Caren Irr

Curriculum Vitae



Brandeis University. Waltham, MA.  Since 1999.

           -Professor of English, 2010-.

           -Associate Professor of English, 2002-2010.

           -Assistant Professor of English, 1999-2002.

Pennsylvania State University.  University Park, PA. 

            -Assistant Professor of English, 1994-1999.



Ph.D. in English, Duke University. Durham, NC. 1994.

M.A. in English, Duke University. Durham, NC. 1990.

B.A. in English, with honors, Swarthmore College. Swarthmore, PA. 1987.  Minors in Art History and Philosophy.




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

Pink Pirates:  Contemporary American Women Writers and Copyright (Iowa City:  University of Iowa Press, 2010).

The Suburb of Dissent:  Cultural Politics in the United States and Canada during the 1930s (Durham:  Duke University Press, 1998).


Edited Volumes:

On Jameson:  From Postmodernism to Globalization. Co-edited with Ian Buchanan (Albany:  SUNY 2006).

Rethinking the Frankfurt School:  Alternative Legacies of Cultural Critique. Co-edited with Jeffrey T. Nealon. (Albany:  SUNY, 2002).


Journal Articles:

“Climate Fiction in English” in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature.  Eds. Paula Rabinowitz et al. (Oxford, UK:  Oxford University Press, 2017): 1-22.

“Neomedievalism in the Contemporary City Novel:  Tobár, Adichie, Lee.” Canadian Review of Comparative Literature.  42: 4 (December 2015):  421-436.

“The Space of Genre in the New Green Novel.” Studia Neophilologica. (2015): 1-15. 

"Postmodernism in Reverse:  American National Allegories and the 21st-Century Political Novel."  Twentieth Century Literature 57: 3-4 (Fall-Winter 2011):  516-546.

"Toward the World Novel:  Genre Shifts in 21st-Century Expatriate Fiction."  American Literary History 23: 3 (Fall 2011):  660-679.

"A Challenge for Post-National American Studies," American Literary History 20:  3 (Summer 2008):  601-608.

"The Americanization of Yoga?:  Understanding Intellectual Property in the Context of Global Capitalism." Genre 38 (Fall 2005):  281-307. 

"Literature as Proleptic Globalization, or a Prehistory of the New Intellectual Property," South Atlantic Quarterly (Spring 2002): 773-802.

"Curious George at the Border: American Intellectual Property and Canadian Culture," Essays on Canadian Writing (Summer 1999):  266-292.

"From Nation to Generation:  The Economics of North American Culture, 1930s/1990s," Canadian Review of American Studies 27: 3 (1997):  135-144. 

"Queer Borders:  Figures from the 1930s for US-Canadian Relations," American Quarterly 49: 3 (September 1997):  504-530.

"Between the Avant-Garde and Kitsch:  Experimental Prose in U.S. and Canadian Leftist Periodicals of the 1930s," Journal of Canadian Studies 30:  2 (Summer 1995):  19-38.

"Political Surveillance:  Notes on Reading an FBI File," Found Object (Spring 1994):  91-112.


Book Chapters:

“Neoliberal Childhoods:  The Orphan as Entrepreneur in Contemporary Anglophone Fiction” in Neoliberalism and Contemporary Literary Culture.  Eds. Rachel Greenwald Smith and Mitchum Huehls.   (Johns Hopkins UP 2017): 220-236.

 “Global Fiction and the Postmodern American Novel” in The Cambridge Companion to the Postmodern American Novel.  Ed. Paula Geyh. (Cambridge UP 2017):  47-62.

“The Resurgence of the Political Novel” in Postmodern/Postwar—and After.  Eds. Daniel Worden, Jason Gladstone and Andrew Hoberek.  (University of Iowa Press 2016): 217-226.

"Anti-Realism and Anti-Capitalism in William T. Vollmann's Poor People" in Reading Capitalist Realism. Eds. Alison Shonkwiler and Leigh-Claire La Berge. (University of Iowa Press 2014): 177-194.

"Media and Migration:  Danticat, Diaz, Eugenides, and Scibona," Wretched Refuge:  Immigrants and Itinerants in the Postmodern.  Eds. Jessica Datema and Diane Krumrey (Cambridge Scholars Press 2010):  9-26.

"World Heritage Sites and the Concept of the Commons," in Global Ordering:  Institutions and Autonomy in a Changing World.  Eds. Louis Pauly and Will Coleman (University of British Columbia Press 2008):  85-105.

"The American Grounds of Globalization:  Jameson's Return to Hegel" in On Jameson:  From Postmodernism to Globalization.  Eds. Caren Irr and Ian Buchanan (SUNY 2006):  213-240.

"Introduction" (with Ian Buchanan) in On Jameson (see above): 1-14.

"The Properties of Nature in Josephine Herbst's Trexler Trilogy" in The Novel and the American Left:  Critical Essays on Depression-Era Fiction, ed. Janet Galligani Casey.  (University of Iowa Press 2004):  81-95.

"Beyond Appropriation:  Pussy, King of the Pirates and a Feminist Critique of Intellectual Property," in Devouring Institutions:  The Life Work of Kathy Acker, ed. Maria Gonzalez and Michael Hardin.  (San Diego State UP 2004):  211-234.

"All Published Literature is World Bank Literature, or The Zapatistas' Storybook" in World Bank Literature, ed. Amitava Kumar.  (University of Minnesota Press 2002):  237-252.

"Who Owns Our Culture?: Intellectual Property, Human Rights and Globalization" in Refounding Human Rights in an Age of Globalization, eds. Andrew Nathan, Kavita Philip, Neal Engelhart, and Mahmoud Monshipoori.  (M.E. Sharpe 2003): 3-33.

"One-Dimensional Symptoms:  What Marcuse Offers a Critical Theory of Law" in Rethinking the Frankfurt School:  Alternative Legacies of Cultural Critique (see above):  169-186.

"The Timeliness of Almanac of the Dead, or A Postmodern Rewriting of Radical Fiction" in Leslie Marmon Silko:  A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. Louise K. Barnett and James L. Thorson (University of New Mexico Press 1999):  223-244.

"The Politics of Spatial Phobias in Native Son," in Critical Essays on Richard Wright's Native Son, ed. Keneth Kinnamon (Twayne 1997):  196-212.


Online Publications and Websites:

“An Althusser for the 21st Century.”  Mediations. 30: 2  (July 2017): 29-36. 

"Empire and the Commons," the electronic book review (posted December 2005).

"On RTMark, or the Limits of Intellectual Property Hacktivism," in Web Authority:  Online Domination and the Informatics of Resistance, eds. Marc Bousquet and Katherine Wills. September 2003. 

“Representing Poverty:  Global Film, Economics, Aesthetics.”  Since Summer 2015.


Reviews and Review Essays:

“Where in the World Is US Literature?” American Literary History Review Online (March 2018): 1-15.

Review of Affect and American Literature in the Age of Neoliberalism by Rachel Greenwald Smith and Orgies of Feeling:  Melodrama and the Politics of Freedom by Elizabeth Anker.  American Literature (December 2016):  866-868.

Review of Scandals and Abstraction:  Financial Fiction of the Long 1980s by Leigh Claire La Berge.  American Literary History Online Review.  Series VI (March 2016).

Review of Dave Eggers, A Hologram for the King.  American Book Review (2014):  1.

"Literature and Adoption:  Themes, Theses, Questions."  Review essay in American Literary History 26: 1 (Spring 2014):  1-11. 

Review of Geopolitics and the Anglophone Novel, 1890-2011 by John Marx.  The Review of English Studies 64 (2013): 550-552.

Review of Shades of the Planet:  American Literature as World Literature.  Eds. Wai-chee Dimock & Lawrence Buell. Comparative Literature Studies 45: 4 (2008): 518-521.

Review of Signs and Cities:  Black Literary Postmodernism by Madhu Dubey. New Formations 55 (Spring 2005):  195-199.

"Going to the Library in the Czech Republic," Profession (December 2004).  74-82.

"The Postmodern Goes Global," Southern Review 34:  2 (2001):  102-106.  Review essay on The Ends of Globalization by Mohammed A. Bamyeh, Negotiating Postmodernism by Wayne Gabardi, and Questions of Modernity, ed. by Timothy Mitchell.

Review of A Gendered Collision:  Sentimentalism and Modernism in Dorothy Parker's Poetry and Fiction by Rhonda S. Pettit, American Literature (December 2001):  880-881.

Review of The New Red Negro by James Edward Smethurst, American Literature 72: 3 (September 2000):  645-646.

Review of Multilingual America:  Transnationalism, Ethnicity, and the Languages of American Literature, ed. Werner Sollors, Comparative Literature Studies 37: 3 (2000):  364-370.

Review of The Making of Modern Intellectual Property Law:  The British Experience, 1740-1911 by Brad Sherman and Lionel Bently, Business History Review (Summer 2000):  352-355.

Review of October Cities:  The Redevelopment of Urban Literature by Carlo Rotella, American Literature (March 1999):  202-203.

Review of A Measure of Perfection:  Phrenology and the Fine Arts in America by Charles Colbert, Modernism/Modernity 5: 3 (1998):  123-124.

Review of Partisans and Poets:  The Political Work of American Poetry in the Great War by Mark W. Van Wienen, American Literature (June 1998):  409-410

Review of Daughters of the Great Depression:  Women, Work, and Fiction in the American 1930s by Laura Hapke and The Long War:  The Intellectual People's Front and Anti-Stalinism, 1930-1940 by Judy Kutulas, American Literature (December 1996):  865-7.

Review of Framing Truths:  Parodic Structures in Contemporary English-Canadian Historical Novels by Martin Kuester, Modern Fiction Studies 39: 2 (1993):  392-3.

Review of The Responsibility of Intellectuals by Alan Wald, American Literature 65: 2 (1993):  393-394.

"Realism and Utopia," Polygraph 6/7 (1993):  205-208.

"New Word Order:  The Recycling of the Literary 1930s." (review essay) Polygraph 4 (1992):  257-262.


Encyclopedia Entries:

"Charcoal" in Fueling Culture:  Energy, History, Politics.  Eds. Imre Szeman, Jennifer Wenzel, Patricia Yaeger.  (New York:  Fordham University Press 2015):  74-75.

"Fredric Jameson" and "Immanent Critique" in Edinburgh Dictionary of Continental Philosophy.  Ed. John Protevi (Edinburgh University Press, 2005): 323-324, 304-305.

"The Frankfurt School," (w/Vincent Pecora) in Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism.  Eds., Michael Groden, Martin Kreisworth and Imre Szeman.  3rd edition.  (2005):  361-365.

"Irving Layton" in Contemporary Jewish-American Poets and Playwrights, ed. Joel Shatzky (New York:  Greenwood Press, 1999). 

"Kenneth Rexroth" in American National Biography Vol. 18  (New York:  Oxford, 1999):  373-374.  Republished on-line in Modern American Poetry, ed. Cary Nelson;

"Josephine Herbst" in American National Biography Vol. 10 (New York:  Oxford, 1999):  640-642.

"Edith Abbott" in The Oxford Companion to Women's Writing in the United States, ed. Cathy N. Davidson (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994):  3.



“Political Critique and the Environmental Humanities.” Reading in the Age of Trump.  University of Mainz.  May 2019.

“Patti Smith’s Ethiopia, or the Neo-Beatnik World System.”  Washington University-St. Louis.  March 2018.

“Ideology, Image, Information:  Using the Althusserian Apparatus.”  Duke University.  December 2016.

"Ideology on the Surface:  21st-Century Geoeconomic Fiction." University of Florida, Gainesville.  February 2014.

"Geopolitical and Green: U.S. Fiction in the 21st Century."  Uppsala University (Sweden). May 2013.

"Cognitive Mapping and Cyberspace."  Rhetoric and Public Culture.  Northwestern University.  July 2012.

"Copyright and the Commons in Contemporary Women's Writing."  Swarthmore College.  Swarthmore, PA.  April 2006.

"The Americanization of Yoga."  Boston College.  Newton, MA. November 2004.

"American Youth Cultures Today." University of Magdeburg.  Magdeburg, Germany.  June 2004.

"World Heritage Sites and a Crisis-Ridden Concept of the Commons," Duke University.  Durham, NC.  April 2004.

"Abbie Hoffman Was a Jock," McMaster University, Hamilton, ON.  October 2002.

"The Surrealist Commons of Rikki Ducornet."  Harvard Humanities Center.   Cambridge, MA.  May 2002.



Participant, Roundtable on Ideology Critique. MLA. Chicago, IL.  January 2019.

Pneuma:  Breathing Environmental Justice.”  MLA.  Chicago, IL.  January 2019.

“The Urban Ecology of Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson.”  EcoMedia.  University of California at Santa Barbara.  June 2018.

Oikeiosis and Affirmation.”  Marxism and Biopolitics.  University of Florida.  March 2018.

“Ecostoicism, or Notes on Franzen.”  Post45.  Middletown, CT.  October 2017.

“Remembering the 1930s in Contemporary American Historical Fiction.”  American Literature Association.  Boston, MA.  May 2017.

“Reading Infrastructure Ekphrastically:  The Orphanage in Hanya Yanigihara's A Little Life.”  MLA.  Philadelphia, PA.  January 2017.

“Human Traffickers and the Police:  Unraveling the Old Hegemony in Contemporary American Crime Fiction.” ACLA.  Cambridge, MA.  March 2016.

“Battling the ‘Youth Bulge’: Orphan Resettlement Narratives and the Rise of the Neoliberal Security State.”  Modernist Studies Association.  Boston, MA.  November 2015.

“Neoliberal Childhoods: Figuring the Orphan in Contemporary American Fiction.” Neoliberalism and American Literature. University College, Dublin, Ireland. February 2015.

Organizer and Moderator, “Ideology and ISAs Today: On Althusser's On the Reproduction of Capitalism.” MLA. Vancouver, BC. January 2015.

"Adapting Oliver Twist:  Fundamentals of the 20th- and 21st-Century Orphan Story."  International Society for the Study of Narrative.  Cambridge, MA.  March 2014.

"Green and Geopolitical: The Spatial Imaginary of Boyle, Oates and Ghosh." Northeastern MLA. Boston, MA. March 2013.

"Neoliberal Spaces in the 21st-Century Novel of Nation Building."  American Literature Association.  Boston, MA.  May 2011.

"Utopian Mediascapes in 21st-Century Immigrant Fiction."  Northeastern Modern Language Association.  Boston, MA.  February 2009.!2gty

"The Girl and the Seed:  Utopian Figures in Leslie Marmon Silko's The Gardens in the Dunes."  Society for Utopian Studies.   Colorado Springs, CO.  October 2006.

"Amputated Slave Bodies in Katherine Dunn's Geek Love," Society for the Study of Narrative Literature.  Berkeley, CA.  March 2003.

Panelist, Gender and Music Working Group, Tufts University, April 2002.

"American Intellectual Property and Global Yoga."  Circulations: "America" and Globalization. Gainesville, FL.  February 2002.

"(On Not) Owning the Fruits of Immaterial Labor," Modern Language Association.  New Orleans, LA.  December 2001.

"The Grounds of Globalization:  Jameson's Sublation of 1960s Marxism," Globalicities. East Lansing, MI.  October 2001.

"How American is the World Intellectual Property Organization?" American Studies Association.  Detroit, MI.  October 2000.

"Pink-Collar Media," 100 Years of Popular Culture.  Pittsburgh, PA.  September 2000.

"Reflections on Adorno," 100 Years of Popular Culture, pre-conference session. Pittsburgh, PA.  September 2000.

"All Published Literature is World Bank Literature," Marxism 2000.  Amherst, MA.  September 2000.

"The Concept of Property Long After Engels," Marxism 2000.  Amherst, MA.  September 2000.

"Intellectual Property and the Logic of Conspiracy:  Some Discussion of a 1984 Case Involving Nuns, Nazis, Mothers, and Hummel Figurines," International Society for the Study of Narrative.  Atlanta, GA.  April 2000.

Approximately 20 more talks 1989-2000.



Fields of Expertise:

            Critical theory; contemporaneity; film and media studies; global studies; the novel.


Recent Course Titles:

Undergraduate literature:  21st-Century American Literature, American Fiction since 1945, Contemporary Environmental Writing

Film/Media Studies:  Alternative and Underground Journalism, American Independent Film, The Films of Disney, Representing Poverty

Theory:  Literature and Geography, Digital Media and Culture, Introduction to Cultural Studies, Capitalism and Culture

Graduate:  Environmental Humanities, Capitalism and the American Novel, Childhood and the Modern Novel, Reading Revolutions, Copyright and Contemporary American Fiction, The Worlds of American Fiction, Methods of Literary Study.


Graduate Advising:

Director, seventeen PhD students.  Brandeis.  2006-

Second reader, nine PhD students, Penn State and Brandeis.

External examiner, four PhD dissertations.  Dalhousie University (Canada), Uppsala University (Sweden), University of North Carolina, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Tamil Nadu (India).

Director, six Masters essays, English MA and Joint MA in English and Women's and Gender Studies, Brandeis.



Member, advisory board: PMLA, 2017-2020; American Literary History, 2016-; Contemporary Literature, 2017-; journal of modern literature, 2017-.

Reviewer, book manuscripts and research proposals for ACLS, Continuum, Columbia University Press, Duke University Press, Oxford University Press, Palgrave MacMillan, Routledge, Social Science and Humanities Research Council (Canada), University of Iowa Press, University of Minnesota Press, University of Toronto Press, and others.

Peer reviewer, PMLA, Twentieth Century Literature, Studies in the Novel, American Literary History, Pedagogy, College Literature, African Cultural Studies, MELUS, Contemporary Literature, Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, The Explicator, Studies in American Fiction, Post45, and others.



English Department:

Chair, Department of English, Brandeis University.  2015-2020 (on leave 2017-18).

Director of Graduate Studies, English Department, Brandeis. 2004-06, 2011-13, 2014-15.

Undergraduate Advising Head, English Department, Brandeis.  2000-02.


Interdepartmental and University:

Member, Executive Board, Film, Television and Interactive Media Program.  Brandeis, 2011-17.

Member, Executive Board, History of Ideas Program.  Brandeis, 2015-.

Member, Master of Arts in Comparative Humanities.  Brandeis, 2014-.

Member, Rabb Council for Graduate and Professional Studies, Brandeis. 2014-15.

Member, Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities, Brandeis. 2014-15.

Member, Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, Brandeis.  2008-10.



Modern Language Association

American Comparative Literature Association



French (intermediate), Spanish (intermediate), German (basic), Czech (basic), Amharic (elementary), modern Greek (elementary)



Available on request.