Brian Russell Roberts

Professor, English

4147 JFSB


Research Areas: , , , ,

Teaching Experience

In the English Department, I teach courses ranging from the American literature survey to graduate courses in literature and theory. For the American Studies Program, I teach courses ranging from introductory to the senior seminar. Recently, I have offered courses on trans-Pacific modernism, environmental humanities, and literature of the Topaz Internment Camp in central Utah. I have taught recent graduate courses titled “Island and Ocean Studies” and “Borderwaters of US American Literature.”


My areas of research include American Studies, African American literature, and modernism/modernity. I have been especially interested in African American writers of the twentieth century in dialogue with interlocutors in locales ranging from Indonesia to France. I have also been an innovator of archipelagic approaches to American Studies as well as in the arena of archipelagic thinking more generally.

Selected Publications

  • Brian Russell Roberts. Borderwaters: Amid the Archipelagic States of America (Duke UP, 2021).
  • Harry Aveling, Keith Foulcher, and Brian Russell Roberts, translators. Oceans of Longing: Nine Stories, by Sitor Situmorang (Silkworm/U of Washington P, 2018).
  • Brian Russell Roberts and Michelle Ann Stephens, editors. Archipelagic American Studies (Duke UP, 2017).
  • Brian Russell Roberts and Keith Foulcher, editors. Indonesian Notebook: A Sourcebook on Richard Wright and the Bandung Conference (Duke UP, 2016).
  • Brian Russell Roberts. Artistic Ambassadors: Literary and International Representation of the New Negro Era (U of Virginia P, 2013)


Much of my work in service has been dedicated to American Studies. I have worked extensively in curriculum development and design, helping evaluate and update BYU’s American Studies curriculum as well as consulting for the American Studies Program at Universitas Sebelas Maret in Solo, Indonesia. I also serve on the editorial boards or collectives for a handful of publication venues, including Journal of Transnational American Studies and Rowman & Littlefield’s Rethinking the Island book series. I am currently serving on the MLA First Book Prize selection committee.

Citizenship assignments

  • Member, MLA First Book Prize Selection Committee, 2021-2022
  • Editorial Board and Editor of Reprise Section, Journal of Transnational American Studies, 2020-present
  • Coordinator of American Studies, BYU, 2016-present
  • Faculty Fellow, Humanities Center, BYU, 2014-2017
  • Curriculum Consultant, American Studies Program, Universitas Sebelas Maret (Solo, Indonesia), Jan-June 2015
  • Course Coordinator, ENGL 293 (American Literary History), BYU, 2013-2016

Office Hours
By appointment