My name is Mark Gallagher and I am a lecturer in the UCLA English Department.
I specialize in teaching American literature of the colonial, early national, and antebellum periods, focusing on the religious and literary cultures of New England. These include traditions of Puritan and women writers as well as the authors of the American Renaissance. My courses combine formal analysis of literary works with historical and cultural contextualization to better understand American literature in terms of its larger political, religious, and philosophical ideas, with the goal of inspiring, provoking, and challenging my students to become more engaged in civic and community life.
My dissertation is titled “‘Affective Transcendentalisms: Sense and Spirit in Emerson, Peabody, Thoreau, and Melville.” “Affective Transcendentalisms” looks at how the nineteenth-century literary, religious, social, and political movement can be understood through several models of “affective Transcendentalisms”—the various ways that these Transcendentalist writers expressed themselves through the language of sense. “Affective Transcendentalisms” argues that the Transcendentalist movement constitutes a variety of religious experiences, each one an epistemology of the inner senses. It is through these inner senses that the Transcendentalists approach immanence and transcendence by recovering sense for spirit.
My primary research focus is American Transcendentalism. Other areas of interest include: religion and literature (Puritanism, Unitarianism, and Catholicism); book history and print culture; and the public humanities. My work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Antiquarian Society, the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society, and UCLA. My writing has appeared in The New England Quarterly, ESQ, Commonweal, Emerson Society Papers, the Thoreau Society Bulletin, and is forthcoming in the Concord Saunterer.
From 2014 to 2018, I was the editor of the Thoreau Society Bulletin, the quarterly publication of the Thoreau Society. I worked to make the 78-year-old publication more inclusive, increasing the diversity of voices in its pages, while maintaining the Bulletin’s high scholarly standards. I was also a member of the Thoreau Bicentennial Committee, helping organize public programs about Thoreau’s life, works, and legacy. It was during the bicentennial year that I discovered what is believed to be the only known sketch of Henry David Thoreau’s house at Walden drawn by Thoreau himself (publication forthcoming.)
A little more about me: I grew up in a blue-collar, Irish-Catholic family just west of Boston. I am a first-generation college graduate, an award-winning book collector, and I am the proud husband to Denise and father to Catherine and Brian.
For updates, visit the recent news section. You can also see some of my selected publications, samples of my digital humanities projects and collaborations, and my teaching portfolio highlighting my work with instructional technology and innovative writing pedagogy.