Kirk Boyle

Assistant Professor
236 Karpen Hall, CPO 2130

Office Hours

  • Mon: 

    • 12:30 - 1:45 p.m.
  • Tue: 

    • 1:20 - 3 p.m.
  • Wed: 

    • 12:30 - 1:45 p.m.
  • Thu: 

    • 1:20 - 3 p.m.
Other times by appointment.

I feel honored and proud to teach at North Carolina’s public liberal arts university. That UNCA is a public institution appeals to my working-class background as a first-generation college student from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. That UNCA is a liberal arts university suits my generalist proclivities as an academic. While I specialize in American cultural studies, literary theory, and rhetoric, my scholarly interests vary, including representations of labor and social class, the relevance of critical theory in the 21st century, and the ideological operations and utopian aspirations of cultural artifacts—specifically film and media texts—produced within the political economic context of postmodern, neoliberal late capitalism. Fields of interest include critical geography, psychoanalysis, semiotics, narratology, and genre studies.

In my classes, UNCA students can expect to learn about critical inquiry and the moves that matter in academic writing; the American literary tradition from Columbus to Cisneros; the lingo of literary and critical theory; modernity’s legacy as “the dream of the Enlightenment and the nightmare of imperialism”; and the expectations, philosophies, and rigors of a liberal arts education.


Ph.D., University of Cincinnati, 2009
M.A., University of Cincinnati, 2003
B.A., Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Robert E. Cook Honors College, 2001



The Rhetoric of Humor: A Bedford Spotlight Reader. Bedford/St. Martin's, August 2016.

The Great Recession in Fiction, Film, and Television: 21st Century Bust Culture. Co-Editor with Daniel Mrozowski. Lexington Books, October 2013.

Book Chapters

“‘The Missing Element is the Human Element’: Ontological Difference and World-Ecological Crisis of the Capitalocene,” Eco Culture: Disaster, Narrative, Discourse, Lexington Books, forthcoming.

Historicism/Historicity.” The Žižek Dictionary. Ed. Rex Butler. Acumen, November 2013.

The Imagination of Economic Disaster: Eco-Catastrophe Films of the Great Recession.” The Great Recession in Fiction, Film, and Television: 21st Century Bust Culture. Lexington Books, October 2013.

Journal Articles

"The Truth is Outsourcing: Notes on the Post-Industrial Spaces of The X-Files." Mediapolis: A Journal of Cities and Culture. 3.2, September 15, 2017.

"Three Ways of Looking at a Neoliberalist: Mobile Global Traffic in Cosmopolis and Nightcrawler." Quarterly Review of Film and Video. 34.6 2017, 535-559.

Ideology at the End of Times.” Postscript: The Journal of the Philological Association of the Carolinas. 27 Spring 2011-Winter 2012.

Children of Men and I Am Legend: The Disaster-Capitalism Complex Hits Hollywood.” Jump Cut. 51 Spring 2009.

The Four Fundamental Concepts of Slavoj Žižek’s Psychoanalytic Marxism.” International Journal of Žižek Studies. 2.1 February 2008.

Reading the Dialectical Ontology of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Against the Ontological Monism of Adaptation.” Film-Philosophy. 11.1 June 2007, 1-32.

Whose Apocalyptic Ruses?: Derrida, Psychoanalysis, and Biblical Criticism.” Journal of Philosophy and Scripture. 4.1 Fall 2006, 1-20.


HUM 324: The Modern World
LANG 120: Foundations of Academic Writing (The Changing World of Work)
LANG 120: Foundations of Academic Writing (The Rhetoric of Humor)
LANG 120: Honors
LIT 240: Introduction to Literature
LIT 324: American Literary Tradition
LIT 335: Western Literature: Enlightenment to Modern
LIT 374: Readings in Film: Film Theory, Adaptation, and Genre
LIT 440: Literary Theory & Criticism
LIT 489: Seminar in a Major Author: Edith Wharton
LIT 497: Senior Seminar I
LSIC 379: The Culture of Calamity

Dream Courses

LIT 349: Postmodern Literature, Culture, and Theory
LIT 374: Readings in Social Class and Culture
LIT 445: Studies in 19th Century Literature: American Realism and Naturalism
LIT 488: Seminar in a Major Author: Bertolt Brecht


Society of Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS)
Historical Materialism