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Dr Jonathan Schroeder

 schroeder.jpgAssistant Professor

Email: Jonathan dot Schroeder at warwick dot ac dot uk


Humanities Building, University Road
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL


My research and teaching focus on race, ethnicity, migration, and emotion in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Americas. Out of an investment in designing better ways of studying these areas, I am also interested in how methodology shapes what we say about our objects of study. To this end, I try out several approaches in my work, especially the new empiricism of the Digital Humanities, historical epistemology, “new” materialisms, and even biography.

Before coming to Warwick, I was a postdoctoral fellow in English and Digital Humanities at Yale University. There I began a DH project, Passages to Freedom: Worlding the North American Slave Narrative, which will ultimately map the routes taken out of slavery by the authors of the 103-known autobiographical slave narratives published before 1863.

My academic book project, Prisoners of Loss: An Atlantic History of Nostalgia, recovers the conceptual and institutional histories of nostalgia in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century medicine. During this period nostalgia referred to a disease suffered by migrant laborers, principally sailors, soldiers, convicts, and slaves, whose occupations deprived them of the ability to return home. This study traces the dispersion of this concept across the Atlantic world via three institutions of containment: slavery, the military, and shipping. At the same time, it constitutes a case history demonstrating the roles that pathological emotion played in forming the modern categories of race, ethnicity, and migration.

Finally, I am writing a biography of John S. Jacobs, the brother of Harriet Jacobs and protégé of Frederick Douglass. A lifelong mariner, abolitionist, and expatriate following the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, Jacobs's life belongs to an untold story in American history—the story of the African-Americans who chose to leave America in the pursuit of happiness.

Research Interests

Global American Literature; African American Literature; Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies; History of Medicine and Science; Affect Theory and History; Digital Humanities; Posthumanism; Historical Epistemology

Teaching and Supervision

I co-direct the English and History degree programme and convene its first-year core module, EN126: History & Textuality. This year, I am also teaching a new advanced module, EN392: Race, Ethnicity, and Migration in the Americas.


Biography of John Swanson Jacobs, Harriet Jacobs's brother and Frederick Douglass' protege, and critical edition of his autobiographical slave narrative (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, forthcoming)

“Passages to Freedom: Self-Emancipation by Sea in the North American Slave Narrative Corpus,” in Sailing to Freedom: Maritime Dimensions of the Underground Railroad, ed. Timothy Dale Walker (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, forthcoming)

“The Whiteness of the Will: Race and the Matter of Monomania,” in Rethinking Ahab: Melville and the Materialist Turn, eds. Meredith Farmer and Jonathan Schroeder (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming)

“Nostalgia,” in The Reenactment Studies Reader, eds. Vanessa Agnew, Jonathan Lamb, and Juliane Tomann. (London: Routledge, forthcoming)

“The Wreck of Reason,” The Cultural History of the Sea: The Eighteenth Century, eds.
Margaret Cohen and Jonathan Lamb (London: Bloomsbury, forthcoming)

“What Was Black Nostalgia?” American Literary History 30.4 (Winter 2018)

“The Painting of Modern Light: Local Color Before Regionalism.” American Literature 86.3 (2014)


Michel Foucault, “Structuralism and Literary Analysis,” trans. Jonathan Schroeder and Suzanne Taylor, Critical Inquiry 45.2 (Winter 2018)

Whispers of Cruel Wrongs: The Correspondence of Louisa Jacobs and Her Circle, 1879-1911, ed. Mary Maillard, American Literary History Online Review (Forthcoming)


A.B. Dartmouth College
M.A. Brown University
PhD. University of Chicago

Office Hours

Tuesdays, 2.00-4.00

Or by appointment