Heather Russell is dean of the School of Environment, Arts and Society and professor of Literature in the College of Arts, Sciences & Education. She is, formerly, the chair of FIU's Department of English (2016-2019). She earned her Ph.D. in English from Rutgers University and specializes in African Diaspora Literature and Theory; Postcolonial theory; Anglophone Caribbean Cultural Studies; and African American Literature (mid-19th-21st centuries). Her book, Legba’s Crossing: Narratology in The African Atlantic (2009) is part of a general body of scholarship on black modernity. She is co-editor of Rihanna: Barbados World Gurl in Global Popular Culture (2014), a cultural studies collection that theorizes gender, sexuality, race, popular culture, and economy; and has published on a wide array of subjects related to African American and Afro-Caribbean scholarly concerns with essays on Quentin Tarantino’s Django, Marcus Garvey and Popular Culture, and on “quilting” in African American women’s literature. In keeping with her commitment to the study of the Humanities, over the past 12 years she has worked with various state-based affiliates of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and with the National Humanities Center. She served as lead scholar for the Florida Humanities Council’s NEH-funded “Landmarks in American History” seminar: “Jump at the Sun: Zora Neale Hurston and her Eatonville Roots.
African Diaspora Literature and Theory; Postcolonial theory; Anglophone Caribbean Cultural Studies; and African American Literature (mid-19th-21st centuries)
Dr. Russell’s research lies at the intersections of literary studies, African diaspora studies, the humanities and the social sciences. She is currently at work on: Black and White TV: Independence, Popular Culture and Globalization (1962-1992), which examines the national broadcasting corporations in the Anglophone Caribbean as part of the decolonization projects of the 1960s.