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Nihad M. Farooq

Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies

Member Of:
  • School of Literature, Media, and Communication
Office Phone:
Office Location:
Skiles 335b

Dr. Nihad M. Farooq is Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication. She holds a Ph.D. in English from Duke University, a joint M.A. in English & American Literature and Women’s Studies from Brandeis University, and an A.B. in English from Dartmouth College. Farooq’s interdisciplinary research approach moves between literary studies, American and Atlantic Studies, critical race theory, and cultural studies of science and ethnography. Her first book, Undisciplined: Science, Ethnography, and Personhood in the Americas, 1830-1940 (New York University Press, 2016), investigates the transformative power of encounter between and among scientists and indigenous and diasporic populations in the Americas in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A second book manuscript in progress, tentatively entitled Roots in the Air: Slavery and Social Networks in the Atlantic World, explores the role of networked resistance in the Black Atlantic in the long nineteenth century, and won early research support through the year-long William S. Vaughn Faculty Research Fellowship at the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities at Vanderbilt University.



  • Ph.D., English, Duke University
  • Joint M.A., English & Women's Studies, Brandeis University
  • A.B., English, Dartmouth College
Areas of
  • African American Studies
  • American Literature 1865-1940
  • American Studies
  • Anthropologies Of Race & Science
  • Atlantic Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Long Nineteenth Century
Research Fields:
  • Literary and Cultural Studies
  • Latin America and Caribbean
  • North America
  • United States
  • Gender
  • Inequality and Social Justice
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • History and Memory
  • Literature
  • ENGL-1102: English Composition II
  • LCC-3112: Evolution&Industrial Age
  • LCC-3116: Sci, Tech& Postmodernism
  • LCC-3118: Sci, Tech&American Empire
  • LCC-3208: African-Amer Lit/Cult
  • LCC-3210: Ethnicity-Amer Culture
  • LCC-3306: Science,Technology& Race
  • LCC-3510: American Culture II
  • LCC-4102: Senior Thesis
  • LMC-2000: Intro-Lit, Media, & Comm
  • LMC-3116: Sci Tech & Postmodernisms
  • LMC-3118: Sci Tech&American Empire
  • LMC-3208: African-Amer Lit/Cult
  • LMC-3210: Ethnicity American Cult
  • LMC-3212: Women, Lit & Culture
  • LMC-3316: Postcolonialism
  • LMC-4102: Senior Thesis
  • LMC-4200: Seminar Lit/Cult Theory
Recent Publications


  • Undisciplined: Science, Ethnography, and Personhood in the Americas, 1830- 1940. NYU Press, American and the Long Nineteenth Century Series.


    In the 19th century, personhood was a term of regulation and discipline through which slaves, criminals, and others, could be “made and unmade,” as scholars like Colin Dayan and others have argued. Yet it was precisely the fraught, uncontainable nature of personhood that necessitated its constant legislation, wherein its meaning could be both contested and controlled.                                                  

    Examining scientific and literary narratives, Farooq’s Undisciplined encourages an alternative consideration of personhood, one that emerges from evolutionary and ethnographic discourse. Moving chronologically from 1830 to 1940, Farooq explores the scientific and cultural entanglements of Atlantic travelers in and beyond the Darwin era, and invites us to attend more closely to the consequences of mobility and contact on disciplines and persons. Bringing together an innovative group of readings—from field journals, diaries, letters, and testimonies to novels, stage plays, and audio recordings—Farooq advocates for a reconsideration of science, personhood, and the priority of race for the field of American studies.  Whether expressed as narratives of acculturation, or as acts of resistance against the camera, the pen, or the shackle, these stories of the studied subjects of the Atlantic world add a new chapter to debates about personhood and disciplinarity in this era that actively challenged legal, social, and scientific categorizations.