Catherine Fosl

Professor, Director of the UofL Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research


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

Current and recent courses

  • Radical Southern Oral Histories (new course to be offered in Spring 2019:  upper level/ graduate seminar co-listed with History, Social Change)
  • U.S. Social Justice Movements of the 20th Century (upper-level/graduate seminar cross-listed with Pan-African Studies, History, Social Change)
  • Race, Gender, and Social Justice Histories, U.S. - South Africa Compared (upper level/graduate seminar cross-listed with Pan-African Studies and History)

Research interests

Trained in modern U.S. southern and women's history (PhD, Emory University Department of History, 2000), I have evolved into an interdisciplinary scholar of twentieth-century U.S. social justice movements.  I am an oral historian whose areas of concentration include race, gender,  and grassroots-level activism in post-WWII social justice movements in the US South. I have won several awards and fellowships, including a Humanities fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at University of Edinburgh (2013);  a sexuality fellowship with the Social Science Research Council (2005-06); the Catherine Prelinger Award of the Coordinating Council for Women in History as a nontraditional scholar (2005); and the Oral History Association book award (2003).

Over the past few years, I have devoted significant time to building community partnerships locally and to pursuing and promoting community-engaged scholarship at the University of Louisville, examples of which can be found in the oral history and research links on the Anne Braden website.

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

  1. Oral history interviews and archival research for a comparative study of women's activism in the U.S. racial justice and South African anti-apartheid movements, 1948-1998. My initial focus is on a small group of Jewish women activists from Cape Town who were also in the Communist Party, as related to Anne Braden and other radical women active in the African American freedom movement;
  2. An oral history-based study of the lives and work of US-southern cultural activists and folk singers Guy and Candie Carawan;
  3. Follow-up publications from research collected for the Kentucky LGBTQ historic context narrative, particularly oral histories of the intersectional politics of recent lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-queer rights movements in Louisville and their connections with the African American freedom movement