Susan Cannon Harris


Professor of English

Degrees: BA, Yale; MA, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; PhD, University of Texas at Austin

Specialty: Twentieth and twenty-first century Irish literature, drama, performance theory, gender studies, LGBTQ literature, modern British fiction, and crime fiction.

Susan Cannon Harris teaches in the Department of English and the Keough Institute for Irish Studies. Her book Irish Drama and the Other Revolutions was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2017. Harris's first book, Gender and Modern Irish Drama, was published in 2002 and won two awards. She has also published articles in PMLA, Theatre Journal, Modern Drama, James Joyce Quarterly, Eire-Ireland, Victorian Literature and Culture, Twentieth-Century Literature, Breac, and The Emily Dickinson Journal


Irish Drama and the Other Revolutions: Playwrights, Sexual Politics, and the International Left, 1892-1964. Edinburgh University Press, 2017.

The first modern Irish playwrights emerged in London in the 1890s, at the intersection of a rising international socialist movement and a new campaign for gender equality and sexual freedom. Irish Drama and the Other Revolutions shows how Irish playwrights mediated between the sexual and the socialist revolutions, and traces their impact on left theatre in Europe and America from the 1890s to the 1960s. Drawing on archival research, the study reconstructs the engagement of Yeats, Shaw, Wilde, Synge, O’Casey, and Beckett with socialists and sexual radicals like Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Morris, Edward Carpenter, Florence Farr, Bertolt Brecht, and Lorraine Hansberry.

Gender and Modern Irish Drama. Indiana University Press, 2002.

Arguing that the representations of sacrificial violence central to the work of the Abbey playwrights are intimately linked with constructions of gender and sexuality, Gender and Modern Irish Drama goes beyond an examination of the relationship between Irish national drama and Irish nationalist politics to the larger question of the way national identity and gender identity are constructed through each other. Radically redefining the context in which the Abbey plays were performed, Harris documents the material and discursive forces that produced Irish conceptions of gender. 

Recent Publications

  • "Supernaturalism: Femninity and Form in Conor McPherson's Paranormal Plays." Breac: A Digital Journal of Irish Studies (2014).
  • “Mobilizing Maurya: J. M. Synge, Bertolt Brecht, and the Militant Mother.” Modern Drama 56.1 (2013): 38-59. Honorable Mention, Best Paper Prize, Modern Drama 2013.
  • “Synge and Gender.” The Cambridge Companion to J. M. Synge. P. J. Mathews, ed. Cambridge University Press, 2009. 104-116.
  • “Mixed Marriage: Sheridan, Macklin, and the Hybrid Audience.” Players, Playwrights, Playhouses: Investigating Performance, 1660-1800. Michael Cordner and Peter Holland, eds. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
  • "Red Star Versus Green Goddess: Sean O’Casey’s The Star Turns Red and the Politics of Form.” Princeton University Library Chronicle 48 (2006-2007): 339-380.
  • “Outside the Box: The Female Spectator, The Fair Penitent, and the Kelly Riots of 1747.” Theatre Journal 57 (2005): 35-55.
  • “Clearing the Stage: Gender, Class, and the ‘Freedom of the Scenes’ in Eighteenth-Century Dublin.” PMLA 119 (2004): 1264-78.

Recent Awards and Honors

  • Honorable Mention, Best Paper Prize, Modern Drama, 2013.
  • Kaneb Teaching Award, College of Arts and Letters, University of Notre Dame, 2005
  • Donald Murphy Prize for Distinguished First Book, American Conference for Irish Studies, 2003
  • Robert Rhodes Prize for Books on Literature, American Conference for Irish Studies, 2003.


Contact Information
220 Decio Hall
(574) 631-5088

Postal address
Department of English
233 Decio Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556