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In an effort to improve diversity in the field of nineteenth century American literary and cultural studies and support scholars starting out in the profession, C19 is continuing a pilot program initiated in 2020 to connect scholars of color in the early part of academic careers with mentors who have substantial experience. The goal is to create opportunities for mentors to offer guidance in relation to research, writing, and professional involvement. We plan to bring pairs of mentors/mentees together at the C19 conference in Miami and help them develop relationships that will assist the early-career scholars in navigating challenges in the field.



The program is open to scholars of color who have received their PhDs but do not yet have a tenure or the institutional equivalent. Priority will be given to those who have not yet secured a tenure-track job and those who are in their first three years of an academic appointment. Secondarily, we will consider more advanced assistant professors. The mentee must be attending the 2024 Conference in Pasadena.


 Mentors can undertake some of the following activities: 


1) Help the mentee with a piece of writing. This could include the development of the C19 conference paper into a publishable article or a book chapter. Or perhaps the mentee will request guidance in developing a book prospectus. To this end, the mentor should provide feedback on a draft of writing.  We consider the writing process to be the main part of the mentoring relationship.


2) Help the mentee navigate the C19 conference if necessary, including introductions to senior scholars and the development of professional interactions.


3) Agree on regular contact (perhaps once a month) over a period of 12 to 18 months and establish incremental milestones for the writing process.


4) Make suggestions about journals, conferences, or presses that would be appropriate for the mentee’s work.


5) Offer advice about professional matters, such as the job market, navigating the profession as a BIPOC scholar, or alt-academic careers.



Mentors are both BIPOC and non-BIPOC scholars who are full or advanced associates. See the list for this year’s roster.


You can make that request and if at all possible, it will be accommodated. See application for further information.


Applications are due by December 15th. Notifications begin in early February.


The application is a Google Form:

Early Career Connection Mentors: 


RJ Boutelle is Assistant Professor of English and an affiliate faculty member in Africana Studies at the University of Cincinnati. He is the author of The Race for America: Black Internationalism in the Age of Manifest Destiny (UNC Press 2023) and his articles have appeared in Atlantic Studies, MELUS, and American Literature. He has also contributed to Caribbean Literature in Transition, 1800-1920 (Cambridge UP 2021) and African American Literature in Transition, 1880-1900 (Cambridge UP 2024). He is also editing a new critical edition of Charles Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition (1901) for Broadview Press. 


Sarah E. Chinn is Professor of English at Hunter College, CUNY. She is the author of Technology and the Logic of American Racism: A Cultural History of the Body as Evidence (2000), Inventing Modern Adolescence: Children of Immigrants in Turn-of-the-Century America (2008), and Spectacular Men: Race, Gender, and Nation on the Early American Stage, 1780-1840 (2017), the winner of the 2018 George Freedley Memorial Award for an exemplary work in the field of live theatre or performance, awarded by the Theatre Library Association and a Choice Outstanding Academic Title.  She was awarded the American Literature Society’s 1921 Prize for best article in American literature in 2020. Her most recent book, Disability, the Body, and Radical Intellectuals in the Literature of the Civil War and Reconstruction is in production at Cambridge University Press. From 2007 to 2011, she was the Executive Director of CLAGS: A Center for LGBT Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center. From 2014 to 2021 she chaired the Hunter College English Department. Currently she is the co-editor, with Brigitte Fielder, of J19: The Journal of the Society of 19th Century Americanists.

Juliana Chow is a teaching professor and director of an environmental studies minor with study abroad programs at the Honors College of the University of Utah. She is the author of Nineteenth-Century American Literature and the Discourse of Natural History (2021) which examines the emergence of diasporic theories of race and species against the backdrop of nineteenth-century settler colonialism. She began in academia as a C19 scholar and then left academia for a year or two before returning to teach in the environmental humanities. Her scholarly and creative writings have appeared in ESQ, Arizona Quarterly, LA Review of Books, and Willowherb Review. She has taught previously at Bard College’s Language and Thinking Program, Saint Louis University, and Portland State University’s Honors College. She would be happy to mentor junior scholars who are also interested in “alt-ac” and non-tenure track opportunities.

Jean Lee Cole is Professor Emerita of English at Loyola University Maryland. She is the author of How the Other Half Laughs: The Comic Sensibility in American Culture, 1895-1920 (Mississippi, 2020); The Literary Voices of Winnifred Eaton: Redefining Ethnicity and Authenticity (Rutgers, 2002), and editor/co-editor of several critical editions, including Zora Neale Hurston: Collected Plays (Rutgers, 2008). She was the editor of the journal American Periodicals from 2015-2020, for which she was recognized as 2021 editor of the year by the Council of Editors of Learned Journals. She is also the project lead for the Woman’s Literary Society of Baltimore Archive ( and senior consultant for the Winnifred Eaton Archive (


Raúl Coronado is an intellectual and literary historian and associate professor of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley. His first book, A World Not to Come: A History of Writing and Print Culture, received seven prizes including the American Studies Association's John Hope Franklin Prize for Best Book in American Studies and the Modern Language Association's Best First Book Prize. The inaugural president of the Latina/o Studies Association and inaugural executive committee member of the MLA’s Latina and Latino Literature Forum, Coronado has received funding support from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Fulbright Program, the Huntington Library, and the Stanford Humanities Center. His current project is on the history of the Latinx self from the 1780s to the 1880s.

Daniel Diez Couch is Associate Professor of English at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He is the author of American Fragments: The Political Aesthetic of Unfinished Forms in the Early Republic (UPenn 2022) and a co-editor of The Part and the Whole in Early American Literature, Print Culture and Art (Bucknell, forthcoming April 2024). His writing has won the Hennig Cohen Prize for the best article, book chapter, or essay in a book about Herman Melville, and his work has been supported by the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Huntington Library, and the American Antiquarian Society, among other institutions. His research has appeared in journals such as Early American Literature, Early American Studies, Arizona Quarterly, Leviathan, and Nineteenth-Century Literature.

Brigitte Fielder is an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of Relative Races: Genealogies of Interracial Kinship in Nineteenth-Century America (Duke UP, 2020) and co-author (with Jonathan Senchyne) of Against a Sharp White Background: Infrastructures of African American Print (U of Wisconsin P, 2019).  She is currently finishing a second book manuscript, on racialized human-animal relationships in the long nineteenth century, which shows how childhood becomes a key site for both humanization and racialization. Her new project deals with pre-20th-century iterations of Afrofuturism – Black employments of “old” tech for hopeful future visioning. Fielder is co-editor (with Sarah Chinn) of J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists and the Vice President/President-Elect of the Children’s Literature Association (ChLA).


John J. Garcia is Director of Scholarly Programs and Partnerships at the American Antiquarian Society, where he directs the Program in the History of the Book in American Culture and the Center for Historic American Visual Culture. In addition to teaching appointments at the California State University and Florida State University, he served as President of the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography at Rare Book School. Research has been supported by long-term fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the New York Public Library, and the American Antiquarian Society. He is happy to mentor junior scholars interested in “alt-ac” opportunities as well as applying for research fellowships.


Sean A. Gordon is Assistant Professor of English at California State University, Fresno, where he teaches courses on American literature, abolitionist poetics, climate change literature, and environmental and social justice. He received his PhD at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he was an organizing member of the Graduate Employee Organization (UAW 2322) and he is currently a chapter leader in the California Faculty Association. His work can be found, or is forthcoming, in Romantic Circles Praxis, The Oxford Handbook of Henry David Thoreau, The Hopkins Review, Insurrect! Radical Thinking in Early American Studies, Paste, and the C19 and High Theory podcasts. 


M. Giulia Fabi is Associate Professor of American Literature at the University of Ferrara, Italy.  She is the author of Passing and the Rise of the African American Novel, which was selected as an Outstanding Academic Book.  She has edited several volumes, including the Penguin Classics edition of W. W. Brown’s Clotel, the bilingual edition of Frederick Douglass’s 1845 Narrative, and a series of Italian translations of African American novels.  She is co-editor of Barbara Christian’s New Black Feminist Criticism and Nella Larsen’s Letters, 1917-1935.  Her work has appeared in African American ReviewAmerican Literary RealismComparative American StudiesThe Henry James Review, and Legacy.  She is a contributor to several volumes, including The Cambridge Companion to the African American NovelMLA Approaches to Teaching Nella LarsenExtravagances: Habits of Being 4Jim Crow, Literature, and the Legacy of Sutton E. Griggs, Recovering Five Generations Hence: The Life and Writing of Lillian Jones HoraceAfrican American Literature in Transition, 1900-1910, and The Routledge Companion to Gender and Science Fiction.  She is currently working on a manuscript of pre-Harlem Renaissance African American speculative fiction.

Jennifer Greiman is Professor of English at Wake Forest University and the associate editor of Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies. She is the author of Melville’s Democracy: Radical Figuration and Political Form (Stanford University Press, 2023) and Democracy’s Spectacle: Sovereignty and Public Life in Antebellum American Writing (Fordham University Press, 2010) and the co-editor, with Paul Stasi, of The Last Western: Deadwood and the End of American Empire (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013). She is co-editing, with Michael Jonik, the Oxford Handbook of Herman Melville, and her articles have appeared in: The New Cambridge Companion to Herman Melville, The New Melville Studies, Timelines of American Literature, J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-century Americanists, Leviathan, REAL, and Textual Practices.


Jared Hickman is associate professor of English at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of Black Prometheus: Race and Radicalism in the Age of Atlantic Slavery (Oxford, 2016) and the co-editor, with Elizabeth Fenton, of Americanist Approaches to The Book of Mormon (Oxford, 2019) and, with Martha Schoolman, of Abolitionist Places (Routledge, 2013). He has published in American Literature, Early American Literature, Nineteenth-Century Literature, and PMLA, among other venues. He is currently at work on two projects related to the historical romance: The Romance of The Book of Mormon and The Romance: An Indigenous History.


Jennifer C. James is Associate Professor at the George Washington University and author of A Freedom Bought with Blood: African American War Literature, the Civil War-World War II. She is at work on two books, Captive Ecologies: The Environmental Afterlives of Slavery, and Black Jack: Andrew Jackson and African American Cultural Memory, which traces the lives of three generations of her ancestors owned by Jackson to consider his relationship to enslavement and to explore a racialized memory of the president. She is also co-editing “‘That Pageant Terrible’: Cultural Representations of African American War Experience from the American Revolution to the Twenty-First Century,” a collection of new work on blackness and American warfare. Her work has been included in journals including American Literature, American Literary History, The African American Review, Feminist Studies, Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities, and MELUS, where she co-edited a special issue on race and disability studies. She has contributed essays to a variety of collections, such as Environmental Criticism for the 21st Century, Feminist Disability Studies, NYU’s Keywords in African American Studies and others. 


Dana Luciano is Associate Professor of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Rutgers University, where she has taught since 2018. Previously, she taught at Georgetown University, where she served as Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program (2009-2012). She is the author of How the Earth Feels: Geological Fantasy in the Nineteenth Century U.S. (Duke University Press, January 2024) and Arranging Grief: Sacred Time and the Body in Nineteenth Century America (NYU, 2007). Other publications include Unsettled States: Nineteenth-Century American Literary Studies (NYU Press, 2014), co-edited with Ivy G. Wilson; “Queer Inhumanisms,” a special issue of GLQ: A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies, co-edited with Mel Y. Chen (spring/summer 2015); and essays in American Quarterly, American LiteraturePost45, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere. She is a founding editor of Regeneration: Environment, Art, Culture, a new multimedia, open-access environmental humanities journal. 


Barbara McCaskill is Professor of English at the University of Georgia and Associate Academic Director, Willson Center for Humanities and Arts.  She has published five books, most recently Love, Liberation, and Escaping Slavery: William and Ellen Craft in Cultural Memory (UGA Press, 2016) and The Magnificent Reverend Peter Thomas Stanford, Transatlantic Activist and Race Man with Sidonia Serafini (UGA Press, 2020; paperback forthcoming 2024).  She has co-edited with Caroline Gebhard African American Literature in Transition, 1880-1900, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press.  She is co-P.I. or P.I. of several externally funded collaborative grant projects, including Culture and Community at the Penn Center National Historic Landmark District (Mellon Foundation), A World Within Worlds: The Visionary Art of Sam Doyle (Luce Foundation), The Genius of Phillis Wheatley Peters (Georgia Humanities and Humanities Texas), and the Civil Rights Digital Library Initiative (Institute for Museum and Library Services). Recent awards include the Graduate Mentorship Award, University of Georgia (2020) and the Lorraine A. Williams Leadership Award from the Association of Black Women Historians (2019).    

Britt Rusert is Professor in the W. E. B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a 2023-24 W. E. B. Du Bois Institute Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University. She is the author of Fugitive Science: Empiricism and Freedom in Early African American Culture (New York University Press, 2017) and co-editor of W. E. B. Du Bois’s Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America (Princeton Architectural Press, 2018). Rusert has served on the C19 Executive Committee as the Communications Chair; she has also served on the editorial board for American Literature; has co-chaired the UMass Press Faculty Committee; and currently serves as book reviews editor of American Quarterly, with Alyosha Goldstein.

Susan Ryan is Professor of English and Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Louisville. She is the author of two monographs (The Grammar of Good Intentions: Race and the Antebellum Culture of Benevolence [2003] and The Moral Economies of American Authorship: Reputation, Scandal, and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Marketplace [2016]); most recently, she edited Uncle Tom’s Cabin for the Norton Library series. Her current book project considers how nineteenth-century Americans engaged with, appropriated, and (mis)understood India. In her administrative role, she’s involved with hiring, tenure & promotion, annual reviews, personnel policy, and faculty success initiatives.


Derrick R. Spires is a Just Transformations Mellon Colored Conventions Project (CCP) Senior Research Fellow at Penn State’s Center for Black Digital Research (#DigBlk) (2023-2024) and the John and Patricia Cochran Scholar of Inclusive Excellence and Associate Professor of English at the University of Delaware, where he specializes in early Black print culture, citizenship studies, and African American intellectual history. His first book, The Practice of Citizenship: Black Politics and Print Culture in the Early United States (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019) won several awards, including the Modern Language Association’s First Book Prize and the BSA/St. Louis Mercantile Library Prize. He is a member of the editorial team for the Broadview Anthology of American Literature and coeditor of the book series, “Black Print and Organizing in the Long 19c,” at the University of Pennsylvania Press with Gabrielle Foreman and Shirley Moody-Turner. His work appears in journals such as American Literary History, African American Review, and American Literature; as well as edited volumes on the Colored Conventions Movement, African American Print Culture, and Black Reconstruction. 


Priscilla Wald is R. Florence Brinkley Distinguished Chair of English at Duke University, where she co-edits American Literature with Matthew Taylor. She is the author of Contagious: Cultures, Carriers, and the Outbreak Narrative (Duke, 2008) and Constituting Americans: Cultural Anxiety and Narrative Form (Duke, 1995) and the co-editor, as part of the Triangle Editorial Collective, of Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature and Science, vol. 5 of Palgrave Handbooks of Literature and Science (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), with Michael Elliott, of The American Novel 1870-1940, volume 6 Oxford History of the Novel in English (Oxford University Press, 2014), and with Sari Altschuler and Jonathan Metzl, Keywords: Health Humanities (NYU Press, 2023). With David Kazanjian and Elizabeth McHenry, she co-edits the America in the Long Nineteenth Century series at NYU Press. She is currently working on a monograph entitled Human Being After Genocide.


Caroline Wigginton is Chair and Associate Professor of English at the University of Mississippi. She is the author of Indigenuity: Native Craftwork and the Art of American Literatures (UNC 2022) and also In the Neighborhood: Women’s Publication in Early America (Massachusetts 2016), which won the First Book Prize from Early American Literature. She is co-editor with Alyssa Mt. Pleasant and Kelly Wisecup of a joint forum on Materials and Methods in Native American and Indigenous Studies, published in 2018 in the William and Mary Quarterly and Early American Literature

Gretchen Woertendyke is Associate Professor of English and Affiliate Faculty of African American and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina. She is the author of Hemispheric Regionalism: Romance and the Geography of Genre (Oxford 2016) and has published essays in Early American Literature, Atlantic Studies, and in edited collections – The Secret History in Literature, 1660-1820, The Haitian Revolution in the Early United States, The Oxford Handbook of Charles Brockden Brown, and in Journeys of the Slave Narrative in the Early Americas. Her first book is a study of romance in the U.S. as both response to and production of nineteenth century fears and fantasies about Cuba- U.S.-Haitian relations. Her current project, Violence and Secrecy in U.S. Literature, treats secrecy as a set of protocols that are fundamental to white masculinity, secret societies, and early Christian nationalism. But the project ultimately examines the ways secrecy creates spaces for emancipatory and collective action, particularly for slaves and post-antebellum non-white, non-Christian peoples. She was on the program committee for c19 in 2019-2020 that transitioned from in-person to our virtual conference and has participated at the conference since its inception. Her work has been funded by the Huntington Library, the ACLS, and by university wide and departmental fellowships at USC.


Xine Yao is Associate Professor in American Literature to 1900 and co-director of the queer studies network qUCL at University College London. Yao’s Disaffected: The Cultural Politics of Unfeeling in Nineteenth-Century America won the Robert K Martin Book Award from the Canadian Association of American Studies, Duke University Press’s Scholars of Color First Book Award, honourable mention for the Arthur Miller First Book Prize from the British Association of American Studies, and was shortlisted for the University English Book Prize. Other accolades include the American Studies Association’s Yasuo Sakakibara Essay Prize. She is a BBC Radio 3/AHRC New Generation Thinker and the co-host of PhDivas Podcast.

Elissa Zellinger is Associate Professor and Associate Chair of English at Texas Tech University. She is the author of Lyrical Strains: Liberalism and Women’s Poetry in Nineteenth-Century America (UNC 2020). She is the guest editor of the Poe Studies: History, Theory, Interpretation special issue on “The Poe/tics of Reception” (forthcoming 2025) and her articles have appeared in Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers, ESQ: A Journal of Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Culture, and Texas Studies in Literature and Language.

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