Elizabeth Engelhardt, John Shelton Reed Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of American Studies
Elizabeth Engelhardt came to the Department of American Studies in 2015 from the University of Texas at Austin as the John Shelton Reed Distinguished Professor of Southern Studies. The Reed professorship includes a dedicated annual research fund that enables Engelhardt to pursue ongoing research in her focus areas, including the interplay of food, race, gender, sports, ecology and culture in the South.
She has also partnered with graduate students and collaborated with other campus entities on a number of research projects. For instance, in spring 2017, she collaborated with the Center for Study of the American South to guest edit its quarterly magazine, Southern Cultures. To extend the experience to the public, she curated an evening of celebration to launch the issue, with Silas House and Sam Gleaves playing Appalachian music and Sherry Kassell preparing regional cuisine.
Engelhardt also works with editorial teams that include both undergraduate and graduate students to advance her scholarly research. She is currently engaged in a significant project examining the lost stories of Southern boarding houses. Two of her graduate students are helping to map archival data and ephemera from these places, looking at networks of food ways that are not presently reflected in contemporary records. Often these research projects reverberate well beyond the classroom; Elizabeth’s course, “Republic of Barbecue,” moved from the classroom into an online archive that inspired the founding of a multi-state organization and the publishing of an eponymous book.
“I am always looking for ways to extend research opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students,” Englehardt said. “I want students in my classes to claim their own role as knowledge producers and as synthetic thinkers.”