I’m currently a fourth-year doctoral candidate in English at Harvard University, where I’m also pursuing a secondary field in African and African American Studies. In the English Department, I serve as Lead Coordinator for Graduate Colloquia and co-coordinator of the Race & Ethnicity Graduate Colloquium. I’m also an affiliate of the Afro-Latin American Research Institute at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, and a member of the Tutorial Board in the Department of Comparative Literature.

I study primarily African American, African diasporic, and American multi-ethnic literatures across all periods, especially as they intersect with the history of Atlantic slavery. My research thus far has appeared in TransitionCallaloo, the Journal of Social History, and the Journal of American Studies, with additional essays forthcoming in MELUS, ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America, the Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography, and the Cambridge Companion to Richard Wright. I’m also a co-editor, with Wai Chee Dimock et al., of American Literature in the World: An Anthology from Anne Bradstreet to Octavia Butler (Columbia UP, 2017).

My dissertation project, “Narrative Events: Slavery, Testimony, and Temporality in the Afro-Atlantic World,” provides an account of New World slave testimony that challenges scholarly preoccupation with the American slave narrative tradition and its attendant critical conventions. My research asks how various genres of slave testimony produced in the Americas, Europe, and Africa in the seventeenth through twentieth centuries have remained largely illegible to literary criticism and thus marginal to African diasporic literary history. It argues that by centering non-canonical forms of slave testimony, we glean new insights into enslaved peoples’ textual production, the comparative history of Atlantic slavery, and the institutionalization of Black studies in the postwar period. Methodologically, the project draws on literary criticism and comparative literature, as well as performance studies, anthropology, historical ontology, and the history of the disciplines.


B.A. Harvard College
M.A. Harvard University

Nicholas Rinehart

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