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An internationalist and intellectual community builder, I have taught at institutions in the United States, Singapore, and China, and, as a faculty director of study abroad programs, in England and France. I am Mingde Distinguished Professor of British Literature in the School of Foreign Languages at Henan University, where I also direct the Institute for the Study of English and American Literature.

I am a founder of the Society for Global Nineteenth-Century Studies, a geographically and disciplinarily diverse network of scholars who share an interest in the world’s connectedness between 1750 and 1914, and currently serve as its president. I am also editor of the Society's journal, Global Nineteenth-Century Studies, and co-editor of its book series, Studies in the Global Nineteenth Century, both of which are published by Liverpool University Press. In addition, I am series editor for Anthem Press's new Anthem Impact in Victorian Popular Fiction. I am also a general editor of Cultural History and serve on the editorial boards of two journals, Victorian Popular Fictions and Humanities & Social Sciences Communications, as well as two book series, Key Popular Women Writers and New Paths in Victorian Literature and Culture. I am a member of the International Editorial Advisory Committee of the South African Journal of Cultural History and serve as an editorial consultant to Meridian, which is published by the Global Studies Center at the Gulf University for Science and Technology. 

I specialize in three, often-overlapping, strands of research: nineteenth-century media studies, particularly serial fiction, periodicals, and poetry; Victorian politics and empire; and material culture studies. My most recent monograph, The Provincial Fiction of Mitford, Gaskell, and Eliot, offers a reconsideration of the literary category of provincialism and the genre of the village story. In contemplating how intense feelings for place—a feature of the provincial tales I analyze—might be integrated into the Victorianist literary study of liberalism, it continues a line of inquiry opened in the last chapter of Victorian Liberalism and Material Culture. In this earlier, MLA Award-winning book, I explore the interaction between British liberal thinkers and their workplaces in order to show how John Stuart Mill’s, Matthew Arnold’s, John Morley’s, and Robert Browning’s commitments to liberalism were shaped by or manifested through the physical spaces in which they worked. In A Micro-History of Victorian Liberal Parenting: John Morley's "Discreet Indifference," I examine how living one’s life as a liberal, within the spaces of the home, extended to parenting. Some of my edited collections and reference works take up these and related issues, such as considering the role of nonhuman animals in human life and literary production (Victorian Pets and Poetry); documenting the social and cultural history of an iconic area of London (Encyclopedia of London's East End); and analyzing the linkages among body, clothing, and environment in domestic and colonial contexts (Political and Sartorial Styles). In recent years, I have been developing an interest in legacy and contemporary media, particularly television and seriality studies, as well as historical craft and experimental life writing. An award-winning teacher, I also regularly contribute to the scholarship of teaching and learning, including a monograph, two edited collections (Victorian Culture and Experiential Learning; Making the Grade), and a variety of articles.


Over the course of my career, I have secured more than $560,000 USD in research funding. Competitive grants and research income have come from internal and external sources including multiple universities, research libraries, professional bodies, and government. Some of the institutions that have supported my work include the American Philosophical Society; the South Caroliniana Library at the University of South Carolina; the New York Public Library; the California Institute of Technology Archives; the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China; the Popular Culture Association; and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. I have been a visiting scholar at the Armstrong Browning Library, a visiting fellow at the National University of Singapore, and the Lynn Wood Neag Distinguished Visiting Professor of British Literature at the University of Connecticut. Between 2020 and 2023, I held a Henan province-wide chair professorship for a three-year non-renewable term.


I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (Advance HE) and hold elected fellowships in the Royal Society of Arts, the Royal Asiatic Society, and the Royal Historical Society.

I am organizer and program chair of the Society for Global Nineteenth-Century Studies' 2025 World Congress on "Translation, Transposition, and Travel in the Global Nineteenth Century" to be held in Kuwait. In 2024, I co-chaired an international symposium on nineteenth-century global cities and urban worlds, in conjunction with TELEMMe (Temps, espaces, langages, Europe méridionale, Méditerranée) and the Institut de recherches asiatiques at Aix-Marseille University, Schuman campus. Other recent international conferences for which I had primary responsibility include "The Global / Oceanic / Nineteenth Century" in Los Angeles and the Society for Global Nineteenth-Century Studies World Congress on "Comparative Empire: Conflict, Competition, and Cooperation, 1750-1914," as well as the parallel International Society for Cultural History's 2023 conference. Both were held in Singapore.

Outside of academia, I am a represented actor with Mitchell & Associates Talent, Boysen Talent, and ADR Agency as well as principal of the Morrison Film Company LLC, which specializes in the development, financing, packaging, and production of short theatrical films. I co-wrote the company's first film, Normal Rockwell, which was produced under a SAG-AFTRA microbudget agreement. It is now in post-production and slated to be released in 2024. Most recently, I co-produced My Brother's Bike, written and directed by Daniel Pattison. 


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