She is the author of On Leaving: A Reading in Emerson (Harvard UP, 2010), and a book on Melville entitled Passive Constitutions or 7½ Times Bartleby (StanfordUP, 2007). She has co-edited (with Cary Wolfe) a collection of essays on Emerson, entitled The Other Emerson: New Approaches, Divergent Paths (University of Minnesota Press, 2010).
She is currently completing a book entitled Magical Life: Mourning and Vitalism in Thoreau, discussing the radical way in which Thoreau related mourning practices to biological life by articulating a complex theory of decay and proposing a new understanding of the pathological. Her second project, tentatively entitled The Law of Life: Melville and Douglass on Slavery and Capital Punishment, will explore dominant vitalist theories in Antebellum America (including those of Robert Rantoul, Orville Dewey, Lemuel Shaw, Margaret Fuller and Sojourner Truth), and their relation to anti-slavery politics in particular, and the ethical and juridical treatment of life (euthanasia, incarceration, hospitalization, capital punishment) in general.
She has published articles on, among others, Mary Rowlandson, Jonathan Edwards, Herman Melville, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and on topics such as passivity, abandonment, the impersonal, pain and suffering, and the ethics of leaving.
She teaches undergraduate courses on a range of topics in American literature, as well as more specialized graduate offerings.