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Jacqueline O’Connor

Distinguished Professor
Co-Director, Arts and Humanities Institute

(208) 426-7090 | LA-209C

Dr. O’Connor teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the Literature Program, and her particular areas of interest are in 20th/21st-century American literature, specifically American drama. Her most recent publications explore connections between law and the humanities. In her 2016 book, Law and Sexuality in Tennessee Williams’s America, Dr. O’Connor analyses the interplay of select topics defined and debated in law’s texts with those same topics in Williams’s personal and imaginative texts. The book demonstrates Williams’s preoccupation with major twentieth-century concerns, including significant legal and cultural dialogues about identity formation, intimacy, privacy, and difference.

Dr. O’Connor was named a College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Faculty member in 2015.

Dr. O’Connor’s current book project, “Mental States: Asylums and American Drama,” is in the early stages of research. She has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to advance this project as a member of a 2017 NEH Summer Institute on “American Material Culture: 19th-C New York.” She will spend four weeks in New York City studying material objects and the spaces they occupy, in order to focus on social and cultural practices in mental asylum design and structures. Asylum materials and settings, particularly as they reproduced domestic life within an institutional system, will serve as the starting point for her analysis of the material culture of dramatic works that stage mental illness.


  • Ph.D., English, University of California at Davis
  • M.A., English, University of California at Davis
  • B.A., English, University of California at Santa Barbara


American Drama, Tennessee Williams, 20th/21st-century American Literature, Law and Humanities

Recent Publications

  • Law and Sexuality in Tennessee Williams’s America (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2016)
  • With Stephanie Bacon. The Arc of a Dance: 25 Years of Idaho Dance Theatre (2014)
  • Documentary Trial Plays in Contemporary American Theater (Southern Illinois University Press, 2013)


Upcoming courses include ENGL 389 Studies in Drama (American Women Playwrights) and ENGL 530 American Women on Stage and Screen.

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