MONICA HUERTA

writer • professor

BIO   WRITING   TEACHING   CREATING   EVENTS   CV




For collaborations, invitations, and inquiries:  mhuerta@princeton.edu

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Monica Huerta is an assistant professor of English and American Studies at Princeton University. Her work exposes the aesthetic life of power through visual culture, photography, and law. Using humanistic inquiry (e.g. visual analysis and archival work), her work broadens our understanding of how racial capitalism reproduces itself. In her writing and teaching, history is an open question about how we intervene in its constant recreation or in its interruption—as critics, subjects, and members of a polity. 

Her forthcoming book, The Unintended: Photography, Property, and the Aesthetics of Racial Capitalism (NYU Press, 2023) follows the little-explored trajectory of photography through late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century law. It uses questions generated by studies of racial capitalism to attune to an aesthetics of whiteness that instantiates property rights in images. The Unintended is part of the America and the Long 19th Century series.

Her book, Magical Habits (Duke UP, 2021) is a critical experiment about storytelling, knowledge-making, and archives 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, Library Journal, MELUS, Foreward, and Lateral Journal. Professor Huerta is part of the editorial collective of the Writing Matters! series. Her next evolving research project, Face Poetics, brings the long histories of studying faces in the sciences, visual and performance art, and fiction to bear on the surveilling impulse toward facial recognition technologies, despite their many and well-documented limitations.

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

Alongside her research, she helps organize a series of Women* of Color Student-Faculty Corners through Rocky College open to all WOC* students. Most recently, with Dr. Autumn Womack — a scholar of 19th century African American literature and culture, and an assistant professor of African-American Studies and English at Princeton — they co-founded and now co-direct “Organizing Stories: Toward a Scholarly-Activist Praxis.”  The Organizing Stories team seeks to connect students with veteran organizers who use storytelling, broadly-conceived, in their organizing work.

Before her current appointment at Princeton, 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.