Kathleen Donegan

Department: English

Kathleen Donegan (Ph.D. American Studies, Yale University) writes and teaches about literature and culture in early America, from New World encounters through the first decades of the republic.  She is the author of Seasons of Misery: Catastrophe and Colonial Settlement in Early America (Penn, 2014), a book about the deeply unsettling history of early English colonial settlement in Native America.  It investigates how an acute relationship between suffering and violence in those crisis-ridden outposts produced a discourse of catastrophe – a literature of chaos and misery through which American coloniality can be understood anew.  Donegan’s current book project is entitled “The Spectral Plantation: The Other Worlds of Slavery.”  A second project is about colonial shipwreck narratives, entitled “Cast Away in the New World.”   In addition to surveys on early American literature, Donegan teaches courses on colonial Caribbean studies; early American women writers; captivity, slavery and piracy; the colonial Atlantic world; and racial formation in early America.  She also offers writing courses on the craft of the critical essay, and on narrative practice in scholarly writing.  In 2015, Donegan’s history of the Plymouth colony was featured in PBS’s The American Experience The Pilgrims: A Documentary History (dir. Ric Burns). She is the recipient of the Richard Beale Davis Award from Early American Literature, as well as Berkeley’s Distinguished Teaching Award, President’s Chair Fellowship, Hellman Fellowship, and Innovation in Teaching Award.  Since 2016, Donegan has served as Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities.