Ruth Mack is an associate professor of English at the University at Buffalo, where she specializes in 18th-century British literature. Her first book, Literary Historicity: Literature and Historical Experience in Eighteenth-Century Britain (Stanford University Press, 2009), examines the philosophy of history that emerged from literature’s questions about how the category of “experience” could contain the past.
While at Radcliffe, Mack is working on her current book, “Habitual Knowledge,” which offers a new prehistory of cultural anthropology by focusing on the role of “habit” in a wide range of 18th-century texts, from novels and devotional manuals to treatises on design. The project explores how habit allows writers to develop new ideas about the relation between theory and practice, ideas that continue to inform our thinking about other cultures.
Mack earned her BA from Yale University and her PhD from the Johns Hopkins University. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the Bill and Carol Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Emory University and the National Endowment for the Humanities.