Cecilia Konchar Farr

Professor, Department Chair



Cecilia Konchar Farr is Chair of English, Carondelet Scholar, and Professor of English and Women’s Studies in the Women's College at St. Kate’s. Her research interests all circle around novels—their history, their (women) readers, and their social, educational, aesthetic, and political work. In short, professionally and personally, she likes big books.

Professor Konchar Farr’s recent course topics cover feminist theory, American literature, the modernist movement, and literary criticism and theory. She also teaches in the Antonian Scholars Program, the Gryffindor Tower Learning Community, the Catherine Core Curriculum—“The Reflective Woman” and “Global Search for Justice: Immigrant Experience” (in New York City), and in UMAIE, St. Kate’s travel study consortium, which recently led her to England, Scotland, and Orlando following the Harry Potter novels.

She will tell you that the most fun she has had as a professor was compiling and editing A Wizard of Their Age: Critical Essays from the Harry Potter Generation (SUNY 2015) in collaboration with a team of student editors. She also enjoys talking about novels with St. Kate’s alumnae in Conversations with Books, a tradition of more than fifty years begun by Professor Catherine Lupori.

Ph.D., American Literature, Modernism and Feminist Theory
Michigan State University, E. Lansing, Michigan, Teaching Advising Award, Phi Kappa Phi, 1990

Master of Arts, Literature and Criticism
Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, Outstanding Graduate Student, 1987

Bachelor of Arts, English/Journalism
Slippery Rock State College, Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, Magna Cum Laude, Outstanding English Major, Outstanding French Student, Pi Delta Phi, Sigma Tau Delta, 1982

The Patricia O’Connor Myser Award for Excellence in Faculty Mentoring (2016)

St. Catherine University Carondelet Scholar (2014)

Sr. Mona Riley Endowed Chair in the Humanities (2011–2014)

Carol Easley Denny Award for Sabbatical Research (2007)

Mary McCahill Denny Prize for Distinction in Writing (2002)

Abigail Quigley McCarthy Center for Women Research and Creative Work Award (2009, 2001)

College of St. Catherine Faculty Teaching Award (1997)

National Organization for Women "Woman of Courageous Action" Award (1992)

Fall 2015

  • The Reflective Woman: Scholars, Artists, Thinkers, and Writers
  • Literary Theory and Practice: Falling into Theory, Writing Race
  • Honors Seminar: Place, Grace, and the Ecology of the Prairie

J-term 2016

  • A Wizard of Their Age: Harry Potter in Contexts (London, Oxford, Edinburgh, Orlando)

Spring 2016

  • Feminist Theory:
  • The Global Search for Justice: Immigrant Experience
  • A Wizard of Their Age: Harry Potter and his Reading Generation

Summer 2016

  • Topics in Literature: Summer Reading

Fall 2016

  • The Reflective Woman: Scholars, Artists, Thinkers, and Writers
  • Senior Seminar: Gertrude Stein

J-term 2017

  • Americans Abroad: The Grand Tour (Paris, Venice, Rome, Sienna, Florence, Nice)

Spring 2017

  • Transformations: Literature and Gender Nonconformity
  • Feminist Theory

Summer 2017

  • Topics in Literature: Women on the Road

Professor (Assistant, Associate), Saint Catherine University (College of St. Catherine), 1994–Present

  • Chair of English, 2002–05, 2014–Present
  • Core Curriculum Co-Director, 2010–12
  • Faculty Associate in Academic Affairs, 2005–06
  • Director of Women’s Studies, 2000–01
  • Director of Core Curriculum, 1997–2000

Assistant Professor, Brigham Young University, 1990–94

Dean’s Fellow, Michigan State University, 1987–90

Journalist in the Pittsburgh area (Uniontown Herald-Standard, Brownsville Telegraph, Butler Eagle)


The Ulysses Delusion: Rethinking Standards of Literary Merit (Palgrave Macmillan 2016)

This Book is an Action: Feminist Print Culture and Activist Aesthetics (U of Illinois 2015), co-edited with Jaime Harker, University of Mississippi

A Wizard of Their Age: Critical Essays from the Harry Potter Generation (SUNY 2015), edited with seven undergraduate contributing essayists

The Oprah Affect: Critical Essays on Oprah’s Book Club (SUNY 2008), co-edited with Jaime Harker, University of Mississippi

Reading Oprah: How Oprah’s Book Club Changed the Way America Reads (SUNY 2004)

For St. Catherine University

The Confidence of a Noun: Award-winning Works from the Mary McCahill Denny Prize for Excellence in Writing at St. Catherine University, In Honor of Charles M. Denny (Copley 2015)

The Catherine Core Reader (Copley 2014), lead editor (with Martha Phillips and Nancy Heitzeg) --the anthology for our baccalaureate Catherine Core Curriculum

The Reflective Woman Reader, 3rd edition (Copley 2000)

Recent Journal Articles and Book Chapters

“The Canonical Apple Cart: Reloaded.” J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists. Vol 4.1, Spring 2016.

“Faulkner Novels of Our OWN: Oprah’s Middlebrow Book Club Meets the Classics” Mississippi Quarterly. 66.3, Summer 2013.

“Communion With Books: The Double Life of Literature at the College of St. Catherine” in Liberating Sanctuary: 100 Years of Women's Education at the College of St. Catherine, Jane Lamm Carroll, Joanne Cavallaro and Sharon Doherty, eds. (Lexington Books 2011).

“It was Chick Lit All Along: The Gendering of a Genre” in You’ve Come a Long Way Baby: Women, Politics, and Popular Culture. Lilly Goren, ed., (U of KY 2009).

“The Feminist Critique: Four Questions for Theorizing Across Disciplines” in The Global Search for Justice Reader, College of St. Catherine (Copley 2009).

“Doubting Nick: Reading Nick Reading Gatsby Reading Daisy” Approaches to Teaching Fitzgerald’s "The Great Gatsby." Jackson R. Bryer and Nancy P.VanArsdale, eds. New York: MLA, 2009.