Elizabeth Engelhardt (photo by Marcie Cohen Ferris)
Elizabeth Engelhardt (photo by Marcie Cohen Ferris)

Dr. Elizabeth Engelhardt is Senior Associate Dean for Fine Arts & Humanities.

As senior associate dean, Engelhardt oversees the departments of American Studies, Art and Art History, Classics, Communication, Dramatic Art and PlayMakers Repertory Company, English and Comparative Literature, Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures, Linguistics, Music, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Romance Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies. Her responsibilities also include oversight of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Carolina Public Humanities, Sexuality Studies, the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies, and the Center for the Study of the American South. She also works closely with the College’s Director of Faculty Diversity Initiatives on issues of recruitment, development and retention of faculty.

Engelhardt, the John Shelton Reed Distinguished Professor of Southern Studies, joined the UNC American Studies faculty in 2015, returning to her home state after more than a decade at the University of Texas at Austin. She served as chair of American Studies from 2017 to March 2019 and as interim senior associate dean for fine arts and humanities from March 2019 to March 2020.

As American Studies chair, she supported numerous innovations in the department, including its promotion of engaged scholarship, graduate education using digital and nontraditional dissertation forms and its successful participation in the Campaign for Carolina.

As a teacher, she has inspired her students to become knowledge producers and original creators, and as a researcher and author, she has advanced understanding of Southern food and culture. She serves on the board of UNC Press.

In fall 2019, Engelhardt published The Food We Eat, the Stories We Tell: Contemporary Appalachian Tables.

She co-directs the Southern Futures initiative. Southern Futures provides top-up funding for graduate students, supports undergraduate research, and convenes scholarly and community resources for conversations that use the arts and humanities as key tools to reimagine the American South.

In addition to Southern Futures, Engelhardt has helped to advance other key initiatives and programming, including:

She served as a board member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, the premier food studies organization in the United States, from 2013-2018. She was the founding organizer and chair of the Academic Committee of the SFA Board of Directors from 2015-2018.

Engelhardt is a proud graduate of the Hendersonville, North Carolina, public school system. She graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in English Literature and a Certificate in Women’s Studies from Duke University, and a master’s and Ph.D. in Women’s Studies from Emory University’s Institute for Women’s Studies. She is the author or editor of several books on Southern food and Appalachian culture. Her upcoming book project is The Lost Story of the Southern Boardinghouse.

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