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Cynthia Quarrie, PhD

Assistant Professor, English

Cynthia Quarrie, PhD

Research and Teaching

Cynthia Quarrie (she/her) teaches and writes about Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Anglophone literature, with special interests in contemporary British fiction, the Black Atlantic, the history of the novel, ethics and phenomenology, ecocriticism and nature writing, and gender and sexuality studies. She received her PhD from University of Toronto. She is currently working on a monograph emerging from her SSHRC-funded project, “Race and Place: Deep Time and Environmental Custodianship in Contemporary British Writing,” which examines contemporary environmental writing in Britain through the lens of racialized, postcolonial, and autochthonous constructions of identity and belonging, especially in invocations of the “deep time” of ancestral belonging. 

She has published essays in the Journal of Modern Literature, Studies in the Novel, Contemporary Literature, Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, and the Irish Studies Review. She is currently a co-organizer of the reading group “The Ambivalence of Rootedness” (link below). She is available to supervise graduate students.


BA Hons: English and Creative Writing, Concordia

MA: English, McGill.

PhD: English, University of Toronto.

Teaching activities

Graduate Courses Taught:

ENGL 627: The Contemporary (Re)Turn to Ethics (with units on “Ethics and Literature,” “Messy Ethics,” and “Intersectional Ethics”)

ENGL 628: Race and Place: Environmental Custodianship and Myths of Origin

ENGL 647: Spectres of Belief: Secularism, Materialism, and Contemporary Fiction 

Undergraduate Courses Taught:

ENGL 234: Poetry

ENGL 241: The Novel

ENGL 251: The Graphic Novel

ENGL 338: Modern British Literature

ENGL 340: Modernism

ENGL 351: Twentieth-Century Writing by Women

ENGL 352: Contemporary Writing by Women

ENGL 354: Studies in Contemporary Literature: Narrative Theory and the Contemporary Short Story

ENGL 470: Contemporary Black British Literature (Honours Seminar)

ENGL 498: Contemporary British and Irish Women Writers — (Against) the Bildungsroman


“‘Present and Backwards and Slant’: Race, Belonging, and Deep Time in Elizabeth-Jane Burnett's The Grassling.” Contemporary Literature. 64.1.  

“Zadie Smith Brings Time Into the House: Embodied Temporalities in NW.Strange Temporalities: Gender, Time, and the Novel, special issue of Studies in the Novel. 55.4. 

“Sinking, Shrinking, Satin Island: Tom McCarthy, the British Novel, and the Materiality of Shame.” Social and Political Forces, special issue of Journal of Modern Literature. 41.2

“John Banville’s Monstrous Child’: Freedom and Inheritance in Shroud.” Irish Studies Review. 26.4.

“‘Before the Destruction Began’: Interrupting Post-Imperial Melancholia in Ian McEwan’s Atonement.” Studies in the Novel. 47.2. 

“Impossible Inheritance: Filiation and Patrimony in Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled.” Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction. 55.2.

Participation activities

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