Professor Catherine Roach
Visiting Research Fellow, December 2021 - August 2022
Home Institution: University of Alabama
Catherine M. Roach is Professor of Gender and Cultural Studies in New College, a liberal arts program at the University of Alabama (USA). She has twenty-five years of research experience on gender and sexuality studies in American popular culture. A two-time Fulbright Award winner (the UK and Greece), she is the author of Mother/Nature: Popular Culture and Environmental Ethics (Indiana Univ. Press, 2003) and Stripping, Sex, and Popular Culture (Berg, 2007), along with two historical romance novels published as Catherine LaRoche (Simon & Schuster, 2012, 2014). Her last academic book, Happily Ever After: The Romance Story in Popular Culture (Indiana Univ. Press, 2016), won Silver Medal in the 2017 Independent Publisher Book Awards. Most recently, she’s published invited chapters on “Erotica” and “Sex and Sexuality” in Routledge Research Companions (2017, 2020) and is completing a contracted trade book of public scholarship on America’s new gender and sexual revolution. At the University of Alabama, she has won the school’s top research and teaching awards and is a Fellow in the Collaborative Arts Research Initiative, working to bring research alive through the arts for a broad public audience. Every semester, she teaches a popular cross-university course, “Sexuality and Society,” that addresses cultural change in America and campus sexual wellbeing.
Project: The Greek Slave Speaks: Decolonial and Feminist Perspectives on a Lost Piece of Scottish Art History
This project combines gender and sexuality studies with art history. Working with Dr. Angela Dimitrakaki, art historian at the University of Edinburgh, I uncover long-buried Edinburgh-area connections to the famous 19th-century American statue, The Greek Slave (two versions of which are at the University of Alabama) to tell a gripping story about today’s most pressing issues of bilateral social justice: the US and UK’s ongoing reckoning with racial and sexual justice movements. It’s a tale of transatlantic art and slavery that ties our two countries together from the 19th century to the present day. As an arts-research collaboration between partners at our two universities, project outputs include a scholarly journal article; place-based public arts outreach; a gallery exhibition, “Art’s Fiery Finger!”—Art and Social Justice Activism; and creation of a multimedia performance piece, A 21st-century Love Letter to the Greek Slave to be performed in Alabama and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.