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headshot of Birgit Brander Rasmussen

Birgit Brander Rasmussen

Associate Professor

English, General Literature and Rhetoric


Birgit Brander Rasmussen specializes in early American literature with an emphasis on indigenous American literatures and literacies. Her scholarship focuses on race, writing, and coloniality in American literature. She received her PhD from UC Berkeley’s Ethnic Studies department and her teaching emphasizes the rich diversity of American literature and critical theory. She is author of the award-winning book Queequeg’s Coffin: Indigenous Literacies and Early American Literature (Duke UP, 2012). She is co-editor of The Making and Unmaking of Whiteness (Duke UP, 2001, Reprint 2012). Her work has appeared in anthologies and scholarly journals like PMLA and American Literature, Early American Literature, Journal of Transnational American Studies, Modern Language Quarterly, Journal of American Studies, Mississippi Quarterly, and Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies. She is currently at work on two book projects: an anthology of contemporary captivity narratives and a monograph entitled Signs of Resistance, Signs of Resurgence: Indigenous Literacies in Native American Literature, Culture, and Activism, 901 to the Digital Age.


  • PhD, University of California Berkeley

Research Interests

  • Comparative Ethnic Studies
  • Early American Literature
  • Native American Literatures, Literacies, and Rhetorics
  • Native American and Indigenous Studies
  • Critical Whiteness Studies

Teaching Interests

  • Race and Gender in American Literature
  • Native American Literature
  • Early American Literature
  • Latinx Literature
  • Race, Gender, Indigeneity, Migration
  • American Captivity Narratives