Professor Fretwell's research and teaching interests include nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century U.S. literature and culture, theories of emotion, textual studies, and the history of science and technology. Her book Sensory Experiments: Psychophysics, Race, and the Aesthetics of Feeling (Duke University Press, 2020), which was shortlisted for the Modernist Studies Association (MSA) first book prize, shows how the science of the five senses offered late-nineteenth century writers new conceptual foundations for representing lived experiences of racial and gender difference. She has coedited The Palgrave Handbook of Twentieth and Twenty-first Century Literature and Science (Palgrave, 2020) and, with Hsuan L. Hsu, a special issue of American Literature entitled "Senses with/out Subjects" (Fall 2023). Her essays have appeared in the journals PMLA, American Literary History, and J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, as well as in numerous edited collections. Her current research interests include the aesthetics of unconscious experience; haptic textuality and literacy; and the scientific history of literary temperament.