Department ofHistory

Kristen Lee

Kristen Lee

Predoctoral Fellow in the Richards Civil War Era Center

113 Pond Lab

University Park, PA 16802

Curriculum Vitae:


Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania English expected 2024
M.A. University of Pennsylvania, English 2018
B.A. Williams College, English and Comparative Literature 2016


Kirsten Lee is a Ph.D. Candidate in English at the University of Pennsylvania, where she also holds certificates in College and Undergraduate Teaching and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. Her research interests include abolition, migration, 20th century feminisms, queer theory, Black (cultural) studies and early American literature broadly construed. Her dissertation, “Abolition’s Plots: Literature, Speculation, and Black Border/lands in North America, 1763-1886,” turns to feminist geographies to understand the narrative technologies of American westward (and failed southward) expansion in the long nineteenth century. By studying speculation as an economic and cultural practice in the nineteenth-century United States, her dissertation theorizes how and why Black nationalist aesthetics and Afrofuturist thought routinely confront the problem of imagining life after, beyond, and without property by pointing to the ante- and postbellum period. Her work has appeared in the journal Early American Literature and in American Literature in Transition, 1770-1828 from Cambridge University Press.


Lee, Kirsten and Marlas Yvonne Whitley. “Deconstructing Reconstruction: Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s Postbellum Theory.” Manuscript in preparation.

Lee, Kirsten. (in press) “Mary Ann Shadd Cary in Mexico.” In “The Province of Woman”: Mary Ann Shadd Cary at 200, edited by Kristin Moriah. State College: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2023.

Lee, Kirsten. “‘Sister, wasn’t it good’: Archival Gestures, Mutual Witness and the 1973 Phillis Wheatley Poetry Festival.” Early American Literature 57, no. 3 (2022): 857-871.

Lee, Kirsten. “The Emigrationist Turn in Black Anti-Colonizationist Sentiment.” In Nineteenth-Century American Literature in Transition, Vol. 1, edited by Greta LaFleur and Hunt Howell, 204-230. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2022.

Awards and Fellowships

2017-2023 Benjamin Franklin/Fontaine Fellowship,University of Pennsylvania

2021-2022 Graduate Fellowship for Equitable and Inclusive Teaching Center for Teaching and Learning, University of Pennsylvania

2016-2017 Emerging Scholars Initiative Post-Baccalaureate Research Experience Program Yale University