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University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst

W.E.B. Du Bois Department

Britt Rusert, Assistant Professor


Chief Undergraduate Advisor

325 New Africa House, 545-2751





Fall 2013 and Spring 2014:  On Leave

Brief Bio

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 as well as 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. 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.



In preparation:


Book Manuscript: Radical Empiricism: Fugitive Science and the Struggle for Emancipation




“Delany’s Comet: Fugitive Science and the Speculative Imaginary of Emancipation,” Forthcoming, American Quarterly, December 2013


“Framing Finance: Rebellion, Dispossession and the Geopolitics of Enclosure in Samuel Delany’s Nevèrÿon Series,” with Jordana Rosenberg, Forthcoming, Radical History Review, Special Issue Topic: “The Fictions of Finance”


“Experiments in Resistance: Counter-Archives of Racial Science on the Antebellum Stage, Forthcoming, African American Review, Special Issue on Black Performance


“Types of Mankind: Visualizing Kinship in Afro-Native America,” Common-place, 13.1 (October 2012). Online:


“Grassroots Marketing in a Global Era: More Lessons from BiDil,” with Charmaine D.M. Royal, Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 39.1 (Spring 2011): 79-90


“Black Nature: The Question of Race in the Age of Ecology,” Polygraph: An International Journal of Culture & Politics, Issue Topic: Ecology & Ideology 22 (September 2010): 149-66.


 “‘A Study in Nature’: The Tuskegee Experiments and the New South Laboratory,” Journal of Medical Humanities 30.3 (September 2009): 155-71




Co-editor, with Priscilla Wald, Special Issue of American Literature: Technologies of Enslavement and Liberty 81.1 (March 2009)