Brigitte Fielder is an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received her Ph.D. in English with a minor in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Cornell University. She is the author of Relative Races: Genealogies of Interracial Kinship in Nineteenth-Century America, forthcoming from Duke University Press in October 2020. Professor Fielder has held research fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society and the Animal Studies Institute – Wesleyan University Animal Studies program. 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 also sits on the editorial board of Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature and the advisory board of Research on Diversity in Youth Literature (RDYL). In 2017-2018 she held the  Nellie Y. McKay Fellowship, an award that honors 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

Forthcoming October 2020!

“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. Instead, ‘race,’ and blackness in particular, travels unpredictably, transferred from skin to skin, from child to mother, across literary genres, through adoption, via residency, and through sibling relations. In essence, Fielder retheorizes race as the making and breaking of kin ties. 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

 Against a Sharp White Background: Infrastructures of African American Print

“This collection challenges mainstream book history and print culture to understand that race and racialization are inseparable from the study of texts and their technologies.”

May 2019 Book of Interest to African American Scholars, Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

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.