Christine L Marran

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Asian & Middle Eastern Studies
220 Folwell Hall
9 Pleasant St SE

Christine Marran is Professor of Japanese Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Minnesota and Chair of the Department of Asian Languages and Literatures. Her current research lies within the disciplinary frame of ecocriticism. Her most recent book, Ecology Without Culture (University of Minnesota Press, 2017) argues that environmental thinking requires a critique of culture. Introducing her concepts of the “biotrope,” "ethnic environmentalism," and “obligatory storytelling,” Marran shows how cultural ideas, which work at a humanistic scale usually toward human interest, can impede our ability to speak about the more-than-human world. Through discussion of texts about industrial modernity, her new materialist approach illustrates how ecocriticism can account for things smaller and greater than a selective humanist “we” only if it takes a critical position on cultural exceptionalism. Marran’s previous book, Poison Woman: Figuring the Transgressive Woman, investigates the powerful icon of the transgressive woman, its shifting meanings, and its influence on defining women’s sexuality and place from its inception in the 1870s. Gender continues to be an important element in her work for understanding the ways in which toxins and other material aspects of industrial culture impact bodies differently. She has also written numerous articles on environmental issues in literary and visual culture.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph. D.: Modern Japanese Literature, University of Washington.


  • Ecocriticism
  • Gender and sexuality in print and film culture
  • Japanese and Asian film
  • Modern Japanese literature
Courses Taught
  • ALL 1001 - Asian Film & Animation
  • ALL 3465 Environment and technology in Japan
  • ALL 5177 - Women's Writing in Japan
  • ALL 5466 - Japanese Popular Culture in a Global Context
  • ALL 5920 Cinematic Ecologies
Research & Professional Activities


  • Is Film Theory Humanist?: Fall 2015 - Fall 2017
  • The Animal Gaze in Cinema: Spring 2014 - Spring 2016
  • Tracing the Grain: Creative non-fiction project , Spring 2016 - Spring 2018
  • First Person Animal: On how literary expression speaks for animal experience, Fall 2017 - Fall 2018
  • Marran, Christine L. ""An Animal Stranger in a Tokyo Canal"." Japan at Nature’s Edge: The Environmental Context of a Global Power (2013):
  • Marran, Christine L. "“Visibility and Invisibility in Photography of 3.11"." Environmental History April (2012):
  • Marran, Christine L. "“The Nature of Contamination: From Minamata to Fukushima“." Asia-Pacific Journal May (2011):
  • Marran, Christine L. "“The Metamorphic and Microscopic in Tezuka Osamu’s Graphic Novels“." Mechademia 8 (forthcoming):
  • "Beyond Domesticating Animal Love": Marran, Christine, University of Minnesota Press, Mechademia 6: User Enhanced, 2011.
  • Marran, Christine L. Poison Woman: Figuring Female Transgression in Modern Japanese Culture. University of Minnesota Press, 2007.
  • Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, UM, September 2011 - January 2012
  • Fellow at Cornell University Society for the Humanities, Fall 2008 - Spring 2009
  • Institute for Advanced Study Fellow, University of Minnesota, Fall 2006
  • William Sauter LaPorte '28 Princeton University Preceptor, 2002 - 2005
  • Kansai University Faculty Fellow, 2003
  • Social Science Research Council Advanced Research Grant, 2002
  • Travel Grant, University Committee on Research in the Humanities, Princeton, 2002