Naomi Morgenstern

Graduate Chair and Chair of Department of English (UTSG); Professor of English and American Literature; Graduate Faculty; Undergraduate Instructor, University of Toronto St. George
Jackman Humanities Building, Room 625 and Room 607 (Chair's Office).


Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

American Literature; Aspects of Theory


Naomi Morgenstern is Professor of English and American Literature and Chair of the Department of English at the University of Toronto, St. George. She specializes in psychoanalytic, post-structuralist and feminist critical theory and and teaches courses in nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first century American literature. She is the author, most recently, of Wild Child: Intensive Parenting and Posthumanist Ethics  (University of Minnesota Press, 2018) as well as essays on Jesmyn Ward's Salvage the Bones and Denis Villeneuve's Arrival. She is currently working on reproductive ethics and maternal sovereignty in contemporary literary and cinematic narratives.


Gift or Weapon? Reproductive Decision, the Phenomenology of Pregnancy, and Alien Language in Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival.” Camera Obscura 38.1 (2023): 103-131.

"Maternal Sovereignty: Destruction and Survival in Jesmyn Ward's Salvage the Bones," in Reading Contemporary Black British and African American Women Writers: Race, Ethics, Narrative Form, eds. Jean Wyatt and Sheldon George (New York: Routledge, 2020).

Wild Child: Intensive Parenting and Posthumanist Ethics (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2018). Winner of the American Psychoanalytic Association Book Prize, 2019.

"'Life After Life': Survival in the (Late) Fiction of Alice Munro," in Ethics and Affects in Alice Munro, eds. Amelia De Falco and Lorraine York (Basingstoke: PalgraveMacmillan, 2017): 219-44.

"Post-Apocalyptic Responsibility: Patriarchy at the End of the World in Cormac McCarthy's The Road," differences: a Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 25.2 (Summer 2014): 33-61.

"Maternal Love/Maternal Violence: Inventing Ethics in Toni Morrison's A Mercy," MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States 39.1 (Spring 2014): 7-29.

"The University in Crisis: Teaching, Tenure, and Transference in David Mamet's Oleanna," Cultural Critique (Fall 2012): 1-33.

"Seduction and Subjectivity: Psychoanalysis and the Fiction of Alice Munro," in Charles May, ed., Critical Insights: Alice Munro (Ipswich, Mass.: Salem Press, 2012).

"The Remains of Friendship and the Ethics of Misreading: Emerson, Thoreau, Melville," ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 57.3 (2011): 241-73.

"Literature Reads Theory: Remarks on Teaching with Toni Morrison," University of Toronto Quarterly 74.3 (Summer 2005): 816-28.

"The Afterlife of Coverture: Contract and Gift in The Ballad of the Sad Café," differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 16:1 (2005): 103-25. Reprinted in Harold Bloom ed., Carson McCullers. (New York: Chelsea House, 2009): 127-48.

"Marriage and Contract in the Early United States: Charles Brockden Brown's Alcuin and Ormond," in Shirley Samuels, ed., A Companion to American Fiction, 1780-1865. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004. 108-18.

"The Oedipus Complex Made Simple," University of Toronto Quarterly, 72.4 (October 2003): 777-88.

"The Baby or the Violin? Ethics and Femininity in the Fiction of Alice Munro," Literature, Interpretation, Theory 14.2 (2003): 69-97. Reprinted in Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan eds. Literary Theory: An Anthology 3rd edition (Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2017): 422-42.

"The Primal Scene in the Public Domain: E.L. Doctorow's The Book of Daniel," Studies in the Novel 35.1 (Spring 2003): 68-88.

"'There is nothing else like this': Sex and Citation in Pornogothic Feminism," Genders 25 (1997): 39-67.

"'Love is home-sickness': Nostalgia and Lesbian Desire in Sapphira and the Slave Girl," Novel 29.2 (Winter 1996): 184-205.

"Mother's Milk and Sister's Blood: Trauma and the Neoslave Narrative," differences 8.2 (Summer 1996): 101-126.


BA (Haverford)
PhD (Cornell)

Administrative Service

Graduate Chair and Chair of Department of English (UTSG)