Maura Dunst

Communications Coordinator

Research Interests and Project Expertise

Victorian literature; 19th century translatlantic literature; women's writing; music in literature.


I am communications coordinator of the Institute for Social Research and Data Innovation (ISRDI). In that capacity, I work with the ISRDI's four centers, leading communications for the Minnesota Population Center, IPUMS, and the Life Course Center. In my previous life I was a graduate student in Wisconsin, studying English, before I went overseas to pursue my British literature research from whence it came. I finished my PhD, "Such Genius as Hers: Music in New Woman Fiction," at Cardiff University in 2013, supervised by Ann Heilmann. This project focused on focused on women writers of the 1890s who used music as part of their literary composition to make a political statement about women's creativity. I then spent three years teaching writing and literature at the University of Wisconsin-Stout before leaving academia for the world of nonprofit communications. I was pulled back to a university setting—the environment in which I am most comfortable, where I know myself best—in 2017, when I started working at the ISRDI. Now, I focus on finding effective ways of bringing ISRDI-affiliated research into the public sphere. 

Selected Publications

“The Elusive Melody: Music and Trauma in New Woman Short Stories.” British Women
Short Story Writers: New Woman to Now. Eds. Emma Young and James Bailey.
Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015.

"Reading Music, Composing Literature: Melopoetic Composition in George Egerton’s
Keynotes and Discords.” Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies 10.3 (2014). 18-42.

“He, watching over Morningquest: The Chime’s Musical Performance in Sarah Grand’s
The Heavenly Twins.” Interdisciplinary Literary Studies 16.2 (2014). 348-365.

“‘Speak on, desolate mother!’: Elizabeth Gaskell’s Isolated (M)others.” The Gaskell
Journal 25 (2012). 51-69.