Afro-Am's Britt Rusert Named 2023-24 W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute Fellow
Britt Rusert, associate professor and undergraduate program director in the W. E. B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, has been selected as one of the 2023-24 W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute Fellows by the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research.
Fellows are selected for extraordinary scholarly and artistic work that advances interdisciplinary inquiry into the histories of Africa and its diasporas and that innovatively addresses current pressing concerns, frequently in global contexts.
For her fellowship project, Rusert will finish a book manuscript called “The Afric-American Picture Gallery: Imagining Black Art, circa 1859.” The project is an intensive study of William J. Wilson’s Afric-American Picture Gallery (1859), a text that imagines the first museum of Black art in the United States, and it has been supported by a 2019 NEH Summer Stipend and a 2019-20 ACLS Fellowship.
In addition to Rusert’s project, fellows will explore student protest in Kenya; music, Black interiority, and confrontation with harm; reparation and Black pain; digital activism and gendered violence in South Africa; and African-American women and marginalized Black memorial landscapes.
Rusert is the author of “Fugitive Science: Empiricism and Freedom in Early African American Culture” (New York University Press, 2017), which received sole finalist mention for the Lora Romero First Book Prize from the American Studies Association as well as an honorable mention for the MLA’s Prize for a First Book. She is also the co-editor of “W. E. B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America” (Princeton Architectural Press, 2018), a collection of the visual graphics Du Bois and his students at Atlanta University prepared for the 1900 Paris Exposition.
She received her Ph.D. in English and certificate in Feminist Studies from Duke University. Her research and teaching focus on black speculative fiction and visual culture, race and science, slavery and abolition, feminist and queer approaches to science and culture, and critical theory.