Dr. Rachel Collins

Adjunct Professor of English

Research Interests

Dr. Rachel Collins specializes in the geohumanities; particularly in interdisciplinary studies of late nineteenth-century American fiction and cultural geography.  Her current research investigates whether geographic models developed to explain the material world can also be productively used in exploring literary worlds, and how the spatial logic of fictional worlds might turn accepted geographic models on their heads. More broadly, her research and teaching interests include American realism and naturalism, proletarian literature, class and labor studies, landscape studies, and theories of space and place.


  • Syracuse University, Ph.D. (English) 2010
  • University of Utah, M.A. (English) 2004
  • University of Utah, B.A. (English) 2001


  • “‘Where all the ground is friendly’: Subterranean Living and the Ethic of Cultivation in My Ántonia,” forthcoming in Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment. 19.1 (2012): 43-61.
  • “‘Amid all the maze, uproar and novelty’: The Status of Spatial Practice in Sister Carrie.” Geocritical Explorations: Space, Place and Mapping in Literary and Cultural Studies. Ed. Robert Tally.  Palgrave, 2011. 139-160.
  • “Willa Cather” and “My Ántonia.Encyclopedia of American Environmental Literature. Ed. Brian Jones. McFarland Press, in press. Selected Presentations
  • “Reading Nineteenth-Century Space: New York’s Tenement Museum and the Problem of Literary History,” Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, Berkeley, April 2012
  • “Inside the Walls of Eastern State Penitentiary: The Gendered/Raced Geography of Doing Time,” Mid-Atlantic PCA/ACA, Philadelphia, November 2011
  • “The Problem of Spatial Authenticity in Edith Wharton’s ‘derelict mountain villages of New England,’” Northeast MLA, New Brunswick, April 2011
  • “‘It is the joy and curse of my life’: The Evolution of Willa Cather’s Fictional Prairie,” MLA, Los Angeles, January 2011
  • “‘Amid all the maze, uproar and novelty’: The Status of Spatial Practice in Sister Carrie,” MLA, Philadelphia, December 2009
  • “Representing Capital as Landscape: The Naturalization of Corporate Practice in The Octopus,” Northeast MLA, Boston, MA, February 2009
  • “‘Living was an ache’: Class Transvestism and the Bodily Impact of Dressing Down,” Northeast MLA, Buffalo, NY, April 2008

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