Patrick Whitmarsh


I study the relationship between science fiction and canonical “literary” fiction, focusing specifically on SF’s relationship to modernism and postmodernism, as well as its controversial relationship to realism. The theoretical impetus of my work tends toward narrative form and SF’s experimental capacity to challenge traditional hierarchies organized around the institution of humanism. I am also interested in the historical dynamics between SF and literary fiction, tracking SF’s evolution alongside the canon (in writers such as Mary Shelley and H.G. Wells) until its radical divergence into pop culture in the twentieth century with Gernsbackian pulp. In addition to critiquing and conceptualizing this complex relationship, I pursue relevant theoretical interests in the emergence of posthumanism, systems theory, and communications/media theory.

You can view my CV here.

PhD in English and American literature, Boston University, expected 2018
MA in English and American literature, Boston University, 2013
MA in Humanities, University of Chicago, 2011
BA in English literature, University of South Florida, 2009


“Specters of Communication: Supernatural Media in Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow” in Modern Fiction Studies (forthcoming 2017).

“‘Imagine you’re a machine’: Narrative Systems in Peter Watts’s Blindsight and Echopraxia” in Science Fiction Studies 43.2 (July 2016).

Conference Presentations

“‘In communion with unclean spirits’: Posthuman Communication in the Gothic Styles of Djuna Barnes and William Faulkner.” Brandeis University. Waltham, MA. April 2016.

“Time Passes Out of Joint.” Modernist Studies Association. Boston, MA. November 2015.

“‘A machine my mother?’: Locating the Android in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man.” Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture Association. Baltimore, MD, November 2014.

“‘A city came to be’: Mapping Trauma in Samuel Delany’s Dhalgren.” Northeast Modern Language Association. Toronto, ON, May 2015.

Courses Taught
Boston University

EN 127: Readings in American Gothic Fiction (Fall 2013)
EN 141: Literary Types – Fiction (Spring 2014)
EN 130: Science/Fiction – Readings in Literature and Science (Fall 2015)
WR 100 – Writing Seminar: The Simulated Society
WR 150 – Writing and Research Seminar: The Simulated Society

St. Petersburg College
HUM 2210: Western Humanities: Ancient to Renaissance (Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Summer 2012)
HUM 2233: Western Humanities: Baroque to Contemporary (Fall 2011, Spring 2012)
HUM 2270: Western Humanities: East-West Synthesis (Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Summer 2012)