Hello, Hej, こんにちは

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

I was born in Japan, immigrated with my parents and brothers from Denmark, and live in the United States. As my desk may indicate, I'm a scholar, teacher, author, and public humanist with a penchant for the visual display of information. I'm also a mother of four creative kids and a lover of assorted crafts.

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, Affiliate Faculty in Asian Studies, and Director of the Office of Distinguished Scholarships.

On the side, I also run a couple of 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).



  • Director of the Comparative Literature Program
  • Faculty advisor for CLOUD
  • Co-founder of the Global Cinema Minor
  • Co-founder of the Food Cultures Cluster
  • 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+

  • North American Friends of Chawton House Board (2017-Present)
  • 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).

  • 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


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 >

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.




  • 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)
  • 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
  • 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).

research & publications

My book 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 a book-length manuscript entitled Cowboys and Samurai: Authority, Nation-Making, and Individualism, as well as a separate project on the cultural currency of Jane Austen in Asia and a Rowman Littlefield volume on Jane Austen for their Major World Figures series. MORE RESEARCH & PUBLICATIONS >




Just learned I am a recipient of an NEH Digital Projects for the Public grant for summer 2020.

Through the pandemic, Jane Austen & Co. presented a free popular Zoom webinar series: Staying Home with Jane Austen >

Try out our new Fellowship & Scholarship Finder for the Office of Distinguished Scholarships Visit site >