BA (Hons), MA, PhD

Interdisciplinary Studies Coordinator, English Instructor
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
School of Humanities
Interdisciplinary Studies

604.986.1911 ext. 3474
Fir Building, room FR 408


PhD, University of Chicago, 2016.

MA, University of British Columbia, 2010.

BA (Honours), Simon Fraser University, 2008.


Cassidy Picken (PhD, University of Chicago, 2016) has taught at Capilano University since 2017. Before that he obtained his PhD from the University of Chicago where he studied 18th and 19th century Anglophone literature, focusing on Romanticism, the British imperial world and the legacies of slavery and colonialism. He grew up in the interior of BC and holds an MA from UBC and a BA (Honours) from SFU, both in English.

He is interested in the way literary form connects with other processes of socio-cultural formation and deformation, especially the ecological and political economic. He is currently writing a book, Plantation Romance and the Law of Rent, which explores the reverberations of a late eighteenth-century crisis in the global plantation system through literary and economic thought. Reconceptualizing the literary period we call Romanticism as a tense moment within a much longer history of the plantation form, the book brings together planter manuals, slave narratives, economic theory, poetry and novels from throughout the British empire to outline the beginnings of Romantic poetics that identified the origin of value not in the free gifts of nature but in social and ecological devastation.

More recently, Picken started working on a new project exploring the conceptual genealogy of craftwork, a category that emerges out of the history of empire at the boundary-lines of art and labor, commerce and social reproduction.

Some of the courses I've recently taught at Capilano University include:

  • English 100 (university writing strategies): "How to Write in the Anthropocene"
  • English 103 (intro to literature): "Reading for Pleasure"
  • English 109 (literature and contemporary culture): "The Novel and the New"
  • English 200 (English literature from Beowulf to Paradise Lost): "Cultures of Romance, 1000-1670"

Research and scholarly interests include:

  • British romantic poetry and fiction;
  • History of political economic thought and fantasy;
  • Liberalism in inter-colonial contexts;
  • Aesthetics of ecological disorder;
  • Legacies of slavery and colonization;
  • New models of Marxist literary historiography;
  • Theories of aesthetics, pleasure, and novelty;
  • The plantation as infrastructural form of modernity;
  • Romance as cultural logic of rentier capital.


Annihilated Property: Slavery and Reproduction after Abolition. European Romantic Review, vol. 28, no. 5, pp. 601-624, Fall 2017.

Maria Edgeworths Poetics of Rent. ELH, vol. 83, no. 1, pp. 181-209, Spring 2016.

Review of Edward Adams Liberal Epic: The Victorian Practice of History from Gibbon to Churchill. Modern Language Quarterly, vol. 75, no. 1, pp. 112-5, 2014.

Select Presentations

2019: Between Art and Labor: Craft in the Global Eighteenth-Century. Panel Convener. ASECS Annual Meeting. Denver, CO, March 21-24.

2019: History, Romance, Plot, Plantation: Romanticism in the Wake. ASECS Annual Meeting. Denver, CO, March 21-24.

2017: Accumulation by Bare Possession: Walter Scotts Fictions of Property. ASECS Annual Meeting. Minneapolis, MN, March 30-April 2.

2016: Fictions of Feudalism: John Thelwall and Plantation Romance. Invited. English Department, New York University. New York, NY, December 1.

2016: The Worst Land: Plantation Romanticism and the Ecologies of Empire. Invited. English Department, University of Calgary. Calgary, AB, February 8.

2016: Chivalry in an Age of Calculators: An Introduction to Polite Accumulation. Presider. Panel Organizer with Samuel Rowe. MLA Convention. Austin, TX, January 7-10.

2015: The Panic of Non-Property: Emancipation and Revolt in Hamel the Obeah Man. ASECS Annual Meeting. Los Angeles, CA, March 19-21.

2014: Gothic Debt; Or, Whats so Interesting About Ann Radcliffe? Concussions, Commotions, and other Aesthetic Disorders: University of Chicago Graduate Student Conference. Chicago, IL, November 19.

2013: Wordsworths Transient Visitants. NeMLA Convention. Boston, MA, March 21-24.