Professor of History
Catherine A. Stewart is Professor of History at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, where she teaches courses in late nineteenth and twentieth-century U.S. social and cultural history, such as the Documentary Imagination during the Great Depression, Public Memory and Public History, Work and Leisure in Modern America, Reel History: The Cold War and American Film, and African American Autobiography and Film. Her research interests include the New Deal, African American writers, public memory, and the politics of textual and visual representation. She received her Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1999. She has presented her work at the annual meetings of the Organization of American Historians, the Northeast Modern Languages Association, the American Association for the History of Medicine, and the University of Houston’s Black History Workshop. Her work on African Americans’ blues narratives, psychoanalysis, and the Lafargue Clinic appeared in American Quarterly. Her first book, Long Past Slavery: Representing Race in the Federal Writers’ Project (University of North Carolina Press, 2016) was selected as an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice magazine. It examines how 1930s debates over race and the legacy of slavery shaped representations of African American identity in the ex-slave narratives collected under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration. She is currently a fellow-in-residence at the Obermann Center for Advanced Study at the University of Iowa where she is working on her next book on African American women and household labor during the Great Depression, for which she was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.
Link to Curriculum Vitae
- Ph.D. in History, State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1999. Dissertation Advisors: William R. Taylor, Matthew Jacobson, Nancy Tomes, and Lawrence W. Levine.
- M.A. in History, State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1992.
- B.A. in History, Lawrence University, Magna cum laude, 1989.
- Introduction to Ethnic Studies (EST 123)
- The Making of Modern America (HIS 154)
- Public Memory and Public History (HIS 240)
- American Lives: African American Autobiography (HIS 255)
- Reel History: African Americans and Film (HIS 257)
- Reel History: The Cold War and American Film (HIS 257)
- Slavery and the Environment in a Comparative Context in the Bahamas (HIS/ENV 260)
- U.S. Social History since 1940 (HIS 354)
- African Americans in U.S. History (HIS 356)
- Work and Leisure in Modern America (HIS 358)
- The Documentary Imagination during the Great Depression (HIS 364)
- Newberry Library Seminar, Chicago: The Transformation of America’s Second City, 1880-1940, in Chicago (HIS 369)
- National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowship ($50,400), 2017.
- Richard and Norma Small Distinguished Professor, Cornell College, 2015-17.
- Campbell McConnell Research Grant, Cornell College, 2013-14.
- Sabbatical Grant, Cornell College, 2012-13.
- Dimensions’ Center for the Science and Culture of Healthcare Research Grant, Cornell, 2009.
- Environmental Studies Travel Grant for Course Development, Cornell Mellon Workshop, Gerace Research Centre, San Salvador, Bahamas, July 2009.
- “Black Lives in White Households: Race, Gender, and Domestic Work in the South during the Great Depression,” Organization of American Historians, Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, April 4-6, 2019.
- Session Organizer, “Laboring for Freedom: African American Women Workers in Public Places and Domestic Spaces,” Organization of American Historians, Annual Meeting “The Work of Freedom,” Philadelphia, April 4-6, 2019.
- Invited Speaker, National Endowment for the Humanities: Humanities Initiatives at Community Colleges Faculty Development Workshop, “Collective Memory of Historical Traumas and the Transformative Power of the Humanities: Slavery and Public Memory,” Everett Community College, Everett, WA, October 11, 2018.
- Keynote Speaker, Research and Creativity Symposium, Simpson College, Indianola, IA, April 20, 2017.
- Book Talk, Long Past Slavery, Newberry Library, Chicago, IL, March 15, 2017.
- Book Talk, Long Past Slavery, Florida Southern College, Lakeland, FL, Jan. 26, 2017.
- Book Talk, Long Past Slavery, Iowa City Book Festival, Iowa City, IA, Oct. 8, 2016.
- Panel Chair, “Erasures,” Global Perspectives on Gender and the History of Slavery, Obermann Humanities Symposium, University of Iowa, October 13-15, 2010.
- “‘Crazy for This Democracy’: Psychoanalytic Theory and African American Autopathography,” American Association for the History of Medicine (AAHM), Cleveland, OH, April 2009.
- Keynote Speaker, National Endowment for the Humanities’ Big Read Iowa, “Feast, Flood, and Famine: Zora Neale Hurston’s Search for African American Folk Culture,” Public Libraries of Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines, Fort Dodge, Keokuk, Mount Pleasant, and Waterloo, IA, and African American Museum of Iowa, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, January and February, 2009.
- “‘Crazy for This Democracy’: Psychoanalytic Theory and African American Autopathography,” Northeast Modern Language Association (NEMLA), Boston, MA, February 2009.
Author Blog, Looking Backward: On Memory and the Challenges of Oral History University of North Carolina Press, posted May 25, 2016.
Author Blog, Having an Honest Conversation about Slavery: Now and Then University of North Carolina Press, posted April 20, 2016.
Oral History Interview with Stetson Kennedy, former Director of Folk Life Studies for the FWP in Florida, Beluthahatchee, FL, 2005.
Service to the Cornell Community
- Faculty Advisor, Cornell Fellows Program, Berry Career Institute, 2016-2018.
- Faculty Advisor, Richard H. Thomas History Scholar Awards for Off-Campus Research, 2013-2018.
- Faculty Advisor, Cornell College Sci Fi and Fantasy Club (Student Organization), 2018.
- Chair, Ethnic Studies Program, 2004-05; 2006-09; 2011; 2017-2018.
- Chair, History Department, 2006-09.
- Faculty Sponsor, Cornell Fellowship in Museum Studies, African American Museum of Iowa, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (2007; 2010; 2011; 2016; 2018).
- Member, Diversity Committee, 2013-14.
- Member, Literary Arts Center Committee, Cornell College, 2011-12.
- Executive Member, Associated Colleges of the Midwest Minority Concerns Committee, 2001-04.
- Faculty Advisor, Sister for Sister (Student Organization for Women of Color), Cornell College, 2000-03.
Service to the Profession
- Member, Advisory Committee, African American Museum of Iowa, Driven By Hope: The Great Migration exhibit, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 2018.
- External Reviewer for Promotion, Tenure, and Reappointment Decision, Department of History, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, 2017.
- Article Referee, The Public Historian; Journal of Social History, 2016.
- Article Referee, Proceedings of the Symposium on the Natural History of the Bahamas, 2012.
- Humanities Evaluator, Iowa City Book Festival, Humanities Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, July, 2012.
- Member, Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Association’s Book Award and Travel Grant Committee, 2007-08.
Slate Interview with Rebecca Onion, “Is the Greatest Collection of Slave Narratives Tainted…" “Slate Magazine, Slate.com, July 6, 2016. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/history/2016/07/can_wpa_slave_narratives_be_trusted_or_are_they_tainted_by_depression_era.html
- American Historical Association
- American Studies Association
- Organization of American Historians
- Labor and Working-Class History Association