Cecily Devereux, PhD (York U, 1995), MA (York U, 1990), BA (Western, 1988)

Professor, Faculty of Arts - English & Film Studies Dept

Pronouns: she/her


Professor, Faculty of Arts - English & Film Studies Dept
Humanities Centre
11121 Saskatchewan Drive NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H5


Area of Study / Keywords

gender and performance maternity and popular culture gender and genres histories of feminism and feminist theory feminism and imperialism hysteria


My research and teaching interests cross a number of areas but are primarily focused on the representation and circulation of images and ideologies of femininity--and in particular of the maternal body--in popular cultural and especially Anglo-imperial contexts after 1850 and into the contemporary moment. Since completing my PhD at York University in 1995 on late 19th-century English-Canadian poet Isabella Valancy Crawford, I have published and presented work on imperial motherhood, colonial girlhood, eugenic feminism, the figure of the white slave, the imperial idea of the "Indian maiden," hysteria, erotic dancers, Anne of Green Gables, feminist theory in Canada, femininity and comics, and chick lit.

I am currently working on a SSHRC-funded project on white impersonations of Indigeneity in early twentieth-century performance and representation.


Salomania and the Representation of Race and Gender in Modern Erotic Dance  (Waterloo, ON, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2023).

After Oil. Petrocultures Research Group, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB (Morgantown, WV, West Virginia University Press, 2016).

Growing a Race: Nellie L. McClung and the Fiction of Eugenic Feminism (Montreal and Kingston, ON, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2005).

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (1908) )Peterborough, ON, Broadview Press Canada, 2005). With introduction, notes, and selected contextual material.

ESC: English Studies in Canada: Special Issue on the Automated Body (vol. 42, no. 1-2, 2016), co-edited with Marcelle Kosman.

ESC: English Studies in Canada: Special Issue on Traffic (vol. 36, no. 1, 2010) co-edited with Mark Simpson.

Women and Empire, 1750-1939. Routledge History of Feminism. 5 vols. Edited by Susan K. Martin, Carole Daley, Elizabeth Dimock, Cheryl Cassidy, and Cecily Devereux.; general
editor Ann Heilmann (London and New York, Routledge, 2009).

Women Writing Home: Female Correspondence across the British Empire. Co-edited with Kathleen Venema; general editor Klaus Stierstorfer (London, Pickering and Chatto, 2006).

Recent articles:

“Hysteria in the age of mechanical reproduction: back to the ‘image factory’ in Westworld.” Performing Hysteria: Contemporary Images and Imaginations of Hysteria. Edited by Johanna Braun. (Leuven/Ithaca, NY, Leuven/Cornell University Press, 2020, pp. 167-88).

“Salome, Herodias, and the ‘curious transition’: the cultural logic of reproductive fetishism in the representation of erotic dance.” ESC: English Studies in Canada (vol. 43, no.2-3, 2018, pp. 121-47).
With Susan Brown. “Introduction: Digital Textualities/Canadian Contexts.” Studies in Canadian Literature/Études en littérature canadienne (SCL/ÉLC) (vol. 42, no. 2, 2017, pp. 145-53).

“Made for Mankind: Cars, Cosmetics, and the Petrocultural Feminine.” Petrocultures: Oil, Energy, Culture. Edited by Imre Szeman and Sheena Wilson. (Montreal and Kingston, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017, pp. 162-86).
“Canadian Feminist Literary Theory and Criticism in the ‘Second Wave.” The Oxford Handbook of Canadian Literature. Edited by Cynthia Sugars. (Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press, 2015, pp. 845-62).

Recent presentations

"Sounds like patriarchy: Lola Montez and the hiss. " SpokenWeb Research Symposium: “Reverb: Echo-Locations of Sound and Space,” University of Alberta, May 1-3, 2023.


I have worked to develop and have taught for many years in our department's team-taught first-year English course. I also teach senior and graduate courses in gender and sexuality and popular fiction. I am involved in supporting and mentoring new Graduate Teaching Assistants. I have directed the teaching proseminar for first-year PhD students many times. I have been a member of the University of Alberta Graduate Teaching and Learning committee, and have served as EFS Coordinator for the FGSR Graduate Teaching and Learning Program. I received a Faculty of Arts Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2011 and the Kathleen W. Klawe Prize for Excellence in Teaching of Large Classes in 2017.


A new book-length study of early twentieth-century "Salome" dancers has been published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press (May 2023). 

Salomania and the Representation of Race and Gender in Modern Erotic Dance situates the 1908 dance craze, which The New York Times called “Salomania,” as a crucial event and a turning point in the history of the modern business of erotic dance. Framing Salomania with reference to imperial ideologies of motherhood and race, it works toward better understanding the increasing value of the display of the undressed female body in the 19th and early 20th centuries.This study turns critical attention to cultures of maternity in the late 19th century, primarily with reference to the ways in which women are defined in relation to their genitals as patriarchal property and space and are valued according to reproduction as their primary labour. Erotic dance as it takes shape in the modern representation of Salome insists both that the mother is and is not visible in the body of the dancer, a contradiction this study characterizes as reproductive fetishism.Looking at a range of media, the study traces the modern figure of Salome through visual art, writing, early psychoanalysis and dance, from "hootchie kootch" to the performances dancer Maud Allan called “mimeo-dramatic” to mid-20th-century North American films such as Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard and Charles Lamont's Salome, Where She Danced to the 21st-century HBO series The Sopranos.


ENGL 391 - Topics in Women's Writing

Prerequisite: 6 units of junior ENGL, or 3 units of junior ENGL and 3 units of junior WRS. Note: variable content course which may be repeated if topics vary.

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