Laura Soderberg

Visiting Assistant Professor of English


I hold a Ph.D. and M.A. in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania. I earned my B.A. summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis (I like my Washingtons) in English with a second major in Physics. I specialize in early American and nineteenth-century American literature and focus on questions of race, childhood studies, law and literature, and disability studies.

My current book project, “‘Vicious Infants’: Antisocial Childhoods and the Politics of Population in Antebellum U.S. Literature.” Building from my dissertation, the project looks at how narratives about supposedly deviant children structured the production of group identities, including race and class, in the early United States. The stories around these disabled children, immigrant children, impoverished children, and children of color were central to how Americans thought about the nation’s population – who belonged, whether it was stable, and how it would be reproduced in the future. On the other hand, for authors who were excluded from full citizenship themselves, writing about childhoods that weren’t focused on belonging to the nation provided a way to imagine other attachments and trajectories. For this project, I’ve done held fellowships from the Winterthur Museum and the McNeil Center for Early American Studies. You can also find my work in American Literature and Social Text.


Ph.D. and M.A. in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania

B.A. summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis 


ENG 101 12: Literature and Composition

ENG 220 10: Intro to Fiction

ENG 394 11: U.S. Immigrant Fiction 

script src="/live/resource/js/scripts/social.rev.1482248856.js" type="text/javascript">