Georgia Tech Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts

Carol A. Colatrella

Carol A. Colatrella PhD

Professor and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies

Contact Information

Office: Skiles 364
Phone: 404-894-1241
Fax: 404-894-1287

Dr. Carol Colatrella is professor of Literature and Cultural Studies in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication; Associate Dean for Graduate Studies; and Co-Director of the Georgia Tech Center for the Study of Women, Science, and Technology, which since 2002 has been sponsored by the Office of the Provost. She was a member of the ADVANCE Team ( from 2001 through 2011; during 2005-2007 she served as Georgia Tech NSF ADVANCE Program Director. Colatrella received her PhD in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University in 1987.  Her book Evolution, Sacrifice, and Narrative: Balzac, Zola, and Faulkner and articles in Nineteenth-Century French Studies and Comparative Literature and other journals analyze popular and scientific narrative representations of race, class, and gender. She has co-edited (with Joseph Alkana) and contributed to an anthology examining the influence of Sacvan Bercovitch's scholarship on American culture, Cohesion and Dissent in America. Her book Literature and Moral Reform: Melville and the Discipline of Reading provides an historically informed study of moral rehabilitation and reform in the nineteenth-century United States as well as analysis of Melville's narrative strategies; it was published in 2002 by the University Press of Florida. In 2011 Ohio State University Press published her book analyzing popular culture representations of women developing and engaging with science and technology, Toys and Tools in Pink: Cultural Narratives of Gender, Science, and Technology. Colatrella edited and contributed to the anthology Technology and Humanity (Salem Press, 2012). Since 1993, she has served as Executive Director of the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts and editor of the SLSA newsletter Decodings. In 2000 and in 2005-06, Colatrella held Fulbright fellowships based in Denmark. Her other fellowships include a Georgia Tech European Union Center Grant, 2010-11 and a residency at Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Berlin, June 2008. She received the  Geoffrey G. Eicholz Faculty Teaching Award, Georgia Tech, 2007-10. In spring 2013, Colatrella, Dr. Mary Lynn Realff (MSE), and various students and Inman Middle School teachers received a CETL Educational Partnership award for their work on GEMS (Girls Excelling in Math and Science) club, which offers weekly, hands-on activities for students interested in STEM.

Selected Publications

  • Literature and Moral Reform: Melville and the Discipline of Reading

    From Amazon's site:
    By delineating the connections between nineteenth-century penitentiary reforms and the narrative structures and strategies of Herman Melville's fictions, this book explores the ways literature reflects and refracts ideas about the influence of reading on moral rehabilitation. The author shows that Melville, who engaged often and profoundly with reform issues, reacted against the reading-as-discipline approach recommended by penal reformers.

    Carol Colatrella's approach is highly original not only in its historicizing of Melville's treatment of penitentiaries, reform, and rehabilitation of moral character but in its consideration of reading in relation to reform. Her book is the first to explore the ideological, literary, and rhetorical relationships of fictional narrative, authors, law, and social institutions to disciplinary literacy and to theories of readership.

Recent Publications

  • Technology and Humanity
    Colatrella contributed to and edited this collection, which introduces students and general readers to literature and films about technology. Human engagement with technology has a deep history, as social progress and creative expression have long been connected with the development, deployment, and representation of what we recognize as technological products and processes. We all know what we think of as "technology" today, and yet each stage of human development has had its own - even ancient cave paintings depict the artistic, scientific, and technological interests of our ancestors. Technology can be as basic and essential as fire, or a common kitchen tool, or can become, at least in our imaginations, so sophisticated and pervasive as to take on the feel of a nightmare. Literature - in its printed and now digital forms, itself a shining example of the success of technology in reaching around the world - reflects the draw, and the dangers, of technology for us in myriad ways.
  • Toys and Tools in Pink: Cultural Narratives of Gender, Science, and Technology

    Colatrella considers how gender inflects literary and media representations.Toys and Tools in Pink analyzes female character types that recur in fictional narratives in print, on television, and in the cinema: female criminals and detectives, mothers who practice medicine, and "babe scientists" among others. It also investigates how narrative settings and plots both subsume and influence cultural stereotypes of gender in prescribing salient professional and personal codes of conduct in STEM fields.

Additional Keywords

Comparative Literature Gender, Science, and Technology Narrative Theory Inequality American Literature
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