PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
MA, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Elijah Gaddis studies the spatial, material, and cultural histories of the 19th and 20th-century South. His first book, Gruesome Looking Objects: A New History of Lynching and Everyday Things, will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2022. This work looks at the souvenirs, mementos, and relics collected and created to preserve the memory of lynchings over the course of a century. Rooted in interdisciplinary methods - material culture, ethnography, spatial and landscape studies - the book examines the lingering attachments to objects of racial violence and collective accountability for the afterlives of these fraught objects.
As a public and digital historian Gaddis has curated a variety of exhibits, built online archives and projects, and run oral history initiatives. Much of his recent public history work has been through the Community Histories Workshop (CHW) which he co-founded. The CHW is a joint initiative of the University of North Caroline at Chapel Hill and Auburn University, and works in collaboration with organizations and individuals to research, gather, interpret, and preserve untold histories. Gaddis is currently collaborating with a range of community partners including: Klein Arts & Culture, the Boykin Community Center, the Garden District Preservation Association, and Landmarks Foundation of Montgomery. His work with colleagues and collaborators has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Park Service, and a range of other organizations.
In his public history work, and in his teaching, Gaddis focuses on community engagement and collaboration. At Auburn, he teaches courses on landscape and spatial history, material culture, museum studies, and digital humanities.
public history, cultural history, material culture, American studies, Southern studies
Articles, Essays, and Chapters
● “Place and Materiality,” in Lu Ann De Cunzo and Catharine Dann Roeber (eds.) The Cambridge Handbook of Material Culture Studies (Cambridge University Press, 2022), 471-492.
● “History, Memory, and Community in the Redeveloped Mill,”in Robert Forrant and Mary Anne Trasciati (eds.) Where Are the Workers? Labor’s Stories at Museums and Historic Sites (University of Illinois, 2022), 98-112.
● “Processional Culture and Black Mobility in Maggie Washington’s Wilmington,” Journal of Festive Studies 3.1 (2021): 72-91.
● “Work, Play, and Performance in the Tobacco Warehouse,” Material Culture Review, 90-91(Fall 2019-Spring 2020), 10-23.
● “The Life and Legacy of Ned Cobb,” Alabama Review, 73.4 (October 2020), 295-316