Rebecca M. Rosen

Rebecca M. Rosen is a Doctoral Candidate in the department, specializing in early American literature. She earned her B.A. in English, with a concentration in American Literature, from Barnard College (2006, Magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa). She also holds an M.St. (Master of Studies) in English Literature, 1550-1780, from Jesus College, Oxford (2009, Distinction on the Dissertation). She is the co-founder of the Princeton American Indian Studies Working Group, and an affiliate of the Program in American Studies.

Her dissertation, “Making the Body Speak: Anatomy, Autopsy and Testimony in Early America, 1639-1790,” interrogates how the postmortem exam—whether the inspection of the surface of the body or a literal anatomy or dissection—was deployed in different parts of colonial America in order to elicit testimony from the bodies of the deceased. This project proposes that the postmortem exam or autopsy has analytical value for scholars of the body, literature, medicine and law in early America as a procedure imbued with specific rhetorical and semiotic weight. “Making the Body Speak” directs the focus of analysis from the body’s exterior to the interior, and argues that anatomical practices and methods of reading provide insight into the way early Americans viewed, read and heard bodies in ways that are inaccessible through the use of surface signs alone.

Since coming to Princeton, she has been the recipient of the Arthur P. Morgan Graduate Fellowship in English (2010-11), the American Studies Summer Research Prize (2011) and a research grant from the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium (2015), as well as fellowships from the American Philosophical Society, the Smithsonian's Dibner Library of Science, the John Carter Brown Library (2016), and the Library Company of Philadelphia (2017). She was a 2016-17 Consortium Dissertation Fellow at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies.


    • Preceptor, ENG 385, “Children’s Literature,” Spring 2018.
    • Preceptor, ENG 308, “American Cinema,” Fall 2017.
    • Guest Lecturer, ENG 357, “Topics in American Literature: American Best Sellers,” Fall 2015.
    • Preceptor, AAS 223-ENG 326-GSS 223, “Literature, Food, and the American Racial Diet,” Spring 2015.
    • Preceptor, ENG 200, “Introduction to English Literature: Fourteenth to Eighteenth Century,” Spring 2014.


    • American Literature to 1865
    • Native American Literature
    • Historiographies of Early America


    • American Literature
    • Native American Literature
    • Early Modern Literature
    • Early Modern Women’s Writing
    • Literature and Ethnicity
    • Transatlantic and Hemispheric Studies
    • The History of Medicine
    • Medical Humanities


    "Copying Hannah Griffitts: Poetic Circulation and the Quaker Community of Scribes," in New Critical Studies on Early Quaker Women: 1650-1800, Michele Lise Tarter and Catie Gill, eds. (Oxford University Press, April 2018).