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Cynthia Quarrie, PhD

Assistant Professor, English


Cynthia Quarrie, PhD

Research and Teaching

My area is Contemporary Literature, with a focus on British, Irish and diasporic novels. My current book project, Orphans & Heirs: Inheritance and Radical Humanism in the Contemporary British Novel, examines what it means to identify as British in this post-colonial, post-imperial, post-Brexit moment, through readings of novels by Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan, Caryl Phillips, and Helen Oyeyemi. Drawing on recent cultural and political theory, the book explores the temporal and affective logics of complicity that are implied when we structure time as generational, and that each of these authors figures differently. It argues for critical inheritance as a kind of disidentificatory strategy, through which novels represent the problems of historical justice, productive shame, and reparative time. 

My next project will grapple with the vexed problem of the relationship between environmental custodianship — which often comes from what we think about as an affective or spiritual connection to the land — and myths of ancestral belonging, as mediated through the problem of environmentalism and environmental writing in Britain. I welcome graduate students who are interested in the problems connected to race and nativism, indigeneity, and ecocriticism and environmenalism. 

I have taught undergraduate and graduate courses in modern and contemporary literature, writing by women, poetry and the graphic novel. I have published peer-reviewed articles in the Journal of Modern LiteratureStudies in the NovelCritique: Studies in Contemporary Literature; and Irish Studies Review. 


BA Hons: English and Creative Writing, Concordia

MA: English, McGill.

PhD: English, University of Toronto.

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