Erica Fretwell

Erica Fretwell

Associate Professor


Humanities 340

PhD, Duke University

Erica Fretwell

Professor Erica Fretwell's research and teaching interests include nineteenth-century American literature and culture, theories of emotion, and the history of science and technology. Her current book project, Senses of Belonging: The Synaesthetics of Citizenship in Postbellum America, examines how nineteenth-century literary techniques and cultural technologies – such as local color and synthetic perfumery – situate feelings of national attachment and alienation in material sensations. It argues that a range of writers transformed sense impressions into a strategy for representing the emotional vicissitudes of citizenship after the Civil War. In this way, postbellum literature reframes national belonging as a sensory configuration: a dynamic assemblage of textures, tastes, sights, smells, and sounds.