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Hello, Hej, こんにちは

I'm Inger Sigrun Bredkjær Brodey. Welcome to my desk.

As my desk may indicate, I'm a scholar, teacher, author, and public humanist. My interests tend to be international and comparative, as I was born in Japan, immigrated with my parents and brothers from Denmark, studied in Germany and Japan, and live in the United States. I'm also a mother of four creative kids and a lover of assorted crafts. Read a fun story about my family here.

I teach at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, as an Associate Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature. I also serve as Adjunct Associate Professor in Global Studies, and Affiliate Faculty in Asian Studies. I recently completed a new book on Jane Austen's endings, called Jane Austen and the Price of Happiness (forthcoming in 2024 with Johns Hopkins UP). 

I am also the Principle Investigator in an NEH grant to build "Jane Austen's Desk." The project will imaginatively recreate Austen's environment during her most productive years, including information about what she was reading, where her family was traveling, and what was going on in the world around her. I will share more about that as soon as we finish the prototype! 

This year, I've been named Jane Austen Society of North America's Traveling Lecturer and am also presenting at the JASNA AGM. I will be in Denver, CO; Boston, MA; Rochester, NY; Greenville, SC; New Orleans, LA; and Santa Fe NM between December 2023 and May 2024. I will also be a fellow at the UNC Institute for Arts and Humanities, enabling me to work on my new book on Austen's Asian Afterlives.

On the side, I also run three Jane Austen-related non-profit organizations. Come to one of our events and meet me there (or leave a virtual sticky note on my desk).

  • background & education
    I was born in Kyoto, Japan, and spent several years in Denmark before immigrating with my parents and brothers to the U.S. I studied at Colorado College, the Albert-Ludwigs Universität in Freiburg, and Waseda University in Tokyo, before receiving my Ph.D. from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. With my background in comparative literature and political philosophy, I'm a committed comparatist – both in terms of the cross-cultural comparison of literatures and in interdisciplinary approaches to the study of literature. My primary interest is in the history of the novel in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Europe and Meiji Japan. I love languages and work in German, Japanese, French, and Italian, as well as English and my native Danish. FULL EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND >
  • awards
    RECENT TEACHING AWARDS UNC-CH Johnston Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (Spring 2019) North Carolina Humanities Council Harlan Joel Gradin Award for Excellence in the Public Humanities (for work of Jane Austen Summer Program training NC teachers) (Fall 2018) UNC-CH Honors Program's Bank of America Distinguished Term Professorship (2012-2017) Graduate Mentor Award for UNC Department of English and Comparative Literature (Fall 2016) UNC-CH Chapman Family Award for Excellence in Teaching (Fall 2011) UNC-CH Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (Spring 2006) SELECT OTHER AWARDS IAH Townsend Fellow (Spring 2024) National Traveling Lecturer appointed by the Jane Austen North America (2023-2024) William C. Friday Arts and Humanities Research Award (Spring 2021) BRIDGES Women’s Academic Leadership Training Group XXVII (2019-2020) Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters awarded at Opening Convocation for Colorado College (August 2015) Named one of the top 100 notable professors at research universities nationwide by Online PhD program: Recipient of Wells Fund for Faculty Excellence in UNC College of Arts and Sciences (2010) Southern Modern Language Association Studies Award for the best scholarly book of 2008-2009 VERY OLD STUFF Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities at University of Chicago (1988-1993) DAAD Fellowship for study in Germany (1987-88). Alpha Lambda Delta Book Award for the highest G.P.A. (Colorado College, 1987). United States Presidential Scholar: One of 100 graduating high school seniors in the United States named U. S. Presidential Scholars each year on the basis of S.A.T. scores, G.P.A., and leadership. Honored at White House and Senate ceremonies (July, 1983).
  • teaching
    I teach courses in English and Comparative Literature, Asian Studies, Global Studies, and the Honors Program, including: Global Jane Austen Literary Landscapes Approaches to Comparative Literature Cross-Currents in East-West Literature Cowboys, Samurai, Rebels in Film and Fiction Almost Despicable Heroines The Feast in Film, Philosophy, and Fiction Asian Food Rituals Narrative Silence For more information about my classes, see TEACHING >
  • research & publications
    Jane Austen and the Price of Happiness (Johns Hopkins, 2024) is the first book to focus on the art of Austen's endings. General readers and scholars alike have long noticed that there is something odd about the way Austen rushes her endings, and this book is the first to explain how Austen's relationship with the marriage plot and happy endings shapes her endings. The book also explores how these endings have been interpreted in film and fiction. Ruined by Design: Shaping Novels and Gardens in the Culture of Sensibility (Routledge, 2008; paperback 2012) draws on fictional narratives, landscape architecture, discussions of ‘natural’ language, guides to rhetoric, philosophical writings, and other aspects of the culture of sensibility in England, France, and Germany, to offer a new synthesis of its literary and material culture. Ruined by Design reveals a widespread discomfort with authorship and authority in general, which led to innovative new structures in the fledging novel, as well as in landscape gardens and their architecture. Ruined by Design won the 2009 SAMLA Studies Book Award. I also co-translated Rediscovering Natsume Sôseki (Global Press, 2000) from Japanese with Sammy Tsunematsu. Rediscovering Natsume Sôseki includes the first English translation of Sôseki’s Mankan Tokoro Dokoro (Travels through Manchuria and Korea). I'm working on three book-length manuscripts: Cowboys and Samurai: Authority, Nation-Making, and Individualism, a separate project on the cultural currency of Jane Austen in Asia, and an illustrated A-Z Guide to Austen. MORE RESEARCH & PUBLICATIONS >
  • service
    WITHIN THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA: Inaugural Faculty of the School of Civic Life and Leadership Director of the Office of Distinguished Scholarships Faculty representative to the Library committee Chair of the UNC Committee on Scholarships and Student Aid Director of the Comparative Literature Program Faculty advisor for CLOUD Co-founder of the Global Cinema Minor Co-founder of the Food Cultures Cluster BEYOND UNC Co-creator of Jane Austen's Desk educational portal ( Co-founder and Director of the Jane Austen Summer Program Co-founder and Co-Director of Jane Austen & Co. Co-founder and co-Director of JASP+ EDITORIAL BOARDS & BOARD OF DIRECTORS: North American Friends of Chawton House Board (2017-2023) UNC Press Board of Governors (2012-2019). Persuasions: Journal of the Jane Austen Society of North America (1996-present). Book Review Editor, JASNA News. Jane Austen Society of North America Board of Directors (1996-1999). EXTERNAL REVIEWER: Johns Hopkins University Press Bloomsbury Academic Routledge Palgrave McMillan AAUW Grants and Fellowships (2013-2015, 2019-2020) NEH Language and Literature Grants (2005) NEH Enduring Questions Grants (2009 & 2011) Neo-Victorian Studies Hecate Journal Philological Quarterly Persuasions Persuasions on-Line



My new book Jane Austen and the Price of Happiness is forthcoming in June 2024!
Learn more >

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Race and Regency.webp

I've cohosted dozens of free Zoom webinars with Jane Austen & Co.: Asia and the Regency, Race & the Regency, and  Staying Home with Jane Austen >


Congrats to my student Talitha Moniz Macmillon on her award as a young filmmaker! Talitha made the film for my Jane Austen class. Watch her film here.

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