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College of Arts and Sciences

Faculty and Staff

Catherine Keyser

Title: Associate Professor
McCausland Fellow
Department: English Language and Literature
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-576-5845
Office: HUO 502
Resources: English Language and Literature


PhD, Harvard University 2007
BA, Princeton University 2001

Areas of Specialization 

    Modern American Literature
    American Women Writers
    Periodical Studies
    Gender Studies
    Food Studies

Recently Taught Courses

U.S. Women Writers of the 1920s
Vehicles of Modernity: Transportation Technology and Modern U.S. Literature
Fast and Slow Foods in Modern American Literature
Themes in American Literature: Eat This! Food and Modern U.S. Literature

Professional Accolades 

   • Morrison Fellowship, English Department, University of South Carolina, 2016-2017
    Provost Humanities Grant, University of South Carolina, 2014
    Peter and Bonnie McCausland Fellow of English Language and Literature 2013-
    Institute for African American Research Fellowship, University of South Carolina, 2011-12
    Provost Humanities Grant, 2011-12
    Michael J. Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Award 2011 Hartman Center Travel Grant, Duke University Libraries, 2011
    College of Arts and Sciences Summer Research Stipend,  2011
    Department of English Outstanding Teacher,  2010

Current Research Projects 

"Artificial Color: Modern Food and Racial Fictions"

“Artificial Color: Modern Food and Racial Fictions” is a study of U.S. literature and its imaginative engagement with modern food. I use “modern food” as a shorthand for a cluster of changes that reshaped the U.S. food system and Americans’ view of eating in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: nutrition science, global supply chains, and new technologies like soda fountains, artificial flavors, and refrigerated trains. In the Jim Crow era, modern writers on both sides of the color-line used modern food tropes of transport and transformation to interrogate racial categorization and to imagine new forms of affiliation and embodiment.

Selected Publications 

    “Candy Boys and Chocolate Factories: Roald Dahl, Racialization, and Global Industry,” MFS: Modern Fiction Studies 63.3 (September 2017): 403-428
    Playing Smart: New York Women Writers and Modern Magazine Culture (Rutgers University Press, 2010)
    “Bottles, Bubbles, and Blood: Jean Toomer and the Limits of Racial Epidermalism,” Modernism/modernity 22.2 (April 2015): 279-302
    “An All-Too-Moveable Feast: Ernest Hemingway and the Stakes of Terroir,” Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities 2.1 (Winter 2014)
    “The Sweet Tooth of Slavery: Tarantino’s Django Unchained and Walker’s ‘A Subtlety,’” Transition 115 (2014): 143-153

Recent Presentations 

    “Satire in the Bardo: George Saunders and Empathetic Irony,” Modern Language Association (MLA) convention in New York, NY, January 2018
   “Gleaning Fields and Gathering Mushrooms: Gertrude Stein and Food Studies,” Modern Language Association (MLA) convention in New York, NY, January 2018
   “Changing Color in the Chocolate Factory,” Critical Questions Lecture Series, Oregon State University, April 2017
   “‘A Ripe and Complete Woman’: Philippa Schuyler, Raw Foods, and Racial Futures,” the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Colloquium Series, Wake Forest University, March 2017