Kathryn R. Kent

Kathryn Kent

Professor - Named of English

Hollander Hall Rm 306

Office Hours:


B.A. Williams College (1988)
M.A. Duke University (1993)
Ph.D. Duke University, English (1996)

Areas of Expertise

Late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century U.S. literature; literary theory; queer theory; feminist and gender theory; US women’s literature; US queer literatures; cultural studies and cultural theory; biography; oral history

Current Committees

  • Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Selected Publications


Making Girls into Women: American Women’s Writing, Duke University Press, 2003. Winner of a Choice Award from the American Library Association, 2003.

Books in Progress:

I Promise to Serve: Girl Scouting and the Normative

This book, an experimental project that combines personal narrative, oral histories, imaginative and historiographic claims, analyzes the ways in which Girl Scouting in the twentieth-century United States provided both a site for the reproduction of normative ideologies of gender, sexuality, nation, class, race and Christianity, while also simultaneously allowing for a wide range of “deviant” communities, representations, identifications and desires.

Eve Kosofsky Segdwick:  A Biography

This book will trace the development of Sedgwick’s intellectual, political and personal affiliations, the shifts in her work, as well as the importance of her scholarship and activism for the fields of, amongst others, English, Feminist Studies, and Queer Studies (the latter an interdisciplinary site of inquiry she is often credited with helping to found).  In addition, the book will consider how to represent Sedgwick’s relationships, obsessions, experiences, drawing upon the newly emerging field of “life writing” and Sedgwick’s own examples of experimental critical writing in order to explore innovative models for narrating a life.

Book Chapters:

“Queer Sentimentalism,” The Cambridge History of Queer American Literature, ed. Benjamin Kahan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), forthcoming.

“Spinster Poetics,” The Oxford Handbook to Emily Dickinson, eds.Cristanne Miller and Karen Sanchez-Eppler Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2022). Invited Participant

“No Trespassing’: Girl Scout Camp and the Limits of the Counterpublic Sphere,” Reprinted in Queer as Camp:  Essays on Summer, Style, and Sexuality, eds. Kenneth B. Kidd and Derritt Mason (New York: Fordham University Press, 2019). Invited participant.

“Eve’s Muse,” Bathroom Songs:  Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick as Poet, ed.Jason Edwards (Punctum Books, 2019).  Invited participant.

“Queer Modernity: Lesbian Fiction,” The Blackwell’s Concise Companion to American Fiction, 1900-1950, eds. Peter Stoneley and Cynthia Weinstein, Blackwells, 2007.  Invited participant.

Journals Edited:

Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Special Issue:  “Feminisms and Youth Cultures,” 23.2 (Spring 1998).


“’Surprising Recognition’:  Genre, Poetic Form, and Erotics from Sedgwick’s ‘The 1001 Seances’ to A Dialogue on Love,” GLQ 17.4 (Fall 2011):  497-510.

“Single White Female: The Sexual Politics of  Spinsterhood in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Oldtown Folks,” American Literature 69.1 (March 1997): 39-65.

“No Trespassing’: Girl Scout Camp and the Limits of the Counterpublic Sphere,” Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory 8.2 (1996):  185-203. Reprinted in Curiouser: On the Queerness of Children, eds. Steven Bruhm and Natasha Hurley, University of Minnesota Press, 2004.

‘Lullaby for a Ladies’ Lady’: Lesbian Identity in Ladies Almanack,” The Review of Contemporary Fiction 13:3 (Fall 1993): 89-96.

Review Articles:

“Troop 1500,” The Scholar and Feminist Online 5.3 (Summer 2007). Barnard Center for Research on Women. Invited participant.

Book Reviews:

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, The Weather in Proust, GLQ 19.2 (2013).

Kathryn Bond Stockton, The Queer Child, or Growing Sideways in the Twentieth Century, Criticism 52.2 (Spring 2010).

Scenes of the Apple:  Food and the Female Body in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Women’s Writing, eds. Tamar Heller and Patricia Moran, Gastronomica, 2005.

Margaret Dickie, Stein, Bishop, and Rich:  Lyrics of Love, War, and Place, American Literature 73.3 (2001): 651-52.


Research Interests

Queer theory; gender and sexuality studies and U.S. literatures; Girl Scouting; U.S. Poetry