Kathleen Heininge

Kathleen Heininge, PhD

Associate Professor of English




Kathy has taught a wide variety of courses for the English department, including British literature courses, world literature (western and non-western), Irish literature, women’s studies, poetry, drama, composition, introductory literature courses and senior capstone.

Published Work


Kathy's book: Buffoonery in Irish Drama: Staging Twentieth-Century Post-Colonial Stereotypes was published in 2009. Buffoonery examines a wide range of Irish plays, paying special attention to how playwrights sought to create Irish characters who were not merely comic but embodied a truer and fuller Irish identity. Within the structure of British colonialism, however, these characters were often still seen as buffoons, calling for further works to reclaim Irish identity again. Using post-colonial, comic, and performative theories, Kathy shows her readers this progression of Irish drama through the 20th century into the 21st.

Her second book is Reflections: Virginia Woolf and her Quaker Aunt, Caroline Stephen, published in 2016. Here, she examines the congruencies between the lives and work of Woolf and her paternal aunt, Caroline Stephen, a famous Quaker mystic, to suggest that Woolf has adopted much Quaker philosophy and is far more mystical herself than atheist, as so many have long believed. 

She has published many other articles and book reviews, studying topics as wide-ranging as Stephen King, Frank McGuinness, Eavan Boland, James Joyce, queer theory in Irish drama, the Irish renaissance, and more. 


Kathy earned her PhD in English with a secondary emphasis in critical theory from the University of California, Davis, in 2002. Her dissertation was ""The Broth of a Boy': Manifestations of the Stage Irish Figure." Her master's degree is in English from California State University, Hayward, with a thesis on W.B. Yeats and Henrick Ibsen. 

Personal Interests

Kathy has been a church musician for much of her life, singing and playing the piano or the guitar. She loves cooking, reading, gardening and playing with her dog, Roscoe, a border collie/Australian shepherd mix who lives to fetch the ball. She is married to Ken, and has two adult children, Amanda and Aaron, and one granddaughter, Sophia.