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Kari NixonKari Nixon

Assistant Professor
300 W. Hawthorne Road
Spokane, WA 99251
Phone: 509.777.3889
Fax: 509.777.None listed
Office Location: Westminster Hall 136

My research explores the way that contagious disease uncovers surprising points of human contact and aversion. I focus largely on the ways that wide acceptance of germ theory in the 1870s and onward ushered in a new era of aversion from the—apparently contagious—global community, and catalyzed self-protective efforts at isolation. I concentrate primarily on authors who resisted this cultural zeitgeist and stubbornly insisted on human connection as inevitable and in fact necessary for a fulfilling world experience, even in the face of dangerous contagious disease. In pursuing these goals, which also consider the broader growth in faith in science as an omnipotent power in the late part of the century, I’ve also published on Scandinavian drama from the period, as well as modern-day zombie comics and other contagion narratives.


B.A. University of St. Thomas, Texas

M.A. Southern Methodist University

Ph.D. Southern Methodist University

Year Joined Whitworth Faculty


Areas of Specialization / Expertise

•Victorian literature •Science and literature •Medical Humanities •Contagious Disease •Fin-de-siècle Drama •STS

Selected Publications / Presentations / Honors


Hughes Postdoctoral Fellow, 2015-2016. Guest Researcher, University of Oslo, March 2014. Research Travel Grant, Sons of Norway, King Olav V Norwegian-American Heritage Fund, 2013. Work (i.e. publications – books, articles, collected editions, public writing)


Endemic: Essays in Contagion Theory, co-editor with Lorenzo Servitje. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. Theorizing Syphilis and Subjectivity: From the Victorians to the Present, co-editor with Lorenzo Servitje. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.


“Seeing Things: The Dilemma of Visual Subjectivity at the Dawn of the Bacteriological Age in Strindberg’s The Father.” Forthcoming in Configurations: A Journal of Literature and Science 26.2 (2016). “‘A Speculative Idea’: The Parallel Trajectories of Financial Speculation, Obstetrical Science, and Fiscal Management of Female Bodies in Henry James’s Washington Square.” Journal for Medical Humanities (2014). “If You Don’t Know Me By Now: The Failure of Care in ‘Bartleby, the Scrivener.’” Disability Studies Quarterly 34.4 (2014). “Keep Bleeding: Hemorrhagic Sores, Trade, and the Necessity of Leaky Boundaries in Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year.” Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies 14.2 (2014): 62-81.


“Introduction: The Making of a Modern Endemic.” Endemic: Essays in Contagion Theory. Co-written and edited with Lorenzo Servitje. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. “‘Find the Microbe and Kill It:’ Victorian Viral Virulence, Postmodern Zombies, and the American Healthcare Enterprise.” The Walking Med: Zombies and Medical Language. Ed. Sherryl Vint and Lorenzo Servitje. Forthcoming. University Park: Penn State UP, 2016. “Cultural Documents and Illustrations,” (author) and “A Critical History of Jane Eyre” (coauthored with Beth Newman). “Jane Eyre”: A Case Study in Contemporary Criticism. Ed. Beth Newman. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford St. Martins, 2014.