I am a writer, researcher, and teacher working as an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since 2022, I have also been an Idol Family Fellow at Villanova University.

I study American literature of the long nineteenth century with emphasis on Black women writers, African American literature, and children’s literature. I am an archival researcher invested in recovery of and access to primary sources, and I work in concert with theories of race, species, gender, and childhood. I did my Ph.D. in English at Cornell University with a minor in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and am an elected member of the American Antiquarian Society.

My published academic research includes a book, Relative Races: Genealogies of Interracial Kinship in Nineteenth-Century America (Duke University Press) and over 30 journal articles or chapters in edited collections. I also write essays for public readerships in venues including Avidly, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the New York Times Book Review. Occasionally, I’m a guest on podcasts discussing culture, history, and scholarship.

On my website you’ll find links to my work as a writer and professor, descriptions of works in progress, and announcements of upcoming events like public lectures. To get started learning about my work the introduction to my first book is available free on Duke University Press’s website and my CV is available here.

Photo of brigitte fielder in a yellow orange dress.

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 Events and Media


#SlaveryArchive Book Club Reads Relative Races in June 2021.

New Books Network Podcast

An hourlong podcast interview on Relative Races with Dr. Christina Gessler of "The Academic Life" podcast in the New Books Network family of podcasts.

G19 Interview

A chat about the writing of Relative Races and mentorship with members of the G19 Collective, the graduate student caucus of C19: Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists.

Book Talk @ American Antiquarian Society

My book talk sharing Relative Races in the AAS's Program in the History of the Book in America new books seriess

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