Dr. Amy Elder, Professor Emerita of Womenâ€™s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS), had a long and distinguished career at UC in both the WGSS and English Departments. Her teaching and research specialties were African literatures and cultures and Ethnic American literatures and cultures, with an emphasis on African and American ethnic women. She began her study of African literature while on a Senior Fulbright Award at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, in 1976-7 and introduced an African literature sequence into the English Department curriculum after her return to UC. She developed a sequence of undergraduate courses in Ethnic American literature, and was the former Director of the Ethnic American Studies Certificate Program housed in the English Department. In the Department of WGSS, she taught undergraduate and graduate courses in African, ethnic, and Third World women's literature from a feminist/womanist perspective. She also held an affiliation with the Africana Studies Department.
She served as President of WOCALA, the women's caucus of the African Literature Association (ALA) and Secretary to the Executive Council of the ALA. She also served as Treasurer of MELUS, the Society for the Study of the Ethnic Literature of the United States, and was one of the judges of the 2006 and 2007 African Studies Association Women's Caucus African Women Writers Award. Her over 25 articles and two books, The Hindered Hand (1978) and Narrative Shape Shifting (2009), reflected her two primary research interests, the former studying the cultural implications of nineteenth-century African-American fiction and the latter analyzing the aesthetic hybridity of three contemporary African writers.
She received several internal Taft and University Research Council awards and an Ohio Council for the Humanities Grant. She also provided considerable service to the Modern Language Association and at UC to the Charles P. Taft Research Center, the AAUP, and the Departments of WGSS and English.
She was much beloved by her students and colleagues, and the WGSS Department looks forward to her continuing involvement with its students and faculty.