Reed Gochberg


I study nineteenth-century American literature, and I’m interested in the intersections between literature, intellectual history, and the history of science. My dissertation explores how nineteenth-century American writers engaged with the efforts of scientific museums to collect, classify, and contain the world. I trace connections between a range of transatlantic scientific collections, from the U.S. Patent Office and the British Museum to Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology and the American Museum of Natural History, and the writings of such authors as Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, and Hawthorne. This project aims to show how museums shaped broader discussions of scientific knowledge in nineteenth-century American culture. You can view my CV here.

PhD in English, Boston University, expected 2016
MA in English, Boston University, 2011
AB in English, Harvard University, 2009

“Novel Inventions: Emerson, Whitman, and the U.S. Patent Office Gallery,” forthcoming in J19:
The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists

Recent Presentations
“The Specimen Collectors: Museums and Scientific Knowledge in Nineteenth-Century American
Literature.” Modern Language Association, Austin, TX (January 2016)

“Thoreau’s Turtles: Walden and the Natural History Museum.” Dartmouth Futures of American
Studies Institute, Hanover, NH (June 2015)

“History and Literary Tradition: The British Museum in American Travel Narratives.” Recollecting
the Nineteenth-Century Museum Conference, Ryerson University (May 2015)

“Representative Models: Collection and the U.S. Patent Office.” American Comparative Literature
Association, New York, NY (March 2014)

“Walt Whitman’s ‘Gallery’: Collection and Invention in the ‘Patent Office Hospital.’” C19: The
Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, Chapel Hill, NC (March 2014)

“Portraiture and Preservation in Peale’s Philadelphia Museum.” States of Suspension Graduate
Conference, University of Chicago (November 2012)

“Miniatures and Museums: Philanthropy, Cultural Institutions, and Edith Wharton’s Tableaux
Vivants.” Networked New York Conference, New York University (March 2012)

Courses Taught
Independent Instructor:
EN 120 – Freshman Seminar: Science and Invention in American Literature (Fall 2014)
EN 127 – Art, Reform, and Protest in American Literature (Fall 2013)
WR 150 – Museums and American Literature (Boston University, Spring 2013)
WR 100 – Museums and American Literature (Boston University, Fall 2012)
EN 121 – World Literature (Boston University, Fall 2011)

Teaching Assistant:
EN 375 – Questions of “the Real” in Film and Fiction (with Prof. Julia Brown, Boston University, Spring 2012)