Faculty at the School of Arts and Humanities

Erin A. Smith

Professor / Associate Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Studies

Areas of Specialization:  19th- and 20th-century American Literatures and Cultures, History of the Book, Gender Studies

Office:  HH 2.304
Email:  [email protected]
Phone:  972-883-2338

Erin A. Smith is Professor of American Studies. She has taught courses in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literatures and cultures and Gender Studies at UT-Dallas since 1997. Her graduate teaching is in the School of Arts & Humanities. She has taught for the Collegium V Honors Program since 2003. She writes about American popular literature.

Smith is a scholar of American popular literature and a historian of print culture. Her larger intellectual project is to write a more representative American literary history, situating more conventionally literary works in a larger cultural field of books and readers.

Her latest book, What Would Jesus Read?: Popular Religious Books and Everyday Life in Twentieth-Century America (University of North Carolina Press, 2015) is a study of best-selling religious books and their readers in the twentieth-century U.S. It is located at the intersection of three fields of scholarship–history of the book, lived religion, and consumer culture. Fellowships and summer stipends from the National Humanities Center, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Louisville Institute funded the project. Related work has been published in American Literary History, Book History, Canadian Review of American Studies, and an edited collection, Religion and the Culture of Print in Modern America (U of Wisconsin P, 2008).

Her 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.

Recent Courses:  View courses taught by Erin A. Smith

PhD, Literature and Women’s Studies, Duke University

Curriculum Vitae:  Erin A. Smith's CV