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Miriam Mara

Associate Professor
Faculty, WEST Campus, Mailcode 2151

Miriam Mara investigates contemporary Irish literature and film. In particular, her work examines the fiction of Nuala O'Faolain and Colum McCann. Her second research stream includes research in health humanities and medical rhetoric. She is an associate professor in the School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies in the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University.  

During the 2016-17 academic year, Dr. Mara collected interview data from health care professionals in Kenya as part of a Fulbright U.S. Scholar award. This culminating piece followed preliminary analysis of Kenyan medical documents and the fiction of Kenyan author Margaret Ogola. The resulting book Globalism and Gendering Cancer was published by Routledge in 2020.

Going forward, she is expanding work on embodiment and identity in Irish literature with a new book project titled Food Sovereignty in Post-Celtic Tiger Ireland. It will analyze on the ground agricultural and ecological practice as well as a group of contemporary Irish texts about returning to farm life, including novels like Belinda McKeon’s Solace and John Connell’s memoir, The Cow Book. This book will unpack the current state of Irish agriculture in the European Union context alongside ongoing challenges to food sovereignty in a globalized world. In that framework, the argument suggests that the sub-genre of farming texts creates a way for Irish writers to reframe an Irish identity through connection to land and agricultural traditions, in the face of identity loss after the Celtic Tiger. Those texts also reflect a growing awareness in Irish letters about the ecological peril the small island faces. Mara was named a 2019-20 Institute for Humanities Research Fellow to build this project.

Research Interests: 

Irish literature

Medical Humanities

Food sovereignty



Mara, Miriam. Globalism and Gendering Cancer: Tracking the Trope of Oncogenic Women from the US to Kenya. Routledge, 2020.


Refereed Journal Articles and Book Chapters


Mara, Miriam. “Argumentum Ad Baculum, Aristotelian Civic Fear, or Praetoritio: Threats in Anti-Choice Letters.” Argumentation, 2020.


---.  “Bras, Bros, and Colons: How Even the Mayo Clinic Gets it Wrong Gendering Cancer” Interrogating Gendered Pathologies Eds Michele Eble and Erin Frost. Utah State UP, 2020, 171-187.


---. “The Political Ecology of Food and Hunger (1950 to the Present)” Cambridge History of Irish Literature and the Environment ed Malcolm Sen. Cambridge UP, forthcoming 2021.


Mara, Miriam & Mara, Andrew. “Blending Humanistic and Rhetorical Analysis to Locate Gendered Dimensions of Kenyan Medical Practitioner Attitudes about Cancer” Technical Communication Quarterly (TCQ), eds Richard Johnson Sheehan and Elizabeth Angeli, vol. 27, no. 1, 2018, 93-107.


Mara, Miriam. “Food, Hunger, and Irish Identity: Self-Starvation in Colum McCann’s ‘Hunger Strike.’” Food and Literature Ed. Gitalanji Shahali, Cambridge UP. 2018, 319-334.


---. "Clashing Cultures in ‘Counterparts’: Navigating Among Print, Printing, and Oral Narratives in Turn of the Century Dublin " Rethinking Mobility, Paralysis, and Identity in Dubliners.  Eds Claire A. Culleton and Ellen Scheible. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, 145-159.


Mara, Andrew & Mara, Miriam. “Ethnography as Rhetorical XA Research Aggregator” Rhetoric and Experience Architecture, eds. Michael Salvo and Liza Potts. Parlor Press, 2017, 184-196.


Mara, Miriam. “PostTiger, Posthuman: Cyborg Irish Identity in The Dead Republic.” Midwest Quarterly, vol. LVI, no. 3, Spring 2015, 272-287.    


Mara, Miriam & Mara, Andrew. "Ireland on the Waves: Colum McCann's Transatlantic as Intergenerational Female Immram" Nordic Irish Studies, vol. 14, 2015, 19-36.


Mara, Miriam, Andrew Mara, and Heather Steinmann. “North Dakota State University’s Hybrid Technical Communication PhD,” Programmatic Perspectives, vol. 7, no. 1, Spring 2015, .


Mara, Miriam. “Mundane Doubles: Anorexia in the short fiction of Anne Enright and Colum McCann.” New Hibernia Review, vol. 18, no. 1, Spring 2014, 120-135.

Reprinted. Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Lawrence J. Trudeau, Vol. 407, Gale, Cengage Learning, 2017, Prod. Layman Poupard. 122-134.


---. “Nuala O’Faolain: New Departures in Textual and Genetic Criticism.” Irish Studies Review, vol. 21, no. 3, 2013, 342-352.


Mara, Miriam & Brooks, Kevin. “Translating health care: Stories from refugees, providers, and friends” Rhetoric, Professional Communication, & Globalization, vol. 3, no. 1, 2012, 58-73.


Mara, Miriam O’Kane & Bach, Rebecca Oster. “Seeking the Future in Fishing the Sloe Black RiverThis Side of Brightness: Essays on the Fiction of Colum McCann. Eds Eoin Flannery & Susan Cahill. Peter Lang Publishing, 2012, 9-28.


Mara, Andrew & Mara, Miriam. “Irish Identification as Exigence: A Self-Service Case Study for Producing User Documentation.” Computer-Mediated Communication across Cultures: International Interactions in Online Environments. Eds Kirk St. Amant & Sigrid Kelsey, IGI Global, 2012, 173-186.


Mara, Miriam & Mara, Andrew “The Efficacy of Faculty Student Interaction within Faculty-In-Residence.”  Innovative Higher Education vol. 36, no. 2, 2011, 71-82.


Mara, Miriam. “Just this Once: Urban Ireland in Film.” Irish Studies Review, vol. 18, 4, 2010, 427-438.


---. “Spreading the (Dis)ease: Gardasil and the Gendering of HPV.” Feminist Formations (formerly National Women’s Studies Association Journal), vol. 22, no. 2, 2010, 124-143.


---. “Almost There: The Search for Global Irishness in Nuala O’Faolain” Redefinitions of Irish Identity in the Twenty-First Century: A Postnational Approach. Eds Irene Gilsenan Nordin and Carmen Zamorano Llena, Peter Lang Publishing, 2010, 63-84.


---. “Reading the Landscape for Clues: Environment in Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha.” Out of the Earth: Ecocritical Readings of Irish Texts. Ed Christine Cusick, Cork UP, 2010, 178-188.


---. “James Joyce and the Politics of Food” New Hibernia Review, vol. 13, no. 4, 2009, 94-110.


---. “Reproductive Cancer: Female Autonomy and Border Crossing in Medical Discourse and Fiction.” Irish Studies Review, vol. 17, no. 4, 2009, 467-483.


---. (Re)producing Identity & Creating Famine in Nuala O’Faolain’s My Dream of You.Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, vol. 48, no. 2, 2007, 197-216.


---. “The Geography of Body: Borders in Edna O’Brien’s Down By the River and Colum McCann’s ‘Sisters.’” The Current Debate About the Irish Literary Canon. Ed. Helen Thompson. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2006. 311-330.


---.  “Sucking the Empire Dry: Colonial Critique in The Mystery of Edwin Drood.Dickens Studies Annual Vol 32, 2003, 233-246.

Reprinted. Global Dickens eds John O. Jordan and Nirshan Perera. London: Ashgate, July 2012.


Refereed Proceedings

 Mara, Andrew & Mara, Miriam. “Capturing Social Value in UX Projects” SIGDOC '15: Proceedings of the 26th Annual International Conference on Design of Communication. Limerick, ACM Press, 2015. Equal author contribution. 


Mara, Miriam. Review of Laying Out the Bones: Death and Dying in the Modern Irish Novel. Bridget English. Syracuse University Press, 2016 for New Hibernia Review 22:1 (Spring 2018) 157-158.

---. Review of The Literature of Northern Ireland: Spectral Borderlands. Maureen E. Ruprecht Fadem. Palgrave Macmillan, 2015 for Irish Studies Review 25.4 (November 2017). 536-538.

---. Location, Location, Location. Review of Prodigals and Geniuses: The Writers and Artists of Dublin’s Baggotonia Brendan Lynch. Dublin: The Liffey Press, 2011 for Irish Literary Supplement. (October 2013).

---. Hungry Words: Images of Famine in the Irish Canon Eds George Cusack and Sarah Goss. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2006 for New Hibernia Review 11:4 (Winter 2007) 157-8.

Spring 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
ENG 34220th-Century British/Irish Lit
ENG 461Studies in Women and Lit
MAS 585Capstone Course
ENG 598Special Topics
Fall 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
ENG 200Critical Reading & Writing/Lit
ENG 494Special Topics
ENG 502Contemporary Critical Theories
MAS 592Research
Spring 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
MAS 505Theory Change, Culture & Mind
MAS 590Reading and Conference
Fall 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
ENG 102First-Year Composition
ENG 364Women and Literature
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
ENG 34220th-Century British/Irish Lit
MAS 505Theory Change, Culture & Mind
MAS 585Capstone Course
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
ENG 102First-Year Composition
ENG 454Gender and Literature
ENG 598Special Topics
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
ENG 364Women and Literature
MAS 590Reading and Conference
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
ENG 34220th-Century British/Irish Lit