• Marisa J. Fuentes
  • Marisa J. Fuentes
  • Associate Professor of History and Women's & Gender Studies; and Presidential Term Chair in African American History, 2017-2026
  • Degree: Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2007
  • Rutgers : At Rutgers Since 2009
  • Specialty: Early Modern Atlantic World: History of Slavery; Women's and Gender History
  • Office: 311A Van Dyck Hall
  • Phone: 848-932-8416



Marisa J. Fuentes’s scholarship brings together critical historiography, historical geography, and black feminist theory to examine gender, sexuality, and slavery in the early modern Atlantic World. She teaches courses in the History and Women’s and Gender Studies departments on topics ranging from early modern Caribbean history and women’s and gender history in the United States to feminist theories and methodologies.

She is the author of Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence, and the Archive (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016) which won both the Barbara T. Christian Best Humanities Book Prize and the Berkshires Conference of Women’s Historians First Book Prize. Dispossessed Lives illuminates the lives of enslaved women in eighteenth century Bridgetown, Barbados by reading fragments of traditional archival materials “against the bias grain.” The book interrogates the archive and its historical production to challenge the methods and categories by which historians have analyzed slavery in the Atlantic World, in addition to engaging with larger questions of violence, agency, and gender. She has written a number of articles, book chapters, and book reviews, including “Power and Historical Figuring: Rachel Pringle Polgreen’s Troubled Archive,” which won the Andres Ramos Mattei-Neville Hall Article Prize. She is also the co-editor of Scarlet and Black: Slavery and Dispossession in Rutgers History, Volume I (Rutgers University Press, 2016), and the ‘Slavery and the Archive’ special issue in History of the Present (November 2016). Her next project will explore the connections between capitalism, the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and the disposability of black lives in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Fuentes’s research has been funded by several institutions including the Ford Foundation, Fulbright IIE Program (Barbados), the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

From 2017-2019, Fuentes will co-direct the “Black Bodies” project at the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis, a weekly seminar that seeks to attend to and address black embodiment, with a particular focus on the many ways in which black bodies have been subject to epistemic, historical, archival, and ‘biopolitical’ praxes of violence and erasure in various times, spaces, and geographies.



  • 508: 271 History of the Caribbean to 1898
  • 506:299 History Workshop
  • 508:374 Caribbean Slavery

Women's and Gender Studies:

  • 988:101 Women, Culture and Society
  • 988:301 Feminist Theory: Historical Perspectives
  • 988:394 Black Women in the U.S


  • 510:563 African American History Colloquium: Atlantic Diaspora
  • 988:525 Colloquium: Refuse Bodies, (un)Grievable Lives (WGS)
  • 988:530 Seminar: Gendered Borders/Changing Boundaries (WGS)




  • Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence and the Archive in the Urban British Caribbean (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016)
  • Scarlet and Black: Slavery and Dispossession in Rutgers History, Volume I co-edited with Deborah Gray White (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2016)

Journals and Articles

  • “Slavery and the Archive” (special issue) History of the Present co- edited with Brian Connolly 6:2 (November 2016): 105-215
  • “Power and Historical Figuring: Rachael Pringle Polgreen’s Troubled Archive.” Gender & History Volume 22(3) November 2010: 564-584.


  • “Power and Historical Figuring: Rachael Pringle Polgreen’s Troubled Archive.” Reprint. Connexions: Histories of Race and Sex in North America. ed. Jennifer Brier, Jim Downs and Jennifer Morgan (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2016)
  • “Distressed Sexualities: White Women, Adultery and the Dialectic of Racialized Gender in Eighteenth-Century Bridgetown, Barbados,” in Sexuality and Slavery: Exposing the History of Enslaved People in the Americas. ed. Daina Berry and Leslie Harris, editors. Peer Reviewed, (in contract, University of Georgia Press).

Book Reviews

  • Leslie A. Alexander, African or American: Black Identity and Political Activism in New York City, 1784-1861 (2008). Book Review in Journal of American Ethnic History 30, No. 3 (Spring 2011): 97-99.

Encyclopedia and Dictionary Entries

  • “Rachel Pringle Polgreen,” Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography, ed. Franklin W. Knight and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016)
  • “Jezebel Stereotype” and “Concubine,” Enslaved Women: An Encyclopedia Daina Berry and Deleso Alford Washington (Santa Barbara: Greenwood Press, ABC-CLIO, 2011), 41-42, 48-49.
  • “Harriet Bailey,” The Encyclopedia of Frederick Douglass, eds. Julius E. Thompson and James L. Conyers, Jr. (Santa Barbara: Greenwood Press, ABC-CLIO, LLC., 2010), 19.


  • Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Prize (2017), the Association of Black Women Historians for Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence and the Archive (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016)
  • Barbara T. Christian Best Humanities Book Prize (2017), Caribbean Studies Association for Dispossessed Lives: Enslaved Women, Violence and the Archive (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016)
  • Berkshires Conference of Women Historians First Book Prize (2017) for Dispossessed Lives
  • Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2013-2014, Barnard College
  • Schomburg Center for Black Culture Scholars-in Residence Fellowship, 2012
  • Andrés Mattei-Neville Hall Article Prize, Association of Caribbean Historians, 2012
  • RCHA Faculty Fellow, Rutgers University, 2010-2011
  • Fellow, Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, Harvard University, 2009-2010
  • Carolina Postdoctoral Fellow for Faculty Diversity, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2007-2009
  • B. Jackson Dissertation Fellow, University of California Berkeley, 2006
  • Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellow, 2005
  • Fulbright IIE Fellow, Barbados, West Indies, 2003-2004
  • Mentored Research Award, University of California, Berkeley, 2002
  • Ford Foundation Research Grant, University of California, Berkeley2001
  • Graduate Opportunity Summer Award, University of California, Berkeley, 2001
  • Graduate Opportunity Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley, 1998-2001


  • Secretary, Berkshires Conference of Women Historians, 2017-2020
  • Council member, Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture, 2017-2020