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Department ofEnglish

Marilyn Edelstein

Marilyn Edelstein
Marilyn Edelstein
Associate Professor

Dr. Marilyn Edelstein, Associate Professor of English, has been on the SCU faculty since 1987. She is an affiliated faculty member in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department and teaches cross-listed classes with the Ethnic Studies Department. She also teaches courses in SCU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Program.

Before coming to SCU, she taught at UCLA and at Youngstown State University in Ohio. Dr. Edelstein received her Ph.D. in English from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1984, an interdisciplinary M.A. in the Humanities from the University of Chicago in 1978, and her B.A. (in literature, creative writing, religious studies and philosophy) from Goddard College in Vermont in 1974.

Marilyn has received three Irvine Foundation Grants for multicultural curriculum development, a Core Honorarium for Core Curriculum Transformation and Development, a Hackworth Research Grant from the SCU Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, and several other research and curriculum development grants. She received the Women’s and Gender Studies Department’s “Sisterhood is Powerful” award in 2017. She participated in an NEH Summer Seminar on “Postmodernism,” and an NEH Summer Institute on “Ethics and Aesthetics.” She has presented more than 30 papers at international, national, and regional conferences.

Research Interests

  • Literary and critical theory
  • Feminist literary and cultural theory
  • 20th and 21st-century American literature
  • The American short story
  • Multicultural literature and theory
  • Critical race theory
  • Literature and ethics


  • English 11 and 12: Cultures and Ideas--Rebellion and Conformity in the Modern World
  • English 15: Introduction to Cultural Studies and Literary Theory
  • English 32: Survey of American Literature II
  • English 39: Multicultural Literature of the U.S.
  • English 68: Women and Literature
  • English 123: Studies in the History of Literary Theory--Literature and Ethics
  • English 124: Contemporary Literary and Cultural Theory
  • English 125: Feminist Literary and Cultural Theory
  • English 134: Studies in Contemporary America
  • English 169: Women, Literature, and Theory
  • English 190: Senior Seminar on Exploring Cultural Identities: Race, Sex, and Gender
  • English 190: Senior Seminar on Postmodernism
  • English 190: Senior Seminar on Multicultural Theory and Literature
  • “(How) Should a Feminist Teach Lolita in the Wake of #MeToo?” Teaching Nabokov’s Lolita in the #MeToo Era, ed. Elena Rakhimova-Sommers. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. (In press, March 2021)
  • Review of Catherine Romagnolo, Opening Acts: Narrative Beginnings and Feminist Fiction. Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, 36 (Spring 2017): 230-232.
  • “Thinking Otherwise about God, Marx, and Eagleton: A Response to Terry Eagleton,” Explore [Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education/Bannan Institute, Santa Clara University], 17 (Spring 2014): 22-25.
  • “Love, Politics, and Ethics in the Postmodern Feminist Work of bell hooks and Julia Kristeva.” Critical Perspectives on bell hooks, ed. Maria del Guadalupe Davidson and George Yancy. New York: Routledge, 2009. 186-201.
  • "Before the Beginning: Nabokov and the Rhetoric of the Preface." Narrative Beginnings: Theories and Practices, ed. Brian Richardson. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2009. 29-43.
  • "Teaching Lolita in a Course on Ethics and Literature." Approaches to Teaching Lolita, ed. Zoran Kuzmanovich and Galya Diment. New York: Modern Language Association Publications (MLA "Approaches to Teaching World Literature" series), 2008. 43-48.
  • "Multiculturalisms Past, Present, and Future." College English 68 (September 2005): 14-41.
  • "Resisting Postmodernism or 'A Postmodernism of Resistance'": bell hooks and the Theory Debates." Other Sisterhoods: Literary Theory and U.S. Women of Color. Ed. Sandra Kumamoto Stanley. Urbana: U of Illinois Press, 1998. 86-118.
  • "Ethics and Contemporary American Literature: Revisiting the Controversy over John Gardner's On Moral Fiction." Pacific Coast Philology 31 (1996): 40-53.
  • "Toward a Feminist Postmodern Poléthique: Kristeva on Ethics and Politics." In Ethics, Politics, and Difference in Julia Kristeva's Writing. Ed. Kelly Oliver. New York: Routledge, 1993. 196-21.
  • "Metaphor, Meta-Narrative, and Mater-narrative in Kristeva's 'Stabat Mater.'" In Body/Text in Julia Kristeva: Women, Religion, and Psychoanalysis. Ed. David Crownfield. Albany: SUNY Press, 1992. 27-52.
  • "Ethics, Education, and 'Political Correctness.'" Issues in Ethics [Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University] 5 (1992): 1, 8.
  • Review of Feminisms: An Anthology of Literary Theory and Criticism, ed. Robyn R. Warhol and Diane Price Herndl. Belles Lettres 8 (1992): 46-47.
  • Review of Sexual Subversions: Three French Feminists, by Elizabeth Grosz. Discourse: Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture 14 (Winter 1991-92): 152-157.

Works in Progress

  • "Postmodern Ethics, Feminist Ethics, and Multiculturalism" (a book-length project)
  • "Indians in America, Americans in India: Cultural and Gendered Contacts and Collisions in Short Stories by Jhumpa Lahiri and Chitra Divakaruni” 
  • "Narrative Strategies for Developing Cross-Racial and Cross-Cultural Empathy in Short Stories by Sandra Cisneros and Jhumpa Lahiri" 
  • "Empathy, Ethics, and 'the Other': How Reading Multicultural Literature Can Help Develop Cross-Racial Empathy and Understanding"
Curriculum vitae