Postdoctoral Associates

Heather Steffen

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is a scholar of 20th- and 21st-century U.S. literature and culture whose research investigates how concepts of labor, learning, and public service are produced through the interplay between rhetorical practices and material conditions in American universities. Her book project, Useful Work: Imagining Academic Labor in the American University, examines how professors, teacher-scholars, and para-academics theorize academic labor in critical and narrative writing. The book identifies four models of academic labor operating in faculty discourse since the emergence of the modern American university—professional, unionist, vocational, and entrepreneurial—and explores how the tensions between these models influence key debates in higher education, such as those surrounding academic freedom, casualization, or graduate education. Before coming to Rutgers, Heather earned a Ph.D. in Literary and Cultural Studies at Carnegie Mellon University, taught as a lecturer in the Writing Program at UC Santa Barbara, and researched metrics and measurement in higher education as an NEH-funded postdoctoral scholar in UCSB’s English Department and Chicano Studies Institute. 

Jessica Mack

Jessica Mack headshotThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is a historian of Latin America whose research explores urban transformation, intellectual life and the public sphere in twentieth-century Mexico. Her current book project traces the spatial reconfiguration of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) on its midcentury campus in Mexico City. By chronicling the planning and construction of this University City, the project explains the national university’s shifting role in Mexico’s developing revolutionary state and examines the ways in which national priorities were inscribed upon intellectual and cultural life. Reshaping the space of the university both reconfigured Mexico City’s urban landscape and realigned consent and contestation in national politics. She explores the role of the university more broadly through work in the digital humanities, university archives and public history and is a contributor to the Princeton & Slavery digital history project. She holds a B.A. in History from Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. in History from Princeton University.