Brenna M Casey
Instructor* of English

Brenna M. Casey is a Lecturer in the Department of English as well as the Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies. Her scholarship traces the transnational currents of race and gender formations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries through literature and visual culture. Her research and teaching are situated at the intersections of Ethnic and Gender Studies.  

At present, Brenna is at work on two monographs. The first, In Transit: Women, Photography, and the Consolidation of Race in the Nineteenth Century traces the contributions of literature and early photography to the anxious refinement of twinning U.S. border control policies and bodily surveillances. The project begins with the specter of Latin American independence in the late eighteenth century and moves through the freighted flash points of Indian Removal, the abolition of slavery, Chinese Exclusion, and concludes with the Jim Crow era in the first half of the twentieth century. By demonstrating the permeability of narrative and photographic frames, In Transit exposes both penetrable national borders and porous boundaries of abiding racial and gender identities.
The second monograph, Had I Home: The Construction of Olive Oatman's Captivity investigates significant archival inconsistencies in the story of Olive Oatman--billed as "the white captive" when she emerged from a multi-year stead with the Mohave people in the mid-nineteenth century. As the first white woman to be photographed with visible tattooing (facial markings traditional to the Mohave tribe), her story and accompanying portraiture became sensational. This project studies the rise of Oatman's celebrity in the nineteenth century and her relative obscurity in historical memory. 
 
In addition to her scholarly writing, Brenna continues to publish popular essays and poetry. Her work appears or is forthcoming in such publication as Ploughshares, Bitch, Post Road, The Boiler, and more. 

Office Hours

Mondays, 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. and Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 
Allen 304K

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