Melissa M. Gniadek

Academic Employment

Assistant Professor, University of Toronto, Department of English, July 2015 – present

Lecturer, Rice University, Department of English, August 2011 – June 2015


Ph.D., English, Cornell University

Specialization in nineteenth-century American literature and culture

M.A., English, University of Auckland, New Zealand

A.B., magna cum laude, History and Literature of America, Harvard University

Current Projects in Progress

Oceans at Home: Maritime and Domestic Fictions in Nineteenth-Century American Women’s Writing (under contract, University of Massachusetts Press)

Unsettling Spaces, Unsettling Stories: Temporalities of Settlement in Nineteenth-Century American Literature (monograph)



“The Times of Settler Colonialism.” Lateral: Journal of the Cultural Studies Association, Forum: “Emergent Critical Analytics for Alternative Humanities.” 6:1.  Spring 2017.

“Americans Abroad: Melville and Pacific Perspectives.” New Global Studies, Special Edition, Editors’ Forum: Reimagining Transnationalism in the Global Academy. 9:3.  December 2015.

“‘Outré-mer adventures’: Caroline Kirkland’s A New Home, Who’ll Follow? and the Maritime World.” Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers 32:2. Winter 2015.

“Mary Howard’s Mark: Children’s Literature and the Scales of Reading the Pacific.” Early American Literature 50.3. Fall 2015.

“Artistic Anachronisms: Pleasure Reading the Patent Office Building.” J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists 2:2. Fall 2014.

“Seriality and Settlement: Southworth, Lippard, and The Panorama of the Monumental Grandeur of the Mississippi Valley.American Literature 86: 1.  March 2014.

“The Captivity of Translation: The Legacy of William Barrett Marshall’s Personal Narrative.International Journal of Francophone Studies, special issue, “Oceanic Routes.” 11:4. 2008.

“The Art of Becoming: Sherwood Anderson, Frank Sargeson and the Grotesque Aesthetic.” Journal of New Zealand Literature 23:2. December 2005.

Book Chapters

“Mammoth Cave, Poe, and (Pre)Histories of the U.S. Interior” in Decolonizing “Prehistory”: Deep Time and Topological Knowledge in the Americas, eds. Gesa Mackenthun and Christen Mucher. The University of Arizona Press (forthcoming).

“Sentimental Premonitions and Antebellum Spectacle” in Apocalypse in American Literature and Culture, ed. John Hay. Cambridge University Press (forthcoming, 2020).

“‘You will observe…’: Letting Lippard Teach,” in Teaching Tainted Lit: Popular American Fiction in Today’s Classroom, ed. Janet G. Casey.  University of Iowa Press, 2015. 17-29.

Book Reviews

Review of Ezra Tawil, Literature, American Style: The Originality of Imitation in the Early Republic, Eighteenth-Century Fiction (forthcoming, Fall 2020).

Review of Turns of Event: Nineteenth-Century American Literary Studies in Motion, ed. Hester Blum, Canadian Review of Comparative Literature, 45.1. March 2018.

Review of Gillian Silverman, Bodies and Books: Reading and the Fantasy of Communion in Nineteenth-Century America. Textual Practice 28:5. 2014.

Review of Trevor Bentley, Captured by Maori: White Female Captives, Sex and Racism on the Nineteenth-century New Zealand Frontier.  “The New Zealand Listener,” October 9-15, 2004.

Selected Honors and Awards

Co-winner, Richard Beale Davis Prize for the best essay published in Early American Literature in 2015, for “Mary Howard’s Mark: Children’s Literature and the Scales of Reading the Pacific,” 2015.

Honorable mention, Norman Foerster Prize for the best essay published in American Literature in 2014, for “Seriality and Settlement: Southworth, Lippard, and The Panorama of the Monumental Grandeur of the Mississippi Valley,” 2014.

Guilford Prize (Dissertation displaying highest excellence in English prose), Department of English, Cornell University, 2012

Martin Sampson Teaching Award, Department of English, Cornell University, 2010

Dean’s Prize for Distinguished Teaching, Cornell University, College of Arts and Sciences, 2010

Journal of New Zealand Literature Emerging Scholar Award in recognition of an outstanding first contribution to the field of New Zealand literature, for “The Art of Becoming: Sherwood Anderson, Frank Sargeson and the Grotesque Aesthetic,” 2005

Thomas T. Hoopes Prize for Outstanding Senior Thesis, Harvard University, 2002

Selected Grants and Fellowships

University College London–University of Toronto Joint Research Projects and Exchange Activities Grant, with Xine Yao (UCL) 2019-2020 (23,895 CAD)

Connaught New Researcher Award, University of Toronto, 2016-2018 (9,788 CAD)

SSHRC Institutional Grant, 2016-17 (2,272 CAD)

SSHRC Institutional Grant, 2015-16 (1,425 CAD)

Cornell Society for the Humanities Dissertation Writing Group Grant, Group Chairperson, 2009-2010

Sage Fellowship, Cornell University, Department of English, 2005-2006; 2008-2009

University of Auckland Fulbright Scholarship, 2004-2005

Fulbright Graduate Student Fellowship, 2003-2004

Selected Talks

“‘Doubting, dreading, fretful guest’”: Transoceanic Anxieties,” Society for the Study of American Women Writers Conference, Denver, CO, November 2018

“Sinking Eden: Cooper’s The Crater, Allegory, and Terraqueous America,” C19 Americanists Conference, Albuquerque, NM, March 2018

“Settler Colonialism’s Temporalities: Here,” MLA, New York, January 2018

“Stoddard and Spofford’s Oceanic Gothic,” Society for the Study of American Women Writers Conference, Bordeaux, France, July 2017

“Re-thinking Settler Colonial Temporalities in U.S. Contexts,” Revolutionary Time Symposium, Victoria College, University of Toronto, March 2017

‘“my life is one long sad dream”: Elizabeth Craw’s Diary and Forms of Grief,’ Society of Early Americanists Conference, Tulsa, Oklahoma, March 2017

“Re-writing Pasts of Place in Mammoth Cave,” C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists Conference, State College, Pennsylvania, March 2016

“Islands and Archipelagos: The Forms of Melville’s Pacific,” Panel organizer and presenter, International Melville Conference, Tokyo, Japan, June 2015

“Enfleshing the Kennewick Man: Excavating America’s ‘Pre-history,'” North American Theoretical Archaeology Group Conference, New York, May 2015

“Geographies of Memory in Nineteenth-Century America” roundtable, Co-organizer and panelist, MLA Annual Convention, Vancouver, Canada, January 2015

“Transatlantic/Transtemporal” panel, Co-organizer and panelist, Third Biennial Meeting of the BABEL Working Group, On the Beach, Santa Barbara, California, October 2014

“Serial Pasts in Thoreau’s A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers,” American Comparative Literature Association Conference, New York, March 2014

“New Zealand in New Hampshire: Print Culture and Pedagogy,” Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Association Conference, Houston, Texas, March 2014

“Artistic Anachronisms: Remembering in the Patent Office,” International Melville Conference, Melville and Whitman in Washington: The Civil War Years and After, Washington, D.C., June 2013

“Settlement’s Terraqueous Plots in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Crater; or, Vulcan’s Peak: A Tale of the Pacific,” American Comparative Literature Association Conference, Toronto, Canada, April 2013

“Duaterra’s Tattooing; or, New Zealand in New Hampshire,” Society of Early Americanists Conference, Savannah, Georgia, February 2013

“Serial Fictions and Panoramic Pasts,” C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, Berkeley, California, April 2012

“‘Picture it all, Darley’: Illustrating Sensation in Antebellum America,” Picturing the Nineteenth Century, Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Conference, Lexington, Kentucky, March 2012

“America’s Oceanic Gothic,” American Literature Association Conference, Boston, Massachusetts, May 2011

“Fluid Forms: Spaces of Historical Narration in Black Hawk’s Autobiography and Melville’s The Confidence Man,” C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, State College, Pennsylvania, May 2010

“‘The Strange Faculty of Dreams’: Antebellum Popular Reform Literature, Collective Performance, and Individual Imagination,” American Studies Association Conference, Washington D.C., November 2009

Edgar Huntly, the Gothic, and the Epistemological Crisis of the Travel Narrative,” Rethinking Empire and Imperialism in Nineteenth-Century American Literature, University of Maryland Graduate Conference, College Park, Maryland, November 2008

“‘A Task of Delicacy, Difficulty, and Even Danger’: William Barrett Marshall’s A Personal Narrative of Two Visits to New Zealand,” New Zealand Studies Association Conference, “Travel Texts: New Zealand and the South Pacific” section, Birkbeck, University of London, June 2007

“Poe, Lippard, and Visual Culture,” Poe and His Circle, Opening of the exhibition “Nevermore: The Edgar Allan Poe Collection of Susan Jaffe Tane,” Kroch Library, Cornell University, September 2006

“The Art of Becoming: Sherwood Anderson, Frank Sargeson and the Grotesque Aesthetic,” Australia and New Zealand American Studies Association Conference, University of Auckland, New Zealand, July 2004

Research and Teaching Interests

American Literature to 1900; Travel Narratives; Settlement Studies; The American Novel; Gothic and Sensation Fiction; Oceanic Studies; Australasian/Pacific Literature; History and Literature; Geography, Space, and Literature; Visual Culture; Publication Forms and Histories.

Courses Taught

University of Toronto, Mississauga

American Literature

Early American Literature

Nineteenth-Century American Literature

The Nineteenth-Century American Novel

Work: Literary Labor

African American Literature Before the Harlem Renaissance

Sea Stories (Undergraduate Research Seminar)

University of Toronto, St. George

American Literature: Temporality Studies (graduate seminar)

Settler Colonialism and U.S. Literary Studies (graduate seminar)

Rice University

Introduction to American Literature

American Literature Before 1860

American Literature: 1860-1910

American Literature and Culture: The Bizarre, Strange, and Uncanny in Nineteenth-Century American Literature

American Literature and Culture: Sea Stories

Melville’s Americas (capstone course)

Sea and Land: Unsettling Narratives of Travel and Settlement (graduate seminar)

Cornell University

Time Travels in American Literature

American Literature and Culture: Horrific Journeys

Building a Better Britain?: Literature from Australia and New Zealand

The Mystery in the Story

Writing 7100: Teaching Writing – co-facilitated with Katherine Gottschalk, John S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines

Selected Academic Experience and Service

Currently a member of five Ph.D. committees, University of Toronto, ongoing

Reviewer for Journal of Transnational American Studies and European Journal of American Studies (2018)

Member of C19 Podcast Subcommittee, March 2017 – August 2019

Supervised graduate-level directed reading in pre-1800 American Literature, Spring 2015

Job Placement Officer, English Department, Rice University, April 2012 – August 2013

Faculty Associate, Will Rice College, Rice University, September 2011 – June 2015

Named a Distinguished Faculty Associate at Will Rice College for the 2011-2012 academic year

First Year Mentor, Will Rice College, Rice University, August 2013 – June 2014

Presenter, John S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines, Orientation for New Teachers, May 2010

Presenter, Cornell English Department Meeting for New Instructors, February 2010

Invited to speak to first-year graduate students about designing and teaching courses.

Co-organizer, Cornell English Department Nineteenth-Century Colloquium, 2008 – 2011

Cornell Nineteenth-Century American Reading Group, 2007 – 2011

Research Assistant – to Cornell Professor Shirley Samuels, 2007 – 2008

Cornell English Department Roundtable

Coordinator – Responsible for overseeing all aspects of this “works-in-progress” forum, 2007 – 2009

Committee Member, 2006 – 2007

Auckland University of Technology, Refugee Tutor Scheme, 2004 – 2005

Selected Academic Development

Participant/presenter in seminar on “Settler Colonialism and Territorial Expansion,” C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, State College, Pennsylvania, March 2016

Participant in “Just Teach One” national online project on teaching a recovered text: Humanity in Algiers (1801), November 2013

“Get Started in Digital Humanities,” MLA pre-convention workshop, January 2013

Futures of American Studies Institute – Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, June 2012. Presented “Serial Fictions and Panoramic Pasts”

American Antiquarian Society, CHAViC Summer Seminar, “Picturing Reform: How Images Transformed America, 1830-1880,” June 2011.

Futures of American Studies Institute – Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire June 2008.  Presented “Dreams of Knowledge, Nightmares of Encounter: Edgar Huntly, the Gothic, and the Epistemological Crisis of the Travel Narrative”

Cornell, John S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines, Peer Collaboration, Spring 2007, Fall 2006