Gwen Athene Tarbox

Photo of Gwen Athene Tarbox
Gwen Athene Tarbox
Professor of English
(269) 387-2589
(269) 387-2562
626 Sprau Tower, Mail Stop 5331
Mailing address: 
Department of English
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5331 USA
  • Ph.D., American Literature, Purdue University, 1997
  • M.A., American Literature, Purdue University, 1992
  • M.A., Modern Literature, University of London, 1985
  • B.A., English and Political Science, University of Michigan, 1983
Teaching interests: 
  • Comics and graphic narratives
  • Children's and adolescent literature
  • American literature
  • British literature
Research interests: 
  • Portrayal of adolescence in Beligian, French and North American Comics
  • Girls' studies in culture

Dr. Gwen Tarbox is a professor of English at Western Michigan University.

As a department administrator, Tarbox served as graduate director and chair of the department’s Strategic Planning and Assessment Committee, as well as the Curricular Review Committee.

Her scholarly interests combine cultural history, visual theory and children's literature. She drew on those fields to write her dissertation, The Clubwomen's Daughters: Collectivist Impulses in Progressive-era Girls' Fiction," which uncovered the way that the first college-educated, politically-active U.S. women modeled their lives and their interests in series books written for girls—books such as The Nancy Drew Mystery Stories. In 2000, The Clubwomen’s Daughters was published by Routledge and in 2001 was designated as a Choice/American Library Association Outstanding Academic Title. Since that time, she has published on 19th and 20th century children’s literature, and on the Harry Potter phenomenon.

Studying Children's Literature at WMU