Julia Dauer

Julia Dauer
330 North Orchard Street
Madison WI 53715
Room 2110
Natural history, first-person prose, and the category of the "person" in American literature to 1830

Years at WID

2016 - present


Julia enjoys reading, writing, swimming, making things, and looking at the trees. She grew up in Kentucky.


  • B.A., English and Classics, Skidmore College
  • M.A., English, University of Wisconsin–Madison 

Research Description

Julia specializes in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American literature and the history of science. Her dissertation research is about natural history, first-person prose, and the category of the “person” in the United States between about 1780 and about 1830. Julia uses first-person prose to index competing models of personhood emerging in these decades. The writers she studies were grappling with competing theories about the nature of the human body, a perceived increase in instances of insanity in the wake of the American, French, and Haitian revolutions, and the rise of commodity capitalism, facilitated by an Atlantic slave economy that codified persons as things. These conflicts about the category of the person continue to resonate in contemporary American life, in the context of debates about stem cell research and corporate personhood, ongoing systemic racism, and the emergence of environmental crisis as the defining feature of the twenty-first century. 


  • Institute for Research in the Humanities
  • Modern Language Association
  • C19: The Society of Nineteenth Century Americanists
  • Society of Early Americanists 


  • Dana Allen Dissertation Fellowship, Institute for Research in the Humanities (2016)
  • Albert M. Greenfield Dissertation Fellowship, Library Company of Philadelphia (2015)