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About Britt Rusert

Britt Rusert received her Ph.D. in English and graduate certificate in Feminist Studies from Duke University in 2009. Her research and teaching fields include eighteenth- and nineteenth-century African American literature and culture, American literature of the long nineteenth century, the history of race and science, science and technology studies, gender and sexuality studies, and critical theory (especially genealogies of Marxist and feminist thought). She is also interested in race and genomics and science fiction. She is currently completing a book manuscript titled Radical Empiricism: Fugitive Science and the Struggle for Emancipation. The book focuses on a set of early black writers and performers who were interested in mobilizing a wide range of popular sciences—including astronomy, phrenology, ethnology, and comparative anatomy—in the struggle against slavery. She is also beginning a second project, which argues that recent developments in biotechnology and genomics are poised to radically transform the study of race and identity within Black Studies. Rusert has been the recipient of fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello, and the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute and has held postdoctoral fellowships at the Center for the Humanities at Temple University and the Center for Genome Ethics, Law & Policy at Duke University.


Present Assistant Professor, Department of African American Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Present Chief Undergraduate Advisor, University of Massachusetts Amherst

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  • AfroAm 253 - Pre-Civil War Black Writers
  • AfroAm 290E - The Slave Narrative
  • AfroAm 701 - Major Works in Afro-American Studies I

Contact Information

325 New Africa House
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst MA, 01003