Dr Rowena Kennedy-Epstein

BA (Bard), MFA (CUNY), PhD (CUNY)

  • BS8 1TB


Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

My research explores the relationships between radical politics, gender, and experimental forms in twentieth- and twenty-first century writing by women. Much of my work is focused on transnational modernisms, with a concern for how texts intervene in discourses of war and nationalism. I’m especially interested in how women writers document and archive dissident and radical histories through forms that defy the boundaries of gender and genre. My work itself is often focused on archival recovery, allowing for new kinds of interpretive opportunities that can lead to a more complex understanding of historical periods, political communities, and the literary forms that are created to engage them.

I recovered and edited the American poet Muriel Rukeyser’s lost Spanish Civil War novel Savage Coast (The Feminist Press, 2013), as well as materials included in the edition “Barcelona, 1936” & Selections from the Spanish Civil War Archive (Lost&Found, 2011). My scholarship and writing have appeared in Modern Fiction Studies, The Journal of Narrative Theory, Textual Practice, Modernism/Modernity, Literature and History, The Paris Review, and Harper’s, among other places. And I edited a special issue on Women's Experimental Forms for JNT: The Journal of Narrative Theory. 

My current book, Unfinished Modernist: Muriel Rukeyser Between Archive and Authorship, focuses on a series of experimental, interdisciplinary texts written between 1939 and 1960 that remained unpublished in Rukeyser's archive. I am also working on the recovery and exhibition of Rukeyser’s unfinished photo-text collaboration with the photographer Berenice Abbott. 

Research Interests: 
Women writers; theories of feminism, gender, and sexuality; modernism, especially in transnational contexts; critical race studies; writing on war; political commitment; the archive and textual scholarship; experimental forms and the avant-garde; American literature; transatlantic cultural studies; poetry and poetics; the documentary; the Bildungsroman; multi-ethnic literatures; political activism and protest; visual culture.

I’ve supervised PhD students on a range of topics, including modernist women’s anti-fascist journalism, women writers and the BBC, modernism and the politics of education, post-war graphic novels, spirituality and the feminist avant-garde, among others.

Current and recent courses include:
War Stories: Women Writers and Conflict from WWI to 9/11
Twentieth-Century Women Writers
The Spanish Civil War in British and American Writing 
Transatlantic Women Modernists 
Celebrity Cultures
Literature 1900-Present

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Research Output

  • 4 Edited book
  • 4 Article (Academic Journal)
  • 2 Chapter in a book
  • 1 Web publication/site

'So Easy to See': Muriel Rukeyser and Berenice Abbott’s Unfinished Collaboration

Kennedy-Epstein, R., May 2019, In : Literature and History. 28, 1, p. 87-105 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
    179 Downloads (Pure)

    ‘Bad influence’ and ‘willful subjects’: the gender politics of The Life of Poetry

    Kennedy-Epstein, R., 9 Aug 2018, In : Textual Practice. 32, 7, p. 1149-1164 16 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

    Open Access
  • 80 Downloads (Pure)

    Savage Coast, Catalan Edition

    Kennedy-Epstein, R. & Busquets Lluch, E. (Translator), 2019, Rata.

    Research output: Book/ReportEdited book


    • 10 Invited talk
    • 8 Participation in conference
    • 1 Participation in workshop, seminar, course
    • 1 Editorial activity

    Invited Talk: Archives and Text Seminar, University of Reading

    Rowena Kennedy-Epstein (Participant)


    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesInvited talk

    JNT: The Journal of Narrative Theory (Journal)

    Rowena Kennedy-Epstein (Editor)


    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditorial activity

    Invited Talk: "Modernism Interrupted" Interwar Women Writers Symposium, KIng's College London

    Rowena Kennedy-Epstein (Participant)

    1 Jun 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesInvited talk