Sophia A. McClennen

Professor Sophia McClennen
Professor of International Affairs and Comparative Literature
(814) 865-2333
244 Katz Building

Ph.D., Duke University 
M.A., Duke University
A.B., Harvard University, cum laude

Curriculum Vitae
Personal web page

Dr. McClennen is professor of international affairs and comparative literature and the founding director of Penn State's Center for Global Studies, a Title VI FLAS Center, and has ties to the departments of Spanish and Women's Studies. She has published twelve books and has two in process. Her most recent monograph is Pranksters vs. Autocrats: Why Dilemma Actions Advance Nonviolent Activism (Cornell UP 2020), co-authored with Srdja Popovic. She also recently released Globalization and Latin American Cinema: Toward a New Critical Paradigm (Palgrave 2018) and The Debt Age (Routledge 2018), co-edited with Jeffrey Di Leo and Peter Hitchcock. Other recent books include The Routledge Companion to Human Rights and Literature (2015), co-edited with Alexandra Schultheis Moore, which includes over 50 contributions to the topic. She also recently published, Is Satire Saving our Nation? Mockery and American Politics (Palgrave 2014), co-authored with Penn State communications undergraduate Remy Maisel, and Neoliberalism, Terrorism, Education (Paradigm 2013), which she co-wrote with Jeffrey Di Leo, Henry Giroux, and Kenneth Saltman. Her latest manuscript is entitled The Comedians Aren't Kidding: Why Satire Makes Sense When Politics Doesn’t, which analyzes the role that political satire has played in the Trump era.  She is also working on a book in the global impact of political satire: The Revolution Will Be Satirized.

In addition to her books she has edited eight special issues of journals and published over 70 scholarly essays on a range of topics all of which coalesce around the question of how culture, politics, and society intersect. Her work often analyzes the links between political events and their media representations, which has led her to critique the relationship between mainstream culture, politics, bias, and social injustice. She also publishes on cultural responses to social conflict such as those associated with war, imperialism, immigration, dictatorship, patriarchy, and globalization.  Other central research areas include work on political satire, social media, and the millennial generation.

She has conducted research on education and international area studies, with particular attention to how multidisciplinary approaches enhance understanding of global issues.  She is particularly interested in the way that the media can influence ideas of civic agency and national ideals and she is one of the nation’s leading experts on the connections between satire, democracy, and the public sphere. She regularly lectures on cultural identity, ethics, and cross-cultural communication and she is working on a method for minimizing the role of cultural bias in conflict. She teaches courses in cultures of globalization, cross-cultural conflict resolution, human rights culture, global media, political journalism, the cultures of displaced peoples, cultural trade policy, and theories of globalization.

In 2006 she was the Fulbright Research Chair in Globalization and Cultural Studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and she also held a Fulbright faculty award in Peru in 2002. She has taught in Chile, Canada, Germany, Kazakhstan, and Peru, and has conducted research in those countries as well as in Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Spain, Guatemala, Uruguay, and Costa Rica.

She serves on the editorial boards of fourteen journals and regularly peer reviews for journals and government agencies in the United States and abroad.  She is also on the editorial review board for a Palgrave series: Studies in Globalization, Cultural and Society (series editors Jeroen de Kloet, Director of the Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies and Esther Peeren, Vice-Director, Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis). Her fellow board members include Peter Hitchcock, Arjun Appadurai, Rey Chow, Ien Ang, Ginette Verstraete, Patrice Petro, Kuan-Hsing Chen and Peter van der Veer.

She has received grant funding totaling over $4.5 million from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Social Science Research Council, Fulbright, the Department of Education, the Tinker Foundation, the World University Network, and other funding agencies. She has served on the boards of the American Comparative Literature Association and the International American Studies Association and on an executive committee of the Modern Language Association dedicated to academic freedom and professional rights and responsibilities.

She writes regularly for Salon and has published in Huffington Post, Daily Beast, Truthout, Counterpunch, and other sites as wellShe has been interviewed by Neil de Grasse Tyson, CNN, BBC TV, Wall Street Journal TV, HuffPost Live, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Politico, Variety, The Hill, NPR-Miami, and CBC Canada among others. Her website is: Find her on Twitter @mcclennen65.


With Remy Maisel. Is Satire Saving Our Nation? Mockery and American Politics. New York: Palgrave 2013. Under contract.
With Jeffrey Di Leo, Henry Giroux, and Kenneth Saltman. Neoliberalism, Education, Terrorism: Contemporary Dialogues.Paradigm. Boulder, CO: 2013. 
America According to Colbert: Satire as Public Pedagogy. New York: Palgrave, 2011. 
In paper as:  Colbert's America: Satire and Democracy New York: Palgrave, 2012.
Ariel Dorfman: An Aesthetics of Hope. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2010.
The Dialectics of Exile: Nation, Time, Language, and Space in Hispanic Literatures. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue UP, 2004.


With Alexandra Schulteis Moore. The Routledge Companion to Human Rights and Literature. New York: Routledge. (forthcoming)
With Brantley Nicholson, eds. The Generation of '72: Latin America's Forced Global Citizens. Editorial A contracorriente.Raleigh, NC, 2013.
With Henry James Morello, eds. Representing Humanity in an Age of Terror. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue UP, 2010.
With Earl E. Fitz, eds. Comparative Cultural Studies and Latin America. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue UP, 2004.

Edited Journal Issues

“Remediation.” Special ACLA forum for Comparative Literature (Winter 2014).
With Jeffrey Di Leo, eds. “Violence.” Special issue of symploke. 20.1-2. (Fall 2012).
With Brantley Nicholson, eds. The Generation of '72. Special issue of A contracorriente. 10.1 (Fall 2012.)
With Joseph R. Slaughter, eds. “Human Rights and Literary Forms.” Thematic Issue of Comparative Literature Studies46.1 (2009). Includes an introduction by the co-editors.
With Ron Strickland, eds. (Dis)Locations of Culture: Chilean Culture after Pinochet. Special issue of Mediations 22 (Spring 1999). Includes an article by Sophia A. McClennen as noted below.

Selected Esays

 “Where is Latin American Culture? From the Location of Culture to the Ethics of Culture.” Alter/nativas 1.1 (spring 2013): ttp://
(With Brantley Nicholson). “The Generation of '72: Latin America's Forced Global Citizens.” A contracorriente 10.1 (Fall 2012): 1-17.
The Humanities, Human Rights, and the Comparative Imagination.” Representing Humanity in an Age of Terror. Eds. Sophia A. McClennen and Henry James Morello. Thematic issue of CLC Web: Comparative Literature and Culture 9.1 (2008).