Alexis A. Ferguson (they/them) joined the Department of English at Princeton University in 2018. Their research interests include British literature in the long 19th century, narration and narrative theory, history of science and medicine, theories of aesthetics, and queer and trans theory. Their doctoral thesis, “Making Cis: Gender in the 19th Century,” examines physiological and sexological texts alongside realist novels to explore the plurality of and relations between scientific and literary discourses of sex in the mid-19th century. Major themes include historical and discursive distinctions between biologized sex and social gender, scientific developments that prefigure the modern, cis-gendered body, and narrative forms that prompt readers to imagine gender before and beyond cisness. In recent and forthcoming presentations and publications based on this research, Alexis engages with the work of George Eliot, George Henry Lewes, Herbert Spencer, and Wilkie Collins, among others. Alexis is also pursuing a graduate certificate from Princeton’s Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies and holds an M.A. in English from Princeton University (2020) and a B.A. in English from Cornell University (2017).
Alexis has taught in several courses in the Department of English, Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Program in American Studies, including “19th-Century Fiction” and “Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies.” They have also served as a Graduate Mentor in the Princeton University Office of Undergraduate Research’s “ReMatch” and “ReMatch+ Summer Program,” and as a Graduate Teacher at Dickens Universe, hosted by University of California, Santa Cruz. In addition to their research and teaching, Alexis serves as co-organizer of the Victorian Colloquium and the Gender and Sexuality Studies Graduate Reading Group at Princeton. In these roles, Alexis has organized several iterations of the annual Princeton-Rutgers Victorian Symposium, in partnership with the Rutgers University 19th Century Research Group, and “Victorian Studies: Now or Never,” an interdisciplinary discussion group inspired by the call to “undiscipline” Victorian Studies, among other events.