Michelle Neely

Assistant Professor of English

Joined Connecticut College: 2013

B.A., University of California, Berkeley
M.A., Ph.D., University of California, Irvine


American literature to 1900

Animal studies

Environmental humanities

Food studies

African-American literature

Women's literature

Literary and political theory

Michelle C. Neely's research and teaching focus on questions of nature, culture and democracy in American literature before 1900. As an assistant professor at Connecticut College, Neely has built on her environmental, animal studies, and food studies expertise by developing courses for interdisciplinary contexts such as the Environmental Studies Program and by teaching a wide range of seminars and surveys in American literature before 1900. Neely also advises students as an active faculty fellow in the college’s Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment and is a new fellow in the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology.

Michelle C. Neely graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, Berkeley, and received her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine. Before joining Connecticut College in 2013, she was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto’s Jackman Humanities Institute, where she also taught courses in the English department.

Professor Neely’s current book project, "The Antebellum Animal," examines consumption and the question of the animal in order to explore the 19th-century origins of contemporary notions of sustainability. Neely’s work has appeared in the journals American Literature and The Concord Saunterer, and an essay on Henry David Thoreau and animals is forthcoming in Thoreau in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2016).

Recent conference presentations include papers presented at the American Literature Association conference, at C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists conference, and at the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment conference (ASLE).

Current book project:

  • "The Antebellum Animal" 


  • "Reading Thoreau’s Animals," The Concord Saunterer: A Journal of Thoreau Studies (October 2014)
  • Review Essay on "Politics, Literature, and Aesthetics" in Edward Cahill’s Liberty of the Imagination: Aesthetic Theory, Literary Form, and Politics in the Early United States; Victoria Olwell’s The Genius of Democracy: Fictions of Gender and Citizenship in the United States, 1860-1945;  and Michal Jan Rozbicki’s Culture and Liberty in the Age of the American Revolution in American Literature (March 2015).
  • "Embodied Politics: Antebellum Vegetarianism and the Dietary Economy of Walden," in American Literature (March 2013)

Visit the English department website. 

Majoring in English. 

Majoring in Environmental Studies.

Visit the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology and the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment websites. 

Contact Michelle Neely

Mailing Address

Michelle Neely
Connecticut College
Box #5426
270 Mohegan Ave.
New London, CT 06320


322 Blaustein Humanities