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Catherine Fosl

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Ph.D., History, Emory University, 2000

Dr. Cate Fosl is Associate Professor, Women's and Gender Studies, and Associated with the History Department. She also is Director of the UofL Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research.

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Selected publications:

  • Freedom on the Border:  An Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky, co-authored with Tracy E. K’Meyer (Lexington:  University Press of Kentucky, 2009).
  • Subversive Southerner: Anne Braden and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Cold War South(University Press of  Kentucky, Fall 2006).
  • Women for All Seasons: The Story of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1989).
  • "It Could Be Dangerous!: Gay Liberation and Gay marriage, Louisville, Kentucky, 1970," Ohio Valley History 12,1 (Spring 2012), 45-64
  • "Anne Braden, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Rigoberta Menchu:  Using Personal Narrative to Build Activist Movements,” in Telling Stories to Change the World, edited by Rickie Solinger, Madeline Fox, and Kayhan Irani (New York:  Routledge, 2008).
  • “‘The Dynamite was Fear’: Segregation, Anticommunism, and Sedition in 1954 Louisville," in Making a New South: Race, Class, and Culture after the Civil War, edited by Paul Cimbala and Bart Shaw (Gainesville: University Press of  Florida, 2006)
  • “When Subjects Talk Back:  Writing Anne Braden’s Life-in-Progress,” Oral History Review 32,2 (Summer/Fall 2005): 59-69 and commentary 85-86 [part of invited special section,  “The Challenge and Promise of Producing Oral History-Based Biographies”].
  • "Anne Braden and the Protective Custody of White Southern Womanhood," in Throwing Off theCloak of Privilege: Southern White Women in the Civil Rights Era, edited by Gail Murray (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, May 2004).


 Current and recent courses:

  • Women in American Culture (introductory WGST course)
  • U.S. Social Justice Movements of the 20th Century (upper-level/graduate seminar cross-listed with Pan-African Studies, History, Social Change)
  • Southern Women Black & White (upper-level/graduate seminar cross-listed with Pan-African Studies, History)
  • Gender and Social Action (upper-level/graduate seminar cross-listed with Social Work, Social Change)
  • Women’s Personal Narratives ( graduate seminar cross-listed with Humanities)


Research interests:

Trained in modern U.S. southern and women’s history, I have evolved into an interdisciplinary scholar of twentieth-century U.S. social justice movements.  I am an oral historian whose greatest areas of expertise are women, white allies, and grassroots-level activism in the modern African American freedom movement in the US-South.  

In 2005, I received the Catherine Prelinger Award of the Coordinating Committee for Women in History as a nontraditional scholar, and I was a 2005-06 sexuality fellow of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC). In 2008-09, I was co-PI on a study of Louisville's Digital Divide and local use of new media for social networking among grassroots social justice activists, funded by the SSRC's "Necessary Knowledge" program and conducted in partnership with KY Jobs with Justice (for details and a synopsis of the findings, see


I am currently working on several research projects, including the following:

1)    an oral history-based study of the intersectional politics of recent lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender (LGBT) rights movements in Louisville and their connections with the African American freedom movement;

2)    an oral history-based study of the life and work of US-southern cultural activists and folk musicians Guy and Candie Carawan;

3) convening since 2010 of an interdisciplinary reading and research group on housing as a social and racial justice issue;

4) beginning interviews and archival research for a comparative study of women's activism in the US racial justice and South African anti-apartheid movements, 1948-1998.





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