Sarah E. Chinn

Sarah Chinn Faculty Bio Pic

Research Interests

  • 19th century US literature and culture, gender and sexuality


  • PhD Columbia University


Affiliated Campus(es)

  • Hunter College

Sarah Chinn’s work primarily explores questions of race, sexuality, and gender in U.S. literature and culture, particularly in the 19th century. She teaches a wide range of courses from Nineteenth Century Women Writers to Early American Drama to Literary Theory to Multicultural American Literature. She is the author of Technology and the Logic of American Racism: A Cultural History of the Body as Evidence (Continuum, 2000), The Invention of Modern Adolescence: Children of Immigrants in Turn-of-the-Century America (Rutgers University Press, 2008), and Spectacular Men: Race, Gender, and Nation on the Early American Stage. She is currently completing a book project that explores representations of amputation during Reconstruction and its relationship to white radical antiracism.

Tracks taught in MALS:

American Studies, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies


  • “‘I don't care a rag for the Union as it was’”: Amputation and the Work of the Freedman’s Bureau in Albion Tourgée’s Bricks without Straw. In Reimagining the Republic: Race, Citizenship, and Nation in the Literary Work of Albion W. Tourgée, Sandra Gustafson and Robert Levine, eds. New York: Fordham University Press (2022)
  • “Enslavement and the Temporality of Childhood.” American Literature 92.1 (March 2020).
  •  “The Real Cause of the Humanities’ Woes.” The Chronicle of Higher Education.  (November 9, 2018).
  • With Kris Franklin, “Transsexual, Transgender, Trans: Reading Judicial Nomenclature in Title VII Cases.” Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law, and Justice (Fall 2017).
  •   “Teaching Crip; or, What We Talk About When We Talk About Disability Pedagogy.” Transformations XXV, 2 (Winter 2016).
  •  “‘Vulnerability and Power’: Disability, Pedagogy, Identity. A Conversation with Ellen Samuels.” Transformations XXV, 2 (Winter 2016).
  • “‘I Was A Lesbian Child’: Queer Thoughts About Childhood Studies.” The Children’s Table: Childhood Studies and the Humanities. Ed. Anna Mae Duane. Athens: University of Georgia Press (forthcoming 2013).

  • “’Irreverence and the American Spirit’: Immigrant Parents, American Adolescents, and the Invention of the Generation Gap.” History by Generations: Generational Dynamics in Modern History. Hart Berghoff et al., eds. Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2012.

  • “Masculinity & National Identity on the Early American Stage.” Literature Compass 9, 2 (February 2012).

  • “Performative Identities: From Identity Politics to Queer Theory.” SAGE Handbook of Identities. Eds. Margaret Wetherell and Chandra Talpade Mohanty. London: SAGE Publications, 2010. 104-124.

  • “‘No Heart for Human Pity’: The US-Mexican War, Depersonalization, and Power in E.D.E.N. Southworth and Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton.” Prospects: An Annual of American Cultural Studies 30 (2006).

  • “Gender, Sex, and Disability from Helen Keller to Tiny Tim.” Radical History Review 94 (2006).

  • “‘To Turn the Hearts of the Daughters toward their Mothers’: Immigrant Women, their American Daughters and Jane Addams’ Museum of Labor.” Our Sisters’ Keepers: Nineteenth-Century Benevolence Literature by American Women. Debra Bernardi and Jill Bergman, eds. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2005.

  • “Feeling Her Way: Audre Lorde and the Power of Touch.” GLQ special issue on Queer Studies and Disability Studies. Robert McRuer and Abby Wilkerson, eds. 9: 1-2 (2003).

  • “‘Something Primitive and Age-Old as Nature Herself’: Lesbian Sexuality and the Permission of the Exotic.” Palatable Poison: Critical Perspectives on The Well of Loneliness. Laura Doan and Jay Prosser, eds. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002.

  • With Kris Franklin, “Lesbians, Legal Theory, and other Superheroes” (review essay of Ruthann Robson’s Sappho Goes to Law School). NYU Review of Law & Social Change 25:2 (2000).

  • “A Show of Hands: Establishing Identity in Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson” Nineteenth Century Studies 19.1 (1999).

  • “Sarah Pratt McLean Greene.” American Women Prose Writers 1870-1920. Dictionary of Literary Biography. Sharon Harris et al., eds. Washington, D.C.: Gale Research, 1999.

  • “Gender Performativity.” Lesbian and Gay Studies: A Critical Introduction. Sally R. Munt and Andy Medhurst, eds. London and New York: Cassell Books, 1997.

  • “Queering the Institution or Just Institutionalizing Queers?” Tilting the Towers: Lesbians/Teaching/ Queer Subjects, Linda L. Garber, ed. New York: Routledge, 1994.

  • With Mario DiGangi and Patrick Horrigan, “Interview with Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick” Pre/Text v.13, 51-57 (Fall/Winter 1992).

  • With Kris Franklin, “’I Am What I Am’ (Or Am I?): The Making and Unmaking of Lesbian and Gay Identity in High Tech Gays v. Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office,” Discourses 15.1 (Fall 1992).


Sarah Chinn Faculty Bio Pic


Affiliated Campus(es)

  • Hunter College