Caitlin Smith

Smith Bio Pix 082018



Areas of Interest
C19 American literature, early American literature, doubt, epistemology, religion and literature, intellectual history, ways of reading

University of North Texas, BA (Honors)


Caitlin Smith is a sixth-year English Ph.D. candidate and Presidential Fellow. Her current research focuses on doubt in American literature from the Great Awakening to the Civil War. Previous projects have focused on print culture and musical practice in colonial New England, the incipient crisis of authority in 16th -century radical Protestant rhetoric, Melville’s formulation of propositional doubt and affective faith, and transatlantic literary responses to C19 scientific advances. 

Recent Scholarly Activity

“Melville’s Miasmatic Hermeneutics.” 12th Annual Melville Conference, New York University, NYC. June 2019.

“Transatlantic Currents in American Literary Scholarship.” (Keynote address). Annual Conference of the Heidelberg Literature Seminar, Heidelberg Center for American Studies, and International Academic Forum. June 2019.

“Transcendentalist Darkness: Doubt, Skepticism, Infidelity, Madness.” Heidelberg Center for American Studies Spring Academy, March 2019.

“The Pilgrimage and Pepe: What Melville’s Clarel Can Tell Us About the Alt-Right.” American Literary Association Conference, San Francisco, CA.

“We Look Deep Down and Yet Believe.” Reflection (3,000 words). Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies 20.1, March 2018.

"Grief and Doubt in the Age of Darwin: Tennyson's In Memoriam and Melville's Clarel." 11th Annual International Melville Conference, 2017. Paper presentation.

"'Looking for the Worst in People': Jessica Jones and the Hermeneutics of Suspicion." Console-ing Passions Conference, 2016. Paper presentation.

"God Save the King... of the Witches?: Aemilia Lanyer and the Roots of Transgressive Exegesis." Sixteenth Century Society Conference, 2016. Paper presentation.

"'A Message from Beneath the Stone': Religion and Language in Clarel." 10th Annual International Melville Conference, 2015. Paper presentation.