American Literature and Culture, Modernism, Media Studies, Cultural Institutions, Sociology


Harvard University, PhD 2016

Duke University, BA 2007

Other Publications

Our Town, the MacDowell Colony, and the Art of Civic Mediation.” American Literary History, August 2019. doi:10.1093/alh/ajz025


“Outside Joke: Humorlessness and Masculinity in Richard Wright,” in The Cambridge Companion to Richard Wright, edited by Glenda R. Carpio. Cambridge University Press, 2019. doi:9781108567510.008


“Colony Writing: Creative Community in the Age of Revolt,” PhD diss., Harvard University, 2016


“Writing ‘Other Spaces’: Katherine Anne Porter’s Yaddo.” Modernism/modernity, vol. 22 no. 4, 2015, pp. 735-757. doi:10.1353/mod.2015.0073

Blog Posts


    The New Monastics: Creative Community and Literary Form

    I am completing a book about how participation in creative communities such as Provincetown, Yaddo, and the MacDowell Colony shaped 20th-century U.S. literature, from 1900 to roughly the 1960s.

    The Political Podcast in the United States:
    Collectivism, Narrative Culture, Political Fragmentation, and the Digital Age
    With Dr. Tim Jelfs, American Studies, University of Groningen

    This project considers the roles played by podcasts in contemporary U.S. culture and politics. Researchers in the Center for the Americas (RuG), Dr Jelfs and Dr Roberts, are investigating the different ways that podcasts and podcasting have combined a rhetoric of collectivism, storytelling techniques, and political didacticism in ways that they hypothesize may be deepening the ideological consolidation and differentiation of three different political formations in the contemporary US: the alt right, the liberal center, and the millennial or “dirtbag” left.

    Each of these political groupings are strongly represented in the landscape of contemporary podcasting, and our project seeks to explore divergences and continuities in the way podcasting functions as a new cultural practice with potentially profound political implications in the present-day United States.

    In contrast to traditional political media outlets (print newspapers and magazines, cable television), podcasts are a new media technology with unique affordances that researchers believe contribute to their popularity as a political medium, especially among young and emergent groups. These affordances include 1) inexpensive, decentralized production by individuals and small, entrepreneurial groups; 2) targeted access to potential listeners via ratings, sharing, and recommendation algorithms on platforms such as Apple Podcasts and Spotify; and 3) direct feedback from listeners via reviews and social media (dedicated Facebook groups, hosts’ Twitter handles, etc.)

    The Writing Life: Diversifying Residencies in the U.S. and Europe

    This early-stage project builds on my historical research about writers’ colonies in the U.S. to explore the global phenomenon of the artist residency in the digital age. I take a multi-disciplinary approach, collaborating with data scientists and ethnographers, in addition to using more traditional literary and cultural studies methodology.

    Kathryn S. Roberts

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    Active 3 years, 8 months ago