Dr. Sarah E. Gardner Appointed Distinguished University Professor at Mercer


MACON – Mercer University President William D. Underwood announced at the annual Homecoming meeting of the Board of Trustees in Macon the appointment of Dr. Sarah E. Gardner as Distinguished University Professor of History in the College of Liberal Arts.

The highest academic rank available to a Mercer faculty member is Distinguished University Professor. The appointment recognizes extraordinary scholarship or creative work by faculty who have achieved national and international distinction in their fields.

Dr. Gardner joins current Distinguished University Professors Dr. Wallace L. Daniel and Dr. Adam Kiefer in the College of Liberal Arts; Dr. David P. Gushee in the McAfee School of Theology; Robert McDuffie in the Townsend School of Music; and Dr. Ha Van Vo in the School of Engineering.

“Sarah Gardner is widely recognized across the country as one of the preeminent intellectual historians of this generation,” said President Underwood. “Her scholarship is often cited by other historians and has been published by leading academic presses, including Cambridge University Press. She is very deserving of this recognition at Mercer.”

Dr. Gardner studies the intellectual and cultural history of the American South, specializing in the 19th and early-20th centuries. She teaches courses in Africana studies, women's and gender studies and in the Great Books Program.

Dr. Gardner has received Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowships from the Virginia Historical Society and from the Huntington Library, an Earhart Foundation Fellowship from the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan and a Harrison Institute Fellowship in American Literature from the University of Virginia.

Last fall, she was selected as a Brown Foundation Scholar at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, where she spent the past spring teaching, presenting her research and working on her current book project, Reading During Wartime, an exploration of the reading habits, practices and choices of the American people during the Civil War.

Additionally, Dr. Gardner has received fellowships and research grants from the New York Public Library, the Gilder-Lehrman Institute for American History, the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the William R. Perkins Library at Duke University, the Institute for Southern Studies at the University of South Carolina, the Newberry Library and the Harry Ransom Center for the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin.

Her first book, Blood and Irony: Southern White Women's Narratives of the Civil War, 1861-1937 (University of North Carolina Press, 2004), shows how Southern white women's narratives of the war demonstrate the dynamic nature of Lost Cause ideology. She also co-edited Voices of the American South (Pearson Longman, 2004), a comprehensive survey of pivotal works in the Southern literary tradition.

Dr. Gardner recently finished her second book, Reviewing the South: The Literary Marketplace and the Making of the Southern Renaissance, which was published in April by Cambridge University Press. She has signed on to co-edit a forthcoming series from the University of Georgia Press, titled “Print Culture in the South,” and to author another book from the University of North Carolina Press, which will explore intellectual life in the Civil War-era South.

“I am honored and humbled by the appointment,” said Dr. Gardner. “This recognition affirms Mercer's commitment to the humanities at a time when across the country the value and importance of core disciplines is being questioned. For this I am most grateful.”

“We are very fortunate to have a scholar of Sarah Gardner's renown at Mercer University,” said Provost Dr. D. Scott Davis. “She also is a well-regarded colleague, an exceptional classroom teacher and a wonderful mentor to our students. She has earned this designation of Distinguished University Professor.”