Jonathan Schroeder, Postdoctoral Associate
Jonathan Schroeder uses the methods of the digital humanist, conceptual historian, and literary scholar to compare how European frameworks of emotion were institutionalized in the Americas. His manuscript, Prisoners of Loss: An Atlantic History of Nostalgia, charts the first phase in the globalization of nostalgia, tracking how this medical concept was carried to the New World and used to design new health care systems for slaves and soldiers in America, Brazil, Cuba, and Haiti. By virtue of this process, he argues, nostalgia was transformed from a disease of travel suffered by European ethnics into the exemplary disease of racial captivity in the nineteenth century, one that can potentially help us make sense of present-day scenes of racial and ethnic melancholy.
His project at the DHLab, “Passages to Freedom: Worlding the North American Slave Narrative,” examines the language and geography of 294 African-American slave narratives. How did African-Americans make their escapes? What does the mobility of slaves look like in slavery? In freedom? Are there distinct languages of slavery and freedom? And how do answers to these questions change after the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850? After the slave narrative was affiliated with antebellum abolitionist networks?
He received his Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from the University of Chicago. His work has appeared in American Literature and is forthcoming in Arizona Quarterly.