Picture of Rachel Kirby smiling. She is a young white woman with short light brown hair and dark glasses.
Hello! My name is Rachel C. Kirby and I am a Lecturer in History & Literature at Harvard University. I am also the Vice President of the New England American Studies Association. I hold a PhD in American Studies from Boston University. My research focuses on visual and material culture and sense of place in the American South.

My dissertation, titled "Consuming the South: Representations of Taste, Place, and Agriculture," was an interdisciplinary study of the relationships between agricultural products and their cultural manifestations in visual, material, and experiential forms. I analyzed the production and circulation of advertising imagery, souvenirs, art, and events between the late-nineteenth century and today to trace how various people and organizations have harnessed promotional culture to encourage the local and national consumption of products and the region they came from.
I hold an MA in Folklore and a BA in Art History, both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. My MA thesis, advised by Bernard Herman, was titled "Interpreting Historic Site Narratives: Duke Homestead on Tour." In it, I analyzed the various versions of and engagements with the historical narrative presented at Duke Homestead State Historic Site and Tobacco Museum in Durham, North Carolina.

When I'm not writing or teaching, I'm most likely watching reality tv shows, embroidering, or playing with my cat, Morris, who makes frequent appearances on my social media platforms. 
Picture of a white woman (Rachel Kirby) in a red doctoral robe and black and white dress looking down.

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Rachel C. Kirby


PhD in American Studies


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