Erin Smith

Professor of American Studies & Literary Studies
erins@utdallas.edu
972-883-2338
HH2304
Tags: 19th & 20th - Century American Literatures & Cultures History of the Book Gender Studies Popular Culture

Professional Preparation

Ph.D. - Literature and Womens Studies
Duke University - 1997
B.S. - Social Science
Michigan State University - 1991
B.A. - English
Michigan State University - 1991

Research Areas

Research Interests
I am a scholar of American popular literature and a historian of print culture.  My larger intellectual project is to write a more representative American literary history, situating more conventionally literary works in a larger cultural field of printed materials and communities of readers. I am currently working on a book about the reception of American women’s cold-war crime fiction.

 
My most recent book, What Would Jesus Read?: Popular Religious Books and Everyday Life in Twentieth-Century America (U of North Carolina P, 2015)  examines selected best-selling religious books; the literary, religious, and commercial institutions that make them available to readers; and the communities of readers they help construct in twentieth-century America.  Bringing together scholarship on book history, consumer culture, and lived religion in America, it examines how religion continues to shape what and how we read, even in this secular age.  Fellowships and summer stipends from the National Humanities Center, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Louisville Institute funded the project.  Related work was published in journals such as American Literary History, Book History, and Canadian Review of American Studies. 

My first book, Hard-Boiled: Working-Class Readers and Pulp Magazines (Temple UP, 2000) was funded in part by a Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities and was nominated for an Anthony Award for the best nonfiction book published about mysteries.  It considers American hard-boiled detective fiction of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s and the mostly male, working-class readers who encountered it in pulp magazines and cheap paperbacks.  The project’s methodological innovation is to use a variety of unconventional sources--pulp magazine advertising, the memoirs of writers and publishers, Depression-era studies of adult reading habits, labor history--to reconstruct popular reading practices in the absence of records left by readers themselves.  I demonstrate how this fiction shaped working-class male readers into consumers by selling them what they wanted to hear—stories about embattled, white artisan-heroes who resisted encroaching commodity culture and the consuming women who came with it.  I argue that these readers were active participants in the creation of a working-class variant of consumer culture, a culture most scholars see reflecting the needs of middle-class women.



Publications

Rev. of Taking Books to the World: American Publishers and the Cultural Cold War by Amanda Laugesen. American Literary History Online Review XIX.1 (June 2019)  2019 - publications
"Modernism for the Middle Class,” rev. of Cheap Modernism: Expanding Markets, Publishers’ Series and the Avant-Garde by Lise Jaillant. Journal of Modern Literature 42.4 (summer 2019): 196-98 2019 - publications
Rev. of After the Program Era: The Past, Present, and Future of Creative Writing in the University ed.by Loren Glass. Sharp News (Aug. 2018)  2018 - publications
Rev. of The Word on the Streets: The American Language of Vernacular Modernism by Brooks E. Hefner. Modern Philology 116.2 (2018): E134-36. 2018 - publications
“Hard-Boiled Faulkner?: Gender, Art, and Commerce in William Faulkner’s Knight’s Gambit.Faulkner and Print Culture: Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha 2015.  Ed. Jay Watson, Jaime Harker, and James G Thomas, Jr. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2017. 137-57.  2017 - publications
“Paperbacks and the Literary Marketplace.” American Literature in Transition, 1940-1950. Ed. Christopher Vials. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. 291-308. 2017 - publications
Rev. of Nineteenth-Century American Women Write Religion: Lived Theologies and Literature, ed. by Mary McCartin Wearn. Religion and Literature, 49.1 (spring 2017): 225-27.   2017 - publications
Rev. of Bigger than Ben-Hur: The Book, Its Adaptations, and Their Audiences, ed. by Barbara Ryan and Milette Shamir. SHARP News 25.3 (2017)  2017 - publications
“What Would Jesus Read?: The overlooked history of an apocalyptic best-seller.” Humanities: The Magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities (Winter 2017): 25-27, 44-45.   2017 - publications
“Seven Questions for Erin A. Smith: What Would Jesus Read?” Sacred Matters: Religious Currents in Culture. 10 Aug. 2016.  2016 - publications

Appointments

Professor
University of Texas at Dallas [2016–Present]
Associate Professor
University of Texas at Dallas [2003–2016]
Assistant Professor
University of Texas at Dallas [1997–2003]
Staff Assistant
Women's Studies, Duke University [1996–1997]
Simone de Beauvoir Named Instructor in Literature
Duke University [1996–1997]
Fellow
Center for Teaching and Learning, Duke University [1995–1996]
Adult Literacy Tutor
Duke University [1995–1996]
Teaching Assistant
Women's Studies, Duke University [1994–1995]
Veteran Assistant
University Writing Program, Duke University [1994–1995]
Instructor
English and University Writing Program, Duke University [1994–1995]

Awards

School of Interdisciplinary Studies Teaching Award - UT-Dallas [2020]
Nominee, Inclusive Excellence and Intercultural Teaching Award - UT-Dallas [2011]
Best Paper Prize, Religion and American Culture Caucus - American Studies Association [2004]
Anthony Award Finalist (best critical or scholarly work about mysteries) - Bouchercon [2001]
Teacher of the Year, School of General Studies - UT-Dallas [1999]

Presentations

“Who Didn’t Do It? Genre, Politics, and Reader Responses to Killers of the Flower Moon.” Reception Studies Society Biannual Conference, Provo, UT, 28 Sept. 2019.
“Dangerously Good Women: Female Criminals and the Threat of Male Violence in American Women’s Cold-War Crime Fiction.” Girls! Girls! Girls!: Defining and Deconstructing Domestic Noir. University College, Dublin, 23 Aug. 2019.
“Gender, Nation, and the Literary Field of Post-War American Crime Fiction: The Case of Sisters in Crime.” Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing Annual Meeting. Amherst, MA, 18 July 2019.
“Dorothy Hughes’s The Blackbirder (1943): Thematizing Gender, Crime, and the State.” American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting. Washington, D.C., 8 Mar. 2019.
“Gender, Information, and the State.” Novel Theory: Conference of the Society for Novel Studies. Ithaca, NY, 1 June 2018.

Additional Information

Professional Service
To the Profession

Editorial Board, Book History, 2018-

Editorial Board, Anthem Studies in Book History, Publishing, and Print Culture, Anthem Press, 2015-

Fellowship Application Reviewer, National Humanities Center, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

Book Review Co-Editor for North America, SHARP News, 2014 - 18

External Evaluator for Promotion to Full Professor, Brigham Young University English Department, 2018

External Evaluator for Tenure, North Carolina State University English Department, 2018

Outside Dissertation Reader, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel

NEH Review Panelist, “Media Projects,” 2017

James Madison University Pulp Studies Symposium Task Force, 2015-16

NEH Summer Stipend Review Panelist, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2015

Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing liaison to the American Studies Association, 2008 – 15

Outside member of dissertation committee for Martin Northrop, Fordham University, 2014-15

NEH Reviewer for Fellowship Programs at Independent Research Institutions (FPIRI), 2013

External Evaluator for Tenure, University of Nevada, Reno English Department, 2012

Kluge Fellowship Review Panelist (Library of Congress/NEH), 2011

Fellowship Application Reviewer, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2009

NEH Review Panelist, “America’s Media Makers,” 2008

NEH Review Panelist, “Humanities Projects in the Media,” 2002

Representative, American Studies Association Women’s Committee, 1999-2002 (Chair 2001-02)

Organizer/Facilitator for the Dallas Area Social History Circle (DASH), 2001-02

Advisory Editor, St. James Encyclopedia of 20th-Century Popular Culture (2000)

Chair, American Studies Association Wise-Susman Prize Committee, 1999 

Manuscript Reviewer for American Quarterly, American Studies, Book History, Gender & Society, Journal of American Studies, Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, Information and Culture, Library Quarterly, Modern Language Quarterly, PMLA, Reception, Texas Studies in Language and Literature, Blackwell, Bloomsbury, Oxford University Press, State University of New York Press, Temple University Press, University of Chicago Press, University of Illinois Press, University of Iowa Press, University of Kansas Press, University of Massachusetts Press, University of Virginia Press, University of Wisconsin Press, Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-Century Electronic Scholarship (NINES) 

To the University

UTD Honors Faculty / McDermott Scholars Faculty Fellow, 2000-

UTD Faculty Mentoring Committee, 2019 -

UTD Budget Committee, 2018-

Chair, School of Interdisciplinary Studies Peer Teaching Evaluation Committee, 2013-

UTD Academic Integrity Committee, 2015- 19 (Chair, 2018-19)

UTD Committee on Diversity and Equity, 2014-18, 2006-2010 (Vice-Chair 2007-08)

Member, Senior Lecturer II Review Committee, Patty Leek, UTD, 2020

Member, Promotion Committee, Meghna Sabharwal (EPPS), 2019

Member, U.S. Women’s / Gender History (A&H) Search Committee, 2018-19

Chair, Senior Lecturer II Review Committee, Kathleen Byrnes, School of Interdisciplinary Studies, UTD, 2019

Member, Senior Lecturer II Review Committee, Angela Mcnulty, School of Interdisciplinary Studies, UTD, 2019

Chair, Search Committee for American Studies Senior Lecturer I, 2018

Member, Senior Lecturer III Review Committee, Tonja Wissinger, School of Interdisciplinary Studies, UTD, 2018

Chair, Senior Lecturer III Review Committee, Jillian Duquaine-Watson, School of Interdisciplinary Studies, UTD, 2017

UTD Strategic Planning Committee, Diversity and Inclusion subcommittee, 2017

Chair, Search Committee for American Studies Lecturers, Environment in America and America in Global Context, 2017

Tenure Review Committee, Xtine Burrough, School of Arts & Technology, 2017

Chair, Search Committee for American Studies Program Head, 2016

University of Texas-Partnership in Advancing Clinical Transition (UT-PACT) Interviewer, 2012-16 

Tenure Review Committee, Shari Goldberg, School of Arts & Humanities, UTD, 2014

Chair, Senior Lecturer II Review Committee, Jillian Duquaine-Watson, School of Interdisciplinary Studies, UTD, 2014

UTD Galerstein Women’s Center Advisory Board, 2005-09

Tenure Review Committee, Sheryl Skaggs, School of Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences, UTD, 2008

Pre-Tenure Review Committee, Danielle Lavin-Loucks, School of Social Sciences, UTD, 2005

Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC) Interviewer, 2004, 2005

Pre-Tenure Review Committee, Melinda Kane, School of Social Sciences, UTD, 2004

Tenure Review Committee, Adrienne McLean, School of Arts & Humanities, UTD, 2003

Hiring Committee, UTD Women’s Volleyball Coach, 2003

UTD Core Committee for the Support of Women and Minorities, 2000-02

UTD Academic Senate, 2000-01

UTD Committee on Educational Policy, 1998-2000

Planning Committee, 2nd and 3rd Annual North Texas United Nations Conference on the Status of Women, UTD, 1998 and 1999 

Funding

Sisters in Crime Research Fellowship
$500 - Sisters in Crime [2017/07–2017/12]
Fellowship
$25,000 - National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, NC [2002/09–2003/05]
Louisville Institute Summer Stipend
$8,000 - Louisville Institute [2002/07–2002/08]
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend
$5,000 - National Endowment for the Humanities [2002/05–2002/06]
Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities
- Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities [1991/09–1996/05]