Kathryn Conrad

Associate Professor and Chair
Primary office:
3043 Wescoe Hall


Areas of Research

20th-century British, Irish, and Northern Irish literature and culture; gender and sexuality; visual culture; public sphere; epistemology; technology; surveillance.

Selected Publications


Locked in the Family Cell:  Gender, Sexuality, and Political Agency in Irish National Discourse. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2004.

Selected articles and book chapters  (see also KU ScholarWorks)

"What the Digital Humanities Can't Do," The Chronicle Review (The Chronicle of Higher Education), 8 Sept 2014.

"'You Won't Re-route this Fruit': Northern Ireland, Queer, and a Geopolitics of Affection​​," Irish University Review 43 (2013): 30-35.

"Lighted Squares: Framing 'Araby.'" With Mark Osteen. Collaborative Dubliners, ed. Vicki Mahaffey. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2012.

"The Politics of Camp: Queering Parades, Performance, and the Public in Belfast."Deviant Acts: Essays on Queer Performance, ed. David Creggan. Dublin: Carysfort Press, 2009.

"Nothing to Hide…Nothing to Fear": Discriminatory Surveillance and Queer Visibility in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Ashgate Research Companion to Queer Theory, ed. Noreen Giffney and Michael O'Rourke. Surrey: Ashgate, 2009.

"Surveillance, Gender, and the Virtual Body in the Information Age," Surveillance and Society 6.4 (2009): 380-7. 

""Keening the Nation:  The Bean Chaointe, the Sean Bhean Bhocht, and Women's Lament in Irish Nationalist Narrative." In Irish Women's Writing:  Feminist Perspectives, ed. Patricia Coughlan, Riana O'Dwyer and Tina O'Toole. Dublin: Carysfort Press, 2008.

"Widening the Frame: The Politics of Representing Northern Irish Murals."  In Irish Postmodernisms and Popular Culture, ed. Wanda Balzano, Anne Mulhall, and Moynagh Sullivan. London: Palgrave, 2007.

"Queering Community:  Reimagining the Public Sphere in Northern Ireland." Originally in CRISSP; reprinted in Intervening in Northern Ireland:  Critically Re-thinking Representations of the Conflict, ed. Marysia Zalewski and John Barry.  London: Routledge, 2007.

Selected Honors and Awards

Hall Center for the Humanities Research Fellowship, U. of Kansas, Spring 2016.

Byron T. Shutz Award for Excellence in Teaching, U. of Kansas, 2007.

Keeler Intra-University Fellowship, with Political Science, U. of Kansas, Spring 2005.

Conger-Gabel Teaching Professorship, Dept. of English, U. of Kansas, 2004-7.

Humanities Council Grant, for "Joyce's Ireland:  A Celebration of the Bloomsday Centenary," Spring/Summer 2004.

Dermot McGlinchey Award for pioneering work in Irish Studies, Irish American Cultural Institute, 1995.

National Mellon Fellow (Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities), 1990-1995.

Faculty Profile

Whether I am examining literary texts, photography, or surveillance technology, I find myself returning to and reaffirming the basic premise that discourse matters: how we represent the world and how we engage with others discursively has a material effect on the world around us.

A large segment  of my work has focused on the changing political landscape in Northern Ireland, especially the relationship between the public sphere and public space. Much of my research immediately following my first book was concerned with the interrelationship of public politics, visual culture and space.  Some of my work, for instance, has shown the ways in which counterpublics in Northern Ireland in particular reclaim and retools the ‘public’—both public politics and public spaces—provocatively and productively.  My personal and professional interest in and practice of photography drew me to explore the implications of photography in Northern Ireland, particularly regarding the popular photojournalistic and tourist practice of photographing political wall murals, in order to suggest the ways in which the Northern Ireland political environment is literally shaped by representational technologies. More recently, I have become interested in the politics of surveillance.  Like much of my work, it has arisen out of my research in Northern Ireland, but it has brought me to cyberspace to explore the risks posed by the virtual body created by information in the context of surveillance practices and more generally to think about the implications of technologies on our ways of knowing and being in the world.

My current project, tentatively titled Knowing Networks: Science, Technology, and the Making of Irish Modernism, both corrects the distorted picture of the Irish literary revival and makes connections to the present day. It demonstrates that Irish writers of this period did not ignore science and technology, as often claimed; rather, they were wrestling with scientific and technological developments in their writing in order to craft a vision of an ethical future. And it shows how these writers anticipated issues central to our own time, including the impact of new technologies on knowledge and culture and the connections, often obscured, between technological and scientific development, violence, and political domination. In so doing, Knowing Networks will help readers to historicize the current public discourse that has set education in science and technology against the humanities and arts, showing us how these fields of study are intimately connected.

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