I am an associate professor at Kent State University in the Department of English. My major current project, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin: A Digital Critical Edition,” will provide authoritative transcriptions, archival image facsimiles, and a textual apparatus for the surviving manuscript pages and for selected American publication forms of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin: the National Era version, publisher John P. Jewett’s three initial print versions, and the 1879 Houghton Osgood New Edition. The edition will feature a textual introduction, an historical collation of the manuscript and the five printed texts, and a critically established reading text that promotes the study of authorial revision and other textual alterations.
I have also completed an edition of the letters of Louisa Van Velsor Whitman to her son Walt, entitled “walter dear”: The Letters of Louisa Van Velsor Whitman to Her Son Walt, which is available in the Correspondence section of the Walt Whitman Archive, has passed peer review with Nines: Nineteenth-Century Scholarship Online, and will soon (Fall 2014) join Collex resources on that site.
My research interests (outside of Stowe’s monumental work) are the broader disciplines of bibliography, textual criticism, and digital humanities. My teaching interests include American literature (through the early twentieth century), scholarly editing, research methods, African American literature, sentimentalism (American and transatlantic), modernism, and regional writing. Other publications are available on my faculty profile.
Immediately before I joined Kent State as a faculty member, I was a Council for Library and Information Resources (CLIR) postdoctoral fellow (2006-2008) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. CLIR sponsors an annual fellowship program that places humanities and social science scholars with PhDs in libraries. At the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities in Nebraska, I was the first project manager for Civil War Washington.
My PhD in English is from the University of Virginia. My 2006 dissertation was a web-based electronic edition of the National Era version of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I was hired as an assistant professor at Kent State in 2008: I was lucky–it was my only full-time faculty interview after 3 years on the job market, and I was ready to abandon hope.
In the long-ago past (before returning to graduate school in 2012) I worked as a technical writer in various industries, mostly in the north Dallas area: toll collection, tax preparation, accounting and payroll software. I completed an MA at the University of North Texas in 1996, and before that decade I spent a brief stint in Bloomington, Indiana, in the PhD program in comparative literature.
I am originally from south central Texas, a town called Weimar, an area settled heavily by Germanic and Czech immigrants in the middle decades of the 19th century: a family genealogist has traced the Raabe family roots to those mid-century immigrants. My grandparents were bilingual, but my parents and my generation grew up with English as a first language. During my CLIR fellowship at Nebraska, I learned from Andrew Torget’s Texas Slavery Project that one of the primary draws for German settlers, including to Colorado County, where Weimar is located, was the financial opportunity afforded by slavery. This is not the version of Texas history that I was taught at public schools, but you can read more about the consensus of present-day historians here. One of my aims in editing Stowe’s work is personal, to face one of the most powerful critiques of slavery that has ever been penned—knowing full well that some of the privileges that I enjoy reflect the aftermath of slavery and the ongoing legacy of white supremacy in American national life.