Dr. Speitz's primary areas of study include romantic-era poetry and poetics, literature and the environment, science and technology studies, digital humanities, transatlantic literature, and critical theory (materialist and formalist ideas and methods). In 2013-2014 she was awarded the Trent R. Dames Fellowship in the History of Civil Engineering by the Huntington Library's Munger Research Center. She is currently at work on a book project entitled "Technologies of the Sublime, 1750-1850."

Recent and forthcoming publications include the following peer-reviewed journal articles:

  • "Formal Remainders: Wordsworth, Brevity, and Being Cut Short." Romantic Circles Praxis Series
  • "Catastrophe and Form, or an Experiment in Formal Historicism," Essays in Romanticism
  • "Blood Sugar and Salt Licks: Corroding Bodies and Preserving Nations in the History of Mary Prince." Special Issue: "Black R omanticism." Romantic Circles Praxis Series
  • "Aural Chiaroscuro: The Emergency Radio Broadcast in Orson Welles's The War of the Worlds." Special Issue: "Time and the Arts." English Language Notes.

She is an affiliate faculty member with the Shi Center for Sustainability and an avid outdoor enthusiast.

Name Title Description




Fantasy & Science Fiction

Exploration of how race, colonialism, gender, science, the sacred, and the human inform our fantasies about other worlds and times. May trace dialogue between contemporary fantasy/science fiction and literature of other periods.


British Romantic Literature

The major writers and some less well-known figures from the period 1790-1830: the poets Blake Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, P. B. Shelley, and Keats; the novelists Austen and Scott; the essayists Hazlitt, Lamb, and De Quincey; and others like Mary Shelley, Godwin, and Clare. Introduction to both literary and critical writing of the period as well as to the current critical and theoretical issues, mainly rhetorical and historical, that engagement with these writers entails.


Studies in Fictional Histories

How does literature shape the ways in which one imagines historical figures, national events, or remote geographies? How do partially fictionalized reconstructions of experience influence historical understanding? This course theorizes the often porous borders between history and fiction. Students will examine archival material, historical documents, and theoretical studies alongside fictional works that do not simply reimagine the past but profoundly recast national histories.


Environment and Society

Interdisciplinary examination of the causes, potential solutions and ethical dilemmas associated with environmental problems on various spatial, temporal, political and social scales (individual to global).


Human Animal Or Human Machine

How do technologies shape our understanding of the universe, the environment, and humankind? Do feelings expressed in the 18th and 19th centuries about nature, technology, and the work of art-from proud associations with natural talents" to a pronounced shame inspired by mechanical resemblances-influence today's ideas about art

University of Colorado at Boulder
University of California at Santa Cruz
California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo

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