Agnes Malinowska

Agnes Malinowska
Assistant Instructional Professor
Pronouns: she/her/hers


Assistant Instructional Professor, Master of Arts Program in the Humanities, Department of English Language and Literature, The College

Affiliate Faculty, Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture

I received my Ph.D. from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago in 2018, and I’ve been working as a preceptor at MAPH since 2014. Before that, I earned a B.A. in philosophy and history from the University of California, Berkeley. My research and teaching interests these days center on the many ways that organic life, technology, and other kinds of nonhuman matter shape and influence human social forms and relations of power. On the one hand, I’m interested in the natural / “natural” life of the human body; I teach, research, and think about social formations and sites of struggle and domination around both biological reproduction and sexuality—especially for women and for those people historically-marked as sexually “deviant” in one way or another. On the other hand, I’m interested in unimaginably vast and unthinkably tiny natural processes and types of matter—particularly evolution and micro-matter (bacteria, viruses, pollen, and the like). I am especially interested in how these have been taken up in the social sciences and by cultural producers, alike; and in the way they have been intercepted by the state, by public health policy or other biopolitical institutions that regulate and control human and nonhuman populations. 
Most broadly, my interests, research, and teaching live in gender and sexuality studies, queer and feminist theory, animal / nonhuman studies and the environmental humanities, science and technology studies, and the history of the social and biological sciences. I also always want to read and learn more about science fiction, historical and evolutionary origin stories, radical politics, so-called proletarian literature, and the 1930s “red decade.” I am primarily an Americanist literary and cultural studies scholar, and my thinking most often centers on the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, though I’m moving further into the present all the time. 
I am a proud member of Faculty Forward/SEIU Local 73, the contingent faculty union at the University of Chicago.

Current MAPH Courses

Queer Modernism [Winter 2024]

This course examines the dramatic revisions in gender and sexuality that characterize Anglo-American modernity. Together, we will read literary texts by queer writers to investigate their role in shaping the period's emergent regimes of sex and gender. We'll consider queer revisions of these concepts for their effect on the broader social and political terrain of the early twentieth century and explore the intimate histories they made possible: What new horizons for kinship, care, affect, and the everyday reproduction of life did modernist ideas about sex and gender enable? At the same time, we will seek to “queer” modernism by shifting our attention away from high literary modernism and towards modernism’s less-canonical margins. Our examination will center on queer lives relegated to the social and political margins—lives of exile or those cut short by various forms of dispossession. This class will double as an advanced introduction to queer theory, with a particular emphasis on literary criticism. [MAPH/English/Gender and Sexuality/American Studies]

Reproductive citizens: sex, work, and embodiment 
[Spring 2024]

In this class, we focus on literature, film, history, and theory that deal with biological and social reproduction, motherhood and the politics of the home and family, and domestic and sexual labor. Our readings and viewings are centered in the U.S. and span the early twentieth century through the present—and we approach the above themes and structures in relation to the troubled and uneven histories of race, gender, and class that shape them. To this end, we will learn about the history of eugenics and sterilization; the afterlife of slavery and racist (anti-Asian) U.S. immigration policy; settler colonialism and the Native American reservation system; state policing of family and kinship structures; developments in reproductive and gender-affirming biotechnology; and the thorny politics of sex work. At the same time, we will be equally interested in the ways that activists, theorists, and other cultural producers have pushed against oppressive policies and structures to imagine and fight for reproductive justice and liberation at the intersection of race, labor, and gender. We spend time, for example, with Black and Native feminists, Marxist social reproduction theorists, family abolitionists, and sex worker’s rights activists. Readings and viewings may include: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Tillie Olsen, Gayl Jones, Fae Myenne Ng, Louise Erdrich, Lizzie Borden, Barbara Loden, Amy Heckerling, and the International Wages for Housework Campaign. [MAPH/English/Gender and Sexuality]
Open enrollment for all graduate students, as well as 3rd- and 4th-year undergraduate students with majors in the Humanities and Social Sciences. All others, please email to request permission to enroll.