Elizabeth Engelhardt is Kenan Eminent Professor of Southern Studies, in the department of American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also the Senior Associate Dean for Fine Arts and Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences. A scholar of southern and Appalachian food and culture, she is the author or editor of eight books including her forthcoming Boardinghouse Women: How Southern Keepers, Cooks, Nurses, Widows, and Runaways Shaped Modern America and the recent The Food We Eat, the Stories We Tell: Contemporary Appalachian Tables.
Morgan Pitelka, Chair, Department of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, received his B.A. in East Asian Studies with honors from Oberlin College and his Ph.D. in East Asian Studies from Princeton University. Before joining the UNC faculty, he taught at Occidental College (2002-2010). His scholarship focuses on the history of late medieval and early modern Japan, with a focus on material culture, environmental history, and urban history.
Robinson, Michelle (Chair)
Michelle Robinson is an Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the author of Dreams for Dead Bodies: Blackness, Labor, and Detective Fiction (2016) and completing a second manuscript titled, Come Tell Us How to Go to Heaven,” which uses letters from Christian evangelicals to trace how Christian fellowship shaped the career and social impact of the Reverend Billy Graham. Her courses include “Women and Detective Fiction,” “Radical Religious Communities,” and “The Ethics of Stand-Up Comedy.”
Sophie Tô, MPH is a field scholar with the Southern Oral History Program (SOHP) and a PhD candidate in Health Behavior at Gillings. They are interested in how media, arts, and storytelling can be used in health advocacy. Her dissertation focuses on how Asian American comedians, especially in the South, have told stories about racialization, identity, and health. And at the SOHP, Sophie works on Southern Mix, a project dedicated to collecting oral histories of Asians and Asian Americans in the South. Outside of school (ha!), Sophie is working on Asian Joy, an oral history X public mural project with her friends (and UNC alum/health professionals) Isabel Lu and Ina Liu.
Katie Ziglar is an art museum professional whose work over three decades has resulted in new education programs, improved visibility, increased financial support, and expanded public outreach in five museums. Katie’s expertise includes building strong teams that work effectively to connect art museums with larger audiences and more supporters, as well as developing entrepreneurial partnerships, including with governments abroad.
Katie became director of the Ackland Art Museum in July 2016 after a career at several Smithsonian museums, most recently the National Museum of Asian Art, where she served as director of external affairs for 13 years. Since returning to Chapel Hill Katie helped attract the largest gift in the Ackland’s history – 134 drawings by Dutch and Flemish masters of the 17th and 18th centuries, including seven by Rembrandt, and endowments totaling $25 million from UNC double alumnus Sheldon Peck and his wife Leena. A ground-breaking exhibition, bespoke web site (Peck.Ackland.org), and major catalogue have since been created for the collection. After its showing at the Ackland, the exhibition was on view at Rembrandthuis in Amsterdam – the Ackland’s first exhibition abroad.
Katie has also expanded the reach of the Ackland by initiating a Local Advisory Board to complement the National Advisory Board; creating ART&, a special space for programs and visitor lounging; and developing the outdoor Terrace Gallery for interactive art and open 24 hours daily. She has significantly increased fundraising, led the staff through internal branding, rebranding its logo, an assessment of the amount of spaces of different kinds needed by the Museum in a future new building and conducted strategic planning with UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. Following these efforts, the Museum is currently in the design phase for 40,000 sq.ft. in the newly redeveloped Porthole Alley Building, which will double its size. Adding to the Museum’s collection of Islamic art is one of her favorite accomplishments.
Katie holds a master’s degree in Islamic art and architecture from the American University in Cairo, where she was a Rotary International Fellow, and a bachelor’s in European history from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she was in the first class of women Morehead Scholars. Katie has been the study tour leader for a dozen Smithsonian tours to Spain and the Arab world and writes and lectures on Islamic art.