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Dr. Elizabeth Podnieks

EducationBA (McGill); MA (Toronto); PhD (Toronto)
Areas of ExpertiseModernism; motherhood studies; life writing; women’s literatures; popular culture


Elizabeth Podnieks is a Professor in the Department of English. She has published on a range of figures such as Vera Brittain, Virginia Woolf, Anaïs Nin, Zelda Fitzgerald, silent-screen movie stars, Angelina Jolie, Perez Hilton, celebrity mom bloggers, and father memoirists, to name a few. In addition to her monograph on modernist diary literature, she has produced a critical edition of the diary of modernist Emily Coleman; edited (and contributed to) four scholarly essay collections; and guest edited two issues of the scholarly journal a/b: Auto/Biography Studies. Her work has appeared in, among others, The Journal of Popular Culture, the Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering, The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, the Encyclopedia of Motherhood, The Routledge Companion to Motherhood, The Diary: The Epic of Everyday Life, and The Routledge Auto/Biography Studies Reader. She is a member of the  International Association of Maternal Action and Scholarship (IAMAS), and is the founder (and served as first Area Chair, 2011-2017) of the Popular Culture Association’s Area on Motherhood/Fatherhood. She has been quoted in articles about parenting in The New York Times, TIME Magazine, The Globe and Mail, and, among others.

Current projects include a just-completed monograph about mothers in modernist fiction, life writing, and periodicals; and a book chapter on transgender parenting.

Selected Publications:

Maternal Modernism: Narrating New Mothers. Palgrave Macmillan/Springer. Forthcoming.

“‘The Synergy Between You’: Mothers, Nannies, and Collaborative Caregiving in Contemporary Matroethnographies.” Life Writing, vol. 18, no. 3, 2021, pp. 337-354.

“The Literary Author as Diarist.” The Diary: The Epic of Everyday Life. Ed. Batsheva Ben-Amos and Dan Ben-Amos. Indiana UP, 2020, pp. 274-295.

“Matrifocal Voices in Literature.” Routledge Companion to Motherhood. Ed. Lynn Hallstein-O’Brien, Andrea O’Reilly, et al. Routledge, 2019, pp. 176-190.

Pops in Pop Culture: Fatherhood, Masculinity, and the New Man. Ed. Elizabeth Podnieks. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Rough Draft: The Modernist Diaries of Emily Holmes Coleman, 1929-1937. Ed. Elizabeth Podnieks. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012.

Mediating Moms: Mothers in Popular Culture. Ed. Elizabeth Podnieks. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s UP, 2012.

Textual Mothers/ Maternal Texts: Motherhood in Contemporary Women’s Literatures. Ed. Elizabeth Podnieks and Andrea O’Reilly. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2010.

Hayford Hall: Hangovers, Erotics, and Modernist Aesthetics. Ed. Elizabeth Podnieks and Sandra Chait. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2005. 

Daily Modernism: The Literary Diaries of Virginia Woolf, Antonia White, Elizabeth Smart, and Anaïs Nin. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s UP, 2000.