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Katarzyna Nowak

Katarzyna Nowak McNeice

Doctorate from:
University of Wroclaw (Poland)

Department at UC3M:
Humanities: Philosophy, Language and Literature Theory


CONEX Fellow from 02/03/15 to 30/06/2019


“The Melancholy State of California: The Representation and Re-Evaluation of American Identity”

concerns an investigation into the American identity in its literary manifestations and it centers on the idea of California as a site of memory and melancholy. My project ultimately aims at building a group of scholars invested in the idea of California and American identity, and it entails launching a book series devoted to the themes of borderlands and identity, with a specific focus on the Californian context. My own monograph, exploring the representation of American identity in Joan Didion's novels, would be the first of such scholarly investigations of a book series. Thus, my research at UC3M entails three interconnected stages: the first devoted to my monograph, the second to initiating a scholarly group through a conference, and the third consolidates the cooperation through publications.


Katarzyna Nowak-McNeice obtained her doctoral degree from the University of Wroclaw in 2005. In 2007 she published a monograph titled Melancholic Travelers: Autonomy, Hybridity and the Maternal (Peter Lang); and in 2010 co-edited a collection Interiors: Interiority/Exteriority in Literary and Cultural Discourse (Cambridge Scholars Publishing). In 2004-5 she was Fulbright scholar at University of California in Los Angeles. In 2009 she conducted research at Loyola Marymount University in California under the auspices of the Kosciuszko Foundation. In 2005 and 2006 she was recipient of grants for young scholars from the Foundation for Polish Science. She has published papers on American literature and culture, post-colonial literatures, and opera studies, as well as translations of essays and poetry (English into Polish). Her research interests include early California literature, post-colonial literatures and theory, American literature, gender studies, and opera studies. She is currently working on a monograph on Joan Didion's oeuvre.

Academic Papers

  • Joan Didion’s California: Literary Representations of History, Melancholy and Transgression. The Quint: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly from the North, vol. 11.1 (December 2018). Pp. 193-211. UCN, Canada. ISSN 1920-1028.
  • Belonging to the Human and Non-human Animals in J. M. Coetzee’s Recent Novels.C21 Literature: Journal of 21st-century Writings, 6(1): 9, pp. 1–20, February 2018.
  • The Californian Exopolis: Hector Tobar’s and Tim Z. Hernandez’s Literary Interventions, Published in The Watchung Review: the Journal of the New Jersey College English Association, 2017. 76-83. ISSN 2573-1750.
  • Migration and Identity. Watchung Review, volume 1, April 2017. 



Book Chapters, Translations, reviews and others

  • Translation of the book Autistic Son, Desperate Dad (from Polish into English). By Rafal Motriuk. Prebonus Publishing, 2018. ISBN: 978-8395020407, 202 pages.
  • Review essay of The Filth of Progress Immigrants, Americans, and the Building of Canals and Railroads in the West. Ryan Dearinger. Stanford: University of California Press, 2016. The Journal of American Culture, vol. 41:1, 09 March 2018, Wiley. DOI:10.1111/jacc.12859. Pp. 102-3. ISSN: 1542-7331
  • Introduction y prologue de "A Dark California: Essays on Dystopian Depictions in Popular Culture". Volumen co-editado (con Agata Zarzycka). Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2017. 205 pages. ISBN: 978-1-4766- 6783-6
  • A review essay of The Euro-Western: Reframing Gender, Race and the ‘Other’ in Film. Lee Broughton. London: I.B. Tauris, 2016. The Journal of Popular Film and Television, vol. 46 no 3. 2018-07-03. DOI: 10.1080/01956051.2018.1527607. Pp. 183-4. ISSN: 0195-6051.
  • Representation of the Displacement of California’s Native American Population: Helen Hunt Jackson’s Ramona in Cultures in Movement, ed. Martine Raibaud, Micaéla Symington, Ionut Untea, David Waterman. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015. Pp. 58-69. ISBN (13): 978-1- 4438-7189-1

Organized Conferences

Conferences and Seminars

  • “The Unreachable Paradise: California in Joan Didion’s Writing”.PCA/ACA, Washington, DC,17-20 April 2019.
  • “Questioning the Divide between the Human and Nonhuman Animals: Some Literary Examples”.ELLAK International Conference “Encounters with the Posthuman: Materiality, Vitality, Narrativity,” Sookmyung Women’s University, Seul (Korea). 13-15 December 2018.
  • “Toward an Inclusive Translation: The Challenges of Translating Narratives about Autism, on the Example of Autistic Son, Desperate Dad”.International Conference “Inclusión, integración, diferenciación. La diversidad funcional en la literatura, el cine y las artes escénicas”, Passau, Germany.29 November – 01 December 2018
  • “Questioning the Divide between the Human and Nonhuman Animals: on the example of Susan Straight’s Rio Seco Trilogy”.“UnCommon Worlds” international conference, the University of Turku, Finland. Presentation.7-9 August 2018
  • “The Anthropocene, the Capitalocene, the Chthulucene: Some Literary Examples”.The Anthropocene and Beyond: Toward a Shared Narrativity in Interdisciplinary Research International conference at Shue Yan University, Hong Kong.29 May-1 June 2018
  • “The City of the Anthropocene: Some Literary Examples”, The City: Images and Imaginaries International Conference, March 2018.  Carlos III University of Madrid, Spain. 
  • “Human / Non-human Animals: Questioning the Divide in Susan Straight’s Prose”, The 9th Beyond Humanism Conference, July 2017. John Cabot University, Rome, Italy.
  • “Belonging to the Human and Non-human Animals in J.M. Coetzee’s Recent Novels”, Animal Utterance Conference, May 2017. University of Bristol, UK
  • “Human and Non-Human Animals in Susan Straight’s Rio Seco Trilogy”, conference organized by the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, April 2016. San Diego, Ca, USA
  • “John M. Coetzee: On the Frontiers of Race, Gender, and Species”, Perennial Literature for Uncertain Times Conference, March 2017. CEU San Pablo University, Madrid. Spain. 
  • "Vulnerability and Belonging in Susan Straight’s Prose",  Southern American Studies Association Biennial Conference, March 2017. The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, USA.
  • "Californian Non-places: Some Literary Examples",  Postagraduate Seminar at Carlos III University of Madrid, Spain.
  • "Of Women and Animals: Voice, Vulnerablity, and Belonging in Coetzee's Prose", Chairperson and presenter at  "Reading Coetzee's Women"Event, September 27-29, 2016. Monash University, Prato, Italy. 
  • "Culture and Spanish Heritage: Building and Identity", 10th International Conference on Chicano Literature and Latino Studies, May 30- June 1, 2016. Madrid, Spain.
  • "Subjectivity ann de Political 2016" International Conference, March 9 -10, 2016. UC3M, Campus Puerta de Toledo, Madrid, Spain.
  • "Californial Exopolis: Hector Tobar's and Tim Z. Hernández's Literary Interventions", Euroacademia Conference, March 4-5, 2016. Venecia, Italy.
  • "The Myth of an Empty Frontier in Joan Didion's Fiction", Frontiers and borders in American Literature Conference,  American Literature Association, 25-27 February , 2016. San Antonio,TX, USA.
  • "Between the Garden and the Desert: American Identity in Joan Didion's Writing", Borderland/Edgelands International Workshop, June  25-26, 2015. Dresden, Germany.