Jay David Miller
Areas of Interest:
Early American Literature, History, and Culture; Literature and the Environment; Book History and Print Culture; Religion and Theology; the Atlantic World
MA, English, The Pennsylvania State University (2015)
BA, English and Politics, George Fox University (2011)
Jay David Miller is a PhD candidate whose work concerns the relationship between theology, economy, and land in colonial American literature. His dissertation focuses specifically on Quaker writing, and how Quakers develop a distinctive discourse of literary agrarianism that changes over time in the context of burgeoning commercial and imperial activity in the Atlantic world from the English Revolution to the aftermath of the American Revolution. Employing a capacious model of Quaker literary history that includes George Fox, Anne Conway, William Penn, Jonathan Dickinson, Elizabeth Ashbridge, Anthony Benezet, Hannah Calendar Sansom, William Bartram, and Charles Brockden Brown, this project attends to the persistence and decline of a theologically motivated vision of land and labor in Quaker writing. By identifying a form of literary agrarianism in early America other than those of Jefferson and Crèvecoeur, the project significantly alters our understanding of the discourse in the period, and in the process offers a new literary history of Quaker writing in the Atlantic world. Miller has conducted archival research for this project at the Library of the Society of Friends in London, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College.
As a part of his growing interest in German language literature in North America, during the summer of 2016 he studied German at the Goethe Institut in Mannheim, Germany, supported by a grant from the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Notre Dame. During the academic year of 2016-2017 he served as the editorial assistant Early American Literature, the official journal for the Society of Early Americanists and the Modern Language Association’s Forum on Early American Literature. He is a member of the Society of Early Americanists and C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists.
“‘Friend Thou Art Often in My Remembrance’: A New Letter by Elizabeth Ashbridge,” Early American Literature 54.2 (2019), 511-527.
“‘Nature Hath a Voice’: John Woolman’s Wilderness Habitus,” Religion and Literature 45.2 (Summer 2013), 27-54.