Faculty Profile

Sharon O'Brien

Professor of English and American Studies, James Hope Caldwell Professor of American Cultures (1975)

Contact Information


Denny Hall Room 316


Sharon O'Brien teaches interdisciplinary courses in the American Studies and English Departments, looking at the multiplicity of American cultures through the lenses of race, class, gender, and ethnicity. The author of a biography of Willa Cather and of a family memoir, she is now teaching and writing memoir and personal essay. Teaching and research interests include the politics of memory; illness and narrative; and lifewriting.


  • B.A., Radcliffe College, 1967
  • M.A., Harvard University, 1969
  • Ph.D., 1975

2015-2016 Academic Year

Fall 2015

AMST 202 Workshop in Cultural Analysis
Intensive workshop focused on theoretical approaches to the interpretation of social and cultural materials. The course provides an early exposure to theories and methods that will be returned to in greater depth in the senior year. Intended to develop independent skills in analysis of primary texts and documents. This course fulfills the Social Sciences (Division II) distribution requirement and WID graduation requirement.

ENGL 219 Creative Writing: Memoir/Essay
May include memoir, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, biography, novel writing, graphic novel, playwriting, “genre” fiction (e.g., detective, sci-fi), subgenres of poetry (e.g., visual poetry), subgenres of fiction (e.g., Magical Realism), and other forms of non-analytical writing not routinely offered.