Jeanette Samyn received her Ph.D. in English Literature at Indiana University, Bloomington, and her B.A. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. Her teaching and research interests span British literature, theory, and the environmental and medical humanities, with a focus on environmental theory and nineteenth-century (especially Victorian) literature and science. Her book project, In Praise of the Parasite: Asymmetrical Relations in the British Empire, explains how complex, asymmetrical intimacies were embedded into nineteenth-century notions of "community" and "environment" through the figure of the parasite. In popular science and the realist novel in particular, the parasite was used as a formal mechanism through which writers could imagine relations between organisms as complex, interdependent, and, often, painful. Part of this project, the essay “Cruel Consciousness: Louis Figuier, John Ruskin, and the Value of Insects,” was published in Nineteenth-Century Literature in 2016.
She is also interested in contemporary film, theory, and politics, and has articles published or forthcoming on these subjects for publications such as n+1, The New Inquiry, Dossier, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and The American Reader.