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pdfClick here for Professor Schuller's CV.


Ph.D. in Literature from University of California, San Diego (2009)

Research Interests

The history of U.S. feminism; Feminist science studies; the cultural politics of evolution; nineteenth-century U.S. literature and culture; critical theories of race, gender, and sexuality; biopolitics; Transnational American Studies; and popular culture.

Biographical Notes

Professor Kyla Schuller is Associate Professor and Women's Global Health Leadership (WGHL) Certificate Faculty Director of Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She investigates the intersections between race, gender, sexuality, and the sciences. Her book The Biopolitics of Feeling: Race, Sex, and Science in the Nineteenth Century was released from Duke University Press in December 2017. In The Biopolitics of Feeling, Schuller unearths the forgotten, multiethnic sciences of impressibility—the capacity to be affected over time—to expose the powerful workings of sentimental biopower in the nineteenth century. The book challenges interpretations of sentimentalism as primarily concerned with emotional feeling and cultural production, revealing sentiment to function as a widespread technology of individual discipline and species modulation that enabled the deployment of biopower and its sciences of sex and race difference.

During the 2017-2018 academic year, Schuller was an External Faculty Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center. She has previously held fellowships from the ACLS and the UC Humanities Research Institute. Her peer-reviewed articles explore topics including: the cultural history of cosmetic surgery in the Americas; settler colonialism and the paleontological sciences; the relationship between microbial infections and affective state; and the sentimental and neocolonial politics of the blockbuster film Avatar, and other subjects in feminist science and cultural studies. At Rutgers, she teaches courses on Gender and Science, Gender and Visual Media, Queer Literature Before Stonewall, and Critical Sexualities Studies and is delighted by the talent and curiosity of Rutgers students.

Selected Publications

The Biopolitics of Feeling: Race, Sex, and Science in the Nineteenth Century (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2018)

Editor, with Greta LaFleur, “Origins of Biopolitics in the Americas” American Quarterly special issue, September 2019

“The Microbial Self: Sensation and Sympoiesis,” Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities, 5, no. 3 (2018).

"Biopolitics Before and Below the Individual," Review Essay. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 22, no. 4 (2016): 629–636.

"The Fossil and the Photograph: Red Cloud, Prehistoric Media, and Dispossession in Perpetuity." Configurations 24, no. 2 (2016): 259–291.

"Avatar and the Movements of Neocolonial Sentimental Cinema." Discourse: Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture 35, no. 2 (2014): 177–193.

“Taxonomies of Feeling: The Epistemology of Sentimentalism in Late-Nineteenth-Century Racial and Sexual Science,” American Quarterly, 64. no 2 (2012): 277–299.

“Specious Bedfellows: Ethnicity, Animality, and the Intimacy of Slaughter in Moby-Dick,” Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies 12, no. 3 (2010): 3–20.

“Facial Uplift: Plastic Surgery, Cosmetics and the Retailing of Whiteness in the Work of María Cristina Mena,” Journal of Modern Literature 32, no. 4 (2009): 82–104.



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Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
162 Ryders Lane, New Brunswick NJ 08901
Tel: 848-932-9331