American Studies Faculty

American Studies faculty are as good as the rest of the St. Olaf faculty, but they tend to be a little different, because they’re more curious than average about how different perspectives enhance our view of things. They also tend to be passionate about teaching.



Mark Allister, Director of American Studies is a professor of English, Environmental Studies, and American Studies.  His scholarly work is primarily in the field of environmental literature, and he has written Refiguring the Map of Sorrow: Nature Writing and Autobiography (U of Virginia P, 2001) and edited the collection of essays Eco-Man: New Perspectives on Masculinity and Nature (U of Virginia P, 2004). Mark merges personal and professional life with his teaching interests in music and politics, in Men’s Studies and popular culture. He has recently published a new book Chasing the Light: The Cloud Cult Story.




Eric Fure-Slocum I teach U.S. history, American Studies, American Conversations, and an  interdisciplinary course on social change. My courses focus especially on work, cities, social  movements, the political economy of the U.S., and various eras of the 20th century. Many courses  I teach incorporate an academic civic engagement (ACE) project, an opportunity to bring together  academic and community-based work.  See, for instance, the “Civic Stories” photo essays that  American Conversations students composed, along with a photography class and the League of  Women Voters:

I recently published Contesting the Postwar City: Working-Class and Growth Politics in 1940s Milwaukee (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013)




Judy Kutulas I grew up in a large, loud Greek-American family in the San Francisco Bay Area,  smack in the midst of all the cultural and political turbulence of the Sixties.  I attended the  University of California at Berkeley as an undergraduate, earning a degree in History; I did my  graduate training at UCLA, also in History.  I started teaching at St. Olaf in the late 1980s.  My  publications include The Long War: The Intellectual People’s Front and Anti-Stalinism, 1930-  1940 and The American Civil Liberties Union and the Transformation of American Liberalism.  In  the last decade or so, I have shifted my interests in a more interdisciplinary American Studies-y direction, publishing essays, mostly on gender and popular culture, in Impossible to Hold: Women and Culture in the 1960sDisco Divas: Women and Popular Culture in the 1970s, The Sitcom Reader: America Viewed and Skewed, and an article called “’That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be’: Baby Boomers, 1970s Singer-Songwriters, and the Romantic Relationship,” in the Journal of American History.   I’m currently revising a manuscript called After Aquarius Dawned: Mainstreaming 1960s Revolution in 1970s Culture.  I teach in the History Department and the American Studies program, along with American Conversations and, on occasion, the Media and Film Studies program.  I am currently the chair of the History Department and, also, married to the current director of the American Studies program, Michael Fitzgerald.  In my free time, I can be found in my kitchen (latest obsession: risotto), on a potter’s wheel at the Northfield Arts Guild, at the Northfield Food Shelf, out running, or, if I’m lucky, traveling.  I also indulge in “cultural research,” which other people might call watching TV and films, reading magazines, and listening to music.  I believe that our culture is one big research opportunity that everyone should consider critically and thoughtfully and that is a viewpoint I always try to bring into each course I teach.



L. DeAne Lagerquist, Professor of Religion, is fascinated by the ways religion infuses American  life  and lives.  Much of her study has explored the various ways religious identity, American  nationality,  and gender intersect one another.  This dynamic is at center of her book

In America the  Men Milk  the Cows, a study of Norwegian-American, Lutheran women, including  those enrolled at  St. Olaf in  its first decades. More and more she is interested in the ways that  post-1960s  immigration is  reshaping the American religious landscape and that newcomers are  adapting their  religious communities and practices to this context.



Diane LeBlanc, Director of Writing and Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies; Writing and Women’s Studies

MFA Hamline University, MA Wyoming, BA St. Michael’s College (Vermont). Diane is a teacher, writer, and book artist. She directs the writing program and teaches first-year writing and women’s studies. Diane is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Dancer with Good Sow(2008) and Hope in Zone Four (1998). Awards include the Bechtel Prize from Teachers & Writers Collaborative for “Weaving Voices: Writing as a Working Class Daughter, Professor, and Poet.” Her poetry and essays appear in Ashville Poetry Review, Bellingham Review, Natural Bridge, Water~Stone, and other journals. Diane lives in Northfield with Chick Woodward and their golden retriever Djuna. To learn more about Diane’s work, visit



Matthew Rohn teaches Art History and cultural studies. He has developed special interests in  modern and contemporary art, American culture, gender, social justice, Environmental Studies and  the art of teaching. He fell in love with Art History at George Washington University and earned both  a M.A. and Ph.D. in that field at the University of Michigan. There he began his teaching career at  the University’s experimental Residential College. Matt now has homes in the Art and Art History  and Environmental Studies, while also teaching American Studies and American Conversations  courses. His publications include Visual Dynamics in Jackson Pollock’s Abstractions, and articles  on mid-20th-century American culture such as “Clement Greenberg and the Postwar Modernist Canon: Minimizing the Role of Germany and Northern Europe”.



Mary Titus is a professor of English. Currently, she is interested in collecting and has enjoyed giving papers at the American Culture Association Convention on such topics as the House on the Rock, junk drawers and other miscellaneous collections, and hoarding.   In the past, her scholarship was primarily on 19th and early 20th century American literature, especially literature of the American South. She remains interested in the relationships between literary texts and popular culture and has published essays on such topics as slave narratives, food and race, and myths of Southern womanhood.