Carol Colatrella

Professor & Co-Director, WST Center

Member Of:
  • School of Literature, Media, and Communication
Office Location:
Skiles 364


Dr. Carol Colatrella is professor of literature and cultural studies in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication and Co-Director of the Georgia Tech Center for the Study of Women, Science, and Technology, which is a unit reporting to the Vice President for Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Colatrella served as Ivan Allen College associate dean for graduate studies and faculty development from August 2012 to August 15, 2021. Previously, she was a member of the ADVANCE Team ( from 2001 through 2011. During 2005-2007 she served as Georgia Tech NSF ADVANCE Program Director and from 1995-97 as associate chair of the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture (now Literature, Media, and Communication). In 1995, with Georgia Tech colleagues, Colatrella founded the Center for the Study of Women, Science, and Technology (WST) and established the Ivan Allen College WST minor. In 2000, she developed the WST Learning Community, the first learning community at Georgia Tech, now located in Stein and Goldin ( Since 1993, she has served as Executive Director of the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts ( and as the editor of the SLSA newsletter Decodings; she is also a member of the Configurations journal advisory board (

Publications: Colatrella received her PhD in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University in 1987 under the direction of John O. McCormick. Her dissertation analyzed romans-fleuves, novels written in series; a revision was published as her first book, Evolution, Sacrifice, and Narrative: Balzac, Zola, and Faulkner, and was reprinted in 2017 by Routledge. Her articles in Nineteenth-Century French Studies and Comparative Literature and other journals analyze popular and scientific narrative representations of race, class, and gender. She has co-edited (with Joseph Alkana) and contributed to an anthology examining the influence of Sacvan Bercovitch's scholarship on American culture, Cohesion and Dissent in America (SUNY Press, 1993). Her book Literature and Moral Reform: Melville and the Discipline of Reading provides an historically informed study of moral rehabilitation and reform in the nineteenth-century United States as well as an analysis of Melville's narrative strategies; it was published in 2002 by the University Press of Florida. In 2011 Ohio State University Press published her book about popular culture representations of women developing and engaging with science and technology, Toys and Tools in Pink: Cultural Narratives of Gender, Science, and Technology. Colatrella edited and contributed to the anthology Technology and Humanity (Salem Press, 2012). Her recent scholarship includes essays on Charles Darwin and feminism in After Darwin (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming) and on contemporary novels about women scientists in Under the Microscope (Penn State University Press, 2021).

Awards: In spring 2021, Colatrella and Kera Allen, HSTS Ph.D. candidate, were awarded a DILAC grant to develop a teaching module on the history of gender and race in computing; readings and digital assignments were piloted in fall 2021 in Colatrella's LMC 3304: Science, Technology, and Gender course. In 2000 and in 2005-06, Colatrella held Fulbright fellowships based in Denmark. Her other fellowships include a Georgia Tech European Union Center Grant, 2010-11, and a residency at Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Berlin, June 2008. She received the  Geoffrey G. Eicholz Faculty Teaching Award, Georgia Tech, 2007-10. In spring 2013, Colatrella, Dr. Mary Lynn Realff (MSE), and a number of students and Inman Middle School teachers received a CETL Educational Partnership award for their work on GEMS (Girls Excelling in Math and Science) club, which offers weekly, hands-on activities for students interested in STEM. In spring 2019, Gift to Tech, an initiative of the Student Alumni Associate, awarded $32,000 to WST and the Cultural Diversity Affairs Committee (CDAC) of the Georgia Tech Student Government Association for the Menstrual Products Program proposed by Colatrella and CDAC leaders. The funds supported a pilot program distributing free menstrual products in campus restrooms.

Areas of
  • American Literature
  • Comparative Literature
  • Gender, Science, And Technology
  • Inequality
  • Narrative Theory


Research Fields:
  • Literary and Cultural Studies
  • Media Studies
  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Europe - United Kingdom
  • Latin America and Caribbean
  • North America
  • Gender
  • Health
  • Inequality and Social Justice
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Science and Technology
  • World Literature


  • ENGL-1102: English Composition II
  • LCC-2200: Intro to Gender Studies
  • LCC-2813: Special Topics in STAC
  • LCC-3202: Studies in Fiction
  • LCC-3226: Major Authors
  • LCC-3252: Film and Television
  • LCC-3304: Science, Tech, & Gender
  • LCC-3318: Biomedicine & Culture
  • LCC-3510: American Culture II
  • LCC-3823: Special Topics Lit/Cult
  • LCC-3833: Special Topics in STAC
  • LCC-4102: Senior Thesis
  • LMC-2200: Intro to Gender Studies
  • LMC-3112: Evolution&Industrial Age
  • LMC-3304: Science, Tech & Gender
  • LMC-3318: Biomedicine & Culture
  • LMC-3833: Special Topics in STAC
  • LMC-3843: Spec Topic-Communication
  • LMC-4000: Senior Seminar in LMC
  • LMC-4102: Senior Thesis

All Publications


  • Critical Insights: Technology and Humanity
    Date: October 2012

    Colatrella contributed to and edited this collection, which introduces students and general readers to literature and films about technology. Human engagement with technology has a deep history, as social progress and creative expression have long been connected with the development, deployment, and representation of what we recognize as technological products and processes. We all know what we think of as "technology" today, and yet each stage of human development has had its own - even ancient cave paintings depict the artistic, scientific, and technological interests of our ancestors. Technology can be as basic and essential as fire, or a common kitchen tool, or can become, at least in our imaginations, so sophisticated and pervasive as to take on the feel of a nightmare. Literature - in its printed and now digital forms, itself a shining example of the success of technology in reaching around the world - reflects the draw, and the dangers, of technology for us in myriad ways.

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  • Toys and Tools in Pink: Cultural Narratives of Gender, Science, and Technology
    Date: February 2011

    Colatrella considers how gender inflects literary and media representations.Toys and Tools in Pink analyzes female character types that recur in fictional narratives in print, on television, and in the cinema: female criminals and detectives, mothers who practice medicine, and "babe scientists" among others. It also investigates how narrative settings and plots both subsume and influence cultural stereotypes of gender in prescribing salient professional and personal codes of conduct in STEM fields.

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  • Literature and Moral Reform: Melville and the Discipline of Reading
    Date: December 2002

    From Amazon's site:

    By delineating the connections between nineteenth-century penitentiary reforms and the narrative structures and strategies of Herman Melville's fictions, this book explores the ways literature reflects and refracts ideas about the influence of reading on moral rehabilitation. The author shows that Melville, who engaged often and profoundly with reform issues, reacted against the reading-as-discipline approach recommended by penal reformers.

    Carol Colatrella's approach is highly original not only in its historicizing of Melville's treatment of penitentiaries, reform, and rehabilitation of moral character but in its consideration of reading in relation to reform. Her book is the first to explore the ideological, literary, and rhetorical relationships of fictional narrative, authors, law, and social institutions to disciplinary literacy and to theories of readership.

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  • Cohesion and Dissent in America. Eds. Carol Colatrella and Joseph Alkana.
  • Evolution, Sacrifice, and Narrative: Balzac, Zola, and Faulkner.