Devin Garofalo

Devin Garofalo
Kohler Fellow @ WID
330 North Orchard Street
Madison WI 53715
Room 2110

Years at WID

2015 - present


Devin is a PhD Candidate in the Department of English and coordinator of Great World Texts in Wisconsin, a program that brings UW-Madison faculty together with high school teachers and students across the state in the study of world literature. An Irish-Italian Midwesterner, she was raised in Omaha, Nebraska and yet never developed a taste for corn. She is the proud companion of two little dogs with very big names: Cicero and Darwin. Devin is an avid movie, television and graphic novel addict. Current favorites include Marvel’s Luke Cage, Mad Max: Fury Road and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s The Black Panther.


  • B.A., English, University of Nebraska-Omaha
  • M.A., English, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Ph.D. Candidate, English, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Research Description

My completed dissertation, “Open Worlds: Nineteenth-Century Poetry and Science,” explores how poetry, astronomy and geology reshaped the category of “world” in the nineteenth century. For nineteenth-century poets and scientists, “world” is neither strictly open nor closed. Instead, it is a variable, multidimensional and intercommunicative structure whose forms accommodate dynamic gaps and shifts. I argue that these forms unsettle colonial efforts to consolidate the globe and its myriad life forms. They do so by reconfiguring the human and the nonhuman, the individual and the collective as interpenetrating agents that convey new possibilities for the organization of material and political life. As I trace a notion of “world” that does not take up the human as its measure or center, I contend that it is critical to think about the category of “world” in ways that seem new to us, but were not to nineteenth-century thinkers. To understand the world as existing on and across disparate material forms, scales and agencies might offer ways to think through and beyond the deep sense of inertia which characterizes our ecological present and future. My project aims to recover this nineteenth-century tradition of world-imagining as an affordance for the future.


  • Great World Texts in Wisconsin
  • Center for the Humanities
  • Wisconsin Institute for Discovery
  • Modern Language Association


  • A. W. Mellon Public Humanities Fellowship, Center for the Humanities (2016-2017)
  • Mellon Wisconsin Summer Dissertation Fellowship, Graduate School (2016)
  • Chancellor’s Dissertation Fellowship, Graduate School (2016)
  • Chawton House Visiting Fellowship, University of Southampton (2014)

Selected Publications

  • 'Drunk up by thirsty nothing': The Fissured World of Prometheus Unbound, Essays in Romanticism 22.1 (2015): 53-72
  • Touching Worlds: Letitia Elizabeth Landon’s Embodied Poetics, Women's Writing 22.2 (2015): 244-62