I am Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University--New Brunswick. I investigate the intersections between race, gender, sexuality, and the sciences in U.S. culture. I am particularly interested in: the history of feminism; the invention of the modern notion of race; and ideas about how the body interacts with its environment from the periods both before and after classical genetics, i.e. the 19th century and the present. My research often explores how science and culture function as systems of knowledge that share methods and sources in common, even as they rhetorically claim distinct spheres.
My book The Biopolitics of Feeling: Race, Sex, and Science in the Nineteenth Century was published by Duke University Press in 2018. The Biopolitics of Feeling fundamentally reorients theories of biopower, excavating the foundational role of affect and sentimentalism in the modern hierarchies of race and sex. The Nation interviewed me about the book and its implications for politics today.
During the 2017-2018 academic year, I was an External Faculty Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center. I have previously held fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the UC Humanities Research Institute and a visiting scholar position at UC Berkeley. My essays appear in academic journals such as American Quarterly and GLQ and popular outlets such as Los Angeles Review of Books and Post Road. The essays explore topics including: our interdependence with microbial life; the cultural history of cosmetic surgery in the Americas; and Native resistance to the use of the evolutionary sciences to legitimate settler colonialism in the nineteenth century. I am currently co-editing a special issue of American Quarterly on "Origins of Biopolitics in the Americas," to appear in September 2019, as well as a special issue of Social Text (with Julian Gill-Peterson) on the biopolitics of plasticity.