Brigitte Fielder is an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she works on long nineteenth-century US and African American literature with attention to race, gender, species, and childhood. She is the author of over twenty articles and a book, Relative Races: Genealogies of Interracial Kinship in Nineteenth-Century America, published by Duke University Press. She also writes about race and culture for Avidly, a channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books.  Fielder has held research fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society and the Animal Studies Institute – Wesleyan University Animal Studies program. She earned her Ph.D. in English from Cornell University with a minor in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

From 2014-2016, she was a member of the Executive Committee of C19: the Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists and currently serves on the society’s Advisory Board. She sits on the editorial board of, or is a consultant reader for, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, Research on Diversity in Youth Literature (RDYL), Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers, and MELUS: Multi-ethnic Literature of the United States. In 2017-2018 she held the Nellie Y. McKay Fellowship, honoring McKay’s pathbreaking life and career as a woman of color scholar who laid foundations for the study of African American literature.


Brigitte Fielder Relative Race CoverRelative Races: Genealogies of Interracial Kinship in Nineteenth-Century America

“In Relative Races, Brigitte Fielder enriches our understanding of the cultural landscape of the long nineteenth century. Demonstrating boldness, analytical clarity, and scholarly creativity, Fielder gives us language for the processes of racialization that clearly shape American realities but that we have often failed to name because we lacked a theoretical framework.” — Koritha Mitchell, author of From Slave Cabins to the White House: Homemade Citizenship in African American Culture

“Brigitte Fielder makes the bold claim that racialization entails neither the annihilation of kin ties nor the simple linearity of descent…. After Relative Races, we will not be able to think about race and racialization, kinship, and queer theories of temporality separately again.” — Elizabeth Freeman, author of Beside You in Time: Sense Methods and Queer Sociabilities in the American Nineteenth Century

Recent and Upcoming Talks

“Signifyin(g) Race, Species and Kinship,” CUNY Graduate Center English Ph.D. Program Friday Forum Series. New York, NY. December 1, 2017.  



“”I’ll Fly Away – Birds, Slaves, Audubon, and Flying Africans” Columbia University Seminar in American Studies, New York, NY. February 6, 2018.


“Antislavery Children’s Literature and 21st-Century Antiracism” 2018 Bisson Lecture in the Humanities, Marymount University, Arlington, Virginia. April 4, 2018.



“Relational, Not Generational: Interracial Kinship in Nineteenth-Century America” UW-Madison Center for the Humanities “Humanities Lunch” Series. April 27, 2018.  

“Once upon a time — the future of children’s literature.” A conversation with Brigitte Fielder, Dean Robbins, Megan Schliesman, and Kashmira Sheth. Capital Times Idea Festival. Sept. 29, 2018. 10:30-11:30 a.m. Lee Lounge, Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St, Madison, Wisconsin.




“Blackface Desdemona”, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, English Department. March 18, 2020. (Postponed due to COVID-19 Emergency)


Plenary lecture on Iola Leroy and David Copperfield, Dickens Universe. University of California-Santa Cruz. July 26—August 1, 2020.