Biographical Sketch

Catherine A. Stewart is the Richard and Norma Small Distinguished Professor 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 Federal Writers’ Ex-Slave Project, Zora Neale Hurston, 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 Northeast Modern Languages Association, the American Association for the History of Medicine, and the University of Houston’s Black History Workshop. Most recently, her work on African Americans’ blues narratives, psychoanalysis, and the Lafargue Clinic appeared in American Quarterly. Her book, Long Past Slavery: Representing Race in the Federal Writers’ Project (forthcoming from the University of North Carolina Press, 2016) 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 at work on her next book on race and domestic service during the Great Depression.

Link to Curriculum Vitae

2016-Faculty Page - CV-Stewart

Academic History

  • 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.


Courses Taught

  • 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)


  • “Feast, Flood, and Famine: Zora Neale Hurston’s Search for African American Folk Culture,” Keynote Speaker, National Endowment for the Humanities’ Big Read, African American Museum of Iowa, 2009.
  • “Representing the Race: Zora Neale Hurston and the Florida Writers' Unit,” Center for Florida History, Florida Southern College, Lakeland, FL, October 2005.
  • “Black Letters, Lives, and Racial Lines: Zora Neale Hurston’s and Langston Hughes’ Correspondence on the Color Line,” Brown Bag Lecture Series, African American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa, October 2002.