Jessica Swoboda

Postdoctoral Fellow

I’m interested in exploring how our individual ties to artworks impact our interpersonal relationships. A question that guides my research is what is the relationship between aesthetic experiences and interpersonal connections? As a literary scholar, I most often turn to novels to answer these questions, seeing characters’ encounters with installation art, paintings, music, and literature in the fictional world of the text as influencing their perception of themselves, others, and their surroundings and as changing how they relate to other characters. I take to the classroom these interests, asking students how they feel about a text, a character, or a work of art to help them see that their various parts—the form, the historical context, the plot, the colors, the emotions stirred in you when you engage it, among much else—aren’t separate from our lives but integral to understanding them.