writer • professor


For collaborations, invitations, and inquiries:

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Monica Huerta is an assistant professor of English and American Studies at Princeton University. Rooted in long-nineteenth-century visual, literary, and legal archives, her work exposes the aesthetic life of power in a critical visual history of white supremacy via the history of property held in images. The Unintended: Photography, Property, and the Aesthetics of Racial Capitalism (New York University Press, 2023), her most recent book, follows the little-explored trajectory of photography in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century law. With questions generated by studies of racial capitalism and in the context of late-nineteenth century performance culture, the book attunes its readers to an aesthetics of whiteness that instantiates intellectual property rights in images. The Unintended is part of the America and the Long 19th Century series, and has been reviewed in the Lambda Literary Review and Ethnic and Racial Studies.

Monica also writes hybrid criticism toward what Saidiya Hartman theorizes as “undoings of the plot.” Magical Habits (Duke University Press, 2021) and some of her essays are part of this ongoing work. Magical Habits is a critical experiment in storytelling, knowledge-making, and archiving as seen from a childhood shaped by Chicago’s Mexican restaurants. It was deemed a “striking debut” by the New York Times Book Review, won a Duke University Press Scholars of Color First Book Award, and is part of the Writing Matters! series. Magical Habits has been widely reviewed, including in ASAP/Journal, Los Angeles Review of Books, American Literary HistoryLibrary Journal, MELUS, Foreword, and Lateral Journal. Monica is member of the Writing Matters! editorial collective. 

She is currently working on two long-term research projects. The first, When-time: Notes on Photographic Temporality, explores how contemporary Latinx artists’ political imaginations revise photography’s temporal arrangements. The second, Imagination’s Property: A History in Figures, uses a critic’s tools to analyze the figures through which jurists render imagination into property.

Her writing has appeared or will appear in American Literature, ArtForum, Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, J19: The Journal for Nineteenth-Century Americanists, Los Angeles Review of Books, Critical Analysis of Law: An International and Interdisciplinary Law Review, and Contemporaries.

Before her current appointment, she was a Link-Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow at the Princeton Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts and a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow at Duke University in the Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies. Her work has been generously supported by the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Mays Fellowship, the New York Public Library, the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the Social Science Research Council, among others. She received her Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley. She also holds an M.A. in History from Princeton University and a B.A. in History & Literature from Harvard University.