Contact Information

Rabb 142
office hours: Thu 11-2

See Caren Irr 's web page or Faculty Guide page for more information.

Caren Irr

Caren Irr

toward the geopolitical novel (2013) Irr


Department Chair
Ph.D., Duke University

Research Interests

Theory, film and media studies, contemporaneity, the novel

Selected Publications

"Climate Fiction in English" (open access piece in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature)

"The Space of Genre in the New Green Novel," Routledge, 2014. (Free access for up to 50 readers.)

Toward the Geopolitical Novel: U.S Fiction in the Twenty-First Century, Columbia University Press, 2013. Read the first chapter for free.

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

On Jameson: From Postmodernism to Globalization, co-editor, State University of New York Press, 2005.

Rethinking the Frankfurt School: Alternative Legacies of Cultural Critique, co-editor, State University of New York Press, 2002.
The Suburb of Dissent: Cultural Politics in the United States and Canada during the 1930s. Durham: Duke University Press, 1998.

Articles and reviews in American Literary History, Global Ordering (UBC 2008), Profession, Genre, The Novel and the American Left (Iowa 2004),, American Quarterly, South Atlantic Quarterly, American Literature, Essays on Canadian Writing, Modernism/Modernity, Polygraph, Constructing Human Rights in the Age of Globalization (M.E. Sharpe 2003), World Bank Literature (Minnesota 2002), Leslie Marmon Silko: A Collection of Essays (New Mexico 1999), and other journals and collections. 

Current Projects

Orphan Stories

I am mainly examining novels, films and television programs released since 2008.  I'm asking how these works use the orphan's story to accelerate or retard our understanding of capitalism as a world system.  The orphan story is always, in part, about severe economic inequality, I argue--though it is told in a number of divergent ways.  Works considered include those by Marilynne Robinson, Jonathan Franzen, Lydia Millet, Denis Johnson, Adam Johnson, and many more.

Green Politics and the Novel:  Eco-Fiction in English since 1980

I am also currently writing some essays on the rise of a specifically environmentalist version of the political novel in English-language fiction published since 1980.


Fulbright Lecturer, Czech Republic, 2003-2004.

Selected Courses Taught

Cyber-Theory (ENG 101b)
The Rock and Roll Novel (ENG 177b)
American Fiction since 1945 (ENG 187a)
American Writers and World Affairs (ENG 187b)
American Literature After Television (ENG 217a)
Copyright and Contemporary American Writing (ENG 217b)
21st-Century American Literature (ENG 8a)