pdfClick here for Professor Schuller's CV.


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

Research Interests

Feminist science and health studies; histories of US feminisms; biopolitics; nineteenth-century U.S. literature and culture; critical theories of race, gender, and sexuality; and popular culture

Biographical Notes

Professor Kyla Schuller is Associate Professor and Undergraduate Director of Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She investigates the intersections between race, gender, sexuality, activism, and the sciences for academic and general audiences. Her first book The Biopolitics of Feeling: Race, Sex, and Science in the Nineteenth Century (Duke University Press, 2017) unearths the forgotten, multiethnic sciences of impressibility—the capacity to be affected over time—to expose the powerful workings of sentimental biopower and the sciences of sex and race difference. 

Her second book The Trouble with White Women: Counterhistories of Feminism (Bold Type Books, 2021) brings to life the two-hundred-year counter history of Black, Indigenous, Latina, poor, queer, and trans women pushing back against white feminists and uniting to dismantle systemic injustice. According to Joan Morgan's review in the New York Times Book Review, "Schuller is a gifted storyteller, her counterhistory equal parts writerly craft and scholarly diligence. 

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 essays for the public have appeared in Slate, Los Angeles Review of Books, and The Rumps. Her scholarly 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 affect; and the sentimental and neocolonial politics of the blockbuster film Avatar, among other subjects in feminist science and cultural studies. At Rutgers, she teaches courses including Gender and Science, Gender and Visual Media, Feminist Theory: Historical Perspectives, Queer Literature Before Stonewall, and Introduction to Sexualities Studies and is delighted by the talent and curiousity of Rutgers students. 


The Trouble with White Women: A Counterhistory of Feminism. New York: Bold Type Books, 2021. 

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

Special Issues

Editor, with Greta LaFleur, "Origins of Biopolitics in the Americas," American Quarterly special issue 71, no. 3 (September 2019) *Winner of the 2020 Council of Editors of Learned Journals Best Special Issue Award

Editor, with Jules Gill-Peterson, "The Biopolitics of Plasticity," Social Text special issue 38, no. 2 (June 2020)

Articles and Essays

"Unfuckology: Affectability, Temporality, and Unleashing the Sex/Gender Binary," in The Affect Reader 2: Worldings, Tensions, Futures, edited by Gregory Seigworth and the Carolyn Pedwell. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2023. 

"The Racial Logic of Impressibility," in Sketches on Everlasting Plastics, edited by Isabelle Kirkham-Lewitt and Joanna Joseph. New York: Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2023. 

"Nature," in Nineteenth-Century American Literature in Transition, Volume 2, edited by Justine Murison. 87-103. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2022. 

"Eugenic Aesthetics: Literature as Evolutionary Instrument in the Early Twentieth Century," in The Palgrave Handbook of Literature and Science, 20th/21st Century, edited by Priscilla Wald et al. 433-447. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021. 

"Biopolitics," in Keywords for American Cultural Studies, Third Edition, edited by Bruce Burgett and Glenn Hendler. 22-26. New York: New York University Press, 2020.

"The Biology of Intimacy: Lamarckian Evolution and the Sentimental Novel." American Literature, 92, no. 3 (2020: 457-484. 

"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.