Cynthia Patterson

Associate Chair & Associate Professor 


Office: CPR 301-G


Cynthia Patterson is an Associate Professor of English and the Associate Chair of the Department. She earned a B.A. in English (Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, with Honors) from Miami University in 1979, an M.A. in English from Tulane University in 1982, and a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from George Mason University in 2005. She taught previously at both Tulane and George Mason. In addition to her academic career, Dr. Patterson spent 20+ years in the corporate world, first as a journalist, then holding management positions in the fitness and medical fields, and operating a small business (in fitness education and consulting). She teaches a range of undergraduate and graduate courses in multiple formats, including face-to-face, hybrid, and online synchronous and asynchronous.

Her book Art for the Middle Classes: America’s Illustrated Magazines of the 1840s (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2010) received financial support from several prestigious research fellowships, including the Jay and Deborah Last Fellowship in American Visual Culture from the American Antiquarian Society, the Smithsonian Institutions, Winterthur Library, and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

More recent projects examine the contributions of women’s sewing and reading groups to late 19th and early 20th century labor, religion, and social reform movements. Her newest book project, under contract with the University Press of Mississippi, examines the contributions of women writers to the A.M.E. Church Review, the quarterly publication of the African Methodist Episcopal denomination. This project received a Mellon Scholars Fellowship in African American History from The Library Company of Philadelphia. A side project on the "Negro Chautauqua Movement, Owensboro, Kentucky," received a summer 2022 residential research fellowship from the Kentucky Historical Society.


  • "'written in the heart's blood': An Unpublished Novel by Black Activist James Samuel Stemons, 1900," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 147:3 (October 2023), 105-126.
  • "Notes of Travel" in the A.M.E. Church Review, 1903-1912: Precursor to the Green-Book, Feminized Sociology," Journal of African American History 1:9 52-77. (Winter 2021)
  • "The Florida Trail in Black (not White)," 1903-1912, Journal of Florida Studies 1:9 (2021).
  • "Charlotte Perkins Gilman: A Living in Periodicals," American Periodicals 30:2 (Fall 2020), 126-48.
  • "Illustrated Periodicals," The Oxford History of Popular Print Culture, Volume 5: US Popular Print Culture to 1860, edited by Ronald J. Zboray and Mary Saracino Zboray (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019), 327-44.
  • “’The Women of Florida are All Wide Awake’: the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs (NACWC) in the Sunshine State, 1897-1930, Florida Historical Quarterly 98:1 (Summer 2019), 23-45.
  • "Daring Domesticity and Dazzling Danger: Florida's Leisure Literature for Women and Youths," 1890-1920, Journal of Florida Studies 1:8 (December 2019), 1-18.


Dr. Patterson works primarily with graduate students interested in conducting archival research, periodicals research, and those interested in securing external funding for their projects. Her mentees include:

  • Current: Nicole Musselman, Danielle Mercier, Jerry Rumph, Lidiana Rios Barreto, Rick Reisinger, Zabrina, Shkurti, Urshela Atkins
  • Maggie Romigh - Disseration Committee Member (Defended October 2021)
    Dissertation: "Oppression, Resistance, and Empowerment: The Power Dynamics of Naming and Un-naming in African American Literature, 1794-2019"
  • Heather Fox – Dissertation Director (Defended October 2017)
    Dissertation: “Arranging Stories: The Implications of Narrative Decision in Short Story Collections by Southern Women Writers, 1894-1944”
  • Melanie Griffin – Dissertation Committee Member (Defended October 2017)
    Dissertation: “Once Upon A Genre: Distant Reading, the Newberry Medal, and the Affordances of Interdisciplinary Paradigms for Understanding Children’s Literature”
  • Haili Alcorn – Dissertation Committee Member (Defended October 2018)
    Dissertation: “Beauty and the Beasts: Making Places with Literary Animals of Florida”
  • Tiffany Wilgar – Dissertation Committee Member (Defended October 2018)
    Dissertation: “The Spectacle of the Bomb: Rhetorical Analysis of Risk of The Nevada Test Site in Technical Communication, Popular Press, and Pop Culture”