Jennifer J. Baker

Associate Professor of English

New York University

Jennifer J. Baker specializes in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American literature and intellectual history. She is particularly interested in the points of contact between literary practice and traditionally non-literary modes of writing and thought—whether the result of direct influence, shared vocabulary, or shared ways of structuring experience.

Her first book, Securing the Commonwealth: Debt, Speculation, and Writing in the Making of Early America, examines the impact of financial developments, particularly the advent of public debt and paper money, on eighteenth-century American writing. She has also co-edited a special issue of Early American Literature on “Economics and Early American Literature.”

 A devotee of Moby-Dick, she serves on the Melville Society Cultural Project, which organizes archival research, visiting fellowships, programming, and lectures at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Much of her research entails understanding American thought in relation to European, and more generally Western, intellectual traditions; in keeping with this interest, she offers classes on American literature in transatlantic context and MAP courses on “humans and the natural world” in Western literature. She previously taught at Vassar College and Yale University.