    • North American Victorian Studies Association

    • Victorians Institute 



  • Honors, Awards, and Grants
    • Finalist, Golden Dozen Teaching Award, College of Arts and Sciences, NYU, Spring 2012

    • Awards of Teaching Excellence, Expository Writing Program, NYU, (2010-2011, 2011-2012, 2012-2013)

    • Prize Teaching Fellowship, Graduate School and Arts and Sciences, NYU, 2008-2009

    • Graduate Scholarship, Dickens Universe, Dickens Project, 2007 and 2008

    • Halsband Fellowship in Eighteenth-Century Studies, New York University, 2007-2008

    • Honorable Mention, Graduate Paper Prize, North American Victorian Studies Association, 2007

    • Enhanced MacCracken Fellowship, New York University, 2002-2009