Professor Owen specializes in children's and young adult literature, childhood studies, queer theory, and transgender studies. Her work has appeared in journals such as Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, Queer Studies in Media and Popular Culture, and Transgender Studies Quarterly. Her first book, A Queer History of Adolescence: Developmental Pasts, Relational Futures (University of Georgia Press, 2020), brings together questions of queer theory and categories of age, tracking shifts in social conceptions of adolescence from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in order to reconceive notions of identity and ethical relationality in the present.
As a teacher of literary and cultural studies, my primary aim is to engage students as thinkers and scholars. The questions that come to the surface in the teaching of culture and text are in abundance, questions about interpretation, questions about the limits of language and representation, and questions about the relationship between language and reality. Rather than resolve or ignore these uncertainties, I aim to bring them to the surface, providing students with the space to engage intellectually with the problems of language. In a sense, every class I teach launches an inquiry into how meaning is made, how language and context construct meaning, and how shared meanings circulate in texts over time. While we cannot resolve the uncertainties of language, we can attend to the stakes and consequences of using language in ways that make us better writers, readers, and thinkers both inside and outside the university.