Brian Russell Roberts

Brian Russell Roberts

Associate Professor, English

4147 JFSB


Curriculum Vitae


Office Hours
By appointment


After growing up in Hawai‘i, Indonesia, and Tennessee, Brian Roberts received a PhD in English from the University of Virginia in 2008. His scholarship and teaching focus on American Studies, African American and black diasporan literature and culture, modernism/modernity, and archipelagic studies. He has been a Fulbright Senior Scholar at Universitas Sebelas Maret in Solo, Indonesia, and his work has appeared in journals including American Literature, American Literary History, Modern Fiction Studies, African American Review, and PMLA.

His first book, Artistic Ambassadors: Literary and International Representation of the New Negro Era (University of Virginia Press, 2013) examines the literary and diplomatic performances of African American writers who traveled as US diplomats during the late nineteen and early twentieth centuries, tracing how these performances contributed  to the formation of the Harlem Renaissance. Since then, he has published, with Keith Foulcher, Indonesian Notebook: A Sourcebook on Richard Wright and the Bandung Conference (Duke University Press, 2016), which contains English translations of myriad Indonesian-language documents related to Wright’s travel in Indonesia to attend the postcolonial Bandung Conference of 1955. With Michelle Ann Stephens, he has also edited Archipelagic American Studies (Duke University Press, 2017), a volume of essays that departs from conventional narratives of the United States and the Americas as fundamentally continental spaces, instead theorizing America as constituted by and accountable to an assemblage of interconnected islands, archipelagoes, shorelines, continents, seas, and oceans.

Currently he is completing two other books: Oceans of Longing: Nine Stories by Sitor Situmorang (co-translated from Indonesian with Keith Foulcher and Harry Aveling, forthcoming from Silkworm Books), and Borderwaters: Amid the Archipelagic States of America (a single-author book under contract with Duke University Press).

Professor Roberts has given invited talks and workshops in Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, Spain, Germany, and at several universities in the United States. At Brigham Young University, he has been a Humanities Center Fellow and is currently coordinating the American Studies Program.


PhD, University of Virginia, 2008


American studies; modernism/modernity; African American and black diasporan literature and culture; archipelagic studies; environmental humanities