Mary Zaborskis, Ph.D.

Mary Zaborskis, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of American Studies and Gender Studies, School of Humanities
Olmsted Building, W356G
777 W Harrisburg Pike
W356 Olmsted Building
Middletown, PA 17057 US

Mary Zaborskis is an Assistant Professor of American Studies and Gender Studies at Penn State Harrisburg. She received her PhD in English with a certificate in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the community at Penn State Harrisburg, she was a Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities Center at the University of Pittsburgh. Mary works at the intersections of queer, critical race, and childhood studies in twentieth-century and contemporary American literature and culture. Her book, Queer Childhoods: Institutional Futures of Indigeneity, Race, and Disability (New York University Press, 2024) explores how children’s genders and sexualities were managed in late-nineteenth and twentieth-century boarding schools for marginalized populations. She was the recipient of Penn State's Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity 2022 Academic Achievement Award and Harrisburg's 2023 Faculty Diversity Award.

Mary’s work has appeared in GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, WSQ, Journal of Homosexuality, and Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. Her work on Native American boarding schools, published in the special "Child Now" issue of GLQ, received the Crompton-Noll Prize for Best Article in LGBTQ Studies at the 2019 Modern Language Association convention. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Childhood and Youth Studies Caucus of the American Studies Association and is chair of the National Women’s Studies Association’s Feminist Pedagogy Interest Group. Mary is a series editor at Public Books, where she edits the “Shoptalk” and “Quizzical” features. She also serves on the Steering Committee of the LGBT Center of Central PA's History Project. Her teaching interests include queer theory, gender and sexuality studies, disability studies, Native American studies, ethnic U.S. literature, media studies, and popular culture.

  • Queer Theory
  • Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Critical Race Studies
  • Childhood Studies
  • Disability Studies
  • Native American Literature and Studies
  • African American Literature and Studies
  • Twentieth-Century and Contemporary American Literature and Culture
  • Popular Culture
  • Media Studies

Queer Childhoods: Institutional Futures of Indigeneity, Race, and Disability. New York University Press (“Sexual Cultures” series), 2024.

“A Queer Dig: Kanaka Maoli Gendered and Temporal (Archaeo)logics in Kumu Hina,” co-written with Elizabeth Reich, Feminist Formations, vol. 34, no. 2, Aug 2022, pp. 19-42.

“Queer Childhoods and RuPaul’s Drag Race” in Post45 Contemporaries cluster “Feel Your Fantasy,” eds. Tyler Tennant and Monica Huerta, December 20, 2022.

“Exploiting Shared Queer Knowledge” in Queer Sharing in the Marketized University, edited by Churnjeet Mahn, Matt Brim, and Yvette Taylor, Routledge Advances in Critical Diversity Series, pp. 81-95, November 2022.

“Unsettled Colonialisms” in American Literature in Transition, 1876-1910 Volume IV, edited by Lindsay Reckson, Cambridge University Press, pp. 38-58, August 2022.

Script reviewer and contributor to Out on Campus: A History of LGBTQ+ Activism at Pennsylvania Colleges and Universities, a digital and traveling exhibit of the LGBT Center of Central Pennsylvania’s History Project, Fall 2022.

“Queer Stabilization of Gender and Queer Regulation of Sexuality in I Am Jazz.” Jump Cut: Review of Contemporary Media (special “Queer TV” issue), no. 60, Spring 2021.

“Queering Black Girlhood in the Virginia Industrial School.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, vol. 45, no. 2, Winter 2020, pp. 373-394.

“Eve Sedgwick’s Queer Children.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, vol. 25, no. 1, Winter 2019, pp. 29-32.

“Sexual Orphanings.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, vol. 22, no. 4, Fall 2016, pp. 605-628.

“Inventing the Pedophile in the Journal of Homosexuality.” Journal of Homosexuality, vol. 63, no. 3, 2016, pp. 456-460.

“Age Drag.” WSQ, vol. 43, no. 1, Spring/Summer 2015, pp. 115-129.

M.A.; Ph.D. (University of Pennsylvania
A.B. (Bryn Mawr College)