Skip to main content



Joy Kasson retired in 2015 after 44 years teaching in the Department of English and Comparative Literature and the Department of American Studies.  Her fields of specialization include American literature, American cultural history, American art, and American popular culture. She chaired the Department of American Studies from 2001 to 2011.  From 2012 to 2015 she served as the first Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Scholar for Carolina Performing Arts.  She has advised and mentored numerous graduate and undergraduate students and is always happy to hear from them.  In retirement, she continues to work on scholarly projects, give occasional lectures, and serve on various boards and committees.


1966, AB Radcliffe College

1972, PhD Yale University


  • Artistic Voyagers:  Europe and the American Imagination in the Works of Irving, Cooper, Hawthorne, Allston, and Cole (Westport, Conn.:  Greenwood Press, 1982)
  • Marble Queens and Captives: Women in Nineteenth-century American Sculpture (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990)
  • Buffalo Bill’s Wild West: Celebrity, Memory, and Popular History (New York: Hill & Wang, 2000)


  • Katherine Kennedy Carmichael Teaching Award 1985
  • Tanner Award for Undergraduate Teaching 1991
  • Bowman and Gordon Gray Chair for Distinguished Teaching, 1992-95 and 2000-2005
  • Johnston Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2002
  • Fellow, Humanities Institute, University of California at Davis, 1987-88
  • Fellow, Institute for the Arts and Humanities, UNC, 1992, 1994, 1998
  • Fellow, National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, NC, 1996-97
  • Leadership Fellow, Institute for the Arts and Humanities, UNC, 2003-2004
  • Mentoring Award, Women’s Leadership Council, UNC, 2006
  • Thomas Jefferson Award, UNC, 2012
  • Mary C. Turpie Award, American Studies Association, 2013
  • Faculty Service Award, UNC General Alumni Association, 2016