Gillian Harkins (she/her/hers)

Professor Harkins in front of bookshelf

Contact Information

PDL A-504
Office Hours
T/Th 1:00-2:00 or by appointment


B.A., English and Women's Studies Departments, Wellesley College, 1994
Ph.D., English Department, University of California, Berkeley, 2002

Areas of Specialization

Late twentieth and early twenty-first century United States literature and culture.

Activities and Interests

My teaching and research explore intersections of gender, sexuality and race across cultural forms and social formations.  Undergraduate and graduate courses on Cultural Studies, Theories of the Novel, Contemporary Literature, and Gender and Sexuality ask how novels, experimental prose, and visual media shape broader social and political conditions across North America and its transnational contexts.  Related research has resulted in articles and books about popular culture and politics in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century United States, with a specific focus on how dynamics of age, power and sexuality have played a key if under-examined role in the dominant cultural logics of this period.  My first book Everybody’s Family Romance: Reading Incest in Neoliberal America (University of Minnesota Press, 2009) explores how a 1990s “boom” in novels and popular media about father-daughter incest contributed to broader transformations of family life associated with neoliberal governance. My second book Virtual Pedophilia: Profiling Sex Offenders and U.S. Security Culture (Duke University Press, 2020) explores how the roughly contemporaneous emergence of the “pedophile” in film, television, and digital texts linked techniques of information science and visual surveillance across forensic and filmic domains to couple neoliberal governance with security culture.  

Additional research and teaching focus on education justice and prison abolition. I have benefited from work with three higher education in prison programs in the Puget Sound Area: the University Beyond Bars offering courses inside the Washington State Reformatory for men since 2009 []; the Freedom Education Project Puget Sound offering courses inside the Washington Corrections Center for Women since 2011 []; and the Black Prisoners Caucus T.E.A.C.H. program offering courses inside the Clallam Bay Correctional Center since 2012 [].


Selected Research

Research Advised

Courses Taught


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