I am an associate professor in Modernist studies. My current research focuses on the politics of British and Irish modernism and on modern and contemporary theories of collective identification and action. I also hold more general interests in critical and cultural theory, critical studies in gender and sexuality, literature and mind, literature and environment, and critical university studies. At UBC, I supervise graduate research and teach courses in modern Anglophone literatures, modernist studies, and critical and social theory, alongside specialized undergraduate and graduate courses in my research fields. In 2017-2018 I served as co-chair of the Critical Studies in Sexuality program with Dr. Janice Stewart.
I received an M.A. (2008) and Ph.D. (Dec. 2013) in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a B.A. s.c.l. in English from the University of Scranton. Please find more information about my work and interests at blogs.ubc.ca/jpaltin.
My research pursues queries about feminist, queer, minor and collectivist performances at the intersection of literary, social, and cultural theory. My recent work analyzes verbal figurations of imagined communities, and critiques the social production of adherences and identifications. My fields include 20th century British, Irish and South Asian literatures in English, modernist studies, critical and cultural theory, literature and environment, literature and music, and literature and mind. My current monograph is available from Cambridge University Press under the title Modernism and the Idea of the Crowd. The project discovers a genealogy of the contemporary political multitude in literary modernism’s representations of crowds, and focuses on the crowd’s status as a strategic political articulation acting in competition with established imagined communities. It compares verbal figurations produced during the period named to models operating in the realms of psychoanalysis, political philosophy and social theory. It posits that these figurations taken together constitute a coherent, intertextualized project among a group of modernist writers which aspires to anatomize the modern crowd, to explore alternative collective forms of experience, and to imagine the crowd’s futurity. It proposes a reading of the fictional crowd that offers a fresh account of its sense of authorization and efficacy, concluding that the crowd recognizes itself as an agile network that supervises its own world-making and negotiates its material and cultural exchanges.
Current memberships in scholarly societies
International James Joyce Foundation
International Society for the Study of Narrative
International Virginia Woolf Society
Joseph Conrad Society of America
Modern Language Association, elected MLA Delegate Assembly member in a Region 7 seat (Western United States and Western Canada) for a three-year term, 2021-2024
Modernist Studies Association
Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association
Modernism and the Idea of the Crowd, Cambridge University Press, now in press for release in late 2020.
Reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement (July 9, 2021) by Gerri Kimber, “Petals on a bough: How crowds can be crucial to understanding modernist literature”
“Music, Intermediality, and Shock in Ulysses,” James Joyce Quarterly, 53.3-4 (in print 2018), 115-32.
“Problems with Theory of Mind in Victory,” Conradiana 46.1-2 (in print 2015), 95-107.
“‘An Infected Carrier of the Past’: Modernist Nature as the Ground of Anti-Realism,” Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, 20.4 (Autumn 2013), 778-794.
“Conrad’s Agile Crowds,” The Conradian 38.1 (Spring 2013), 1-21.
“Trifling Farce or Lyric Drama? The Clue Tendered by Algy’s Romantic Blunder in The Importance of Being Earnest,” The Wildean 39 (July 2011), 116-20.
“Passing as a Male Critic: Mary Beton’s Coming of Age in Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own,”
in Studying English Literature in Context: Critical Readings, edited by Paul Poplawski, in press at Cambridge University Press for 2021 release.
“Frustrated Energies in Modernism’s Female Arrangements,” in Affective Materialities: Reorienting the Body in Modernist Literature, edited by Robin Hackett, Molly Volanth Hall, and Kara Watts. Gainesville, FL: UP of Florida, 2019, pp. 103-122.
I teach graduate and undergraduate courses in the Department of English in modernism, 20th-century studies, literary and cultural theory, and historical surveys of Anglophone literature. I have longstanding interests in active learning methods, research-supported best practices and effective instructional technologies. Before coming to UBC, I taught as a teaching associate and assistant in English, Writing and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I also hold a secondary teaching certificate in English, and have taught secondary-level English, music and Latin. My undergraduate students have called me “a great instructor,” “very knowledgeable,” “energetic,” “approachable,” and said my courses have “great content” and are “thought provoking.” My teaching is built on a commitment to educational equity that provides a diverse body of university students with a climate of high expectation and useful scaffolding, asking students to take creativity-enhancing intellectual risks in response to challenging assignments. I welcome graduate projects in modernism, twentieth-century postcolonial, cultural, and material studies, intersectional work in feminism, gender, race, and sexuality, and media and technology studies.