Gillian Harkins

Professor, English

Contact Information

PDL A-504


My areas of interest include twentieth and twenty-first century fiction, U.S. popular culture, contemporary cinema, law and literature, psychoanalysis, affect studies, mass incarceration, and higher education.  My classes dwell on the intersections of gender, sexuality and race as they shape relations between cultural forms and social formations. I tend to teach narrative and visual forms such as short stories, novels, film, and television by situating their aesthetic functions within broader social, economic, and political conditions.  Course materials are drawn primarily from U.S. contexts but often include transnational materials and methodologies.

My research explores the regulation of intimacy and sexuality in the later twentieth and twenty-first century United States.  My first book, Everybody’s Family Romance: Reading Incest in Neoliberal America (University of Minnesota Press, 2009), argues that the 1990s “boom” in print materials addressing father-daughter incest contributed to broader transformations of family life associated with neoliberal governance in the United States. My new book-in-progress, Screening Pedophilia: Virtuality and Other Crimes Against Nature, argues that the emergence of the “pedophile” in visual texts of the same period functions to expand regulation beyond the family by linking techniques of informational surveillance across forensic and filmic domains.

Additional research and teaching focuses on the intersections of education justice and prison abolition in higher education in prison programs.  I currently work with three college 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 [].