Robert Edward Mitchell

Robert Edward Mitchell

Marcello Lotti Professor of English

External Address: 
302A Allen, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
90015, Durham, NC 27708
Office Hours: 

Wednesdays, 2:30-4:30 p.m.

(919) 668-2547

Robert Mitchell's research focuses on relationships between literature and the sciences in the Romantic era, as well as contemporary intersections among information technologies, genetics, and commerce, especially as these have been played out in the legal, literary, and artistic spheres. His most recent work has focused on the theory and practices of experimentation in both the arts and sciences, the history of vitalism, and the relationship between aesthetics and biological concepts of population. He has published three single-author monographs: Sympathy and the State in the Romantic Era: Systems, State Finance, and the Shadows of Futurity (Routledge, 2007), Bioart and the Vitality of Media (University of Washington Press, 2010), and Experimental Life: Vitalism in Romantic Science and Literature (Johns Hopkins UP, 2013). He is also co-author of the monograph Tissue Economies: Blood, Organs and Cell Lines in Late Capitalism (Duke UP, 2006) and the DVD-ROM Biofutures: Owning Body Parts and Information (U of Pennsylvania P, 2008). Mitchell is co-editor of several collections of essays, including Data Made Flesh: Embodying Information(Routledge, 2003), Romanticism and Modernity (Routledge, 2011), and Releasing the Image: From Literature to New Media (Stanford UP, 2011), and co-editor of the book series "In Vivo: The Cultural Mediations of Biomedical Science" (University of Washington Press). He has also published many articles in humanities, social science, and natural science journals, including Science, The American Journal of Bioethics, Biosocieties, Studies in Romanticism,and PMLA. His current research focuses on relationships among biopolitics, the logic of populations, and the arts.


  • Ph.D., University of Washington 2001
  • M.A., University of California at Irvine 1995
  • B.A., University of Washington 1994

Mitchell, R. “The Violence of Sympathy: Adam Smith on Resentment and Executions.” 1650 1850: Ideas, Aesthetics and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era, vol. 8, 2003, pp. 421–41.

Mitchell, R. “"The soul that dreams it shares the power it feels so well": The Politics of Sympathy in the Abolitionist Verse of Williams and Yearsley.” Romanticism on the Net, Special Edition, edited by L. Mandell and A. Finch, no. 29–30, 2003.

Mitchell, R. “Owning Shit: Commodification and Body Wastes.” Bad Subjects, vol. 55, Mar. 2001.

Mitchell, R. “"Here is thy fitting Temple": Science, Technology and Fiction in Shelley’s Queen Mab.” Romanticism on the Net, vol. 21, Feb. 2001.