Caren Irr


Department of English

Brandeis University

Waltham, MA 02453 USA



critical theory * 20th- and 21st-century writing * global studies * the US * film and media studies * the novel


RESEARCH (see also CV)


-Toward the Geopolitical Novel: U.S. Fiction in the 21st Century (Columbia University Press, 2013)

        Here is an interview about the book.

-Pink Pirates:  Contemporary American Women Writers and Copyright (Iowa 2010)

-The Suburb of Dissent:  Cultural Politics in the United States and Canada during the 1930s (Duke 1998)

-Rethinking the Frankfurt School:  Alternative Legacies of Cultural Critique (co-ed., SUNY 2002)

-On Jameson:  From Postmodernism to Globalization (co-ed., SUNY 2006)


Current Research:

-Ecostoicism: An assessment of recent environmental writing.  Pieces include analyses of emerging genres (cli-fi, green realism); reconstructions of the philosophical stance of writers such as Jonathan Franzen and Patti Smith; and a series of aphoristic meditations.

-Orphan Stories.  A set of essays examining the political and economic underpinnings of recent narratives featuring an orphaned protagonist.




Fall 2016:

ENG 50b:  American Independent Film (lecture course)

For 2016, this undergraduate course will explore independent film of two moments:  the 1980s and the 2010s.  We will be interested in how respected independent filmmakers respond to and transform the dominant media practices of their moment.  Films to include Chan is Missing, Blue Velvet, Do the Right Thing, Matewan, Stranger than Paradise, Sin Nombre, Man Push Cart, Middle of Nowhere, Boyhood, and Under the Skin.

Spring 2017:

ENG 238a:   Capitalism and the American Novel (graduate seminar)

This seminar examines representations of the processes and ideals of the capitalist economy as these appear in American fiction. For 2017, it will focus on post-1945 fiction and the themes of consumerism, accumulation, and finance. Readings will include some economic theory and critiques as well as Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead; Joseph Heller, Catch-22; John Updike, Rabbit Is Rich; Charles Johnson, The Middle Passage; Jane Smiley, A Thousand Acres; E. Annie Proulx, The Shipping News; Brett Easton Ellis, American Psycho; Jonathan FranzenThe Corrections, and Tao Lin, Taipei




For Graduate Students:

How to Write a Prospectus

Chronicle of Higher Education's job market advice


Miscellaneous Web-Based Projects:

 Representing Poverty (course website)

Orphan Stories blog (inactive)



Last updated 10/2017