Brenda Boudreau, Ph.D.

Photo of Brenda Boudreau, Ph.D.Professor of English

James M. Hamill Chair of English

Office: Carnegie Hall 210

Phone: (618) 537-6971


Ph.D., English, West Virginia University (1998)

M.A., English, West Virginia University (1991)

B.S., Media Communications, Framingham State College (1986)

Teaching Interests

My teaching interests include both composition and twentieth-century American literature. I regularly teach Ethnic Literature and Gender in Literature, and I am also the coordinator for the gender studies minor. I am interested in gender and women’s studies and feminist theory.

Research Interests

Most of my scholarly research focuses on exploring gender issues in film and television, particularly cable television shows.


Abortion in Popular Culture: A Call to Action. Co-edited with Kelli Maloy.  Lexington Books, March, 2023.

“Challenging Cultural Attitudes to Maternal Ambivalence through Antiheroines in The Americans and Homeland. in “Antiheroines of Contemporary Media: Saints, Sinners, and Survivors. Eds. Melanie Has, N.A. Pierce, and Gretchen Busl. Lexington Books, 2020.

“Bad Ass Mothers: Challenging Nostalgia in Stranger Things.”  Uncovering Stranger Things: Essays on Eighties Nostalgia, Cynicism and Innocence in the Series. Ed. Kevin Wetmore. McFarland, 2018.

“Dexter and Breaking Bad: The Post-Feminist (Anti)Hero.” Screening Images of Masculinity in the Age of Postfeminism.  Ed. Elizabeth Abele and John A. Gronbeck-Tedesco. Lexington Books, 2015.

“Sexually Suspect”:  Masculine Anxiety in the Films of Neil LaBute.” Performing  American Masculinities: The 21st-Century Man in Popular Culture. Ed. Elwood Watson. Indiana University Press, 2011.

“Gendered Subjectivity and the Female Body: Discovering Agency and Power” in Feminist Collections: A Quarterly of Women’s Studies Resources. Summer-Fall 2007. 1-5.

“Understanding the Myth of the American Dream Through the Personal Narrative.” in American Dreams: Comparative Dialogues in U.S. Studies. Ed. Ricardo Miguez. Cambridge Scholars Press, 2007: 34-41.

“The Meaning of Selfhood in Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon” in The Fiction of Toni Morrison: Teaching and Writing on Race, Culture, and Identity. Ed. Jami Carlacio. Urbana: NCTE, 2007: 48-54.

With Tami Eggleston, “Addressing Contemporary Issues Through Collaborative Models.” Eastern Education Journal 35.1, (Spring 2006):35-41.

With Tami Eggleston, "Integrating Teaching, Research, and Service Learning for Holistic Collaborative, and Meaningful Learning" in the Council for Undergraduate Research (CUR) Quarterly June 2004.

With Tami Eggleston, "Eroding Boundaries in Faculty-Student Interaction: The Benefits and Challenges of Academic Email" in the summer issue of Lore: An E-Journal for Teachers of Writing.

“Letting the Body Speak: Coloring Whiteness in Caucasia .” Modern Language Studies. (Special Issue on The Critical Study of Whiteness in Literature). Ed. Patty Keefe Durso. 32.1 (Spring, 2002): 59-70.

With Tami Eggleston. “Traps, Pitfalls, and Obstacles: Challenges to Confronting Racism in Academia.” Race in the Classroom: Pedagogy and Politics. Edited by Bonnie Tu Smith and Maureen Reddy. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 2002. 200-09.

"Battleground of the Adolescent Body.” The Girl: Constructions of Girlhood in Contemporary Fiction by Women. Ed. Ruth Saxton. New York: St. Martin 's, 1998. 42-56.

Representative Recent Presentations

"Destigmatizing Abortion: The Power of Film and Television.” Popular Culture Association Conference,  Apr. 13-16,  2022. Virtual.

“Self-Sacrifice Verus Selfishness in Hulu’s Little Fires Everywhere.” Mid-Atlantic Popular Culture Association Conference, Nov 10-13, 2021. Virtual.

Behind Closed Doors: The Absence of Depictions of Abortion Providers in Film and Television” on panel Understanding Abortion Through Popular Culture. Northeast Popular Culture Association Conference, Oct. 21-23, 2021. Virtual.

“An Oxymoron? Sexual Agency for Smart Girls in Booksmart.”  Mid-Atlantic Culture Association Conference.  Nov. 7-9, 2019, Pittsburgh, PA.

Safe Has its Advantages”: Conservative Family Values in Homeland.” Upcoming Popular Culture Association Annual Convention. Washington, DC. April 2019.

“The Perils of Being Nice Girl: The Edge of Seventeen and  Eighth Grade.” Presenting at the Southwest Popular/American Culture Association (SWPACA) Conference, February 20-23, 2019,   Albuquerque, NM.

““To Love, To Live, to Fight For Each Other”: Post-Apocalyptic Heroines in The Walking Dead.” Popular Culture Association Conference. Indianapolis, IN  Mar. 20-Apr. 2, 2018.

““Reinscribing Normative Femininity: Flattening the Female Characters in Stranger Things.” .” Popular Culture Association Conference. San Diego, CA.   Mar. 20-Apr. 2, 2017.

“Blogging the Backlash: Homeland, The Americans, and Masters of Sex.”  Popular Culture Association National Convention. March 22-25, 2016. Seattle, WA.
“Straddling the Postfeminist Fence: Motherhood in The Killing and Nurse Jackie.”  Popular Culture Association National Convention.  Apr. 1-4, 2015. New Orleans,  LA.

Breaking Bad and White Male Paranoia.”  Popular Culture Association National Convention.”  Chicago, IL Apr. 16-19, 2014.

"Teetering on the Edge: Challenging Feminism in Homeland and Dexter.” Popular Culture Association National Convention, Washington DC,  March 27-30, 2013.

“Do We Really Want it All: Internal Struggles for Twenty-First Century Feminism” at the Herstory Month at SWIC in March, 2010.

“Third Wave Feminism and Whip It” to be presented at the National Popular Culture Annual Convention, St. Louis, MO, March 31st -Apr. 3rd, 2010.

“Bitches, Divas and Fashionistas: Feminist Lessons from the 2008 Presidential Election.” With Tami Eggleston at Southwestern Illinois College’s Herstory Celebration of Women’s History Month, March 4, 2009.

“Sexually Suspect: Feminized Male Bodies in Neil Labute Films” as part of the Post Feminist American Masculinity: Backlash and New Frontiers (Seminar) at the Northeast Modern Language Association Conference, Boston, MA, February 26-March 1, 2009.

Teaching Philosophy

All of my classes are discussion-based. I don’t want students to simply look to me for “answers” that will be on a test. Instead, I want students to take responsibility for their own learning, to be intellectually curious and to see that we can all learn from each other.


Recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award, 2010.

The United Methodist Exemplary Teaching Award, 2007-2008.

William Norman Grandy Faculty Award, 2003.

Illinois Campus Compact Grant, State Farm Faculty Fellows Program, 2003.

Recognition Award from the Illinois Campus Compact on April 5th 2004.

Ameritech Partnership Award, Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities/Associated Colleges of Illinois , 2000.

Committees, Memberships & Certifications

Chair, Intellectual Climate Committee

Budget, Salary and Fringe Benefits Committee

Environmental Awareness Committee

Retention Committee